CNA News

UN Secretary General in consultation with both sides on envoy, Lacroix says

The UN Secretary-General continues to be in active consultation with both sides on the appointment of an envoy for the Cyprus problem, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix said on Wednesday after his meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, at the Presidential Palace.

Lacroix told the media that it was a very constructive and productive discussion with President Christodoulides and they discussed the support that the Republic of Cyprus is providing to UNFICYP, the very positive development, as he described it, on the agreement on the Arsos-Pyla road and the situation in the region and particularly in Gaza.

Regarding the road of Pyla, he said “we’re looking forward to the implementation of the agreement and UNFICYP will continue to engage with the two sides so that the implementation, of this important agreement, can take place.”

Speaking about President Christodoulides’ initiative for humanitarian assistance to Gaza, Lacroix said that “we believe as the UN that the readiness of the Republic of Cyprus to lend its assistance to the humanitarian effort is highly appreciated, so we really welcome that expression of readiness by President Christodoulides.”

Asked by a journalist for clarification on the appointment of an envoy on the Cyprus problem, and reports that the Turkish side had rejected the appointment of Australian Julie Bishop as envoy, Lacroix said he could not comment on what the media writes because the media is free to say what they want.

“What I can tell you is that the Secretary-General continues to be in consultation with the two sides very actively, so this is really what we are doing regarding this question,” he said.

Asked whether it is time for confidence-building measures in the absence of negotiations, such as on the missing persons for whom more information needs to be provided by Turkey and its military archives, Lacroix said that the Committee on Missing Persons is indeed a very important confidence-building measure, expressing his appreciation for its work.

He added that he will visit this Committee noting that President Christodoulides expressed the support of the Cyprus Government to this Committee and added that the United Nations will continue to be actively supportive.

Asked whether the United Nations will be responsible for the distribution of humanitarian aid when and if it arrives in Gaza, Lacroix replied “what I can tell you is our colleagues of course our Secretary- General, in the first place, and our colleagues in charge of humanitarian efforts are actively working so that more humanitarian assistance can be delivered to the population of Gaza.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.