Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe will travel to Cyprus on Sunday to assess how the United Nations can best assist the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach a settlement to the long-running dispute on the Mediterranean island.
Mr. Pascoe will remain in Cyprus through Wednesday before returning to New York, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalists, adding that he intends to travel soon thereafter to Athens and Ankara to continue his consultations.
At a meeting held last week, the Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, agreed to start full-fledged negotiations within three months on resolving the dispute.
The agreement was welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who pledged the world body’s “full support to the Cypriot people in their efforts to reach a settlement.”
The meeting, hosted by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Michael Møller, also resulted in the leaders’ decisions to set up a number of working groups and technical committees in advance of talks, as well as to open a crossing at Ledra Street in Nicosia as soon as technically possible.
The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), established in March 1964 following the outbreak of inter-community violence on the island, has been working to prevent a recurrence of fighting, contribute to a return to normal conditions and maintain law and order.