Another UN Envoy Says Cyprus Can be Reunited Yet

FILE - Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, right, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, during their meeting inside the UN buffer zone in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Friday Oct. 26, 2018. (Iakovos Hatzistavrou/Pool via AP)

Despite decades of failure by a long line of diplomats, United Nations Special Representative and Head of Mission Elizabeth Spehar said Cyprus could still be reunited but hoping against hope isn’t the answer.

Addressing the 14th Economist conference, Spehar said the aftermath of talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when the Turkish side insisted on keeping an army in the northern third that’s been occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion has been marked by growing mistrust and finger-pointing without explaining why she had optimism now.

She cited a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who failed to broker the deal in Switzerland, that said the dead talks are alive. When the negotiations fell apart he issued a previous report blaming nobody for anything.

Spehar noted that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met again even though it wasn’t a formal talk about the problem that has evaded solution for 44 years.

“That offers some hope. It shows the willingness of the two leaders to meet and discuss for the good of their communities and demonstrate their ability to take decisive steps to improve the lives of Cypriots on both sides of the divide through concrete measures,” Spehar said, using the UN’s carefully coded diplomatic language aimed at not offending either side.

“It’s my hope that the leaders can build on the momentum gained by the opening of the crossing points to push forward other long awaited and beneficial confidence building measures in the coming period,” she added.

Spehar noted contacts of another UN Special envo y, American diplomat Jane Holl Lute “were fruitful,” language typically used when nothing has really happened.


  1. This will probably be another waste of time, but the representatives of Cyprus will need to at least show up for the negotiations.

    As I have posted before, it will be better to make no treaty than to make a bad treaty.

  2. How can Cypriots resolve millennia old religious, cultural and other divides which have eluded Christianity and Islam, Greek from Turk and conflicting aspirations by countless politicians on both sides? If the overwhelming military influence of Turkey is removed, I am convinced, in time, the people of Cyprus will make peace and progress together, but this is not likely to happen any time soon, is it?

    1. They could resolve it the way Greeks and Turks in other places resolved it, by accepting boundary lines between separate sovereign states and accepting that population movements done in the heat of Turkish aggression and atrocities will be permanent. Yes, that sounds harsh, and, sure, it would be good if the Greeks of Cyprus could have kept more of that island, just as it would have been good for the Greek Republic to have kept some of Smyrna, Pontus, and/or Constantinople. But separation of populations, as distasteful as it sounds, is a way to end or reduce conflict in many places around the world.

      Anyone thinking that I am too conciliatory to the Turks and wanting to give me an angry response is kindly invited to first tell of their own personal plans to fight and die for more expansive boundaries for Cyprus or Greece. .

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