Akinci Says No New Cyprus Unity Talks Until June

FILE - Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

Any chance collapsed Cyprus unity talks can be resurrected won’t even be brought up until the middle of 2019 at the soonest, Turkish-Cypriot leader said after meeting United Nations Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar.

“It seems the nearest date when all the parties are able to be ready (for talks) will be June,” said Akıncı after two met in the occupied part of the capital of Nicosia that Turkey calls Lefkosa, the newspaper the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

“There is no point in postponing (negotiations) later” than that, he added, pointing to Turkey’s local elections on March 31 and European Parliamentary elections at the end of May, leaving prospects of resumed talks up in the air.

The negotiations fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on keeping an army in the northern third seized during an unlawful invasion in 1974.

Spehar, who is also head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), described her meeting with Akıncı as “fruitful,” diplomatic code that usually means nothing of any substance happened.

She said she will discuss the situation regarding the divided island of Cyprus and the UN’s role there during her meeting with U.S. government officials this month in Washington and also plans to meet UN officials in New York, including Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Spehar added that she would brief the UN Security Council on Cyprus on Jan. 23, after which they expect the UN Security Council to decide on the extension of the UNFICYP’s peacekeeping mandate there.

She isn’t the main point person however with that role falling to UN temporary envoy Jane Holl Lute, an American diplomat tasked with talking to Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades as the two sides still remain at loggerheads for now.