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Τhere is still scope to think creatively and to act decisively, Spehar says

May 4, 2019 at 7:45am

While prospects for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem remain a concern for all, the United Nations believes there is still scope to think creatively and to act decisively about the way forward, UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar has said.

Speaking on Thursday during a UNPOL medal presentation, Spehar noted that “for our part, as the UN, we stand ready to assist both the leaders and the women and men of Cyprus to pave the way ahead to a brighter, shared future for all.”

Referring to the peace process, Spehar also noted that “although the talks are facilitated by our sister operation in Cyprus, the Secretary-General’s Good Offices mission, UNFICYP plays a vital role in support of the process, not least through helping to create conditions conducive to successful negotiations and to a sustainable outcome.”

During the ceremony, Spehar awarded medals, in the name of the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, to 18 UN police officers from 8 nations, whom she thanked for their service to the United Nations and to the cause of peace in Cyprus.

Spehar noted in her speech that since the mission began its operations in 1964, the UN police has played an important role across the island.  A bedrock of UNFICYP’s successful mandate implementation, they patrol the buffer zone and engage with local community members, contributing to the maintenance of law and order and a return to normal conditions, she said.

Moreover, she added that on the 17th of April, UNPOL organized, for the first time, a bicycle patrol in the buffer zone. These patrols are intended to boost the capacity of UNPOL in making its regular rounds within the city of Nicosia, ensuring increased flexibility for UNPOL officers, the UN official said.

She also noted that UNPOL facilitates the Joint Communications Room, which enables critical information to be shared on crimes, criminal matters and humanitarian cases across the divide, in parallel with its parent body, the bicommunal Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters.

Spehar moreover underlined that of the 60 UNPOL officers currently deployed to UNFICYP, 23 are women, giving a ratio of 33 per cent female officers.

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 the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

UNSG`s special envoy Jane Hall Lute has been in contact with the parties in order to agree on the terms of reference that would pave the way for the resumption of the talks.

(Cyprus News Agency)