Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo Sounds Out Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Leaders on Possible Way Forward in Cyprus
The top UN political official reiterated the commitment of the Secretary-General to finding a lasting, peaceful solution.
NICOSIA, CYPRUS — Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo made her first trip to Cyprus from 15 to 18 March 2023.
DiCarlo held talks with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar. Discussions focused on the possible way forward on the Cyprus issue.
During the visit, the Under-Secretary-General met with women and youth groups and learned more about the work of the Technical Committees focusing on areas of concern to all Cypriots. DiCarlo also observed first hand the most potent symbol of the division of the island when she toured the buffer zone separating north and south.
Politically Speaking sat down with Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo to talk about her visit upon her return to New York.
Politically Speaking: You met with the new Greek Cypriot leader as well as the Turkish Cypriot leader. What are your main takeaways from your interactions?
Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo: I had very detailed exchanges of views with the both leaders on the state of play in the Cyprus issue. It’s very important to create a propitious environment to find a settlement and avoid any actions that could hamper those efforts. I also conveyed the commitment of the Secretary-General to supporting the two leaders in their effort to find a mutually acceptable way forward.
And after those discussions, what is your assessment of the prospects for resuming negotiations in the search for a solution in Cyprus?
It will be for the parties to determine where they are going from here. That said, what I saw and heard in Cyprus was a definite willingness to engage and the recognition that after all the time that has passed and all the disappointment experienced, there is still hope for a solution. A settlement is not a foregone conclusion, but the door remains open. And the parties can continue to count on our support.
You had the opportunity to meet with members of civil society, including women and youth groups, during your visit. What subjects did they raise with you?
I was very much impressed with what I have heard from women and young people. The issue that came up repeatedly was the importance of bicommunal dialogue that should include the voices and needs of the entire population of the island. We need broader inclusion and integration of various perspectives in substantive negotiations. This visit provided a unique opportunity to revitalize UN’s efforts for a more inclusive peace process. I urged both leaders to involve more women in the work of the Committees, including in leadership roles. I also requested them to consider establishing a dedicated Technical Committee on youth and appointing young people to the existing Committees.
You also visited the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus (OSASG), as well as the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). What can the UN do on the island to help renew and reinvigorate talks?
Both our Good Offices mission and our peacekeeping operation are carrying out important mandates. The UN is assisting the sides in the search for a mutually acceptable settlement agreement and supporting trust-building initiatives feeding into a conducive environment for resumption of talks in the future. Technical Committees, facilitated by the Good Offices mission, remain a vital platform for bicommunal cooperation on issues of common interest.
I would like to commend all UN staff working on the island. Their knowledge, professionalism and dedication to support all Cypriots are critical for our work on the Cyprus issue.