The EU sent three senior diplomats to the UN-led talks on Cyprus in Geneva, an official said on Monday.
“We have a sent a team of experienced, senior diplomats to Geneva to be on the spot and to help the UN in their current efforts,” Peter Stano, the European Commission’s lead spokesperson for foreign affairs, told a press briefing.
He, however, admitted that the bloc had still not received an official invitation from the UN to the negotiations starting on Tuesday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to convene a new round of talks on the Cyprus issue for April 27-29, bringing together the leaders of the Greek Cypriot administration and the Turkish Cypriot government, and top diplomats from the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece, and the UK.
This format is called 5+1 referring to the two Cyprus partners and the three guarantors, besides the UN.
The EU is committed to “a comprehensive settlement that means agreement by both sides which would be beneficial for Cyprus, the EU, and for the wider security in the region,” Stano had said last week.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The island has been divided since 1964 when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.