Jorge César das Neves, a former Portuguese diplomat who currently serves as an adviser to José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, has been appointed Barroso’s special envoy for the Cyprus conflict.
César das Neves, a philosopher by background, will replace Leopold Maurer, the Austrian head of the EU’s delegation to Montenegro, who worked on the Cyprus issue part-time. Maurer remains in his post in Montenegro.
A Commission spokesman said that César das Neves was appointed because there was a need for a full-time Cyprus envoy. The reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which have been going on for three years without tangible results, are entering a decisive phase, with diplomats saying that a solution must be found before the end of the year.
César das Neves’s main job will be to support Alexander Downer, a former Australian foreign minister who has been facilitating the reunification talks on behalf of the United Nations.
“President Barroso and the European Commission are fully committed to supporting the Cyprus settlement process and will spare no effort in assisting the United Nations,” a statement from Barroso’s office said.