EU names Cyprus envoy

By Toby Vogel
20.07.2011 / 15:23 CET
Portuguese diplomat will support United Nations as peace talks enter critical phase.

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.

César das Neves, a member of the Commission’s Bureau of European Policy Advisers, previously worked as an aide to Javier Solana, then the EU’s foreign policy chief.

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.


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One comment on “EU names Cyprus envoy
  1. On 13th July 2011, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said that Turkey would freeze its relations with European Union if the Greek Cyprus takes over the rotating EU presidency in July 2012 without a unification deal for the divided island.* Nearly one week later, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan took a step further and mentioned that Turkey will freeze its relations with the European Union in the case of Greek Cyprus to hold the bloc’s rotating presidency in 2012.** By appointing a special and full-time envoy for the Cyprus conflict and charging him with the task of supporting the person who has been facilitating the reunification talks on behalf of the United Nations, the Commission seems trying to force or support the parties in the island for a possible agreement which will unify the island, especially before July 2012.
    The unification of the Cyprus will not only end a lasting issue, but also is to be expected to further the EU-Turkey negotiations, since most of the negotiation chapters which cannot be opened for the moment are related with the so called “Cyprus issue”. That will presumably be in the benefit of Turkey (which is destined to join the EU) and the Commission as the “driver” of negotiation process.
    Nevertheless, one have to wait and see whether there will be a unification of Cyprus, before or after 2012.


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