United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Canadian diplomat Colin Stewart as his new special representative and head of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
Stewart, who will replace Elizabeth Spehar, will also act as the deputy special adviser to the U.N. secretary-general on Cyprus.
He has held various positions within the U.N. and recently worked as a special envoy for Western Sahara.
The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement. Five decades of Cyprus talks have led nowhere.
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 (TRNC) was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the European Union in 2004, although in a referendum that year most Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. settlement plan that envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the European Union
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