Eide on Cyprus talks: Both sides are strongly committed to the peace process

Eide on Cyprus talks: Both sides are strongly committed to the peace process

Nicosia, August 24, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

Settlement discussions are being held “without taboos” on all issues in the current, intensified phase of the Cyprus peace talks, Espen Barth Eide, the UN Secretary-General`s Special Adviser for Cyprus, said on Wednesday.

Speaking after a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia, Eide noted that out of the six chapters the two leaders are discussing, “four chapters are largely done”, although there is still work that needs to be done.

The opening of chapters 5 and 6 – linked to territory, as well as to security and guarantees – makes it easier to settle remaining issues in the previous four, where both sides reserve their positions, he added.

“We are not necessarily negotiating all issues, but we are at least in the brainstorming mode” on those issues that have been kept for the final stage, Eide noted.

He said that “there is no particular issue that cannot be touched upon” although, he added, there are certain agreements, such as refraining from discussing maps and figures.

The UN top official also said that July was well spent, with the two leaders having now an understanding on what the outstanding issues actually are and feeling much more certain on what remains to be done.

Eide said however that the leaders agree to refrain from commenting on the substance and will speak on September 14, when the last of their seven meetings in the current phase of talks is scheduled to take place.

According to the Special Adviser, the leaders also agree that they will not rush things, but prefer to do a proper job rather, in order to reach a settlement that will be able to last in the long run. “I feel strong commitment from both sides” Eide has said.

Asked about the differences between the two sides in the first four chapters, the Special Adviser said that there are a few issues containing dimensions that only the leaders themselves can overcome. At the same time, there are issues, on which both sides are very close, with only some details remaining. Eide refrained from giving further details, noting that this is a leaders-led process.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci resumed in May 2015 aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency