UNSG’s Special Advisor for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide has said that we need to create an environment where the Cyprus leaders can go that final mile and called upon all parties to do their utmost to reduce any kind of tension that could make the talks more problematic.
In statements at the Presidential Palace, where he was received by President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Eide said that he briefed the President on the meetings he had last week in New York at the UN and added that he expressed the strong determination from the UNSG, and the UNSC to be as helpful as they possibly can to make the best of this remaining opportunity.
He recalled that the UNSG congratulated the leaders on all the achievements they made so far and called upon them to use this momentum while it is there, adding that there is no time like the present and it is possible to make further progress in the near future.
Eide said he discussed with President Anastasiades how best to proceed noting that he will discuss the same issue this afternoon with the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Regarding the leaders’ meeting today, Eide said that “I am really trying to use the meeting today to see how we best utilize, build on what the negotiators have been doing and try to see how we structure the coming days” and recalled that there will be an assessment on the 17th of May.
‘There has been hard and good work done by the negotiators over the last weeks, there is no secret that there is a difficult environment surrounding the talks, both domestically and internationally and I call on all parties to do their utmost to reduce any kind of tension that can make the talks more problematic. That goes for people here but also people in the neighbourhood,” he said.
He added that we need to create an environment where the leaders can go that final mile.
The UN envoy said that many of the complications at the Cyprus talks today were expected, saying that ‘it is the nervousness of the last mile’.
“It is a big step to make the final decision that this is good enough to present. I don’t think that either leader is there right now. I don’t think any leader neither Anastasiades nor Akinci would suggest to hold a referendum on something that they don’t themselves agree with”, he pointed out.
Regarding the economic sector, he said that today, he will have a meeting led by the EBRD President with the World Bank, the IMF and the European Commission, the UN and the negotiators to discuss the “crucial outstanding issues on the financing, the financing needs and the economic opportunities that come with the solution”.
Pointing out that one of the most important achievements at the Cyprus talks is the work done on the issue of economy, Eide referred to the “tremendous economic benefits that the settlement would have”.
“Opportunities that would help give economic boost are available but they will not just happen we need a good settlement,” he continued.
Once more, he called on everybody who has an influence, to seek to reduce tension when they can and said that he has “never either done or intended to come with any kind of blackmail to anybody as some people have been saying”.
“I am just pointing out that we may be looking forward in the near future to rather dramatic times, I deplore the fact that that might happen, but it might still happen, and I cannot pretend that I don’t know. The SG knows, the UNSC knows, the leaders know, I think everybody in Cyprus knows,” he stressed.
Eide noted the tremendous progress achieved for over almost two years, even if there are outstanding issues and said that no other leaders had presented maps, or there was ever the opportunity to fundamentally change the security regime in Cyprus.
“And to see that go to waste because of an international crisis would be very sad for all of us,” he said.
Invited to comment on USG’s statement that the talks are running out of time, he said that this is the view that the UNSG and the UNSC have, explaining that after two years of negotiations a lot has been achieved, but any process has its natural dynamics.
Noting that there are no artificial timelines he said that there may be developments that could create problems at the talks.
Replying to questions, he said that the UNSG wants him to redouble his efforts. ‘I am not planning on going anywhere and I will try to see this through as much as I can’ he said.
Asked if he has interest in the elections in Norway this autumn, he said that right now his sole focus is on Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof./IBNA
Source: Cyprus News Agency