UNSG`s Special Advisor for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said on Friday that he is convinced that the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus are committed to the Cyprus talks process.
Eide, who was received by President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, will also meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader on Saturday. In statements after the meeting he said that he had
a good meeting with President Anastasiades and that they were exploring both ways of overcoming this current impasse in the talks but also what to do when the talks resume.
“Because I think there is a shared understanding that when we come over this one, which I think we will, we need to use our time as effectively as possible in order to shape the methodology for the last outstanding issues that means that we are effective that we are focusing on the core issues”.
He said he agreed with a public statement made by President Anastasiades about the need to think about the methodology that they have been following.
“I fully agree with that and we discussed some ideas. These ideas I will share with Mr Akinci” he said, adding that “it is very much about trying to see how the essential outstanding issues can be structured in such a way that we remember what is important and what is more secondary.”
“My strong sense is that the will is there” he added.
Eide said that the we have had probably the most difficult weeks in this process “but we must not allow the very sustain progress of the 22 months to be destroyed by what is essentially an issue that is outside of the talks themselves which has to do with the parliamentary vote that happened some weeks ago in the Greek Cypriot side and also the way that it has been reacted to”.
Noting that there is an issue of trust, he said that his optimism over the talks in various statements he had made is based on the trust, the partnership, the leadership and the will of the two leaders to go the extra mile.
Right now, Eide said, that trust is not at its best moment and said that `if we are not helping, all of us, the leaders to overcome this impasse in their own personal trust I think it will be difficult to reestablish the intercommunal trust which is also necessary”.
“I have seen nothing over the last weeks even that suggested to me that it is not possible to overcome the division of Cyprus. I am fundamentally convinced that it is within the realm of the possible” he continued.
Eide said that issues outside of the process itself can play a negative role if they evoke historic traditional fears and concerns of one community or the other and added that even if we overcome this issue now there may be new attempts to derail the process.
“We want to get back to where we were I can not tell you when but I will do whatever we can” he added.
Asked if he proposed anything specific like dinner between the two leaders, he said that
`we discussed some ideas I met one of the two leaders I will see the other tomorrow so if there is anything concrete to say you will have to wait”.
Replying to a question, he said that he can not see any motive from any leader not to return to the talks, noting that both of them have dedicated much of their life to the settlement, both of them have been elected on a clear platform of solution and both of them have invested 22 steady months in the process.
He added that if one side or the other does not want to continue, then he will not understand it.
“I have not heard it, definitely not here, and I am convinced that when I go to the north tomorrow I will also hear a commitment to the process” he said, adding that certain issues have to be settled first but “the determination is there that is my strong conviction”.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with an aim to reunify the island under a federal roof.
Akinci walked away from their last meeting, in the framework of the UN-led negotiations on the Cyprus problem, shortly after it began. It was announced that the two leaders had elaborated earlier on their positions as regards an amendment passed by the Cypriot Parliament which includes a once a year discussion of ten minutes in school classrooms about the 1950 referendum held in Cyprus, which favored back then a union (or `enosis` in the Greek language) with Greece.
President Anastasiades has described the House amendment “wrong” and called on Akinci to return to the negotiating table. Akinci demands that the amendment of the Cypriot Parliament is revoked before returning to the negotiating table.
The Cypriot President recalled the unanimous decision of the National Council where it declared that no one is pursuing “Enosis” or division, noting that “we remain committed to the unanimous decisions of the National Council, the UN resolutions and Security Council decisions for the type of solution that we are working for. This should have been more than satisfactory”.
Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that the ball is now in the Turkish court./IBNA
Source: Cyprus News Agency