Nicosia, October 20, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday that as far as he is concerned it is much more important to find a good solution to the Cyprus problem rather than a hasty solution.
In statements to the press after having a two hour meeting with Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace, Eide said the meeting had been very constructive.
As you know, he pointed out, “the leaders are now going into maybe the most intense phase of the negotiations.” Most of our conversation today, he added, “was on how to structure in quite some detail the days and weeks ahead because we are coming to a moment where really some decisive agreements have to be made.”
Eide reiterated that over the past months progress has been made but acknowledged that “we are also now in the depth of one of the most difficult issues, which is the property issue, I think that should be well known.”
This, he said, “has been in dispute over many decades, I think that nobody should expect that suddenly overnight all these differences of opinion will go away, but I also feel very strongly as I am meeting the leaders frequently that the dedication to find solutions is there, even if we have seen certain challenges over the last weeks in exactly how we deal with some these issues that are on the table.”
According to Eide “the basic principle behind the talks remains very strong; that it is a leader-led process, it is led by two leaders who want to solve this, it is led by two leaders who very much want to solve it in a genuine and sustainable way and it is much more important to find a good solution than to rush to a solution so that we are able to make sure that what we consult will last.”
At the same time, he added, “there is a momentum now that Cypriots really need to grasp and that`s exactly why the leaders have decided and reconfirmed last week that November will be a particularly intense phase in the process.”
Hence, he pointed out, it is important in my meetings today with both leaders to structure exactly how we deal with these issues in the coming days and weeks.”
To this extent he said he has met yesterday and will be meeting again on Wednesday and Friday as well as next week with negotiators Andreas Mavoyiannis and Ozdil Nami. “We are basically dealing with this now on an almost daily basis”, he added.
Replying to a journalist’s comment that the two sides should find a common language about the bi-zonality, Eide said “absolutely.” He recalled that issues such as bi-zonality and bi-communality and European values and principles have been agreed upon on the joint declaration of February 11, 2014.
“They are committed to that but you both have to find a common substance and a common language; I agree with that,”, he said.
Asked what the UN position is on permanent derogations from the acquis communautaire Eide pointed out that “I have been very clear all the time that we want to find a solution which is fully compatible with the basic EU values and principles and also with international human rights and also we should not compromise the individual rights to the collective.”
At the same time, he added, “there are compromises that have to be made so that bi-zonality and bi-communality is possible but they should never be to the detriment of the rights of individuals be they Turkish Cypriot or Greek Cypriot.”
Asked about plans of a multilateral conference in March or April he noted that “I have said repeatedly that there is no time-line”.
“And I know that there have been allegations that I have time-line, I frequently read about it in the press, which is interesting because I don’t have one”, he made it clear.
“I have two leaders who say that there is no time to lose and that we have to use the time and I agree with that”, he explained, underlining however that “it is much more important to find a good solution than a hasty solution.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks resumed in May aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.