The UN chief’s special adviser on Cyprus has said talks over the disputed island have not collapsed, but admitted there is now a “dead end” in the process that could resolve through diplomacy.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades have been involved in reunification talks to create a federal state since May 2015.
Akinci and Anastasiades met several times in Geneva last year, but their last meeting in February was wracked by controversy over a Greek Cypriot decision to introduce a commemoration of the 1950 Enosis referendum on unification with Greece.
Both sides had agreed on most of the issues in the reunification deal but the sticking points, including a security and guarantees system, remain unresolved.
Espen Barth Eide highlighted the need to break the deadlock in the process. “It will take some time to get out of this deadlock. It is a deadlock. It is not over. Talks are not collapsed. We are in a dead end in a sense and to get out of that we need to do some more diplomatic work,” Eide said.
He said at the moment there were no new meetings expected between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides of the island, and the three guarantor countries: Turkey, the U.K. and Greece.
“The meeting between all…partners, the three guarantors, the sides in Cyprus, that could only happen if you reconvene in the conference and whether the leaders in Cyprus all meet again, is something they have to decide in Cyprus,” he said.
The adviser to the UN chief also underlined the aspirations of “the normal people, Turkish Cypriot, Greek Cypriot” who want the peace talks to succeed. “If that is the case, we must make it work. But that requires some will, some flexibility and some leadership from all sides. First and foremost, from the leaders in Cyprus, but then also from the guarantor partners,” the UN envoy said. “The problem is that wanting a solution does not mean you want the same solution,” he said, adding: “I always try to find agreement between the sides.”
Eide also said he agrees with the Turkish Cypriot view to handle issues interdependently. “The Turkish Cypriot view supported by Turkey is that we should discuss everything but together on an interdependent manner, which is also the established parameters from before, in these talks. “I do think that is important that we see that all these issues are interrelated. In that sense, I agree with the Turkish Cypriot view that they are interdependent,” he said. —Agencies