United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
The meeting between the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci was scheduled to last for 445 minutes, but instead the two leaders, along with the SG, Special Advisor Eide, Special Representative Eide and other his rank UN official, including Deputy Secretary General Elliason went on for one and a half hours.
The Secretary General was extremely interested and he wanted to go on. He decided himself to into the depth of the matter and he wanted to hear as much as he could. He engaged with both sides”, said Espen Barth Eide, the Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus, in an interview with Cyprus News Agency.
Ban Ki – Moon told the leaders that there are two longstanding cases of ancient conflicts may be coming to an end; Colombia and Cyprus.
“Symbolically he was flying out to Colombia today to be present at the signing ceremony in Cartahena. And he said, let’s hope we can do something similar on Cyprus”, Eide said.
Eide has agreed with President Anastasiades’ public assessment of the meeting, at his press conference.
“We have very clearly underlined from our side that there is no intention to sire and reason to seek, neither arbitration nor artificial deadlines, because it’s going well with leader led. You can of other things if you don’t have a leader led process. We are fully committed to the leader led process”.
The Special Advisor clarified that the purpose was rather to hear what the leaders in this leaders led process want the UN to do from now on and “how we structure the next steps.”
“My sense from this meeting and both meetings I had with the two sides and all involved is that there is no timeline other that the one of the leaders, the end of 2016. This is the only thing we have and of course we work along this ambition, like the leaders. But there is also an understanding that we are at the best of times”.
He praised both leaders and he stressed that the situation is not like the Annan plan “which was imposed on you from abroad”.
“Now we have negotiations that the leaders have actually led. Very single sentence has been written by Cypriot hand.”.
Eide explained what has been discussed during Sunday’s tripartite meeting.
“In the four chapters there are actually only few outstanding issues which are of political nature and require political agreement. Then there is a long list of issues that are actually agreed but not done. Like the drafting of the constitution itself and the federal laws etc. The shared sense is that in order to move into the last chapters we need to have come further in the four”.
Asked what about the interconnectivity of all six four chapters, Espen Barth Eide said:
“There is of course some relationship between property – the final property settlement – and territory, but there is some kind of way to approach the issue of territory without finally negotiating it, while we are still on the four chapters”.
Asked to clarify if he expects the leaders to conclude the issue of the presidency, rotating or not, and then to discuss territory and guarantees, the Special Advisor said:
“Not necessarily on that. When it comes to the rotating presidency that might be an example of an issue – it’s up to them – they might jointly agree to the final package. But practically everything else in the four chapters can be done in short time. Not only I think so, they think so. They just said it.”
Interview, part two: Special Advisor Espen
Barth Eide talks about the tripartite
meeting and the role the SG will play
United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
In the second part of his interview Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide talks about the meeting and explains what the role of the Secretary General will be on the “international dimensions of the issue”, as the statement says.
Besides the Secretary General and the two leaders, Eide has also spoken, and then the Deputy SG Jan Elliason said some words.
“The negotiators also said few things playing into their leaders. It was a leaders meeting.”
The Special Advisor highlighted that the UN was present at the meeting at very high level. The Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General, Chef de Cabine Edmond Mullet, two other Under Secretary Generals – Herve Ladsous and Espen Barth Eide – and Elisabeth Spehar.
“It was a very high level meeting and the SG pointed out that there was no issue during the UN General Assembly that he has spent so much time on, than this particular meeting. This was a tribute to his own commitment to the process.”
Eide agrees that the Secretary General sees possibility for the process to move on.
During the discussion at the meeting, Eide said the sides presented similar perception where we are, where they agree and where they don’t.
“Where did we have to spend some time? We know that we want to go from here to there. From where we are and at the end of the day we want a signature on the deal between them. On that time we have to have involved the international players, because otherwise we don’t know what to sign. The guarantors have to be involved.”
He notes that on these (things) there is agreement. The issues that aare still open are “the sequence of when we discuss what, when we bring the guarantor powers, how much we need to do at home before we bring the guarantor powers in, etc. still open. We have spent some time on that. We didn’t conclude, but I think we left more enlightened that on what we will deal on that particular thing.”
Asked about the role Secretary Ban will have in this face and if by “international dimensions of the issue”, the statement means he will be involved with the guarantors and the donors, he says:
This is the response on what the leaders said on September 14. He is going to get involved with both. The international dimensions aren’t many, but particular is the donor issue. And again, when we get there and the leaders agree we are there, any kind of involvement of guarantors happen through the UN. Because it’s a UN led process, it’s not that Akinci and Anastasiades will have their own meetings with the guarantor powers. It has to be a UN event in any form and the SG is ready to do that at the moment the leaders ask him to.”
Asked about the multi-party conference, the former Norwegian Foreign Minister said t here is no date or specific format for multi-party conference, but there is an understanding on what will have to happen before it’s over.
“It’s a sequencing issue and – I want to be honest – it’s not a small issue, because these things matter. It’s not an issue of substance on where you want to go, but it’s an orchestration challenge. Reality is very typical of this kind of last stage of complicated processes.”
Asked if he left the meeting more optimistic than before, he describes himself as a “realist optimist” and he believes that the meeting was useful.”
“It was not the end of the road at all; we have a lot to do and a lot to do in Cyprus and a lot to do further, but it was important to have this opportunity. Last time the SG saw the two leaders was in Davos in January. Then he met them individually several times. This time we went much deeper into substance and it was an opportunity for him to convey his willingness to take personal charge for whatever they ask him to do, including with the guarantor powers and so on. We are – both he and I – working on the donor issue all the time. And also a kind of a reminder from his side that they have the international support, it’s massive and that we are at the best of times; they should not allow this opportunity to slip.”
During the past week Eide held several high level meetings with the foreign ministers of the guarantor powers – and others – in the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
With these discussions UN is laying the ground work for the moment this can be negotiated.
“It’s not negotiated, so no one is acting in a negotiating form (i.e. saying I can accept that, or I can’t accept it) but we are preparing, we are involved and listening and sharing some initial ideas and it’s very constructive, but not conclusive. Nobody thought it could be conclusive yet, because it has to be negotiated at the end of the day. We have to go into the final agreement between the two sides on security needs also the support of the guarantors and in order to get there we have to have more formal conversations. Now it’s the second track and it’s not only me but more people are involved. They speak to each other, the guarantors speak two plus two in all formations and ideas are exchanged.”
Asked if security could be the last issue to be solved and the last decisive obstacle of the peace process, he says it’s not the last. It is definitely going to be discussed late in the process and it’s one of the decisive issues, but not the only.
“It’s perfectly logical that the leaders have chosen to put that at the end. What would be the purpose of trying to rearrange the security setup if you didn’t even believe that you could solve your own issues? The Cypriots (both G/c and T/c alike) will have a much stronger hand coming into a space – I am not saying conference – with the guarantors.”
He points out that both communities have reasonable security fears.
“There is a very reasonable G/c fear of the presence of a foreign army and there is also an understandable fear of the T/c of returning to past tragedies of the ‘60s. If you want to overcome the mutual fears, you don’t necessarily overcome them with security solutions, but maybe with credible political setup.”
By that he means to get people together again and make them believe that this time maybe the federal system will work over time.
“When they feel that, the need to seek traditional security aspects maybe diminishing. So the likelihood of a successful outcome on security increases with every convergence on governance, property, territory and everything else.”