The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has appeared hopeful that the UN-led talks, suspended by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in response to Turkish violations of the Republic’s exclusive economic zone, can resume, saying he remains realistically optimistic this can happen.
“We are working hard now to see how we can develop conditions for going back to the table and how we can have a speedy process once we are back at the table. And I think everybody knows what are the parameters,” with the Turkish vessel Barbaros and the issues of hydrocarbons, he said after being received on Thursday evening by the President, noting that both sides agree that hydrocarbons is a prerogative of the federation.
He added that “it’s a long and complex series of issues, I remain a realistically optimist that we will get this moving.”
Asked if he brought with him a formula, he said that “I have a number of ideas which you can call a formula or a package. It’s too early to reveal all the details because I am still in discussions with both sides and nothing has been agreed so far nor did I expect anything to be agreed.”
He said that his main message is that both leaders “ agree that hydrocarbons will be a part of the shared future of a united Cyprus and it will be a federal level competence. Hence, there is a striking agreement on the future and almost no agreement on the presence. So let’s put our sights in the future rather than the present and see how we can move from there towards today.”
Asked if he believes that the issue of hydrocarbons should be on the negotiating table, he said that “if the table means my table, the UN table, that is up to the sides. I do not have a view on that. What I do think is that it is important for everyone in Cyprus, and the leaders of the two communities to discuss what will happen in the future when a unified Cyprus is found.”
“We all know that there is no appetite, particularly on this side, for having this as a negotiation. So we are not talking about negotiations, we are talking about how we can think about a number of issues which are not about Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots,” Eide explained, according to an official press release.
He referred to environmental issues stemming from oil exploration, as one such example. “That is a shared problem,” he said, adding that “these are issues that in some form have to be discussed and that will be helpful.”
Asked when talks will resume, he replied: “as soon as possible.”
Replying to another question, he said the UN are “still exploring how the different elements of this can develop and sequenced. We do not have an agreement today, nor did I expect so, these are deep complex issues, there are many formalities involved, there are emotions involved, but I do feel that both sides do want to come back to the table, they do want to find a way to get back to the table so we can speed up the negotiations.”