Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
UN Secretary General`s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide said that steps will be taken in the coming days to overcome the difficult situation that the Cyprus talks are facing. He was speaking on Saturday after a three-hour meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who walked out of the last leaders` meeting, in the framework of the UN-led negotiations on the Cyprus problem.
Eide said the meeting was “substantive and long” precisely because we know that the process is in a difficult situation right now, he marked.
“We are working on ways to overcome that and I think steps will be taken in the coming days that might be helpful to that respect, without being able to go more into detail on that”.
He said that after having seen President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday and Akinci on Saturday, “is very clear to me that both leaders remain committed to making this work. There`s a strong desire to find the way both to continue the talks even if it`s not likely to happen immediately but hopefully the sooner the better”.
Eide said that when they resume the meetings they will work on a new methodology which will bring speedier progress in the outstanding issues.
He said after Geneva, although there were a number of meetings, there was no significant progress.
Before that particular crisis the meetings were not bad, Eide remarked but “were simply a little bit slow in producing new breakthroughs on key issues” and that all had sometimes spent time on minor issues, that should have been better spent on larger issues.
The UN advisor said they are “discussing constructively new ideas about how to organize the time for when talks continue towards hopefully an agreement, in a way where we systematically go through all core issues and see their interrelationship, even better than we have done before”.
Eide said that there are two things in a crisis, either to allow it to continue until the whole thing breaks down or you can use the crisis as a wake up call for a new approach and turn the crisis into an opportunity.
“I think that`s what both leaders want. It`s definitely what the Secretary General and I do want”, he added.
Eide said the “coming weeks will be decisive” and that it is “more true than ever before that the fate of the process, not only this one, but the fate of the question of whether Cyprus will be reunified will be decided in the coming weeks, not months”.
He stressed that “many people have a role to play in laying the foundation for this to continue” and called on everybody who has some influence to use it. This is really a time of strategic leadership and true leadership shows itself in crisis. It`s not very difficult to be leader when everything is fine”.
Eide said that a lot of people have to do what they can and really understand that this is not the time for `business as usual` but rather it is the time to really ask the big question. `Do we want the island to be reunified and are we ready to do the necessary things to go that final mile?`
Eide reiterated that despite of issues on trust and despite of concrete disagreement on issues, particularity outside of the talks, “it is perfectly possible to solve this question. Twenty-two months have been invested and most of those have been used systematically and creatively to solve many of the issue in most of the chapters. All chapters are on the table, including security and guarantees where we had a constructive dialogue, including territory which is not done but we have come further than any pair of leaders have done ever before”.
Noting that there is nothing in the talks to suggest it cannot be done, he emphasised that “it cannot be done without trust and you need the trust between the leaders” adding the focus now is to re-establish the trustful relationship and the approach and the leadership that we saw from the top through all these months.
Akinci walked out of the last leaders` meeting citing 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 UN remains committed to facilitating the leaders` efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible. The remark was made by UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric who briefed correspondents on Friday’s meeting between Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide with President Nicos Anastasiades and the meeting Eide will have on Saturday with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci.
“Mr. Eide is discussing the current status of the Cyprus talks and how to move the process forward with both leaders”, Dujarric said.
He added that “the UN remains committed to facilitating the leaders` efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.”
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades expressed on Friday his willingness to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
His comments came as UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide returned to the island in a bid to revive the UN-led talks on the Cyprus problem, suspended after Akinci walked away from the talks, citing an amendment passed by the Cypriot parliament.
The amendment includes a once a year discussion of ten minutes in school classrooms about the 1950 referendum held in Cyprus, which favoured back then a union (or `enosis` in the Greek language) with Greece.
Asked on his meeting with Eide earlier on Friday and on reports that the UN will pursue to hold a social event to be attended by the two leaders, Anastasiades said he was not aware about such a thing.
Asked whether he would be willing to meet Akinci, the President said “Of course, I am always willing.”
President Anastasiades has very concrete proposals which can facilitate the dialogue on the Cyprus problem, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Friday. Speaking after the President’s meeting with Espen Barth Eide, he noted that the President reiterated his proposal for a three column document that will refer to the state of play in all issues discussed at the negotiations and will facilitate the whole process.
Christodoulides said that a very good exchange of views took place during the meeting, and that Anastasiades expressed his regret that the dialogue has been suspended, and at the same time expressed his readiness to continue the negotiations even tomorrow.
He noted that Anastasiades and Eide also discussed issues of substance, about the disagreements at the negotiating table, and how Anastasiades deems that the process can more forward “a targeted process with a view to address the disagreements, the different approaches through a substantive dialogue.”
Invited to say if the government`s assessment that there can be no move on the part of Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side before April`s referendum in Turkey, has changed after Anastasiades` meeting with Eide, the Spokesman said: “To the contrary. The meetings being held, what is happening, the developments enhance this assessment.”
He once again stressed the need for the continuation of the dialogue on the Cyprus problem, noting that any prospects for addressing the existing disagreements will be examined at the negotiating table.
Christodoulides said that there was a significant process at the negotiations, but significant disagreements also exist. “Through this promising process significant work has been produced and we think that it is only at the negotiating table that it is possible to examine if disagreements can be addressed,” he noted, adding that there are significant disagreements and different approaches.
Invited to comment information that Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will attend a dinner, Christodoulides said that President Anastasiades did not walk away from the negotiations so that any proposal will be addressed to him, noting that nothing was proposed to the President.
He reiterated that Anastasiades is ready to attend a meeting in the framework of the talks even tomorrow without putting forward any preconditions.
Invited to say if Eide conveyed any ideas for the return to the negotiating table, the Spokesman expressed the belief that any such thoughts will be conveyed to those who walked away from the negotiating table and not the President Anastasiades.
Asked about the continuation of the Conference on Cyprus, the Spokesman said that this is part of the process and wondered how a date can be determined for its continuation if the Turkish Cypriot side does not return to the negotiating table.
Asked if the government is concerned with the developments in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, the Spokesman said that “we follow developments in the occupied areas and more generally developments in Turkey and we evaluate them,” reiterating Anastasiades` wish and will to return to the negotiating table.
Asked if Anastasiades had new meetings with foreign leaders, the Spokesman said that the President will attend the European Council that will take place in Brussels on March 9 and 10.
He added that Anastasiades will also attend the European People`s Party Summit in Brussels and will have the opportunity to inform his interlocutors on developments in the Cyprus problem, while he will also have separate meetings with the President of the European Commission and the new President of the European Parliament.