United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved in on Wednesday to save the stalled Cyprus negotiations from collapsing, following the failure of the talks in Mont Pelerin to produce an agreement on the territorial adjustments. After received a briefing from his Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide on Tuesday, Ban Ki-moon issued a statement encouraging the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, to do their utmost to overcome the hurdle of lack of agreement on the criteria for territorial adjustment in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland.
Ban Ki-moon deploys Espen Barth Eide back to Cyprus on Sunday, to have discussions with the two leaders and find a way to overcome the problem. Meanwhile Mr Ban spoke later in the afternoon with both President Anastasiades and Mr Akinci offering his good offices to assist in any way the two leaders wish in order to move the peace process forward, as it stated in a UN readout about the phone calls.
“The Secretary-General called on both leaders to reflect on the situation following the impasse they had reached and to carefully consider the next steps in order to bring the process back on track.
The Secretary-General emphasized that it was not uncommon for peace processes to be confronted with crises, particularly at the last difficult stretch. The Secretary-General encouraged Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı to rise above the mounting pressures and be courageous in overcoming the challenges.
The Secretary-General recalled the common determination and vision both leaders shared when he met them at the opening of the first round of the talks at Mont Pelerin, Switzerland on 7 November. The Secretary-General encouraged Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı to continue the negotiations and strive to achieve an agreement this year for the sake of future generations.”
Meanwhile U.S. Vice President Biden also held telephome conversations with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci. According to a readout issued by the White House, “The Vice President encouraged the leaders to continue negotiations and expressed his confidence in the leaders’ ability to secure a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation to the benefit of all Cypriots.”
UNSG ‘S STATEMENT
In his statement the SG reminds them that temporary set-backs are not uncommon in peace processes as talks approach a final stage. And he urged “all interested parties to avoid any statements and actions that would make the resumption of talks more difficult.”
“He calls on all interested parties, especially the guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, to do their utmost to support the leaders during the coming days and weeks, which will be crucial for the negotiations and the future of Cyprus.”
It is pointed out that Ban Ki-moon will be in contact with both leaders soon to discuss the next steps.
According to the statement, Ban has been updated by his Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, about the outcome of the talks that took place in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland, on 7-11 November and 20-21 November.
“Despite the best efforts of Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı, the talks did not yield the desired results regarding agreement on the criteria for territorial adjustment and they decided they would return to Cyprus to reflect on the way forward,” the statement reads.
The Secretary-General, it adds, “shares the disappointment of the two leaders who had hoped that the meetings in Mont Pèlerin would pave the way for the final phase of the talks.”
It is further pointed out that “on the same night of 21 November, thousands of people from both communities gathered in the buffer zone in Nicosia in support of the leaders’ shared vision of a united homeland.”
The Secretary-General is “confident of the leaders’ continued desire to deliver on these expectations with a mutually beneficial solution. Cypriots deserve nothing less,” the statement says.
Ban “encourages Mr. Akıncı and Mr. Anastasiades to do their utmost to overcome also this particular hurdle and conclude the promising work that they had undertaken in Mont Pèlerin.”
They have made, it is added, “significant progress across chapters over the past eighteen months, advancing their talks further than ever before.”
According to the UN official “they should continue to build upon their substantial achievements.”
The Secretary-General urges “the leaders to continue their efforts in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost in order to reach a settlement in 2016.” Especially, the statement adds, “in a region and in a world marked by increasing tension, they must not let this historic opportunity slip.”
The Secretary-General reiterates “his full support and the commitment of the United Nations to assist the two leaders in reaching their shared goal, while respecting that the future of Cyprus will be determined by Cypriots, for all Cypriots.”
“He will be in contact with both leaders soon to discuss the next steps,” the statement says, adding that he is in close contact with his Special Adviser who is currently assessing the situation.
The Secretary-General “urges all interested parties to avoid any statements and actions that would make the resumption of talks more difficult.”
He reminds them that “temporary set-backs are not uncommon in peace processes as talks approach a final stage.”