The meeting between the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci was scheduled to last for 45 minutes, but instead the two leaders, along with the SG, Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide, Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar and other high ranking UN officials, 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 go into the depth of the matter and he wanted to hear as much as he could. He engaged with both sides”, said Eide, the Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus, in an interview with Cyprus News Agency.
Ban Ki – moon told the leaders that two long-standing 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 Cartagena. 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 reason to seek, neither arbitration nor artificial deadlines, because it’s going well with leader led. We are fully committed to the leader led process”, he said.
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 than 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. Every 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.”
President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in peace talks under the UN aegis with a view to finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.