UNSG Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide said on Monday that it is clear that territory chapter in UN peace talks for a Cyprus solution will soon have to be discussed and possibly before we go into at least the full-fledged discussions on security.
Speaking to the press after a meeting he had with President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and asked whether it is clear that territory will not be discussed with the chapters of guarantees and security, Eide said that at least one side and increasingly both sides “also recognise that we have to find the right modalities for that discussion, because that discussion is somewhat different than the discussion on governance“.
Eide, who met with President Anastasiades in view of the new round of intensified talks to start on Tuesday, pointed out that the issue of territorial exchange affects ordinary people in a slightly different way than i.e the quotas in the central Bank board.
“Both issues are important, but we have to respect that and find a way to discuss it (territorial), which also connects with other issues in an appropriate manner and also both sides can feel that we are ready for the final discussion“, Eide said.
Invited to comment on opinions expressed about discussing the issue of territory abroad, SG Special Envoy said that the two leaders will meet tomorrow and they are committed to create the space, “both physical and more in a mental sense”, to be able to deal with issues which are so sensitive.
“Where exactly that will happen I think I will leave it to them to decide and announce. This is a leader led process. I keep insisting on that, is actually led by the leaders and nobody else, not by me, not by Ban Ki-moon, not by anyone else in the island, is led by the leaders and if this is going to work, we have to respect the leader led nature of the process“, he underlined.
Eide also said that thankfully, Cypriots have two leaders, Anastasiades and Akinci who want this to work, adding however that they both represent communities with divergence of views “and they have to represent different views that exist in their communities“.
“But my strong sense, confirmed today, is that they are in it for real and they try to solve this without any unnecessary loss of time“, he said.
Eide described his meeting with President Anastasiades as long and substantive, adding that we need now to focus on how we organise the coming days and weeks in the process.
He said that during the meeting UNSG had with both leaders in NYC on September 25th , they both presented a very similar picture to the SG of where we are, what has been achieved and what remains to be done “and they recommitted to their noble goal of seeking a settlement if possible at the end of this year“.
“But we still have to agree on how we sequence things and how we organise the coming days and weeks“, he said.
He said that during the leaders` meeting tomorrow, a plan will be decided as regards the meetings to follow, saying that there will be frequent meetings in October “in order to try to overcome those issues which are closed“.
According to Eide, the commitment is clearly there, pointing out that he heard it again from President Anastasiades today and he knows that the same goes for T/c leader Mustafa Akinci.
He said that in any peace process there are challenges of last mile or last miles, “which is when you see that a settlement is actually within reach, you also know that in order to get there you have to make some further agreements, concessions and in order to do that you really need to make sure that you have the right setting for doing it“.
“I think that is very much what we will discuss tomorrow and in the subsequent meetings, we will then start discussing issue by issue and try actually close them down so that we can move into the important issues of territory and eventually security, in an appropriate manner in Cyprus or wherever else, but as the leaders agree“, Eide said.
Anastasiades and Akinci embark on a new round of intensified talks tomorrow, under the aegis of the UN, with the aim to reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.