UNSG Ban Ki Moon is taking a personal engagement in supporting the negotiations in Switzerland and will do everything he can and do what is right for the process at the end of the day, his special Envoy for Cyprus Espen Βarth Eide has said.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon following a meeting he had with AKEL Secretary General Andros Kyprianou and asked whether Ban will be present in the meeting to take place in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland between 7-11 November between President Nicos Anastasiades and T/c leader Mustafa Akinci, Eide said that it is a meeting organized by the UN at the high level and the exact details will be announced in due time, “but that might happen”.
“I think we are working on the exact modalities of the talks, but the main focus of this is to really get down to work and to really use our base in a structured manner, and the exact participation from the UN will be announced as soon as possible”, Eide said.
He pointed out that the SG is a keen supporter and deeply engaged in the process. “Seen from where he sits, on the 38th floor of the UN building, this is one of the few peace processes in the world that seems to be moving in the right direction”, he added.
He went on to say that Ban himself comes from a divided country, Korea, and he very much shares the pain of the people who have been exposed to seeing their own country divided into two. “So he is taking a personal engagement in supporting this. I am sure he will do everything he can and do what is right for the process at the end of the day”, he said.
Special Envoy Eide also underlined that both leaders jointly decided to go to Switzerland and really start tackling some of the maybe most difficult and most emotionally-charged issues and this, he added, “is a sign that they feel that we are now in such a stage at the talks that this is possible”.
He said that this kind of discussions have actually never happened, not for a very, very long time, because in previous incarnations of Cyprus talks at the end of the day, there has been somebody else, typically the UN, who has, for instance, proposed maps.
“Now we are not going to do that, the process is completely Cyprus-owned and Cyprus-led and it will be negotiated like all the chapters and also in the framework of course of the broader setting, which is fundamentally changed now from what it was in the previous attempts, because we are working now towards a bizonal bicommunal federation, solidly in line with European principles and values, which act as a key to understand that the people of united federal Cyprus will share the identity of being citizens of a federated state with similar rights, wherever you are on the island”, he added. “That changes the context in which the discussions of territory happen in an important way”, Eide pointed out.
Eide said that Switzerland will be much about this and it will also be about outstanding issues in all other chapters. “We are working very hard now with the teams to prepare ourselves with them to make the most out of this very important moment in Switzerland”. he said.
SG Adviser also said that everyone knows Switzerland is not the end of the story and that there will be more things to solve after this event.
“But it will be crucial”, he pointed out.
He also expressed his appreciation for the strong support of AKEL and his Secretary General to the process.
“I feel that there is a very good chance that we may move forward but I also share what Mr. Kyprianou just said that we talked about, that the alternative to a solution might not be something we would like to think about because we cannot necessarily take the existing status quo for granted, which is why we have to make the best out of this opportunity”, he added.
Kyprianou said that the Cyprus problem is at a very crucial and decisive phase , pointing out that the discussions on territory issue will determine the next steps of the negotiations.
He said that he had the chance to exchange views and ideas with Eide and to brief him on the positions of the Greek Cypriot side as they have been decided upon the the National Council.
AKEL SG also said that the political parties should support the process on the basis of the long standing positions of the National Council and added that it is important for this process not to fail.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. UN-backed peace talks have been underway with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.