Things move forward with regard to resuming Cyprus talks according to UNSG Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide.
“In the conversations over the last days I feel that slowly slowly, as we say in Cyprus, we are moving forward,” Eide said on Thursday after a meeting he had with President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.
Eide who earlier had a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, expressed the belief that within a reasonably short time they will be able to announce more about what is going to happen in the very near future when it comes to the talks. “I cannot say more right now but I hope to be able to do so later,” he noted.
Speaking after the meeting with President Anastasiades, UNSG Special Advisor said that there has been a complicated situation in the talks after Mont Pelerin, which, as he noted, was a setback because expectations related to that meeting were not met.
He said that in the frequent conversation he had with both sides over the last days he has detected a strong desire from both sides to return to the table, to move forward and to build on all the progress that has been made in the past nineteen months.
Eide noted that the Mont Pelerin setback was after all the only crisis of any proportions that Cyprus talks have experienced and that is actually an exception from the rule. “In the conversations over the last days I feel that slowly slowly, as we say in Cyprus, we are moving forward and I think that within a reasonably short time we will be able to announce more about what is going to happen in the very near future when it comes to the talks. I cannot say more right now but I hope to be able to do so later,” he added.
He also reiterated that despite the difficulties there is a mutual understanding on why these (territorial) issues are difficult. On this, he reminded that in the entire history of Cyprus talks there has never had a situation where the two leaders, whoever they were each time, where ready to directly negotiate territory in the way they are now.
“And it`s a painful thing because it`s painful both for those who lost lives in the past and lost places and those people who live in the places today. So I ask everybody to understand that this is a different type of issue than the composition of a certain body in government,” he stressed.
“But we are getting there and I feel that what we already saw, particularly in Mont Pelerin I, was significant progress on this front and we would like to build further on that progress when time is right,” he added.
UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus also said that the other thing he would like to stress is that he was worried over the last week and the last days about what is happening outside the talks.
As he explained he always feels that with the commitment that both leaders have in solving the problem it will be possible to come back to their dialogue as it once was. In the meantime, Eide added, he witnesses a deterioration of trust more broadly in society and a hardening of positions and sees people who have expressed hope and optimism now to appear more worried.
“I would urge people not to jump to conclusions because these issues are difficult and small setbacks happen and when we are back on track we are back on track,” Eide added, noting that this includes an appeal to the press to be aware of the role it has in fomenting the sense of “my side is always right and the other side is always wrong”.
“In most cases that is not exactly the full story. So look behind the official picture and recognise that this is complicated for all parties and there may be good ideas and less good ideas on both sides of the equation,” he pointed out.
Asked on whether he believes that the two leaders have the power to take decisions on territorial issues and if they decide for themselves he replied “yes”.
Asked on when does he see the talks restarting again and when do the leaders see talks restarting, he said that this is exactly the type of thing that he means when he says that he might be able to announce soon but not right now.
Asked if it is feasible to have progress this year he said that this is feasible. “What progress means we will see,” he said.