Eide: Both leaders committed to resume talks
A united Cyprus that would be compatible with EU standards would be to the benefit of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades, adding that he is encouraged by the climate created by the leaders of the two communities.
On Monday, he met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and will host a dinner for both leaders at the Ledra Palace next Monday, May 11. After that, a date is expected to be announced for the resumption of the stalled peace talks.
“These are two leaders who tell me that they are seriously dedicated and committed to solving the Cyprus problem, that they are ready to resume negotiations without delay, and they both say in almost exactly the same words that this is the moment, it’s a unique opportunity and there is not time to waste”, Eide said. Asked whether Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is planning to invite the leaders in the near future, he revealed that the UN chief will meet with Anastasiades in Moscow in a few days.
Replying to a question about the role Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan in the process, Eide acknowledged that “there are certain aspects of course which pertain to the three guarantor powers and will also eventually have to be dealt with by all means.”
But then, he pointed out, “there are significant numbers of issues which pertain to Cyprus itself and of course this will be factored into everything we do.”
Asked whether the leaders will begin the talks with confidence building measures, he reiterated that the two leaders “are committed to working very hard together to solve this problem.” That means, he said, “that if they are going to take new initiatives I think it’s appropriate that they will come up with their initiatives.”
The May 11 dinner is the first time the two leaders will meet after Akinci won the leadership elections in the north last month, giving political analysts a mild hope of progress as both men seem willing to negotiate a settlement.
Eide’s will remain on the island until May 12 and will hold meetings with other relevant interlocutors from the two sides to finalise arrangements for the resumption of fullfledged negotiations.
The Turkish Cypriot leader, whose comments about finding a local solution to the division and occupation were criticised by Ankara, will see Turkish President Racip Teyep Erdogan on Wednesday.
During his visit to Ankara, Akinci will be accompanied by the newly appointed negotiator Ozdil Nami, who has taken part at various levels of the negotiations during the past 15 years. His appointment was hailed by Turkish Cypriot politicians.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sent a congratulatory letter to Akinci stating that the determination to reach a comprehensive agreement in the island is welcomed and emphasised the importance of resumption of negotiations as soon as possible. Juncker stated in the letter that an agreement reached in Cyprus will be for the benefit of both communities in Cyprus, as well as for the European Union and added that European Commission will continue to give full support to the negotiations to be restarted under the auspices of the UN.
President Anastasiades is expected to talk to US Vice President Joe Biden over the next few days, and meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday, on the sidelines of the Victory Day Parade.