‘Crucial months ahead’ from October
The months ahead will be crucial towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday after meeting President Nicos Anastasiades.
Eide described the talks earlier in the day between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci after a summer break as “very interesting”.
“We are basically now discussing how to move forward and what are the next steps, and how we can continue to build on this momentum that we have”, the UN diplomat added.
The two leader’s representatives had been working hard last week to agree on the agenda for the day’s meeting, where reports suggested the property issue was once again high on the priority list.
Eide said that there is still a lot of work to be done, “there are issues that we have yet to go into and then there are issues where we have strategic understanding and we need to fill in the details and there’s a lot of work in the detail in order to get all this right”.
“The basic message is: strong, effective leadership leaderled process moving forward, but as we move forward we also find areas that we have to deeper look into”, he added.
Emphasising the good mood, Eide said “the trust is strong and increasing with every meeting and what I really want to say is that I am deeply impressed by the two leaders, the way they are able to work together honestly, being clear on their positions but also trying to accommodate and find ways to understand the other side”. He said good attitude doesn’t solve all problems but “it creates the best possible framework in which we try to overcome the quite important issues that are still there”.
Eide said there will be a new leaders’ meeting on September 14 and many negotiators’ meetings between that “and after that is the General Assembly of the UN and when the General Assembly is done, we are into October, and I think the months from then will be very decisive when it comes to really packing all this together into something that can finally be agreed”.
Asked if the UN Secretary General will meet the leaders together in New York, Eide said Ban ki Moon will meet both of them, but separately.
After the meeting at the UN-controlled area of the old Nicosia airport, Eide said the two leaders concentrated their discussion on the current state of play, and in particular on property and governance-related matters and that they reaffirmed their commitment to maintain and build upon these efforts between now and their next meeting.
Recalling that the negotiators met 11 times, Eide said that Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami increased the frequency of their meetings and deepened their discussions on core issues to push forward progress both leaders want to see. “They have maintained their clear focus on reaching a mutually beneficial solution for all. When necessary they have called upon the presence of members of the Working Groups of Experts, particularly on issues related to property, the economy and EU matters,” he noted, adding that the Working Groups of Experts have also met separately, equipped with guidance from the negotiators.
However, in earlier comments Anastasiades said he was “cautiously optimistic” after the positions put forward by the other side in Tuesday’s meeting.
He also had a telephone conversation with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with whom they discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and referred to the supporting role that the EU can play in the ongoing dialogue.
On his part Juncker expressed the willingness and readiness of the European Commission to contribute to the ongoing effort for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Anastasiades and EC President also discussed the developments in the eastern Mediterranean, with emphasis on the energy sector, and underlined the added value that the exploitation of the (natural gas) reserves in the area will have in the efforts of the EU to create a new energy route to the member states of the Union.