Fo­cus is on build­ing up eco­nomic sup­port for a set­tle­ment, says Eide

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The fo­cus right now in the Cyprus peace talks is on build­ing eco­nomic sup­port for a set­tle­ment, Spe­cial Ad­viser of the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said, speak­ing af­ter vis­it­ing Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades on Tues­day.

He de­scribed Mon­day’s meet­ing with Anas­tasi­ades and Turk­ish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci as very good, not­ing that he talked to the Pres­i­dent about how to or­gan­ise the time ahead. Be­cause, he added, “we said in our state­ment (on Mon­day) that cru­cial months are com­ing, that we recog­nise progress has been made, we also recog­nise hard work re­main­ing”.

Eide said the big ques­tion now is “how do we op­ti­mise our time in the com­ing months, which means which is­sues do we deal with and with which se­quence and how do we con­nect all the dots”.

The Spe­cial Ad­viser said the con­ver­sa­tions they are hav­ing now be­fore the meet­ings com­ing up in New York, on the side­lines of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly, is about the over­all pic­ture of af­fairs.

The so­lu­tion, he said, “is a big pic­ture so­lu­tion. It has many de­tails and these de­tails mat­ter and they are se­ri­ous, im­por­tant is­sues but there is only a so­lu­tion, if we con­nect the dots, and now we are in the con­nect­ing the dots phase, which is ex­actly where I think we should be in Septem­ber”.

So, he con­tin­ued, “I am happy with the state of af­fairs and I also re­it­er­ate as the lead­ers cor­rectly said both in their state­ments and in­di­vid­u­ally that there is a lot of work and there is lit­tle time and we have to get that work done.”

Eide added that “a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus right now is on build­ing eco­nomic sup­port for a set­tle­ment”.

Over the sum­mer, he re­called, the EU lead­er­ship vis­ited Cyprus and now the US Un­der­sec­re­tary of State, adding “I am go­ing to have a lot of meet­ings over the next weeks in New York, us­ing the op­por­tu­nity of the whole world com­ing to­gether, build­ing will­ing­ness to help build that fund rel­a­tively quickly be­cause the more we suc­ceed on that front I think some of the cru­cial is­sues will be eas­ier to solve”.

Re­ply­ing to a ques­tion as to why the com­ing months are so cru­cial, he said “be­cause these pro­cesses have a dy­namic of their own.”

“Four months is in one sense very short be­cause we have many decades of not solv­ing the Cyprus prob­lem, but it is also very in­tense and this type of mo­men­tum comes and it might go, so we re­ally want to use it while we still have it,” he said.

This mo­men­tum, he added, is also “a re­flec­tion of the fact that the stars are well aligned now, they may not be well aligned all the time.

“Again both for the in­ter­nal qual­ity of the process but also for the sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances, I think it would be good to use this op­por­tu­nity when we have it”.

Re­ply­ing to a ques­tion, he made it clear that “there is no timeline. It is quite quite im­por­tant to un­der­line that we haven’t even sought to have a timeline, be­cause a timeline can be suf­fo­cat­ing, be­cause then the dates take dom­i­nance over sub­stance”.

How­ever, he

said he


very happy

to hear the

lead­ers re­peat­edly say “that there is no time to lose”.

Eide also said there is a de­ci­sion that talks will be in­ten­si­fied af­ter Oc­to­ber.

“They are meet­ing all the time. But the lead­ers want to take more di­rect charge and that means sig­nif­i­cantly more fre­quent meet­ings from Novem­ber on”, he added.

Asked if the elec­tions in Tur­key will af­fect the process, Eide said the pri­mary fo­cus is to deal with this be­tween the two sides in Cyprus. “Of course we are aware of the elec­toral co­nun­drums in sev­eral neigh­bour­ing states but the main is­sue to get as much done as pos­si­ble what is within the con­trol of the two lead­ers meet­ing in the ne­go­ti­a­tions”.

Gov­ern­ment Spokesman Ni­cos Christodoulides said that there is still ground to cover in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, speak­ing af­ter the meet­ings Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades had with US As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Vic­to­ria Nu­land and Espen Barth Eide.

Christodoulides pointed out the ne­go­ti­a­tions are not yet at the stage of give and take, adding that dur­ing the meet­ings they re­viewed the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and talked about how the process will con­tinue.

“There is still a lot of ground to be cov­ered. We have en­tered the stage of ne­go­ti­at­ing chal­leng­ing chap­ters and hard ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der­way. We need to be pa­tient to see how the process will evolve so that we can pro­ceed with more safe pre­dic­tions on the fi­nal goal,” he said.

Re­gard­ing the eco­nomic as­pect of a so­lu­tion, Christodoulides said that it is an im­por­tant as­pect. “What we are most in­ter­ested in is to solve the fi­nan­cial as­pect of the prob­lem be­fore a so­lu­tion to the Cyprus is­sue”, he ex­plained.

This, he said, is a mat­ter that needs to be set­tled be­fore a so­lu­tion is put be­fore the peo­ple in a ref­er­en­dum.

Christodoulides also re­minded that there is no time­frame for a so­lu­tion and that the ef­fort is on­go­ing.

On the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency is­sue, Christodoulides said Turk­ish Cypriot leader Ak­inci con­sid­ers it part of po­lit­i­cal equal­ity. “For us, po­lit­i­cal equal­ity is achieved through ef­fec­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the de­ci­sion mak­ing process at a fed­eral level. We have a dis­agree­ment on this. We are dis­cussing it and there are al­ter­na­tive po­si­tions and views on our side”.

“As of Novem­ber, apart from the al­most daily meet­ings of the ne­go­tia­tors, the lead­ers are will­ing to meet more fre­quently, and ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment that will be pre­pared by the ne­go­tia­tors on where there are dis­agree­ments, we will see how the whole pro­ce­dure will con­tinue”.

Re­gard­ing the meet­ing with Vic­to­ria Nu­land, Christodoulides said the Cyprus prob­lem, energy and the econ­omy were among the is­sues dis­cussed.

The spokesman de­scribed the meet­ing as “very good” dur­ing which there was a dis­cus­sion on de­vel­op­ments in the Cyprus prob­lem, the talks at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble on all the as­pects of the prob­lem, and there was an ex­ten­sive dis­cus­sion on the is­sue of miss­ing per­sons.

The is­sue of the miss­ing per­sons, said the Spokesman, is a “first rate op­por­tu­nity for Tur­key to prove in prac­tice what it states in public about the Cyprus prob­lem”.

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