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