Eide sees signs of progress on many issues
The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide said during a visit to Athens on Tuesday that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be in line with the European principles and the Council of Europe jurisprudence, but at the same time will allow Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to maintain some sense of continuity as communities.
Eide met Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias for two hours with whom, he said, he had “a very constructive, long, substantive conversation.”
The diplomat referred to the “difficult” chapters of guarantees and security, two “significant outstanding issues that have to be tackled,” he said.
“We need to create an outcome in Cyprus where both communities can feel safe and secure, not only in a physical sense, but also as their cultural survival as a unit, but in such a way that it does not infringe on the security of the other side,” Eide noted.
The UN Special Adviser said he didn’t want to say more explicitly on guarantees, but noted that “it’s an important issue” and that they need to see how the arrangement that was put in place in 1960 will be adapted to the needs and realities of today.
Eide told the Greek press that they are working very closely with the European Union. “As we know, acquis communautaire is not, in practice, in place for the northern part, the Turkish Cypriot part, of Cyprus. The ambition is that this will be a unified European country, fully in line with all European principles. And that’s why we have involved the European Union much more than previously in the work that we are doing. And that’s been a very positive development”
Referring to the latest developments in the talks he said there has been “significant progress on some of the more difficult issues over the last weeks and months”.
Eide underlined that there is real will among all interested parties to find solutions, be creative and to think outside the box to find a solution, create a well-functioning federal state that is bizonal, bicommunal and in line with European principles and practices.
“This is really the moment that has to be grasped to find the final solution to their problem, which is many decades old,” he added.
Asked if the UN peacekeeping force would remain on the island after a solution he said that “the Cypriots want us, the UN, to be there in an implementation phase, overseeing the transition from what was to what will become.”
Eide will travel to New York next week to brief the Security Council again, as he does on a regular basis.
The UN Special Adviser noted that the current round of negotiations has been going on uninterruptedly since May, without any serious crisis on the way, which is “quite unusual”. The leaders have met 19 times, officially and the negotiators 63 times.
The two negotiators, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Nami, had their first meeting of the year on Tuesday.
The Cyprus News Agency reported that the negotiators prepared the meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci that will take place on Thursday, January 7, and continued their discussions on various issues.
Sources noted that the meeting was “rather procedural”, in view of the meeting of the leaders who will mainly discuss the property issue and issues that have not yet been discussed.
Meanwhile, Resolution 70/235 on the Oceans and the Law of the Sea was approved by the UN General Assembly on December 23 that safeguards the sovereign rights of Cyprus
Ozdil as an island state and makes Cyprus a policy maker as regards the rules on the law of the sea.
The resolution was adopted by 143 votes to 1 (Turkey) and four abstentions (Venezuela, El Salvador, Mali and the Central African Republic). It was formulated by Cyprus, Japan, Micronesia, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.
The 55-page resolution deals with all aspects on oceans and the law of the sea and calls for the UN Secretary General to present a report on these issues at the 71st General Assembly meeting.
“The convention safeguards our rights in our seas and we want to co-formulate the rules of the law of the sea,” a Foreign Ministry official said, adding that since 1993, Turkey has been the only country to vote against the resolutions, citing “exaggerated demands concerning the continental shelf. They do not acknowledge that islands can have complete coastal zones and these are issues that we want to secure our interests”.
“We want to have every right and claim both continental shelf and exclusive economic zones and exploit our underwater mineral resources which Turkey doubts”, the officer added.
The continental shelf, the EEZ and others are part of customary international law therefore Turkey has a responsibility to respect them, even if it has not signed the convention. And by following these rules, Turkey is continually exposed, the official said.
President Nicos Anastasiades had suspended his participation in the peace talks following a Navigational Telex or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey in October 2014, as the Turkish seismic research vessel “Barbaros” violated the Republic’s EEZ. The Turkish NAVTEX expired last April and Barbaros left Cyprus’ EEZ.