UN chief steps into talks

Guter­res chairs Cyprus ne­go­ti­a­tions in Switzer­land, in­sists time is ripe for deal

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that there is still a lot of work to be done, United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res joined the on­go­ing Cyprus talks yes­ter­day at the Swiss re­sort of Cran­sMon­tana and urged Greek and Turk­ish Cypri­ots to seize what he de­scribed as a “his­toric op­por­tu­nity” for a deal.

Guter­res, who chaired yes­ter­day’s talks be­tween ri­val Cypriot lead­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Bri­tain, Turkey and Greece, told jour­nal­ists “there is no doubt that some sen­si­tive and dif­fi­cult is­sues re­main to be re­solved” and that “there is still a lot of work to be done.”

How­ever, he in­sisted that the “UN is not im­pa­tient and that it is not try­ing to threaten the par­ties in any way,” adding there has been progress, al­beit slow, in the process that re- sumed on June 28. “What we want is the re­sult to be pos­i­tive and sus­tain­able, we don’t want a false agree­ment that would not last,” he said.

Un­lock­ing the sen­si­tive is­sue of se­cu­rity and guar­an­tees could prove piv­otal for a deal, and Guter­res lauded both sides for their com­mit­ment to find­ing a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able so­lu­tion to break the dead­lock.

“There were some new po­si­tions show­ing in­creased flex­i­bil­ity in some as­pects... but it is slow progress and many out­stand­ing is­sues are still to be re­solved.”

Greek Cypri­ots are de­mand­ing the with­drawal of some 35,000 Turk­ish troops sta­tioned on the is­land since Turkey’s in­va­sion in 1974 and the scrap­ping of the “anachro­nis­tic” sys­tem of guar­an­tees, whereby Greece, Turkey and Bri­tain have rights of in­ter­ven­tion. But Turkey’s For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu re­it­er­ated yes­ter­day that the Greek side must let go of its “dream” of zero Turk­ish troops on the is­land, and that Ankara will never for­feit its rights of in­ter­ven­tion. In­stead, he talked about an “adap­ta­tion” of the guar­an­tees sys­tem to the present con­di­tions. Greek For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias said that no Greek gov­ern­ment will ever sign an agree­ment hand­ing Turkey rights of in­ter­ven­tion. Cavu­soglu also re­port­edly pro­posed a pack­age deal in­clud­ing all the is­sues, but Kotzias said Greece “will not dis­cuss pack­age deals” but only what is de­cided by Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and Turk­ish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci.

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