UN en­voy bids farewell

In fi­nal Cyprus visit, Eide says deal down to ri­val sides, not United Na­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Af­ter a farewell meet­ing with Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades in Ni­cosia yes­ter­day, out­go­ing United Na­tions en­voy Espen Barth Eide said the re­uni­fi­ca­tion talks that col­lapsed last month at the Swiss re­sort of Crans-Mon­tana can only be re­vived through an agree­ment be­tween both sides of the di­vide, and not the UN.

“What I am say­ing, and I think the lead­ers agree – I am not speaking on their be­half but it is my sense that it is a shared un­der­stand­ing – [is] that [the process] will not be res­ur­rected by the UN,” he told re­porters.

“The res­ur­rec­tion will have to hap­pen from here, in har­mony, and through agree­ment by the sides and, if they agree, [with] the sec­re­tary-gen­eral there,” the Nor­we­gian diplo­mat added.

Eide, who also met sep­a­rately with Turk­ish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci, ad­mit­ted, how­ever, that it won’t be easy.

“You should not give up hope. On the other hand, I can­not with con­fi­dence say that I think [a so­lu­tion] is just around the cor­ner. We are here to help. We will al­ways be avail­able and the sec­re­tary-gen­eral has said that he re­mains avail­able if the sides want it.” He lauded both lead­ers for push­ing the process fur­ther than their pre­de­ces­sors but said the UN is not plan­ning an ini­tia­tive.

“I think that’s nat­u­ral. We had Crans-Mon­tana. We be­lieve that we did what we could to fa­cil­i­tate this process, but if there is a shared, joint re­quest by the sides and by the guar­an­tors, the UN of course – it is part of its man­date – would be avail­able to help. But the de­ci­sion has to be made here,” he said. UN-backed peace talks ended in ac­ri­mony in July with both sides en­gag­ing in a blame game, and with Athens and Ankara trad­ing barbs. Eide is ex­pected to draft a re­port with his con­clu­sions about the failed talks. For his part, Anas­tasi­ades be­lieves the re­port will re­flect the truth about what hap­pened at the talks, deputy gov­ern­ment spokesman Vik­toras Papadopoulos said.

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