Both sides want a solution in June but there’s significant difference on how to do that, UN envoy says

UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide believes that both sides in Cyprus would like to solve the Cyprus problem and they would like to solve it in June in Geneva, noting however that theres significant difference on “how to do that and in what sequence and what depends on what.”

In statements to the media after a meeting he had with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Eide said that there is no disagreement on the need to put particular emphasis on the chapter which has been least discussed, which is the chapter of security and guarantees.

Invited to say if we are closer today to an agreement between the two sides on reconvening the Geneva Conference on Cyprus, Eide noted that he knows more about the positions of both sides and the fine print matters in these issues.

“I feel that there is a will to find a solution how to reconvene Geneva but we are not there yet. More work will be needed,” Eide said, adding that he would convey to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, whom he met immediately after his meeting with Anastasiades, “some ideas from here.” He added that “this shuttling will continue for some more time, maybe later today, maybe until tomorrow.”

“It’s not impossible but there is still work to do. It’s not easy because the devil is in the detail and details matter a lot for both sides,” he pointed out.

Asked if he found common ground, Eide said that “the common ground isn’t quite significant. Both sides would like to solve the Cyprus problem, they would like to solve it in June, they would like to solve it in Geneva. So that’s quite significant common ground. But how to do that and in what sequence and what depends on what, there’s significant difference.”

“And if we don’t bridge that difference, there will be no Geneva and I think if there will be no Geneva, we have to draw the conclusion from that,” he pointed out.

Asked if it is better to discuss issues all at once, Eide said that “what is important for everyone is to put a particular emphasis on that chapter which has been least discussed which is the chapter of security and guarantees.”

“There is no disagreement around that. Because in the other chapters both leaders tell me, and I agree, that we are not done but we see the outcomes of basically all the five other chapters, this is reasonably well known and we have a major issue which is much less elaborated and we need to emphasize on that,” he added.

Eide said that the UN has spent quite considerable time with the guarantors – UK, Greece and Turkey – reflecting on those issues but they haven’t been reflected fully in the talks.

“So that must happen. But the order in which and to which extent this issue depends on other issues or lives a life of its own, this is where the disagreement still continues. And I don’t know if we will solve this but I am continuing to do my best,” he concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency