Conference on Cyprus will take place in Crans-Montana UN envoy announces

The Conference on Cyprus will take place in Crans-Montana, the UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide announced on Friday after a meeting he had with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

Eide said that both sides have confirmed to him that “they go there with the ambition to solve the problem.”

“We know that is not a given. We have to be honest about that. It is not getting easier just because we go to Switzerland but there is determination and willingness that I can register now that we go with that ambition,” he added.

The UN envoy stressed that “this is really an historic opportunity. We all know that its going to be difficult. It is going to be difficult when we are there in Grans – Montana.”

He said that “if we succeed there will still be work. It doesnt mean that all work is over and we can go straight to a referendum. But the aim is to have strategic understanding of all those issues that are potential deal-breakers,” he noted.

Eide said he would not speculate on what will happen if this doesnt work, adding that “we go there with the ambition to succeed and the Secretary General and I will do everything we can to help make that a successful outcome.

The decision after all is on the leaders and the guarantor powers, he added and noted that a lot of work has to be done before they go to Switzerland because they dont want to go there empty-handed.

“This is why we are working on a document which will guide discussions on the security and guarantees chapter which is the chapter that received less attention and which is now very important to highlight,” he added.

He also said that preparations are also needed on other issues because there will be interdependent discussions on all outstanding issues.

What we can do is to prepare as well as possible for this to be a success, but of course again at the end of the day it is up to the courage, the will, the determination and the leadership of the leaders and also at this stage, of the guarantor states, he stressed.

Referring to his meeting today with Anastasiades and yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, he said that he had thorough discussions with both leaders on the reconvening of the Conference on June 28.

Eide said that they dont know how long the Conference will take. We are facilitating this for such a way that it can last

for weeks but it does not have to take weeks. It depends on the time needed. But we want to make sure that we have the chance to actually wrap up all the strategically important issues, he noted.

Asked about the format of the negotiations, the UN envoy recalled the statement of June 4 which the leaders agreed with the UN Secretary General, noting that it does spell out that it will happen in parallel.

It also says that there is an agreement that that chapter of security and guarantees is highly important in order to arrive at the final settlement, he said.

So it highlights one chapter while it recognises that all chapters will be discussed. And the practical way of doing that is to do it in parallel literally at separate tables, in separate rooms, he noted.

He said that the task of the UN as the facilitator is to make possible to get to these final accommodations that requires insides into all the chapters, noting that this is not easy but, he thinks, it is doable.

Asked if agreement by the two sides on common document on security and guarantees is a precondition, Eide said that the document will exist and will be there. He added they made clear that they want all sides views to be well represented.

We are also presenting a structured way of discussing these issues, he noted, making clear that they are not preparing an outcome document, Eide said, noting that “we want it to be a document that it is helpful to try to decompose into the various elements of an issue which traditionally has been very difficult to touch because the starting points have been quite opposed.”

He said that they have ideas which he cannot spell out, adding that he is quite optimistic. “I dont think the document is going to be an impediment to start the negotiations. I hope that it will be helpful to make them successful.”

Eide also said that in addition to the work we do from the UN, the Swiss government is also extremely helpful in technical preparations and in providing facilities for the Conference.

The Conference on Cyprus will reconvene on June 28 at the political level, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. The Conference will take place with the participation of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, as well as Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer.

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