Eide urges all parties involved in the Conference on Cyprus not to engage in a blame game

UN Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide has urged all parties involved in the Cyprus Conference that took place at Crans Montana in Switzerland earlier this month not to engage in a blaming game.

Speaking after briefing the members of the Security Council in detail about the Conference, Eide said that the Council as well as the Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, himself and the SG, all very much think that this is not the time for engaging in the blaming game. There is more than enough of that going around and it seems that everybody self-views that everybody but themselves did everything wrong and everyone was doing it right but I think that we have to admit that there was a collective failure of reaching together deal in Crans Montana”.

Eide explained that despite of the fact that towards the end of the conference more and more of the pieces were coming on the table, they came late and were not able to stick them together to make a deal because � as he noted � we have this perennial problem of the chicken and egg of what comes first and what comes second.

He said that all sides in many ways continued to reserve their final gifts until they saw the cards of the other side, adding that the SG and the rest of his team were trying very actively throughout the ten days of the conference to overcome this by saying that in their view there was a package available where six separate important crucial issues are all settled and only when they are all settled we can say that we have a deal. We thought that will be possible but we realized that it wasn’t and that realization came at the end of a very long and rather difficult dinner.

The mood at that dinner led the SG to conclude that there was no, at least, no imminent purpose to continue, there was no ground to continue the conference so we decided to close the conference on Cyprus which had begun on the 12th of January in Geneva and which ended in the early hours of the 7th of July in Crans Montana, he added.

Eide said the the UN of course will always be available if the leaders jointly decide to continue this effort but we are in their hands. One of the most important principles of the Cyprus talks, he pointed out, is that they are leader level and there can be nothing else and it has been his guiding light through this process that we have to remember that we are there to facilitate, we engage with the leaders, we engage with the guarantors, we engage with the European Union, which I want to thank for its stellar support to many-many aspects of this process, the international financial institutions and all the key players but we cannot do it for them, it has to be owned by the leaders and it has to be supported by the guarantors.

Quoting the SG, Eide said that in his report and in all the statements Guterres has made the SG pointed out that the leaders in Cyprus now need to go through a process of reflection and we hope that they will not jump into conclusions, we hope that they will reflect seriously on what can be done now.

Eide said that every single member of the Council deplored the fact that the conference failed, they urge for restraint, they underline the importance of the reflection period, the cooling off period and they very much underline the fundamental idea that it’s up to the Cypriot communities and their elected leaders to make up their minds on what to do next, we will follow that.

Asked by CNA whether the collective failure he mentioned means everyone including the guarantors, the facilitators and everybody, Eide said that the most honest thing to say is that the conference failed.

He further remarked that he sees a tendency to spend more energy on reflecting on what others are doing wrong than what they did wrong themselves which is not necessarily helpful.

Eide repeated that the UN want very much to avoid being part of what is already too much of this, which is this blaming game, which unfortunately is something that has accompanied the Cyprus process over the years.

Asked how the work that has taken place can be preserved, Eide replied what we can do from our side is that every paper, every record, we have thousands and thousands of notes of this and we will definitely make sure that we record all this in a proper way and what can be shared with the public at some point and those parts that will be kept in the UN system. He hoped that both parties will do the same.

But I can only guarantee that we will do that so I can make sure that it’s there if at any time a process restarts will be able to share on what happened in this process. That is what I can do, but also you have, I think you have something more in that question and I think how can you preserve that climate that made it possible to have these talks. This is a very serious message from us, the SG, Spehar, myself, the Council , that is a serious responsibility, not to allow now a development that will make it impossible to restart in the future. And I think, those who have power and influence they understand what I am saying I believe, he added.

Invited to give the UN opinion on the drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ and the fact that Turkey as one of the guarantor parties said that the Turkish Cypriots have the right over the gas resources around the island and it is opposing the drilling, Eide said in his role as a special advisor he has a very clear focus on facilitating the discussions between the two sides in Cyprus and in the conference between all the guarantors and the other, the European Union and has learnt to focus on that and not comment on other issues.

However, he said it does worry him if we are now seeing increasing tensions around the gas field, or the gas area around Cyprus, and I really hope that we will not see developments that will exacerbate negatively the climate for the talks.

Asked how central the relation between Turkey and Europe is with regard to the unification process in Cyprus, Eide replied, absolutely adding that first and foremost the purpose of unifying Cyprus is in the interest of the Cypriots, the primary interest of the partiesthe Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots and the other communities in Cyprus Maronites, Armenians they are the primary subject of this issue. He added that there is no doubtthat a settlement in Cyprus will significantly improve the somewhat strained relationship between Europe and Turkey.

Answering questions on the future of the UN mission in Cyprus given the collapse of the talks, Spehar said that in terms of the peacekeeping mission, the Council for the time being has renewed UNFICYP’s mandate for an additional of six months.

She said that there has been a call by some members of the Council to review to see whether it fits the purpose on moving forward so they will be looking into that.

Noting there was strong support for the good offices by the Council members, however the Special Representative said there is also a question of what the good offices will do at the present time.

We need to do what the sides will decide and how they will decide to move forward, because without a process there will not be too much for the good offices to do, she added.

Eide said that there will be a review but there will a continuation for the UNFICYP but for the good offices that is very much a function of what the sides think, because we are only relevant if there is a process to support.

Asked about his own status and when he will make a decision whether to continue or not at the post of Special Advisor, Eide replied I have said before that I am there if I am relevant and at some point I assume I will not be relevant but in any case the benefit of ‘When Actually Employed’ is that you are only employed on when you are needed. And will come back to that in a latest stage.

Source: Cyprus News Agency