Talks have been “quite good lately” Eide tells CNA

UN Secretary Generals Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has told CNA that despite a very difficult surrounding climate, the talks themselves “have been quite good lately”.

He also said that his sense is that the sides would like to go back to Geneva, but in order to get back to Geneva they have agreed that there are certain things they have to do in Cyprus.

Replying to CNA questions, Eide also noted that he has not been involved in any discussions about any moratorium on drilling.

Asked if the talks are going that bad, he says that “the surrounding climate is very difficult right now, but the talks themselves have been quite good lately.”

“We were actually quite impressed by the negotiators’ meetings end of last week and this week,” he said, adding that he “just came out of one right now.”

“We are seriously working to overcome some of the issues that have been outstanding for a long time,” the UN official said, reiterating that “the talks themselves are better than the impression that was created on the outside.”

Asked why the surrounding atmosphere is so negative, he replied that “frankly I asked the same question and I have found no better answer, than saying that there are some people that don’t want this to work.”

“As we are moving closer to a possible solution and as people see the solution is within reach, they get more active and trying to drag them down and I think they are on both sides, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots,” he pointed out.

According to him “you will find people who would like things to remain as they are because they are comfortable with the current situation and you will find people who would like this to work.” So, he noted, “the real divide now is between those who want this to work and those who don’t.”

Replying to a question on issues like the “equivalent treatment” of Greek Turkish nationals after the solution and the security and guarantees chapters Eide acknowledged that “those are crucial issues.”

As you know, he noted, “the security and guarantees can only be settled if we manage to get back to the Geneva format, to the conference.”

“My sense is that the sides would like to go back to Geneva, but in order to get back to Geneva we have agreed with each other that there are certain things they have to do here in Cyprus,” he added.

Also, he continued, “on security – because security is not only a question of other countries but also a question of your legal system, your police, the whole constitutional order that you are setting up. Some of that has to be done before we finalise these crucial issues.”

Asked whether the positions of the two sides on these two issues are so far apart that they cannot reach a convergence the UN official said that “I don’t think they are not as far apart as you may think, but there is still work to do by all means.”

Replying to a question on whether there has been an agreement between the two sides on a moratorium for drilling within Cyprus EEZ, he said: “No I haven’t.”

“I can say very clearly that I haven’t been involved in any discussions about any moratorium,” he assured.

Asked whether he is afraid that a new crisis may arise Eide said that “a lot of people are afraid of a new crisis.”

“A lot of Cypriots on both sides are afraid of that and I share that concern but I have not been involved in any discussions about moratorium,” he replied.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks have been under way between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency