The role of the UN is to be helpful, says Eide

The role of the UN is to be helpful, said today the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, while reiterating that the settlement process is leaders led and Cypriot-owned “and it can be nothing but that”. I am doing my best to assist both leaders, but I am very loyal to this principle, he added.

Eide made these statements on Wednesday, after meeting with the President of the “Citizens Alliance” party, Giorgos Lililikas. He also met later with EDEK party President Marinos Sizopoulos, in the framework of his contacts with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties.

According to the top UN official, they discussed about the prospects for the future, both in case talks succeed or not. “I dont know where this will lead” but we are going through some very interesting moments, both here in Cyprus and in the immediate neighborhood, he added.

As Eide put it, the success or failure of the process will be the result of the work done by the leaders here in Cyprus.

Speaking about his contacts with political parties, Eide said he was “aware that if we succeed, we need to have solid political discussions about what to do when the referendum will come”. It is interesting to see the different views about what to do in case of failure, he went on.

“I am not able to say that I am convinced that it will work. But I do still think that it is possible and the coming weeks, months will be extremely decisive” he noted.

Commenting on the resumption of talks, on Tuesday, after a two-month intermission, Eide said that the leaders have agreed on a number of dates for their next meetings while negotiators were set to meet on Wednesday. The working groups are also working, “so technically-speaking, we are back to where we were in February” he added.

The UN Special Adviser noted however that “something was lost on the way” and pointed to the issue of trust between the leaders and between the communities. He expressed hope that the leaders were ready to fill this gap and take the necessary steps. “It all comes down to the issue of leadership” Eide concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed talks aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.

The two leaders met on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month break, when Akinci walked out of the talks, claiming that a House decision to commemorate, briefly, in school a 1950 referendum advocating union with Greece was in fact a shift in the long standing position of the Greek Cypriot side for a bicommunal, bizonal federal solution in Cyprus.

President Anastasiades had described the decision “wrong”, saying the timing was not right. Akinci said he would not return to the negotiations unless the decision was revoked. The House voted last Friday on an amendment on the bill, which essentially annuls the earlier House decision.

Source: Cyprus News Agency