The situation is complicated, Eide says

UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has said that the situation as it stands after the Conference on Cyprus, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland which ended without a positive conclusion is a complicated situation, adding that he does not see any immediate developments.

In statements to the press this afternoon after a two-hour meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Eide also said that one of his remaining duties while on the island will be to make sure we write a thorough and honest report, a fair report. Replying to questions as to what went wrong in Crans-Montana he said that we were inching closer on substance but we didn’t feel that we had the same development when it came to the overall sense of trust and readiness.

I had a very thorough, very good, heart to heart discussion with Mr Akinci about what has happened recently and where we are and trying to explore also the idea of where we are going, Eide said after the meeting.

Since we were last here, he noted, we had the last session of the Conference, the Crans-Montana session, that was a serious effort by everybody the Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots, the guarantors, all came there with the clear intention – in my view – to try to overcome the last hurdles.

We managed in the early days to agree that there were six specific questions that had to be settled, two of them on security and guarantees and four of them on internal issues, and we worked hard to try to come to a conclusion on all of those, he added.

I felt for quite some time that although progress was slower than I appreciated we were going to get there, he said. He added however that as you could see when we tried to stitch the whole package together it proved not possible and the SG with the consent of the participants drew the conclusion that the conference did not yield the desired result.

That, Eide noted, is very sad and I deplore the fact that we were not able to.

He continued saying that he briefed the UN Security Council on all the developments from the Geneva meeting onwards, including the impasse on the island for a few months. One of my points there was that while we were inching closer on substance, we also saw a gradual deterioration of trust, he said. He clarified that I am not only speaking of trust at the highest level but also the kind of an inter-communal trust; The people seemed to be less prepared rather than more prepared.

I think in hindsight one of the things we need to reflect about is whether the communities were sufficiently engaged in the process, whether the communities were sufficiently informed and motivated for this. I don’t know, but that I think is for historians to discuss, he pointed out.

Eide continued reiterating the UN’s commitment to be supportive. The Secretary General has made it very clear that whenever we can be helpful, we will be there and be helpful he said. But of course, he added, there is no process if the sides don’t see it as a process.

He said the part of his duty and his mission on behalf of the UN SG these days on the island is “to talk to both sides and to try to make up my mind and to report to him whether there are some steps that could be taken from our side, whether the sides are ready to take any steps and in that case what steps.”

The Secretary General recommended that all participants go into a reflection period and I think the right thing to say now is that they are still in that reflection period. We will let them continue to reflect, the UN official said.

He expressed the UN’s hope that we will be able to continue on existing UN parameters which is what the UN is dedicated to, but of course at the end of the day that requires a willingness from both sides. And that, according to the UN envoy has to do with substance but it also has to do with trust and a genuine will to actually go through this last mile.

It is a complicated situation I do not see any immediate developments, Eide said, adding that I have not heard anything here that suggests that something will happen in the very near future. I think there is a cool-off phase that is going on now. And I think it is difficult to make any statements beyond that, he added.

He said that he conveyed his appreciation to both Akinci and Anastasiades for their efforts in Crans-Montana and up until now.

The two leaders after all have taken this process way beyond ever before, he recalled.

Whatever happens one of my remaining duties while I am still here will be to make sure we write a thorough and honest report, a fair report, and also that we do our own ‘lessons learnt’ work as we always do in the UN and that we make sure we take care of all that material that has been produced in this process, so that if sooner or later there will be new attempts that it will be available if people want, he said.

Asked when he will leave the island in view of the elections in Norway he said probably before then.

Replying to a question about his public comments about the Greek Cypriot side and the openings it made and whether he has anything to say about the Turkish side’s proposals and behaviour he clarified that Akinci, Ozdil Nami and his team have been very serious and very dedicated and really elaborated a lot of ideas throughout the process and also in Crans � Montana.

So, he said, there was absolutely no intention to say that the openings came only from one side, by all means the sides were moving towards each other.

On those key issues, territory, property, governance issues, the issue of equivalent treatment but also very importantly on security and guarantees there was a serious effort to think through a new paradigm to try to replace the old paradigm, he noted.

There were openings from the Greek Cypriot side and there were openings from the Turkish Cypriot side, he added.

Asked why the effort didnt work Eide said I am asking myself the same question. Pointing out that some of those deliberations were confidential he said that what I can share here is that we were inching closer on substance but we didnt feel that we had the same development when it came to the overall sense of trust and readiness.

I think that the conclusion the SG drew was as much based on an observation on how that was developing than on the substance itself, he added.

Of course, there were some outstanding issues, he said, adding that I have said that I thought they were solvable but we were not able to solve them there and the conference was closed.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of the UN-backed Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, ended inconclusively. The peace talks under the auspices of the UN aim at reuniting the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency