UN is not impatient, there is slow progress, UN chief says

The UN is not impatient and is not threatening the parties in Cyprus, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday, adding however that slow progress has been observed in the Conference of Cyprus that has been underway since the 28th of June in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

Guterres chaired Friday’s Conference that is focusing on the issue of Security and Guarantees, considered as a chapter of crucial importance for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, as he said.

There is no doubt that some sensitive and difficult issues remain to be resolved, Guterres told a press conference following today’s session of the Conference, adding there is still a lot of work to be done.

Replying to a question if there was progress in today’s meetings, Guterres said progress is slow, adding however many outstanding issues are still to be resolved.

The UN Chief made clear that there is no intention on behalf of the Organisation to consider the role of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), noting that we are not impatient, what we want is the result to be positive and sustainable, we don’t want a false agreement that would not last.

I can guarantee from our side that we are not impatient and we are not threatening the parties in any way, he said.

In his remarks, Guterres thanked the leaders, the three guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom for their determination and commitment to the process as well as the European Union which is attending as an observer for its ongoing support.

Guterres said the reconvening of this Conference offers an historic opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement to the conflict that has divided Cyprus for too many decades. The road back to Switzerland has not been easy but the path to lasting peace never is. To get to this point, the leaders have overcome significant challenges and making unprecedented progress and I salute the determination and common vision which has led them here. I firmly believe that through determination and political will, it will be possible to clear this final hurdle and reach a comprehensive settlement.

Referring to the Conference on Cyprus taking place since Wednesday, he said all participants have declared that they are here to find a solution. They have also demonstrated an awareness of this historic opportunity and the responsibility they share for a successful outcome. And I call on the leaders and other participants in the Conference to heed the call for peace of thousands of Cypriots at rallies on the island this week. The voices in support of a solution are indeed getting louder.

Guterres acknowledged that there is no doubt that some sensitive and difficult issues remain to be resolved, adding that the security and guarantees chapter is of crucial importance for a comprehensive solution. Discussions over the past few days have again shown that there is a commitment to find mutually acceptable solutions on security and guarantees that address the concerns of both communities. But it is clear that the security of one community cannot come at the expense of the other.

He urged all parties to continue in this area as in all the others to engage in these critical negotiations with the same constructive and creative spirit that they have displayed so far, taking the bold decisions that are still needed to find common ground. He said the leaders, the communities in Cyprus, the guarantor powers, have a responsibility to grasp the opportunity for peace and to bring a comprehensive settlement home to Cyprus. But there is still a lot of work to be done.

Invited to say if there is substance to reports about progress today after yesterday’s tie-up and where, Guterres said there were two sessions today, one session at the Conference in the morning on security and guarantees and indeed there were some new positions showing increased flexibility in some aspects; but still, I would say the most important things are to be done.

He also said there was the second table on the other chapters at lunchtime in which I think we have made important progress in bringing closer the positions of the parties in relation to the outstanding issues of the other chapters, the chapters that are discussed only by the two communities. But it is slow progress, and many outstanding issues are still to be resolved.

To a remark by CNA that earlier today he talked about Cyprus becoming a normal state and how does he define that and whether it includes the presence of Turkish troops on the island, Guterres said all those participating in this Conference have said that they hoped that Cyprus one day would be able to become a fully normal state.

Where there are differences is of course in the amount of time needed for that, and the conditions for that to take place. So this is exactly one of the areas where we still have not an agreement, he said.

Asked if the UN is willing to plough into Cyprus, both in terms of mediation and in terms of peacekeepers on the island if there is no progress, Guterres said the essential question is related to the will of the parties, no? The UN is here to support the parties, and the UN is not tired. We support the parties and we want the parties to come to a positive result. And we are not impatient. What we want is the result to be positive and sustainable. We don’t want a false agreement that would not last. So, I can guarantee that from our side, we are not impatient and we are not threatening the parties in any way. On the contrary, we are here with humility, but with determination to help find a solution, knowing that solution is very, very difficult to find. And, of course, we are not thinking about any proposal to the Security Council in relation to peace operations.

Asked if there would be no solution, when is the deadline for the solution for Cyprus, Guterres replied that if we would put a deadline, we would help create the conditions for the problem not to be solved. It is to the parties that corresponds the decision about whether or not if there is no solution, they want to go on engaging in a serious negotiation. The role of the UN is of supporting the parties to find a solution. It’s not to present ultimata to the parties, he concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency