We are looking for a common security vision providing both change and continuity, Eide says

The UN are looking for a way to create a common security vision for Cyprus for the 21st century, not so much building on the 1960 realities, but more relying on the 2017 realities, which provides a change for those who need change, but also continuity for those who need some kind of continuity, UNSG’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide told a press briefing on Monday.

In his statements Eide referred to the outcome of the dinner, which the UNSG Antonio Guterres had on Sunday with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, noting that we are happy with the fact that we have an agreement between the leaders.

“After a long, and intense, and open, and honest discussion over four hours, the outcome was that the two leaders are committed to ask the Secretary-General to reconvene the Conference on Cyprus in Geneva, he noted.

He stressed that a lot of work still remains and I have been entrusted by yesterday’s meeting with the task to now reach out and continue a dialogue with all the participants of the Conference on the issue of creating a common document which will be the basis for the discussions in the Conference on the chapter on Security and Guarantees.

He added that the Conference will reconvene most likely in the latter half of June, and the Secretary-General and myself we will now be reaching out to Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom and the European Union; the first three are the three guarantor powers and the European Union an observer to this Conference.

And we are happy with the fact that we have an agreement between the leaders and we are now able to reconvene the Conference and see if we are able to go the final mile and actually have a settlement in Cyprus, Eide said, adding that the Conference is in principle open-ended.

Invited to say if the issue of hydrocarbons came up during the dinner, Eide said that it was not discussed apart from a brief mention but that’s because I think all sides are fully aware of the argument that with the settlement, hydrocarbons, as both leaders have said in many speeches and statements, could be a conducive element in the case of a solution because the resources could be shared and it will be easier to develop a regional energy hub with the settlement.

Referring to the Security and Guarantees chapter, he noted that the Turkish Cypriot community tells us that they need to be assured in some form about the fact that they are being numerically the smaller community that they will still be safe and sound – not only security for life and property – but also security of the community identity, togetherness as Turkish Cypriots.

“At the same time this being achieved in such way that it does not create a sort of insecurity to the Greek Cypriots. So, what we are doing and what we will be doing in the coming weeks is to continue to elaborate on some ideas we have, which we already informally shared with all the participants about a new model that would be different but will still provide some new neutral assurances, some kind of international oversight of the implementation of the Treaty,” he noted.

The UN diplomat said the climate at the meeting was frank and honest, the meeting was good and friendly but there were different views and the Secretary-General used his diplomatic skills to get to a common agreement.

But at the end of the day I think that both sides are happy that we had a prospective, he added, noting that Security and Guarantees is an essential element for both communities because if you are not secure why would you vote yes to a settlement agreement.

At the same time it has to be understood that this is interdependent with other issues because Security is not only a question of troops and foreign guarantees, it is also about how you organize the state and how your internal structures work and I think that the agreement that we came up with and the statement that reflects it, basically, … what was most important for both sides in a balance and constructive way, he added.

Responding to another question, Eide said that developments in relevant neighboring states, including Turkey, are of course high in my agenda and I spend much time there and I engaged closely with them and the question of domestic development in Turkey is relevant for my work.

He noted that both Turkey and Greece are committed to finding a settlement but are not yet on the same page on what that settlement is.

But they both see that, they tell me, that it’s their strategic interest in the regional and global developments if the Cyprus problem can be solved and we could lay behind us, and I take some hope from the fact that this is something they continue to tell me, he added.

He said that he hasn’t seen change in their position on the Cyprus problem. And if I have seen some, I’ve almost seen them become more eager to try to be constructive to find a settlement because I think it fits well into bigger issues of relationship to Europe, energy, developments etc., he added.

Answering another question, the UN diplomat said that there is a significant civil society effort and there are a number of groups of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots who come together over the past weeks when these talks have been in this very critical stage.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency