UN advisor says peace deal on Cyprus ‘closer than ever before’
UNITED NATIONS“It’s closer than ever before, but there’s still a way to go,” said Eide in an interview with the U.N. News Centre published on their website on Sept. 28.
“And I don’t want to leave the impression that a deal is around the corner, because we still have to settle a few, but important issues. Numerically speaking, most issues are behind us; they are done and settled. So we have a big body of agreement already there. Volume-wise, most of the deal is written down. However, per usual, the most difficult issues are not those you take first, so of course we need to create the space, and I don’t necessarily mean the physical space, but the framework in which we’re able to deal with those final issues, in an expedited but also efficient and proper manner,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for right now.”
Eide’s remarks came after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in a trilateral meeting in New York on Sept. 25, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
Speaking after the trilateral meeting alongside the two presidents, Ban pledged to play a greater role in stepped-up efforts to reach a deal on settling the decades-old conflict on Cyprus before the end of the year.
Asked if it was realistic that a peace deal would be reached within 2016, Eide said, “Absolutely, it’s ambitious but feasible.”
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot part in the north and a Greek Cypriot part in the south after a 1974 military coup aimed at unification with Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict were relaunched after previously failed peace talks were opened once again in May 2015 following the election of Akıncı as the new president of Turkish Cyprus.