Cypriots to start talks on ‘not touched upon’ issues
Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (R) meet with the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar (2nd L), and United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide at the United Nations offices in the buffer zone of Nicosia airport, June 17, 2016. REUTERS photoThe Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders of the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus will soon begin discussing subjects “which have not been touched upon” previously in the ongoing peace talks, the United Nations has said.
“In a week from now, we will at least have had preliminary discussions also on issues which have not been touched upon, including territory, security and guarantees,” said U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide on July 25, after briefing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) together with Elizabeth Spehar, the special representative and head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), on the developments made in the peace talks on the divided island.
“Then there will be a short break and then we believe the leaders sincerely want to make the most out of August and September until again there is a meeting here, this time in the U.N. General Assembly,” Eide said, adding that “the old format of negotiations has largely come to an end and the two leaders are now taking personal charge of all issues.”
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened into its northern part after a coup aimed at uniting with Greece took place.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, have been in excessive peace talks under the auspices of the U.N. since May 2015 in order to reach a peaceful solution to the more-than 40-year-old conflict.
Eide said the UNSC had said that “even more than ever before, there is really a need to grasp this chance to negotiate sincerely, negotiate creatively and to seek to find solutions that can be beneficial to both communities and to a united Cyprus altogether.”
Both of the island’s leaders have on multiple occasions expressed their will and ambition to find a solution before the end of the year.
“We think it’s within the reach of the possible that the leaders actually fulfil their own stated ambition, which they stated on the 15th of May, 2016, on the anniversary of their talks, where they said they will work with determination to intend to find a settlement in 2016,” Eide said.
On July 26, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot governments had always been constructive, calling on the Greek Cypriot side not to miss this “last chance,” while adding that Turkey backed the peace talks.
“This is actually the last chance of the Greek Cypriot side, which keeps saying, ‘Let’s make peace and live together,’ only to spoil the game every time. We suggest that they make good use of this chance,” Yıldırım was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu Agency, during a joint news conference with Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün.
“Regardless of the circumstances of a resolution, or whether a resolution is found or not, Turkey’s effective guarantorship is a must in Cyprus. Turkey will not let any developments that would allow another adventure. Everybody must know this. We want peace,” Yıldırım said.