UN Cyprus envoy seeks solution for impasse on Geneva conference
ANKARAU.N. special envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide was in Ankara on May 30 where he held discussions on maintaining stalled Cyprus talks, which is believed to be “on the brink of collapse” due to an international conference. The talks are considered to be the “final stretch” to a comprehensive settlement of the dispute.
Following discussions in Athens, Eide met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu with aims to find a common ground for the Geneva talks focused on the reunification of Cyprus.
A failure to agree on further negotiations effectively throws a two-year process of the Cyprus peace talks into limbo. The envoy had been trying to make estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriots to move peace talks to Geneva, but the two sides disagreed on the format of negotiations.
Eide, after his talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on May 29, stated that he was not asking “anyone to put pressure on anyone,” but also voiced concern that “the process is in serious trouble.”
“It is not easy, but we are not giving up,” he said, noting that the two sides had covered a lot of ground and were “very, very close” to an agreement. “Actually more close than most people seem to understand,” he added.
“We must be prepared because it is an international issue, but the final decision must be taken in Cyprus by the two leaders, on whether they are prepared to find a common platform for a new Geneva Conference,” Eide said.
He stated that Turkish and Greek Cypriots could not agree on guarantees and security. The focus of talks was not so much on the substance of the negotiations, but parties were in disagreement about the method and agenda for an international conference, he added.
Negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı stalled last week after Eide tried to broker an agreement on the agenda of a multilateral conference on Cyprus in Geneva.
Greek Cypriots wanted a conference in Geneva to first focus on clinching a deal on security arrangements post-settlement, while Turkish Cypriots sought a more inclusive give-and-take process.