UN envoy says Cyprus peace talks moving ‘in wrong direction’

UN envoy says Cyprus peace talks moving ‘in wrong direction’

UN envoy says Cyprus peace talks moving ‘in wrong direction’

UN envoy for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, arrives at the presidential palace following a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, in the capital Nicosia. AP Photo

A United Nations envoy has said deadlocked talks to reunify the ethnically split Cyprus are “moving in the wrong direction,” during a visit to the Turkish side of the island by Turkey’s foreign minister.

Espen Barth Eide, the U.N. secretary general’s special adviser on Cyprus, said after talks with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Jan. 14 that there is increasing concern over the protracted impasse and it is unclear when talks will resume.

A day before, Eide had a separate meeting with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu. After the meeting, he said that deadlock in negotiations had not yet been broken, despite several developments.

More efforts should be made to ensure that the two sides come together to negotiate, Eide said, adding that he would provide details of his meetings in Cyprus when he briefs the U.N. Security Council at the end of this month.

Greek Cyprus suspended its participation in the U.N.-led negotiations in October 2014, after Turkey dispatched a survey boat to an area where the Greek Cypriot government had licensed exploratory drilling for oil and gas.

Nicosia is unhappy that Turkey is searching for oil and gas in the same region where the Cypriot government has already licensed exploratory drills in an exclusive economic zone.

Ankara disputes Greek Cyprus’ rights to a swathe of sea to the island’s south and southeast that are rich in natural gas reserves, demanding an equal share of resources between the two governments of the island.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was also in Nicosia on Jan. 14.

After his meeting with top politicians of the Turkish side of the island, including Eroğlu, Çavuşoğlu vowed to “continue to protect Turkish Cyprus’ rights.”