UN laments recent failure in Cyprus talks

UN laments recent failure in Cyprus talks

UN laments recent failure in Cyprus talks

AP photo

The recent failed Cypriot peace talks in Switzerland’s resort town of Mont Pelerin was the most serious setback in the 19 months of negotiations to find a solution to the more than 40-year-old conflict on the eastern Mediterranean island, the United Nations said Nov. 28.

“What we have been blessed with here in Cyprus is 19 months of no real crisis. We had a few small disputes but there was no real break,” said the special adviser of the U.N. secretary-general on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, on Nov. 28, in Nicosia after exiting a meeting with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı. Prior to Akıncı, Eide visited Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. 

“This isn’t a break either. But it is probably the most significant setback we had since May 2015,” he said, adding that he believed the two leaders were “very much aware of this.” 

The latest peace efforts for the island were launched in May 2015 after Akıncı was elected as the new president of Turkish Cyprus.

Since then the two leaders under the auspices of the United Nations have been engaged in talks, with two rounds of intensified talks in Mont Pelerin in November, though the rounds ended without producing a solution to the conflict. The thorny territories chapter was the main issue that broke off the talks in Switzerland. 

When asked about the main obstacle to the process, Eide said everybody involved in the process saw the contours of what the final settlement would look like, but “there are understandable tactical differences in the way to move in that direction which I understand but which has to be at some stage reconciled.”

Organizing the last aspects of the peace talks has been one of the major obstacles to the negotiations, Eide added. 

“The last mile is always the most difficult one in peace processes,” he said. 

The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened into the north after a coup that aimed at unification (enosis) with Greece. 

Eide noted that both Akıncı and Anastasiades had expressed a continued desire to find a way to solve the Cyprus problem.