A meeting including the three nations designated as Cyprus’ guarantors is on the cards but the timing would depend on the progress on other fronts, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday, ahead of the penultimate encounter between the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities as part of the latest round of reunification talks
Speaking after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades, Eide said that most aspects of the Cyprus problem are for the Cypriots to decide but there are some issues of international nature that require the involvement of the three guarantors installed by the 1960 agreements – the United Kingdom, Greece, and Turkey.
“Tonight we have a leaders` meeting between Anastasiades and [Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa] Akinci and another on Sunday, which will be the last one this year. We are moving forward on many issues and it is very convenient and practical for me to have these meetings with the leaders just before the leaders` meeting,” he said.
Eide said he informed Anastasiades about his meetings in Ankara, which, he noted, were very constructive. He added that it is part of the preparation for the very final phase, “which we don’t know when will happen but will happen someday, and where the guarantor countries also need to be involved”.
“There is serious engagement also from Turkey, as well as from the other guarantor countries,” he added.
Eide noted that the issue of guarantees is not on the agenda in Tuesday’s meeting, and expressed hope that there will soon be a final agreement on the property issue. However, he said, “nothing will be final before we are at the end”.
Asked if there will be a five-part meeting at the final phase, Eide said that at some stage that will be part of the process, because it is clear that “we need the guarantors to deal with specific issues that pertain to them”.
“Most issues that we are discussing are for the Cypriots to decide, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots through their leaders, but there are some issues of international nature and of course we cannot have a final settlement before they are involved in some form,” he added.
Speaking shortly before the leaders’ meeting, Anastasiades confirmed Eide’s view was shared by him, too.
“The dialogue at this point is Cypriot-owned,” he said.
“When the time comes for guarantees [to be discussed], the guarantor powers will certainly have to engage. It is an international treaty that in no way impacts what has been agreed between the parties in Cyprus.”
Eide stated however that when this will happen depends on progress on other fronts and repeated that there is no time-line to the talks.
“But there is also an understanding that we have to use our time properly, and as the leaders said some meetings ago, they are increasingly confident and hopeful that a solution can be found in the near future and I agree with that,” he said.
Asked if he has any indications that Ankara is planning to change its position on the issue of guarantees, Eide said that he had good conversations with the Turkish Premier and other officials in Ankara about this and other issues.
“I feel that all guarantors, including Turkey, are looking forward to being able to see that this conflict is finally solved and they all know that they have to do their part for getting there”, he said.