Cyprus Mail
CyprusCyprus Talks

Eide looking for goodwill from two sides

New Special Adviser for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide speaking to the press for the first time outside the Presidential Palace

By Angelos Anastasiou

A NEW date for the two Cypriot leaders to meet has been fixed for September 17, arranged following separate inaugural meetings they both last night with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s new Special Adviser for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide who arrived on the island only hours earlier.

The new UN envoy will chair the meeting.

“I come with a very strong personal mandate from the Secretary-General who really wants to see that we are now moving ahead, building on the achievement that was made in the joint declaration of 11 February,” said Eide, following his one-hour meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace in Nicosia.

The meeting was also attended by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides. He later met Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, after which the meeting was set for September 17, before the two leaders head to New York for the UN General Assembly. Anastasiades leaves on September 19, and Eroglu on September 20.

Eager to check out the new envoy, who is replacing Australia’s Alexander Downer and several other special advisers who came before him and failed, Eide was inundated with questions from the Greek Cypriot media outside the palace.

Asked if he had any concerns given the fact that the Cyprus problem has been a difficult one to resolve, Eide said that, although there was no comparison to the Cyprus problem, his country, Norway, had had a dispute with a neighbouring country in the past over maritime delineation, which had gone on for 40 years “and we thought it was unsolvable and became part of us, and suddenly we solved it a few years ago”.

“So, problems you think can’t be solved, can be solved if there is will and sometimes that will has to develop in the community, has to develop among the leaders, but with some help from outside it may come sooner. I will do my best,” he said.

As for having ideas on how he might go about resolving the issue, Eide said he did have ideas, which he was looking forward to sharing but only after first sharing them with the two leaders, with whom he said he hoped to develop a close working relationship in which he could “encourage them and everybody else involved in thinking about the need to move ahead”.

Eide, who is employed by the World Economic Forum in Geneva will be in Cyprus until September 9. Comparing Geneva with the distance between Cyprus and Australia, he said, he would be able to come at very short notice. He would be back on the island before October, he said. His plan was to come “when there is movement and when I see that I can be helpful.” For the day-to-day running of the peace process, he said Buttenheim would continue her role in that.

“The talks may not have gone as one expected when the joint declaration was made and that is why I am here,” Eide said.
Anastasiades described the meeting with the new adviser as “an initial, very good meeting, in an excellent climate and particularly useful.” He said the message that was conveyed by Eide from the Secretary-General was that Ban felt a solution to the Cyprus problem “was of strategic importance.”

He said no ideas to boost the stagnating talks on the Cyprus problem were explored during the initial meeting.

“We exchanged views with regard to our visions for a solution,” Anastasiades said. “We made an extensive briefing as to what we look for from a solution and how we see a solution being formulated.”

Related Posts

George Colocassides: Dealing with the cost-of-living crisis

Staff Reporter

One man’s battle to return Cyprus’ Moon rock

Jonathan Shkurko

Nicosia police investigate attempted murder at nightclub

Staff Reporter

Nicosia weekend events to welcome February

Eleni Philippou

Ministry says it doesn’t endorse any move to prevent feeding of stray cats

Staff Reporter

Averof Neophytou: A focus on income tax reform

Staff Reporter