By Jean Christou
THE NEW UN Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide met Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis on Monday as preparations continued for the leaders’ meeting on September 17.
Eide arrived on the island on Friday and held separate meetings with the two leaders in the evening, fixing the date for their first encounter since early July, which had ended acrimoniously.
The new envoy met Mavroyiannis on Saturday, and Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay.
Ozersay was quoted on Monday as saying his impression was that Eide did not want to waste any more time and wanted to move the Cyprus process forward. .
After he met President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday evening, the Norwegian diplomat said he had come with “a very strong personal mandate from the Secretary-General who really wants to see that we are now moving ahead”.
He said problems that people think can’t be solved can be, “if there is will”. He also said he had some ideas about how to move the process forward but would share them first with the two leaders.
Before Eide’s arrival, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also issued a strongly-worded message saying that solving the Cyprus issue was a now “strategic priority” for the UN and international community given the turmoil in the region. He said this made a Cyprus solution “more important than ever”.
Eide, who is based in Geneva, will chair the September 17 meeting.
It was confirmed on Monday that there will be a dinner with Eide and the two leaders the night before the meeting at Chateau Status restaurant in the Nicosia buffer zone.
The Turkish Cypriot side is also seeking a meeting in New York between the two leaders and Ban when each travels to the US to attend the General Assembly. Ozersay said this would be useful to speed up the talks/
Anastasiades leaves for the US on September 19 but already has a heavy schedule lined up with talks not only on the Cyprus issue but also on energy and investment with leaders from neighbouring countries on the sidelines of the assembly.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Monday that during his stay, Eide had been briefed on the talks and given all the documents he needed to proceed.
Kasoulides said the Greek Cypriot side was striving for progress but that the Turkish Cypriot side continued to play the blame game. Instead of taking positive steps, Ankara was preparing the ground for a deadlock.
By Jean Christou