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Eide working to bring sides back to the table

UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide

By Stefanos Evripidou

UN SPECIAL Adviser Espen Barth Eide has launched a period of shuttle diplomacy following the suspension of direct talks.

The Norwegian visited Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu yesterday morning while on Thursday he met with President Nicos Anastasiades.

Speaking after his meeting with Eroglu, the UN facilitator said he was working towards bringing the sides back to the negotiating table, underlining the fact that both sides had committed to continuing with the talks once the conditions were right. He described the current situation as a medium-scale crisis.

Eide also met with former president Demetris Christofias yesterday, after which he told reporters of the need to “defuse” tension created at sea so as to rebuild trust in the negotiating process.

Once that happens, he said he will introduce constructive ideas which both parties have contributed to, so as to tackle the “soft” disagreements between the two sides.

Regarding Anastasiades’ decision to suspend the talks, he said: “I have no problem in understanding the deep discomfort that the Greek Cypriot side has about this issue,” noting however that the Turkish Cypriots have a very different view and version of the story.

“This is quite typical in these situations that there are two different views.”

On his meeting with Christofias, Eide said it was interesting to share with him some ideas and listen to his experience, noting that “he got very far in his time as president”.

Meanwhile, Eroglu yesterday announced Ergun Olgun as his new chief negotiator. Eroglu showed his former negotiator Kudret Ozersay the door this week after the latter announced his intention to run in the leadership elections next April in the occupied north.

Olgun previously served as political adviser for the late Rauf Denktash, and coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot technical committees which negotiated the 2004 Annan plan.

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