By Angelos Anastasiou
UNITED NATIONS’ special envoy Espen Barth Eide received warm support from each member of the Security Council in his efforts for the resumption of peace talks, he told reporters after informing the council of the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.
Barth Eide, along with UN special representative Lisa Buttenheim, updated the members of the council for two hours, before addressing the press.
“We have updated the members of the Security Council both on UNFICYP and the state of play in the negotiations in the political field,” said the Norwegian diplomat. “We had a very good discussion with the council, and it confirmed to us the strong sense that all the members stand clearly behind us, and all reiterated the importance of a speedy resumption of talks.”
Buttenheim defended the absence of blame in the UN Secretary General’s report, released on January 9, by arguing the non-inflammatory language is aimed at facilitating a speedier resumption of negotiations.
“When we are looking for ways to get the sides back to the table, and to resume the talks as quickly as possible, we don’t want language that is going to further escalate or polarise the situation,” Buttenheim said. “I would like to say that the two UN missions in Cyprus [Good Offices and UNFICYP] work very closely together and that’s a very good example of team approach on the ground, which I think is also recognised by both sides.”
Barth Eide added that he remains in close contact with the two sides on the island, having spoken with Eroglu “as late as yesterday [Sunday]”.
“But what I can share with you is that while we are still in a stalemate, I feel that there is a genuine will on both sides to look for a way to come out and return to negotiations”, he said.
“This does not necessarily translate into immediate change, but we are thinking about how this could be done and I am preparing my team for speedy and effective negotiations as soon as we can and when the situation is right.”
The UN special envoy noted that the Cyprus problem is one of the few problems on which there is consensus in the Security Council.
“I have their full support in this approach and that’s very important because there are many issues in the world where this body is less united than when it comes to Cyprus and this is something all Cypriots should recognise, welcome and try to utilise – the strong support you have from the international community to move ahead to a bizonal, bicommunal federation of Cyprus.”