By Staff Reporter
UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide said on Thursday he remained optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations due to resume this month.
Speaking after a meeting with former President Demetris Christofias, Eide said the meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday was important.
During Akinci’s contacts, Ankara made a very clear statement that it supported a settlement and that it should come soon, he said.
Referring to his meeting with Christofias, Eide he was seeking from former leaders their advice and experiences. “I am trying to understand what is the right way to proceed now that we are actually to have the negotiations. As you know, in a very short time we will start intensive negotiations. We will have a dinner on Monday and after the dinner will come the announcement when we start but there is no doubt that we will start,” he said.
Eide said he was trying to talk to everybody who had been involved in the process previously to see what would be the right way to structure the process and what are the mistakes of the past were that should be avoided.
Asked if he was more or less optimistic after the meeting in Ankara, Eide said that he was optimistic before and he remained optimistic afterwards. “I think that was an important visit, it was a very clear statement from Turkey at the highest level that they support a settlement in Cyprus and they support that it should come soon. If there was any doubt about this last week I think there should be no doubt about it this week,” he said.
Eide posted on his personal Twitter account that he also met with Mehmet Ali Talat on Thursday, saying that he discussed the former Turkish Cypriot leader’s views on Christofas as an interlocutor.
Christofias said Akinci’s election was a positive development which he welcomed. “I believe that a window of possibility has opened,” he said.
Akinci is to meet Eide on Friday morning. It is the second time the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot leader meets the UN official.
The ‘Presidency’ of the breakaway regime meanwhile revealed on Thursday that UN Secretary General Ban Ki–moon addressed a letter to Akinci, congratulating him on his election.
In the missive, the UN chief reportedly spoke of “considerable momentum” towards a comprehensive solution, adding that he shared Akinci’s conviction that substantive progress can be achieved in the peace talks by the end of the year.