By Angelos Anastasiou
Negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus problem are proceeding as normal and without particular crises, with progress observed on various issues, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday.
Speaking after a two-hour meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias in Athens, Eide said the issue of security and guarantees is an issue with “international dimensions”, and its settlement should make both communities in Cyprus feel safe.
Eide described his meeting with Kotzias as “constructive” and welcomed progress on certain issues, noting that differences remain on others.
However, he said he has seen a real will to reach agreement from both leaders.
He added that the two leaders’ messages for the new year brought a “sense of optimism” with regard to a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Eide will travel to New York on Wednesday, in order to brief UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem talks.
The meeting was held at 3 pm. The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) has been told by a high-ranked official in the foreign ministry, that the meeting, the first for 2016, was taking place during a time of “intense negotiations” between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
“The negotiations are at an intense stage. The Cyprus problem does not have the luxury of having holidays”, a diplomatic source in Athens said when asked by CNA whether a solution was close.
Kotzias was expected to be briefed by Eide on the UN’s view regarding the course of the negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Their talks, according to information, focused especially on the issue of the guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey and Great Britain.
Ankara has stated clearly that its role as guarantor should be maintained in Cyprus even after a solution.
Kotzias has stated that Athens does not agree with this “unacceptable and anachronistic arrangement”.