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Cyprus Cyprus Talks

Eide optimistic a solution is near

Espen Barth Eide

UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide is optimistic that a solution is near, according to comments he made to Kathimerini newspaper published on Sunday.

In the interview Eide said that the difference this time compared to the 2004 Annan plan was that the documents with the points agreed derived from the leaders of the two communities and not outsiders.

The other difference compared with 2004, he added was that there would not be presidential elections in both communities in the near future, giving the leaders time to close the deal.

Eide placed particular emphasis on the good relationship between the leaders, stressing that they both honestly wanted a solution. He also said that “some of the best minds on the island spend a lot of time on finding solutions to issues such as property.”

Commenting on the issue of natural gas Eide said that the handling of the matter, from a commercial point of view, would be easier if there was a solution as it would be done at a federal level, which was agreed agreed before the Anastasiades-Akinci negotiations even began.

Commenting on the upcoming World Economic Forum conference in Davos in Switzerland later this month, which will be attended by both President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, and a host of international players, Eide said he wanted to make it clear that the UN was not planning a multinational conference on Cyprus.

He stressed, however, that the joint presence of the two leaders in Davos, with the leaders of guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain, and the UN Secretary General plus major businessmen willing to invest in a united Cyprus, could create an additional dynamic.

Asked about the rotating presidency, an issue the leaders have not yet agreed on, Eide said he lives in Switzerland where there is an alternating presidency. He said this was one of the few open issues left to resolve on the governance chapter in the negotiations but he stressed that he would support whatever the leaders would agree on this aspect.

On guarantees Eide said that the current system must change but a new one would have to provide freedom of movement and equal rights for all citizens. “The more sense of security achieved in non-military terms, the easier it will be to agree on purely military aspects,” he said.

The Turkish Cypriot side is seeking the continued involvement of Turkey in a guarantee system but the Greek Cypriot side says EU membership is enough to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all Cypriots.

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