The international community’s interest in, and support for, a Cyprus settlement has never been stronger, the United Nations chief’s special advisor Espen Barth Eide said on Thursday.
He was speaking after meeting in the north with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. The UN official then crossed back to the south where late in the afternoon he held a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades.
The Norwegian diplomat saw the leaders of the two communities ahead of a meeting scheduled for Friday between Anastasiades and Akinci – the first meeting of the leaders since their return from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Eide told Turkish Cypriot media that there is currently a great deal of momentum in the peace talks, and international support for a Cyprus settlement is strong, including for financing a possible solution.
During the leaders’ Friday meeting, he said, Anastasiades and Akinci would be hammering out a talks’ roadmap for the next few months.
There were currently some issues that required agreement, but at a later stage many more issues would arise that would need ‘a great deal of work’ if the leaders were to come to a final agreement and put it to referenda, Eide said.
Also on Thursday the UN Security Council adopted unanimously a resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
In the resolution, the Security Council “encourages the sides to grasp the current opportunity with determination to secure a comprehensive settlement” and “welcomes the progress of the leaders-led negotiations so far and the ongoing efforts of the leaders and their negotiators to reach a comprehensive and durable settlement.”