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Eide says it’s clear Cyprus issue no longer seen as something that cannot be resolved

Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide

UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide has said it is clear at this stage of the negotiations that the Cyprus issue is no longer seen as something that cannot be solved.

In an interview with Kathimerini Eide said the solution was not “around the corner” however. “There are still real problems in terms of both reaching an agreement and implementing it but if you reach this stage, you see that it is no longer a problem that is impossible to resolve,” he said, according to a spot translation from the Greek-language article.

“We have seen that there is scope to overcome the differences. In this sense I believe that yes, it can be agreed that will the differences can be bridged.”

Asked whether the agreement could be found in the first half of 2017, Eide said: “It is ambitious but feasible.”
He said a lot of hard work had been done and there was a feeling the talks were entering a better phase.

He likened it to going up a mountain where the negotiations had now reached a plateau from where they would continue on to a solution or begin the descent.

Asked whether this would be the last chance, he said: “I do not want to say that this is the last chance. It has been said before, after the Annan plan, and proved wrong… but today we are perhaps closer to a solution.”

He did say however that it would be difficult to find better circumstances that exist right now to find a solution, both in terms of the domestic and international realities.

Asked about the meeting held recently in Athens with Greek Alexis Prime Minister Tsipras, Eide said there was a general recognition in the positive sense, that something is being done and it was welcomed “because the Greek government wants a solution, naturally with conditions”.

“And from this derives the position that Greece has its own role to play that it cannot escape from. All guarantors must be involved. So we discussed in a very positive and constructive climate ideas which can contribute as we move forward, and encouraged debate among the guarantor powers, not formally in a session, but simply to talk to each other on this issue,” said Eide.

“So the objective we all share is to create a sense of security for both communities and not the security of one to be ensured at the expense of the other. You need common security and that is the long term goal of both leaders,” he added.

The goal, Eide said, is to make Cyprus a normal, independent, sovereign united federal country in Europe, “but to get there you need them all.”

Asked whether Turkey was ready to contribute, he suggested that a solution in Cyprus would improve relations between Greece and Turkey and even create better prospects for exploitation of gas fields located in the eastern Mediterranean.

He also said that the attempted coup in Turkey in July had made many in Turkey and Cyprus feel the timing of a solution was important and it should come about as soon as possible.

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