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Cyprus Talks

Eide: leaders have to decide on approach for the big issues of territory and security (Updated)


It is up to the leaders to decide whether to hold their discussions on territory and security in Cyprus or aboard, UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide said on Monday.

Eide was speaking after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades ahead of the resumption of talks on Tuesday. The leaders are expected to intensify negotiations this month and possibly meet three or four times a week.

The UN envoy said that Tuesday’s meeting would focus on how they would organise themselves for the coming days and weeks.

“We still have to agree on how we sequence things,” Eide said.

“But I think we will be able to come up with a plan when we meet tomorrow, and that we will have quite frequent meetings in October in order to try to overcome those issues which are closed but where we still have some issues that have to be solved in order to move into whatever happens later,” he added.

Eide, who has come under fire from Greek Cypriot rejectionist parties for essentially trying to hurry the process behind the scenes, said that in any peace processes “there is what we call the challenges of the last mile or last miles, which is when you see that a settlement is actually within reach”.

“You also know that in order to get there you have to make some further agreements, concessions, and in order to do that you really need to make sure that you have the right setting for doing it, and I think that is very much what we will discuss tomorrow and in the subsequent meetings we will then start discussing issue by issue and try to actually close them down so that we can move into the important issues of territory and eventually security, in an appropriate manner, in Cyprus or wherever else, but as the leaders agree,” he said.

Eide said there was a recognition that the two sides would soon have to discuss territory and possibly to start going into fully fledged discussions on security.

“At least one side, and I think increasingly both sides also recognise that we have to find the right modalities for those discussions,” he said.

The two leaders were committed to creating the space to be able to deal with the issues that are sensitive, the UN adviser said.

“Where exactly that will happen I think I will leave to them to decide and announce. This is a leader-led process. I keep insisting on that, is actually very important, it is led by the leaders and nobody else, not by me not by Ban Ki-moon, not by anybody else in the island. It is led by the leaders and if this is going to work we have to respect the leader-led nature of the process.”

Later on Monday, Eide met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

After the meeting, Eide said the two leaders’ first meeting on Tuesday was scheduled for 11am.

“The leaders have the same views on what remains to be done and share the same goal on the way forward,” he said.

The UN envoy said October will see the talks further intensify, noting that they have never been “this advanced”.

Meanwhile, Anastasiades said he remained confident that the challenges being faced could be tackled.

Speaking at a ceremony to receive the credentials of several new ambassadors at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Anastasiades said the most significant differences lie in the core and fundamental chapters of territory, which, he said was linked with the chapter of property, and security and guarantees, “which will weigh significantly as to whether a solution would be feasible”.

“I remain confident that the above-mentioned challenges can be tackled during the intensified negotiations to take place in the coming months,” he said.

Turkey’s contribution in tangible terms in the negotiations was vital, said Anastasiades.

“There is no solution that can be reached without Turkey’s input. We do therefore expect Turkey, which is responsible for the illegal stationing of more than 40,000 occupation troops in Cyprus, to take concrete steps towards this end, taking into account not only the benefit of the people of Cyprus, but also the positive impact a settlement will have to regional stability and cooperation.”

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