By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The role of the UN Security Council is extremely important but there is no precedence of the it participating in conferences, UNSG Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide said.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Eide did not rule out the possibility of the two leaders being invited at the UN to brief the council members.
Eide described the role of the SC on Cyprus as “extremely important”, because it is the one that mandates the UN mission and for this reason its members are constantly being kept informed.
“They are relevant and they will be relevant when there is a deal,” he said. “But there is no tradition of having the Security Council as member of a conference. There is no precedent for asking the Security Council to any conference of this sort, because it will lose its status. Their status is here, in this room, acting like the Security Council, not hanging in other peoples’ conferences.”
He did not rule out the possibility of inviting Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci to brief the SC.
“Absolutely! They can do that and maybe at some stage it may be a good idea,” he said.
Asked why the Council was not invited to be present as observer, like the EU, he said:
“Where is the precedent for that? It doesn’t happen. There is no tradition in any conference of this sort that the Security Council – as the Council – to be present.”
The Norwegian diplomat said all participants have agreed to this format, thinking it was the right one.
Eide had expressed optimism about the prospects of the conference.
“The fact that we are there; the sides in Cyprus agreed that the time was ripe to open-up for the guarantor powers and the fact that guarantor powers agreed to that and all decided to come; and that we established this Conference.”
Eide repeated his view that the security issue is complex because the two sides want different things; one seeks the removal of the troops and the guarantees and other for them to remain.
“We need to think outside the box and find other formulas that entail enough change for this to be perceived as real positive movement forward for the Greek Cypriots, while at the same time reassuring the Turkish Cypriots that the implementation will happen and it will be safe and secure for them.”
On when the conference will convene at principal level, Eide said there is no date, but it will be after few weeks, rather than months.
“We had a successful second session in Mont Pelerin and they agreed to go back and report to the principles at home. Then we will be consulting with them in the coming days and we will hopefully get the date out of that. We are talking about weeks, not months, but we don’t have the date.”
He also clarified that when speaking after the Council’s briefing he said “everything is on the table”, he really meant to say “tables”.
“I meant the tables. There is still a table that is for the leaders and the negotiators. The guarantors are in agreement that those issues concerning only Cyprus should be dealt by the Cypriots. Then you have the bigger table of the five-party Conference and the two are related.”
Eide will be returning to Cyprus to preside over the next meeting between Anastasiades and Akinci on Thursday.
Asked if the 50 or so still open issues across the five chapters were left behind, Eide said that only a handful of these open issues are really of strategic importance.
“You can count as many details as you want. Any number is wrong, because you can divide them in many ways. There are a couple of issues on governance, some definition issues on property and there is of course the final agreement on the maps, even if they come far on territory. The rest is either detail or the security and guarantees. They are not many, but I agree, they are important.”