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Cyprus Talks

Eide says it’s up the leaders, he can’t ‘fix this for them’

Espen Barth Eide

Steps are being taken to bring the leaders of the island`s two communities back to the negotiating table, UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide told CNA in an interview to be published on Saturday.

In a preview of the interview on Friday, Eide said it would be better if he didn’t spell out those steps at present. “It takes two to tango and requires some will of neutral accommodation,” he said, adding that the two leaders, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, will both lose if the current situation takes too much time to be resolved.

“I cannot fix this for them, I cannot provide the magic formula,” he said.

On the current state of affairs at the talks, he said he focuses on how the leaders can come back to the negotiating table, acknowledging that “there is so much I can do” and pointing out that the much bigger issue is whether they will manage to have a structured process once the leaders are back at the table.

He expressed a level of worry because “we have been stuck a while in this last-mile issue” and everybody “has been waiting for the move from the other side.”

This, he maintained, is a Cypriot crisis, it was created in Cyprus and can be solved in Cyprus.

He said there was still some time but he would be worried if anybody thought that “we have an eternity because eternity is not available in this.”

He said civil society, the Cypriot people and all those political forces who were pro settlement are his “best supporters” in efforts to return to the talks.

He explained that the reason behind his realistic optimism lies in the “personal trust between the two leaders” who have repeatedly gone the extra mile to keep the process moving forward.

Eide expressed some concern about the fact that “something has happened to that relationship which transpires in society at large”.

In the interview Eide referred to a formula which he believes can “fly” if people think outside the box, saying that the issue of security is not fundamentally a military issue, and pointing out that a sense of security can be achieved by working on four layers (constitutional, internal, implementation and external).

On this he explained that this is not something the UN has invented but it is based on long intense constructive negotiations with all players, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Athens, Ankara and the UK.

Eide stressed that this is not done nor is it on the table as agreed.

“We are not inventing Cyprus, Cyprus exists, it is divided but it exists,” he stressed, replying to another question, adding that the current system of guarantees cannot continue, it has to be substituted and this cannot be done without Greece and Turkey. This, he explained, is an observation of the real world, not his view.

“Our ambition is to walk this path with them (leaders and Cypriot people) but we cannot walk it for them,” he told CNA, referring to UN efforts and the Cypriot led effort to find a negotiated settlement to reunite Cyprus.

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