Cyprus Mail
Divided Island

UN seeks ‘period of reflection’; UK-US views differ on blame-game

ALTHOUGH the United Nations’ Security Council spoke with a single voice after being briefed by special adviser Espen Barth Eide on the Crans Montana Conference on Cyprus, individual assessment of the situation varied among members, it emerged on Wednesday.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the United Kingdom was the party insisting on a single statement on behalf of all council members, which would stress the need for a period of reflection.

In addition, the UK argued for moves to avoid the prospect of a blame-game between the sides on the island, allow for a short hiatus so that both sides can examine how to resume the process, ensure that the talks will continue under the parameters set by the Secretary General, and underline his readiness to continue the good offices mission.

The American representative advocated the goal of a bizonal federation and agreed that the blame-game should be addressed, but spoke of the need for UN peace missions to be reviewed based on the situation on the ground, noting that Unficyp’s mission hasn’t been reviewed for many years.

The US view was seconded by Japan, which also said that Unficyp’s mandate must reflect the situation on the ground.

Russia said the council shouldn’t expect a specific timeline for a comprehensive deal, and pointed out that, of the six major outstanding issues, one was left for last in hopes that progress in the first five would create enough momentum to resolve it, when all six should be discussed simultaneously.

Its representative argued that both sides will need to feel secure, which is why all troops must be withdrawn from a reunified Cyprus, with a new security and guarantee system under the Security Council.

Egypt laid the blame for the failure of the talks squarely on Turkey, arguing that it failed to show the required good faith. It called for the withdrawal of all troops from the island and the abolition of guarantees and intervention rights.

Unficyp chief Elizabeth Spehar recommended that Unficyp’s mandate be extended for six months, and said the time has come for the two sides to engage on the issue of demarcating the buffer zone, in line with the 1989 memorandum.

She also stressed the need for confidence-building measures to be introduced, including military measures.

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