Michael Moller, the director-general of the UN office in Geneva, has believes there there is a “good foundation” for Cyprus talks to move forward.
Moller, who served as UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of Mission in Cyprus from 2006 to 2008, said in an interview withe the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that Greek and Turkish Cypriots have to build on this foundation.
Both sides and the wider region could see huge economic benefits from the island’s reunification, he added.
“The last set of negotiations went further and brought the two sides much closer together than they had done in the past. So there is quite a good foundation on which to move forward again,” Moller said.
“I think there was a missed opportunity again. The two sides have to build on that. It would be good to take a step back and look at where we are in the world today.”
Moller said taking a look at the wider region it was possible to see the results of missed opportunities.
“There are some lessons to be learnt from that. Particularly on an island that, by all measurements, is at peace. But also look at some of the studies that have been done in the past, which show very clearly that the economic benefits of reunification are huge, for the island and for the region. And particularly on an island that is well-educated, has extraordinarily well developed infrastructure, and has a geographical important position where it can act as a kind of service centre for the lower Mediterranean. There are so many advantages for Cyprus, that it is still a mystery why this is still a problem that has not been solved,” he added.
Asked about guarantor powers having such rights of intervention in an independent state in the 21st century, Moller said the whole of Cyprus was a member of the EU. “It’s not just one half of it. Just that the acquis communautaire is suspended in the north until unification happens. So let’s get unification going. I am not talking about other powers; I am talking about the Cypriots themselves. And I think that practically everybody will be behind them if they finally decide to do so. This is a problem that should have been solved a long time ago,” he said.
Asked if the solution has to include the guarantor powers, Moller said by law it must be but part of the solution was also that once the solution was there and signed, “those guarantor powers fall away because the reasons for them to be guarantor powers will no longer exist”, he said.
“And particularly since Cyprus is part of the EU and Turkey will be part of that solution… there are manageable and logical solutions to be found to this problem. We are talking about an island of about a million people. This is not rocket science.”
On the issue of an envoy being appointed, Moller said the UN Secretary-General has been very clear that he stands ready to provide his good offices. He is talking to all partners and the parties and if it is needed, “that’s what we’re there for” but “only if people ask for it”.