UN top envoy on Cyprus: Community leaders are deep into essential issues

UN top envoy on Cyprus: Community leaders are deep into essential issues

The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, are deep into a series of issues essential to the talks, UN SG Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide has stated.

Speaking after the meeting he had on Thursday with President Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace, Eide said that he had a very constructive conversation with President Anastasiades and that yesterday he had similar conversation with Mustafa Akinci.

“We had a leaders’ meeting yesterday, we have another one tomorrow. We are now just in the middle of the six sessions that we agreed to have in November. We are deep into a series of issues essential to the talks”, he said and clarified that they will do a sum up at the end of this session of meetings. “At the end of these six meetings we will say where we are and say something about the way forward”, he added.

Eide referred to Monday’s attack by Greek Cypriot pupils against Turkish Cypriots and the rapid and forceful reaction of President Anastasiades on that. “I feel the way that the President communicated and the way that Mr Akinci reacted positively to Mr Anastasiades` communication was a strong signal, and you have seen from yesterday`s meeting that the leaders despite of the fact that they do not want to make statements on substance in this phase, they wanted to say very clearly that expressions of hatred and racism will not derail the talks. Quite on the contrary, it just underlines the need to stay on track and focus on finding a solution”, he pointed out.

Eide went on to say that he noticed with great satisfaction that a lot of young people have taken to social media over the past days and very strongly distant themselves from the isolated acts of violence that a very small minority was responsible for. “There are also now measures being taken to bring the guilty to justice. I think this is the right way to react to something that otherwise could get out of hand”, he said.

Asked if it is possible to have a result on the property issue by the end of November, Eide did not answered since they have agreed not to talk about what they are doing in these sessions. “What I can tell you is that we have very systematic, constructive conversation on that issue and maybe other issues both at the leaders level”, he stated.

Replying to another question, he said the intensification of the process has brought results. “Yes the intensification is helpful”, he said.

Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974. A new round of UN-led talks resumed in May this year, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.