The UN Secretary General’s special adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide (pictured) acknowledged Wednesday that President Nicos Anastasiades has made a positive contribution to the efforts for the resumption of the UN-led talks, aiming at reuniting the island, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
The President has suspended his participation to the talks in response to Turkey`s violation of the Republic’s exclusive economic zone, where Cyprus has already licensed drilling.
“I think we should see that a step has been taken by Mr. Anastasiades and that`s something to build further on. I now call on all sides and also the Turkish Cypriot side to recognize this”, he said, adding that these will be issues that he would bring to the Security Council`s attention in a week and a half.
He explained that until recently there was no agreement on whether hydrocarbons should be discussed as part of the negotiations and Anastasiades has made a constructive contribution saying that towards the end of the negotiations all issues will be on the table.
Eide expressed also his increased concern because as he said “things are not moving and I`m afraid that as they are not moving they are de facto moving in the wrong direction”.
Saying that the two leaders are strongly arguing in favour of return to the talks, he added that the problem is that they have not been able to sort out the factors in the right order so that the talks can actually start.
The UN special envoy said also that it is a sad paradox that there is much more agreement on the future, something that prevents the sides to actually moving towards the future over which there is quite a lot of agreement, particularly on the issue of hydrocarbons where the issues of federal competence and share revenues was already established.
“But despite of that, we are seeing a prolonged crisis over hydrocarbons which serves no one and which takes us nowhere”, he said.
The UN envoy expressed regret that “we were not able to use the small window of opportunity that we have, when there was no drilling and no NAVTEX at the same time” due to a number of factors
that made this impossible, adding however that he would not give up.
He added that the difference on the issue of hydrocarbons is so deep that it prevents any direct talks about anything, saying that this is highly unfortunate. Eide said that there are other issues in which the disagreement is much higher than hydrocarbons, because there is already agreement on the issue and the leaders keep reiterating that hydrocarbons belong to all Cypriots and will be shared on basis of existing agreements between Talat – Chrisofias and Anastasiades – Eroglu.
“These issues would actually not be problematic in the table if we were there”, he said, adding that issues of property and territory are more difficult.
On the 26th of January, Eide will brief the Security Council in New York on the Cyrpus issue, and as he said “I will give as honest and genuine representation of what is going on here”. He added that he would urge cooperation from not only the sides in Cyprus but all other states to help to create the conditions necessary for a speedy resumption of talks.
Eide said that there`s no purpose of just talking, but there`s a need for the resumption of the talks with the purpose of actually getting somewhere and talked about the need for a structured agreement for the talks process within a time line that would allow him to go back to the Council a second time and make observations about “how well we are doing and how we find a solution”.
Turkey issued in October last year a Navtex for illegal seismic research in Cyprus` offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). After this provocative move, President Anastasiades decided to suspend his participation in the UN-led peace talks until the Turkish seismic vessel Barbaros leaves Cyprus` EEZ.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, in spite of numerous calls by the EU, which Ankara aspires to join, to do so and normalize relations with Nicosia.