Espen Barth Eide returns to Cyprus Tuesday for the final time in his capacity as the United Nations special envoy as he plans to take part in September elections in his native Norway.
The end of Eide’s tenure, which began in August 2014, coincides with the acrimonious collapse of the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots to reunify the island in early July. He will meet separately with Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci before a farewell reception on Thursday.
Sources say Eide will draft two reports with his conclusions about the peace talks and their prospects. In the aftermath of the failed talks, both sides engaged in a blame game, with Turkey threatening to activate a Plan B with unilateral measures. Given Turkey’s warning, Athens and Nicosia are closely monitoring leaks that Ankara plans to open the ghost town of Varosha in the occupied north, as well as to allow the return of members of the island’s Maronite community to their villages. Diplomatic sources, however, note that these reports remain nothing more more than leaks, at least for the time being, as no formal proposals or announcements have been made.
Meanwhile, Nicosia lodged a complaint with Washington over the inclusion of a US military ship in a Turkish navigational telex (Navtex) which stated that it will enter plots five and six in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone to tow a submarine device.