After a farewell meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia on Thursday, outgoing United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide said the reunification talks that collapsed last month at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana can only be revived through an agreement between both sides of the divide, and not the UN.
“What I am saying, and I think the leaders agree – I am not speaking on their behalf but it is my sense that it is a shared understanding – [is] that [the process] will not be resurrected by the UN,” he told reporters.
“The resurrection will have to happen from here, in harmony, and through agreement by the sides and, if they agree, [with] the secretary-general there,” the Norwegian diplomat added.
Eide, who also met separately with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, admitted, however, that it won’t be easy.
“You should not give up hope. On the other hand, I cannot with confidence say that I think [a solution] is just around the corner. We are here to help. We will always be available and the secretary-general has said that he remains available if the sides want it.”
He lauded both leaders for pushing the process further than their predecessors but said the UN is not planning an initiative.
“I think that’s natural. We had Crans-Montana. We believe that we did what we could to facilitate this process, but if there is a shared, joint request by the sides and by the guarantors, the UN of course – it is part of its mandate – would be available to help. But the decision has to be made here,” he said.
UN-backed peace talks ended in acrimony in July with both sides engaging in a blame game, and with Athens and Ankara trading barbs.
Eide is expected to draft a report with his conclusions about the failed talks. For his part, Anastasiades believes the report will reflect the truth about what happened at the talks, deputy government spokesman Viktoras Papadopoulos said.