“Success at the conference in Crans Montana will be if all parties involved reach a strategic agreement on the basic issues – security, guarantees, territory, property and governance,” United Nations Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday, emerging from a meeting with Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in Athens.
Asked if the sides could arrive at a strategic agreement, Eide said it was “possible” and noted that there were “elements that could lead to this agreement happening if there is willingness, creativity, determination and dedication.” He also noted, however, that this would not be easy and would require “in-depth work” as well as the need to talk and hear the views of all sides involved.
Even if such an agreement were reached, he clarified, a lot of work would still need to be done at a lower level, and several financial and legal issues would need to be resolved.
The UN envoy reported having a “constructive and useful” meeting with Kotzias that concluded the round of contacts he would have ahead of the second political-level conference on the Cyprus issue in Switzerland.
According to the Norwegian mediator, the key to a successful outcome at Crans Montana was the security and guarantees chapter. It was very positive, he added, that all the sides involved had told him they were coming to the talks in Switzerland with the ambition and the willingness to find a solution. Eide also noted the talks between the Turkish and Greek prime ministers on Monday, where a common desire for a solution was also expressed.
“I am not guaranteeing there will be a result; it will take time and hard work and we are facilitating this in such a way so that the talks can last for weeks,” he told reporters. What was needed, he added, was a constructive and creative approach so that the security of one community was not secured at the expense of the other.
Eide said that a common document that will form the basis for the talks in Geneva will be ready in the next few days, while noting that the two sides had differences “on two levels.”
“There has been progress in the bi-communal talks between the Cypriots. Secondly, the ideas that we started to develop in Geneva have progressed with regard to finding tools that will satisfy the needs and demands of all sides, so we can now say that we are better prepared, though the real negotiation must take place in Geneva. What I can tell you is that we are doing the best we can to support their creative discussions beyond their known positions,” he said.
The envoy denied a report in the Cyprus press about a possible abolition of the Cyprus Republic as “completely inaccurate”.
“I can tell you this because we do not make proposals, we put in order the ideas we receive,” Eide said, stressing that the specific report was “wrong” and based on suppositions.