UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be in line with the European principles, adding that some issues as the security and guarantorship should be solved.
Eide met with the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in Athens. In statements to the press following his meeting with Kotzias, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser referred to the “difficult” chapters of guarantees and security, two “significant outstanding issues that have to be tackled” as he said. “We need to create an outcome in Cyprus where both communities can feel safe and secure, not only in a physical sense, but also as their cultural survival as a unit, but in such a way that it does not infringe on the security of the other side” Eide noted.
Eide told the Greek press that they are working very closely with the European Union. “As we know, acquis communautaire is not, in practice, for the Turkish Cypriot part, of Cyprus. That the ambition is that this will be a unified European country, fully in line with all European principles. And that’s why we have involved much more than previously, the European Union, in the work that we are doing, through a special representative working with me, and actually working in my office in Cyprus. And that’s been a very positive development, I think, I should say, over the last days, over the last months.”
Eide said, “This is a European solution, that it’s in line not only with the European principles, but also the Council of Europe jurisprudence and so on, and we’re looking for ways to make sure that it is compatible. And there is agreement. When I say that, it’s not only me speaking. This is also the premise for the discussions, that these principles shall be respected”.
He went on to say that “in the European construction there are a number of arrangements that we are taking inspiration from, to see how this can be solved in a way that is in everybody’s interest, where [all Cypriots] are citizens of one state in which they can move freely and move their economic activity or life around. But at the same time, where the two communities are able to maintain some sense of continuity as communities”.
“This is really the moment that has to be grasped to find the final solution to their problem, which is many decades old” he reiterated. He then described the fact that Cyprus is the only EU member divided and with a UN peacekeeping force present for almost 52 years as “an anomaly that we would like to overcome”.
Asked if the UN peacekeeping force would remain on the island after the solution he expressed the view that “the Cypriots want us, the UN, to be there in an implementation phase, overseeing the transition from what was to what will become. But hopefully we can phase that down and Cyprus will be a normal country with no need for a peacekeeping presence”.
He then noted that there is no other EU state on the agenda of the Security Council and that one of the goals of the current process is that there is no EU state that has to be on the agenda of the Security Council. But in moving from the static situation, that we’ve had for many years, to a new state of affairs, of course, international support, both financial, security-wise, is important in a transitional phase”.
The UN Special Adviser noted that the current round of negotiations has been going on uninterruptedly since May, without any serious crisis on the way, which is “quite unusual”. The leaders have met 19 times, officially and the negotiators 63 times. “And an interesting development in this process is that, not only are we gradually finding shared solutions, but we are also, in this process, helping both sides to understand where the other side comes from. So there is an increasing understanding that, even if there is disagreement, there is some rationality behind that disagreement, and that’s very encouraging” he said.