UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide has said that he has been asking former leaders to share their experience of the Cyprus talks. “I am trying to understand which is the right way to proceed, now that we are actually to have the negotiations. As you know, in a very short time we will start intensive negotiations. We will have a dinner on Monday and after the dinner will come the announcement when we start, but there is no doubt that we will start,” he said.
Eide, who met with former Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, said that he was trying to find the right way to structure the talks, by consulting those who had previous experience in the process. He wanted to avoid the mistakes made in the past, he said.
In addition, he noted that the meeting between Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday was important.
During Akinci’s contacts, Ankara made it very clear that it supported a settlement and that they should arrive at it soon, he said.
Asked how optimistic he felt after the meeting in Ankara, Eide said that he was optimistic before and he remained optimistic afterwards. “I think that was an important visit, it was a very clear statement from Turkey at the highest level that they support a settlement in Cyprus and they support that it should come soon. If there was any doubt about this last week, I think there should be no doubt about it this week,” he said.
Eide posted on his personal Twitter account that he also met with Mehmet Ali Talat on Thursday, saying that he discussed the former Turkish Cypriot leader’s views on Christofias as an interlocutor.
Ex-president Christofias said that Akinci’s election was a positive development which he welcomed. “I believe that a window of possibility has opened,” he said.
President Akinci will meet Eide on Friday morning. It is the second time the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President meets the UN official.
The TRNC Presidency announced on Thursday that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote a letter to Akinci, congratulating him on his election.
The leader UN reportedly spoke of “considerable momentum” towards a comprehensive solution, adding that he shared Akinci’s conviction that substantive progress can be achieved in the peace talks by the end of the year.