UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide will be stepping down from his post in order to pursue his political career in Norway.
Eide, who has come under fire from both camps in Cyprus for overstepping the bounds of his office, will return to Cyprus next week to say goodbye.
“He is running for MP in his country’s elections, he can’t have it all, he is coming back for a farewell, there is nothing planned as far as the (UN-brokered reunification) talks are concerned,” an insider told ‘Cyprus Weekly’ on Thursday.
“Not much should be expected before February’s presidential elections, and certainly not much before Eide is out of the picture,” added the source.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had publicly lambasted Eide over “non-objective” comments he made about Turkey’s position during the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
The president even threatened to publicise the minutes of the crucial working dinner where the negotiations collapsed, but decided to back down after a request from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“Responding to the plea by the UN Secretary General, whose constructive approach to the Cyprus problem I have deeply appreciated, and respecting the diplomatic virtues, I have decided – at this current stage – to not make public the minutes of the dinner of July 6 at Crans-Montana,” a statement from Anastasiades said.
He added that instead, he would make them public to the members of the UN Security Council and to the heads of the European Council and European Commission.
The negotiations at Crans-Montana broke down after no deal could be made over new security arrangements for a reunified Cyprus.
Anastasiades was demanding zero Turkish troops and the abolition of guarantees for Cyprus.
Additionally, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports that Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu had also criticised Eide for saying “from early on it was my conviction that ‘in a modern sovereign state’ there is no place for the Treaty of Guarantee and the right of intervention.”
Ertugruloglu said Eide “not only violated the principle of impartiality of the Good Offices Mission, but also completely ignored the historical facts on the Island, and thus exceedingly overstepped his authority which entails non-interference on substantive issues.”
The foreign minister said that Eide’s quote also “ignores the fact” that it was Turkey’s intervention that stopped Cyprus from being annexed to Greece and undermines “the traumas endured by the Turkish Cypriot people by implying that it is unnecessary for them to still feel concerned about history repeating itself in the case of a possible solution.”
Ertugruloglu also pointed out that only recently [South] Cyprus had decided to commemorate the 1950 vote on enosis in schools.
Calling on Eide to refrain from making “controversial statements” and respect Turkish Cypriot sensitivities, Ertugruloglu also said it was not possible “to understand the association made by Eide between the abolishment of the guarantee system and ‘modernity’.”that in a modern EU country, there was no need for guarantees.
The beleaguered envoy will return to Cyprus next week to make his farewells.
Cyprus Weekly, Cyprus Mail