A report containing observations by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on the failed Cyprus talks, was given to members of the UN Security Council on Friday evening.
Guterres says that an historic opportunity was missed in Crans-Montana, noting that a strategic agreement for a solution to the Cyprus problem had largely been agreed there but a breakthrough had not been possible due to mistrust and a lack of political will.
In the report, which covers the period from May 2015 to August 2017, Guterres said that, in his opinion, “the essence of a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem is practically there”.
“The parties had come close to reaching a strategic understanding on security and guarantees as well as on all other outstanding core elements of a comprehensive settlement,” Guterres said.
“It is therefore my firm belief that a historic opportunity was missed in Crans-Montana.”
The UNSG suggests that the required level of political will, in order to reach a settlement, had been absent at the Cyprus Conference in Crans-Montana.
“Upon closing the Conference on Cyprus, I encouraged the sides to reflect on the way forward,” he said, adding that even if all the “core enablers” are in place, as they were in Crans-Montana, an agreement would remain difficult to achieve without “political will, courage and determination, mutual trust and a readiness to take calculated risks”.
In reference to the above, the secretary-general repeated his call for the leaders to continue such reflection “to determine if and when conditions will mature again for a meaningful process in the near future.”
“I reaffirm the readiness of the United Nations to assist the sides should they jointly decide to engage in such a process with the necessary political will, in order to conclude the strategic agreement that was emerging in Crans-Montana,” Guterres said.
“I furthermore encourage them to seek ways to preserve the body of work that had been built throughout the process in the form of convergences and understandings accumulated in the course of the past two years.”
The UN chief suggested that in the future, a strategic-level agreement on key outstanding issues should be followed, with details to be worked out at the technical level later.
“An early agreement at the strategic level would immediately provide each side with the needed reassurance that the overall settlement would contain those elements that are of key importance for each community and thus provide impetus for completion of the remaining technical details,” he argued.