UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, has said that important progress has been achieved in the Cyprus. Even property, which he described as the “most difficult issue”, has been solved by 90%.
In statements to Selim Sayari, NTV’s correspondent in North Cyprus, Eide noted that four out of the six chapters of the Cyprus problem have been completed to a great extent. He said that the chapters of the territory and the guarantees have not been completed and no agreement is reached yet on them, adding that agreement on these issues will be reached in the end of the process.
He noted: “We will begin important technical work on the constitution, the economy and the implementation of the solution. We are at an important point. The leaders have covered a distance, more than 90% on the property issue. The calculation of percentages is always difficult. Sometimes, the 10% could be more difficult that the 90%. We have a model on property. We are trying to complete it. I do not believe that property issue will take long, but significant resources are needed”.
Eide avoided giving a date for the solution of the problem, but having as starting point statements by the two community leaders, said that a solution could be reached within 2016 and its implementation could begin this year.
Arguing that the economy of a federal Cyprus will be an improvement over the economy of the two zones, Eide said that money is needed in the beginning for the necessary investments to be made. He added that during the past few months he has been looking for ways to finance the solution. It is possible to have a package comprising international aid and investments by the private sector, he argued.
Experts from the IMF, the World Bank and EU institutions are working on the estimation of the cost of the solution, Eide said. International interest in Cyprus is a “blessing”, he said, adding that all 15 members of the UN Security Council had expressed their support to the solution in Cyprus. Finding a solution could be a “source of inspiration” for the problematic areas in the region, he said.
Referring to the natural gas found in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, Eide noted that with the solution, Cyprus will become an energy centre in the area and that both leaders know that the natural gas will bring a “very good income to the federal state”.
Replying to a question on the recent statement by the community leaders, Eide expressed the view that these statements have no relation with the forthcoming elections in the Republic of Cyprus and added:
“The leaders are not troubled by the elections. Whatever the result of the elections is, both of them will preserve their positions. We must be focused on the negotiations. Both leaders and their delegations are working very dedicatedly. There progress in turning disagreements into an agreement. This does not mean that they will agree on everything. The political leadership in Ankara strongly supports the solution. The situation is also the same in Athens. The third guarantor power Britain has been exerting efforts for the solution for years. I think that I will be the last special adviser. I say this meaning that the solution will be reached. If this chance is wasted, the view that there will not be another mediator prevails.
If the two leaders cannot reach a solution in spite of this positive climate, this strong international support they have, I do not think that the same opportunity could be found in another five or ten years. I still believe that I will be the last mediator and I hope that there is a good reason for this”.
Meanwhile, Kibris Gazetesi also reports that Eide met with President Mustafa Akinci late last week and discussed the program of the negotiations during the next months.
After the meeting, Eide was asked to comment on President Anastasiades statement on the rotating presidency. He replied: “If you read what he said, you will clearly see that Anastasiades simply said that the one side has one view and the other has the opposite view and that this is negotiated”. He noted that the leaders are expected to discuss this issue during their meeting on Saturday. He also said that this is nothing new as it was a known position and added that when the negotiations start there is no consensus on some issues, but they advance issue by issue and when everything ends, they reach an agreement on all issues.
Havadis reports Eide said that during the talks the sides are discussing the implementation of the solution including when every single step will be taken and the preparations on the constitution of the united Cyprus. Eide noted that they want to be ready when they come to the final stage and the difficult issues are overcome.
Eide noted that “intensive diplomacy” is being carried out backstage as regards the issues of security and guarantees. He noted that consultations are held with Athens, Ankara, London, the UN Security Council and other interested sides and expressed the view that the guarantees will not be a difficult issue to settle, because of the positive course of the negotiating process, the trust between the sides and the positive stance of the guarantors.
CNN, Kibris Gazetesi, Havadis