UN Chief Guterres Steps into Staggering Cyprus Unity Talks

FILE - UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres (R) met Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias over Cyprus. (Eskinder Debebe/The United Nations via AP)

With Cyprus unity negotiations on the brink of collapse yet again, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent secret proposals to rival leaders in hopes of saving the talks.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades – who had accused the UN’s Special Envoy, Espen Barth Eide, of favoring the Turkish side, had sent a letter of complaint to Guterres, who responded with a vote of confidence for his man in Nicosia, the Norwegian diplomat Eide.

In his letter to Guterres, Anastasiades claimed Turkish Cypriots had called for renegotiation of issues already settled and proposed alterations in the internationally-agreed settlement model: a viable, functional, bizonal, bicommunal federation, the Irish Times said.

He accused Turkey of undercutting hopes for unity by sending in research vessels to search for energy in Cypriot waters, as it had two years ago before they were withdrawn when Anastasiades said he would break off talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Guterres’s proposals, which weren’t revealed, were delivered Anastasiades by Eide, who has lost the Cypriot President’s trust. Anastasiades accused Eide of setting a June deadline for the talks without having the authority to do it.

Anastasiades also rejects UN initiatives, and insists the talks should remain “Cypriot-owned” and continue until agreement with Turkish Cypriots is reached on all issues.