x

Society

After Another Cyprus Unity Talk Fiasco, UN Back to Square One

It took United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres less than seven months into the job to learn what his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon endured for 10 years: the Cyprus unity talks were intractable, and, this time, may have collapsed for good.

The Portuguese diplomat became the latest in a long line of envoys and politicians to fail at getting Cypriots and their Turkish counterparts to come to terms on how to reunify an island divided by an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.

The final straw was Turkey’s refusal to remove its 35,000-strong standing army in the northern third it occupies and give up the right to militarily intervene – invade further – when it wants. It proved too much even for Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, eager to make concessions before next year’s re-election campaign.

Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, two alleged moderates, began negotiating two years to great hope and fanfare they could be the ones to finally solve the dilemma but it began unraveling, putting the lie to constant predictions from the UN and both sides that “significant progress” was being made when it wasn’t.

Saying he was “very sorry,” Guterres threw the towel into the ring after less than a week of renewed talks after earlier sit-downs had also collapsed, saying it was fruitless with both sides refusing to budge.

He now will consult with both sides again before deciding whether to take another shot at, his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric said.

The negotiations had been conducted in secret in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana and no details were officially released about the debacle with reports saying only that the talks had gone on into the early morning of July 7.

“They ended it at 2 o’clock. It was a shared understanding among the participants that it was best to close it and I think the Secretary-General expressed his regret that the conference was closed without an agreement reached,” Dujarric added.

But he wouldn’t put the shroud over any lingering hopes, adding that it failure “just means the conference on Cyprus is closed,” without explaining the difference.

Guterres, who sidelined the UN Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide, who had given up earlier, said the Norwegian diplomat would remain in place in case the talks can be revived somehow, trying to quash speculation he would be removed and yet another envoy named.

Asked if Eide has expressed his intention to leave his post after he briefs the Security Council, Siddique said: “No, he remains in post,” the Cyprus Mail reported.

Eide and the UN Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar will brief the Security Council on the latest developments on July 19, ahead of the adoption of a resolution for the renewal of the peacekeeping mandate, scheduled for July 24.

Dujarric said the UN’s role was clear. “It’s one of a facilitator, we would remain available. I think he made that point himself very clearly in his press remarks.”

Dujarric stressed that any decision on the future would be taken by Guterres in consultation with all concerned. “I think what happened yesterday has to be absorbed,” he said.

RELATED

NICOSIA - Unless it rains soon, and is heavy, Cyprus won’t have enough water this summer during the height of the tourism season and when expectations are for more searing heat baking the island.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Building Explosion Kills Bank Employee, Injures 7 Others in Youngstown, Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A massive explosion blew out much of the ground floor of an apartment building, killing a bank employee and injuring several other people.

ATHENS - Greece’s reach-out to Qatar to invest again in Greece saw Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis meet Emir Sheik Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani in a first visit where they agreed to have closer ties and signed two agreements.

ATHENS - Turbulence in world markets isn’t being felt in Greece, where the economy is accelerating, and another record tourism year looms, with foreign investors - led by luxury resorts and hotels - lining up to cash in.

ATHENS - You wouldn’t know it by the number of international firms, including major Information Technology companies already in the country or wanting to gain a foothold, but Greece has been rated the most vexing country in the world for businesses.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.