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Outgoing Envoy Eide Says UN Can’t Bring Cyprus Unity

NICOSIA – Joining a long line of diplomats who failed to find an answer for Cyprus’ reunification – as he ended his term – United Nations Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide said the answer lies in the hands of the country’s rival leaders.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who two years ago opened negotiations to fanfare and high hopes, saw them end in July at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana after Turkey refused to withdraw its 35,000-strong army in the occupied northern third and said it wants the right to invade further when it wants.

That deal breaker ended Eide’s time too as he had constantly predicted breakthroughs but in the end was ripped by Anastasiades and Greece – which, along with Turkey and the United Kingdom is a guarantor of security on the island – for favoring the Turkish side.

“What I am saying, and I think the leaders agree – I am not speaking on their behalf but it is my sense that it is a shared understanding – (is) that (the process) will not be resurrected by the UN,” he told reporters.

“The resurrection will have to happen from here, in harmony, and through agreement by the sides and, if they agree, [with] the Secretary-General there,” the Norwegian diplomat added. He’s return to his home country to run for elections.

Eide, who also met separately with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, admitted, however, that it won’t be easy.

“You should not give up hope. On the other hand, I cannot with confidence say that I think [a solution] is just around the corner. We are here to help. We will always be available and the Secretary-General has said that he remains available if the sides want it,” he added, according to Kathimerini.

He applauded Anastasiades and Akinci for taking the process further, although Eide’s beaming announcements of “significant progress” were never borne out but said the UN is not planning a new push for talks.

“I think that’s natural. We had Crans-Montana. We believe that we did what we could to facilitate this process, but if there is a shared, joint request by the sides and by the guarantors, the UN of course – it is part of its mandate – would be available to help. But the decision has to be made here,” he said.
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