NICOSIA – United Nations Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide, the latest in a long line of diplomats unable to bring reunification of Cyprus, was to return to the island Aug. 1 for the final time and give his report on what happened after negotiations collapsed.
Eide will return to his native Norway to run in September elections and had been bitterly criticized by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greece for alletedly taking the side of Turkey in the talks that ended at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana after Ankara insisted on keeping a standing 35,000-strong army on the island the right to militarily intervene.
Cyprus was split by an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974 which saw Turks occupy the northern third, seizing homes, properties and lands of Cypriots.
Eide was to meet with Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci separately as the two political leaders are no longer talking to each other after being buddy-buddy for almost two years of negotiations amid constant expectations an answer was at hand – many of them from Eide who was proved wrong every time.
Nevertheless, he will be given a farewell reception despite the collapsed talks and dashed hopes of Cypriots and Turks living on the island who had demonstrated in favor of reunification.
Cyprus is a member of the European Union – only the Cypriot side and Anastasiades’ legitimate government. While Turkey wants to join the bloc, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to recognize the country, apart from its self-declared Republic in the north – and bars its ships and planes.
Eide’s two reports will present his conclusions about the talks, Kathimerini said. After the Swiss debacle, there has been constant finger pointing and blame games going on and now speculation that Turkey will reopen the abandoned ghost neighborhood of Varosha in Famagusta and invite Cypriots to return, but only if they agree to come under Turkish law.