As the future of Cyprus reunification talks hangs by a thread, UN envoy Espen Barth Eide on Thursday embarked on shuttle diplomacy between the two leaders in a bid to prevent a deadlock.
But the signs are not that positive.
“Nothing new has come out of the Norwegian diplomat’s efforts,” government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides told the Cyprus Weekly on Thursday night after a meeting with Eide.
The UN diplomat held talks separately with both President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
“We are not going to take any new steps unless the proposal tabled by President Anastasiades on Wednesday (when he last met Akinci) is accepted by the Turkish side,” added Christodoulides.
On Monday, the President is scheduled to brief the National Council – his advisory body on the Cyprus problem – on the latest developments.
Earlier on Thursday, Anastasiades said after talks with visiting Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias that: “Repeating ourselves and insisting on our differences is not going to lead to an overall solution.”
He also slammed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement that the Greek Cypriot side made some “very absurd” proposals that the Turkish Cypriot side had to reject.
The President’s proposal is to settle the map of a post-solution Cyprus and security and guarantees in Geneva before taking up other pending issues, according to insiders.
Anastasiades said: “I’ve made a proposal to prove that I mean what I say, that I do want a solution. But the solution is not going to come by just repeating ourselves, by insisting on the difference we have.”
He added: “They (Turkish Cypriot side) are talking about cross reference discussion of issues…But they are the ones who refuse to even touch on the issues of territory or of guarantees, they won’t even accept brainstorming on these issues…They were excluding discussion on these two issues so as to leave them till the very end.”
Meanwhile, Eide said after his meeting yesterday with Anastasiades that the UN would convene a conference on Cyprus if and when the leaders wanted.
“If the leaders feel ready and that it is constructive to have a new Geneva, the UN is ready for this,” he said.
The UN diplomat reiterated that the procedure was still led by the leaders and they had to agree if they wanted to go to Geneva II.
At the same time, insiders in the breakaway north where Turkey still maintains troops after its 1974 invasion have said that both sides are ready to go back to Geneva in June.
“What they could not agree on was what methodology they would use there,” an insider said.
“While the Greek Cypriot side wants to take up security and guarantees early into to Geneva conference, the Turkish Cypriot side wants to settle issues of governance and particularly political equality.”
There is a feeling that negotiations have come to a point where not much can be done in Cyprus anymore.
“And the sides also agree that this is the case…The problem is they cannot agree how the Geneva conference will be organised,” added the insider.
The previous Conference on Cyprus in Geneva was back in January with the participation of the three guarantor powers.
Turkey is the only guarantor that still insists on maintaining the right of intervention – something that is unacceptable to Greek Cypriots.