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Inability to reach final outcome scuttled Crans-Montana

What prevented the solution, in the Crans Montana talks on Cyprus, was not what could have been the final outcome but the inability to get to that final outcome, UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has told CNA in an interview, after the collapse of the week-long talks in the Swiss ski resort.

Eide referred to “a collective failure” which he maintains, “includes everybody who was there”. If something fails, “everyone should think what they should have done to make it better, rather than saying that everybody else made mistakes” he explained.

With regards to the abolishment of the current system of guarantees, as stipulated in the 1960 treaties which established the Republic of Cyprus, Eide said that things were moving towards a “major breakthrough on guarantees but the outstanding issues on the troops remained.”

“Between the “sunset clause” review and perpetuity, we don’t have a final agreement between the ‘sunset clause, the ‘review clause’ and perpetuity as yet” he told CNA.

“There were very important and very constructive openings from the Greek Cypriot side …from Mr Anastasiades, on the internal front, which was presented in context” he added.

Eide revealed that the climate during the dinner on July 6, preceding to the announcement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on July 7 that the talks had reached an impasse, was anything but warm.

“Everybody in the room understood that this wasn’t going anywhere. There was deterioration of trust… The climate, the tone, the way people spoke about each other and to each other didn’t sound like people that were about to unify,” he said

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Eide acknowledged that the UN was not expecting to reach a complete deal during the talks but were hoping and aiming for a strategic breakthrough on following six strategic issues:

  • How do we replace the Treaty of Guarantees with an implementation mechanism?
  • What do we do with the troops?
  • Will there be rotating presidency and whether it will be with cross voting and so on.
  • What will happen to “one particular place” in the territorial arrangement?
  • What happens to the property regime? Could there be two regimes, one for the areas under territorial adjustment and one for those not under territorial adjustment?
  • How do we deal with the question of the equivalent or special treatment of the Turkish nationals?

“If we had answered these questions, we could have been beyond the point of no return,” he acknowledged.

“We had prepared this event for several months. If someone was unprepared, maybe it’s the people who were in charge, not the people that were just helping them,” said Eide commenting on criticism that the Conference was not well prepared

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