By Charlie Charalambous
UN envoy Espen Barth Eide has quit his post to pursue a political career in Norway, but there is no rush to appoint his successor after Cyprus talks collapsed last month.
“Over the last 27 months, with steadfast dedication, commitment and creativity, Mr. Eide helped the two leaders make unprecedented progress towards reaching a viable and sustainable solution to the decades-old dispute,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Eide tweeted on Monday that his resignation was official. Eide will now run as a parliamentary candidate for Norway’s Labour Party in September’s general election.
On August 3, Eide visited President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to say farewell.
He later tweeted about his “fond memories” of Cyprus and his hope to return one day “to a united island”.
The position of Special Adviser on Cyprus will remain vacant for now and will be filled “in good time”, according to Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
He said that the two sides are in a period of reflection, adding that Eide’s office will be headed by UNFICYP head of mission Elizabeth Spehar.
“We will never propose a name or person which will not be accepted by one or more of the sides.
“This is a matter of principle,” he added.
“The parties are in a period of reflection and the Secretary-General made it clear in his statements in Crans-Montana that he remains available if both parties turn to him,” said Dujarric.
- Celik: Cyprus talks have ended
- Cavusoglu: We all need to draw, with the UN, a path for Cyprus
- UN’s Eide: Cypriots must do it themselves
Akinci has claimed that no meaning for negotiations is left after the “unwillingness” of the Greek Cypriots to share a federal administration with the Turkish Cypriots.
“In whichever framework the conditions for living together are found in the future, whatever their name will be, lessons from what was experienced will definitely be taken.”
The latest of many attempts to broker a settlement on Cyprus ended on July 7 after 10 days of negotiations at a Swiss Alpine resort.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also accused the Greek Cypriot side of not wanting a solution to the Cyprus problem in Crans-Montana.
Cavusoglu also claimed that the Greek Cypriots tried to put Turkey in a difficult position using false information.
He said that out of the six chapters under discussion, there was convergence on four of them, adding that “in the last two chapters especially, we wanted a result.
“But the Greek Cypriot side and Greece did not want a solution…Although they had agreed on certain topics, they began to back away.
“What we are saying is that even if we discuss for 50 years under these parameters, there will not be a result,” said Cavusoglu.
“We must all sit together, including the UN, to make a decision and draw a path. This cannot go on for infinity.”
President Anastasiades has refuted Ankara’s claims and expressed the wish that the new UN envoy on Cyprus is from Europe.
“I think everybody admits that the Cyprus problem is also a European problem. In that context, it would be desirable if, in the framework of a new initiative, the appointment of a new adviser would express that which identifies with the Cyprus problem,” said the President.
“It is a period for reflection, I don’t see any initiatives for the moment,” said Anastasiades.
He pointed to the upcoming UN General Meeting as a likely starting point for new initiatives on restarting the negotiations.