In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) following his meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday, the Norwegian diplomat said the UN was committed to doing its “utmost to help Cyprus leaders to get to a deal in the near future, but if that fails maybe other options have to come on the table”.
“We have to be prepared for a negative outcome if it simply doesn’t work and what the UN does then…We need to make the permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) aware that we are approaching a particularly decisive moment, when this round of talks is over.”
Talks between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have still to make a significant breakthrough in on-going talks to end the dispute despite hopes from the UN and the international community that a settlement could finally be reached after the ‘Conference On Cyprus’ in Geneva earlier this year.
Anastasiades and Akinci have resumed negotiations following a frosty spell in relations between the two sides and will meet again on May 11.
The talks were in danger of derailing entirely following series of incidents which angered each side. These included a controversial bill to commemorate Enosis in schools, a ban to allow a Greek Orthodox Church mass in the north while Anastasiades’ government and Turkey are currently at loggerheads over gas exploration and drilling rights off Cyprus’ shores.
“If there is will, it is possible to proceed with the [second] Conference on Cyprus in Geneva. There has been a determined effort particularly at the level of the negotiators in closing outstanding issues. The drilling crisis that may be coming our way and the political dynamics in the pre-electoral period, it is important to use this time as effectively as possible.”