Espen Barth Eide suspends Cyprus talks after leaders fail ‘to find common ground’
United Nations envoy for the Cyprus issue Espen Barth Eide on Friday said he was suspending efforts to broker a deal between the two communities on the island after the leaders of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot sides were unable to reach sufficient agreement ahead of a new round of talks in Geneva.
“Unfortunately, despite serious efforts to overcome their differences regarding the modalities for meeting in Geneva, the leaders were unable to find common ground,” Eide said in a statement. “Without a prospect for common ground, there is no basis for continuing this shuttle diplomacy.”
Eide said that he had informed Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci separately on Friday morning and then the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in a joint meeting.
He would now consult with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and ask his advice on how to proceed going forward, the envoy added.
Following this latest development, Eide is expected to visit Ankara and Athens. Diplomatic sources believe that Ankara is in a position to give Akinci greater freedom to negotiate on security and guarantees at the Geneva meeting, so that there can be a good outcome. The trip to Ankara, however, will not take place until it is clear whether the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will remain or be replaced.
Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias contacted Eide on the phone on Friday, following the announcement, and invited him to visit Athens for a meeting at the foreign ministry on Monday.