UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser warned on Tuesday that not many chances remained to reunify the island but appeared optimistic that talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots side would resume.
Talks were suspended in October last year after President Nicos Anastasiades pulled out following Turkey’s decision to carry out seismic surveys inside the island’s exclusive economic zone.
“I think people have to realize that we cannot go on year after year without any progress, because this problem has remained unresolved for many decades,” Espen Barth Eide told reporters after a meeting with Anastasiades. “At some stage there must be shared will to move on.”
Eide said he felt the will was there but in addition “there must be the right circumstances and if these circumstances occur we must be ready to grasp the opportunity and use it constructively.”
“There will not be many more chances, let me put it that way,” he said.
Eide said there was a growing sense that the circumstances that led to the suspension of talks may soon be over.
“Expectations are that within reasonable time we will be able to get back to a climate where we can not only talk again but maybe even see if those talks can be accelerated.”
The UN official said he felt there was a wish and desire to invest in this, after the crisis in the winter.
“Sometimes crises can help clarify people’s mind and illustrate that there are bigger issues out there that we have to meet together. So, I am significantly more optimistic than last time you saw me.”
A navigational telex, or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey to announce its intention to carry out seismic surveys expires on April 6, a factor that would contribute constructively to the resumption of talks, Eide said.
It was the second NAVTEX issued by Turkey. The first one, issued in October, expired at the end of the year.
“It seems that a window may be created where the mutual reasons for what has happened over winter are not there and if that momentum occurs we will use it. What we are trying to do now is to talk about what we will do if this is possible. Assuming that we are moving into a better space then we will accelerate talks and try to see how far we can get.”