World Bulletin / News Desk
The UN envoy on Cyprus said Wednesday that a comprehensive Cyprus agreement would be "the biggest success" of the reunification talks, as solving the longstanding dispute over the divided island is "not impossible".
He made the remarks after the opening of restarted UN-sponsored talks between Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades in the Alpine resort of Crans-Montana, Switzerland, aiming to reunify the Mediterranean island after a four decades-long split.
“The biggest success would actually be a comprehensive agreement,” said the UN’s Espen Barth Eide. “That’s hard but not impossible in the sense that so much has been discussed that if this is really productive and we take our time and we focus on the essential, it is not beyond reach, it could happen. Short of that we could have not a deal, not a framework deal but a breakthrough on the key issues.”
Referring to the talks’ two-table format, he added, “We started to address the critical issues that will be the focus of ‘table one,’ which are the security and guarantees questions, which are those that pertain to all participants of the conference.”
Other issues under discussion in an envisioned federal republic of Cyprus -- territory, governance and power-sharing, economy, property rights, and the EU -- have been largely settled.
"The negotiations on the long-running conflict are the best chance, but maybe not the last one, to get an agreement," Eide said. “At the end of the day of course it is the responsibility of the conference participants to go that final mile, to think outside the box and try some new ideas so that we can finally come down from this beautiful Swiss mountain with a plan.”
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