President Mustafa Akıncı said that the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide had a daunting responsibility on his shoulders to maintain a very delicate balance between the two sides during the 27 months of intensive negotiations held under the UN auspices to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.
The President was speaking at the farewell reception he hosted for the departing UN Special Envoy on Friday evening.
He said that there were times when Eide came under severe and unfair criticism, mainly directed at him from South Cyprus.
“I must also admit that there were some occasions where we, as the Turkish Cypriots felt that he should have been more outspoken. However he has always maintained his integrity and professionalism and focused in a dedicated manner on the task he came here to accomplish. As the Turkish Cypriot side, despite our ups and downs in rare cases with him, deep in our hearts we knew that he was genuine in his endeavours to help our communities and as such, we always maintained a relationship based on respect and mutual understanding, even at the most stressful times”, he said.
Stating that with the facilitation of the UN, the two sides in Cyprus had achieved unprecedented progress over the past two years, Akıncı however pointed out that this effort had not been enough to walk the final mile.
“We have to reflect, as the secretary-general suggested and analyse the situation carefully. This evening is not the proper time for pointing out who to blame. Being in peace with my consciousness is what I sincerely feel at this hour. But this is not enough. We have to move forward. To live under unwarranted isolation from the rest of the world should not be the fate of Turkish Cypriots”, he added.
The President ended his speech by also thanking the UN Special Representative Elisabeth Spehar and the Good Offices Mission for their support.
“I think my speech would not be complete before saying a few words regarding the exceptional work and support shown by the special representative of the secretary-general in Cyprus, Ms. Elisabeth Spehar and every single member of the good offices mission team during our process. Over the course of hundreds of meetings, they have worked day and night with our teams, shared the wisdom they accumulated from similar peace processes around the world and helped us bridge our differences with the Greek Cypriot side. We thank you for your support and for your patience with us”, he said.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide for his part said that that President Akıncı was a true friend, a true leader and genuinely sincere.
“I know that he was always genuine and sincere with what he said. We were generally at the same point of view but we had our differences from time to time. But these differences were always within a framework of respect. This country and the world need such leaders during these difficult times. Leaders who do what they say and say what they do”, he said.
Eide returns to Norway to take part in political elections.