The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide has responded to the question of whether the presence of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) serves the solution of the Cyprus problem or contributes to the status quo, ‘Havadis’ reports.
Following a conference organised on Friday by Oslo’s Peace Researches Institute (PRIO) in the buffer zone in Nicosia, Eide commented that the UN Security Council’s stance regarding Cyprus is clear, but after 50 years the presence of the UN on the island has been questioned by some countries.
Eide added: “My duty as Special Adviser is to help the sides on the issue of the reunification of Cyprus. The UN Security Council will decide if this will change. At the moment, all permanent members of the UN Security Council agree on the issue of Cyprus’ unification and the UN helping in this. However, I have the feeling that some countries have started questioning the presence of the UN in Cyprus. Yes, the UNFICYP contributes to peace in Cyprus, but some circles have started asking the question ‘does on the other hand the UN’s presence in Cyprus serve the non-solution?’”
He argued that the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots have to decide what they want to do. Asked whether alternatives other than reunification exist, he replied: “I think that there is only one good alternative and this is unification. It is up to you to think what the other alternatives outside this are”.
Eide said that it is not good that Cyprus remains in a state of limbo over the problem in view of the fact that the Middle East, which is adjacent to Cyprus, is up in flames. People are being killed and countries are being destroyed. He added: “It would be wrong for you to assume that Cyprus will remain always like this, without conflicts and secure. Negative dynamics are being spread very quickly. What I am trying to tell you is the following: Decide what you want to do. This is the time to decide. Do Cypriots want to live together, or do they want to abandon this and enter into a new course?”
Referring to the issue of possible derogations to the European Union’s laws in case of a solution, Eide noted that because of the internal problems which the EU is facing:
“It is not as easy as in the past to digest derogations. I am not saying that there will be no derogations, in case of a solution in Cyprus. This depends on the extent of these derogations and on whether they are permanent or temporary. However, according to my observations, because of its internal problems, the EU is much more unwilling than in the past on the issue of derogations. It is very obvious that a solution which includes derogations that prevent the individuals from settling in other places or acquiring property in other places is definitely not possible. This is contrary to the principles which constitute the foundation of the EU”, he concluded.