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12° Nicosia,
13 December, 2018
 
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Anxiety over Cyprus peace talks

Pride only hurts, it never helps

Yiannis Kafkarides

For observers of the Cyprus peace talks, news of critical junctures in the process have become a drinking game. But Cyprus and the actors that drive popular beliefs on the island might be too proud for redemption. It is an overarching historical theme on the island to oscillate between elation and protest. To cheer on future promises and to evoke existential spirits of survival in the face of choices they had made.

Yesterday, with New York taxis in the background, anxiety was visible as journalists and diplomats speculated about the UN Secretary General’s every move. Guterres is finalizing his report on Cyprus which will be submitted to the UN Security Council on October 15. Jane Holl Lute`s consultations with the parties involved in the process will be included in this report. Anastasiades desires talks to resume as soon as possible fearing irreversible Turkish entrenchment in Cyprus with consequences in future energy plans. An impending maritime standoff over drilling rights will make it impossible for talks to begin.

The Secretary General will make the decision on the way forward

What is brewing in New York for all intentions and purposes is not a fine ale. The President has said that failure in a new round of peace talks might change the basis of the dialogue, signifying that efforts for a solution based on a federation with a strong central government have run their course. His negotiator has explicitly warned that UNFICYP might pull out in six months, as a result of Cyprus problem fatigue.

The UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus and UNFICYP chief Elizabeth Spehar will be in New York next week for internal meetings. Invited to say if Antonio Guterres will participate in these meetings, a source noted that he will be in India next week and that the UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo will participate. Responding to another question the UN source said that DiCarlo and Spehar will ''just'' discuss the report. "The Secretary General will make the decision on the way forward. Not Lute, not Spehar, not DiCarlo. He will listen to them all - the parties involved and his aides - and make up his own mind," CNA reports.

The latest round of peace talks last year in Switzerland ended without an agreement. The fear then lies in the realization that one cannot expect different results while keep doing the same things over and over again.

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