He’s failed so far, joining a long list of diplomats before him, but the United Nations envoy to Cyprus, Norway’s Espen Barth Eide, is returning to try to get Cypriot and Turkish leaders to sit down and talk reunification.
Eide, whose optimism has been shot down repeatedly, is coming back in April, hopeful that Turkey’s decision to pull out an energy research vessel and warship from Cypriot waters will give the stalled talks new impetus.
That’s been the mantra for four decades but negotiations have gone nowhere. Speaking to the reporters in New York, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said Eide’s visit to Cyprus is a followup as well to encouraging indications he got on his last trip, although he didn’t say what they were.
Reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which resumed in February last year, were unilaterally suspended by Greek President Nicos Anastasiades in October of last year after Turkey violated Cypriot waters.
Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus and the world doesn’t recognize the occupied northern territories on the island where Turkey keeps a standing army in violation of international laws.
Turkey wants a share of any energy revenues even if they are found in Cypriot waters, a stance that has damaged unity prospects.
Still, the UN, which has had unbounded expectations that have been dashed every time, says maybe this time will be different.
“The special adviser continues to be optimistic about the prospects for a return to structured, results-oriented negotiations, and looks forward to this visit as an important step towards renewing the momentum for the talks,” Haq said without indicating why.
Last week, Eide had said there were signs that negotiations could resume in a short time, following his meetings in Cyprus with Turkish-Cypriot President President Derviş Eroğlu and Anastasiades.
“We are seeing that this spring will be much more promising than last autumn. Maybe we can take some optimism and say that we will not only be back on track but actually w emay be able to accelerate the talks and have a faster process than we originally lacked,” Eide said at the time in Nicosia.