Group of technocrats set to draft a working document to help advance Cyprus peace talks

The UN will host talks among members of a working group at the level of deputies on issues relating to security and guarantees, crucial aspects of the Cyprus problem, beginning today, in Mont Pelerin.

Participants to the working group are the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus` three guarantor powers, Greece, the UK and Turkey.

The purpose of the exercise is to identify the security questions that need to be answered and draft a working document which will be communicated to the leaders of the island`s two communities, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci for consideration and political decision.

The talks are expected to last until Friday, 20 January.

Essentially the talks that begin today are a continuation of the Geneva Conference on Cyprus, which took place last week, and will address pivotal questions relating to security concerns and the issue of guarantees.

According to reliable sources, technocrats will aim to draft different options, alternative scenarios relating to security and guarantees, they hope to put on paper the positions of the parties involved and they will discuss more concretely and in detail the concerns and approaches the parties have.

UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Elisabeth Spehard will chair the talks and Special Advisor to the UN SG Espen Barth Eide, who is currently in Davos, may join them.

Talks are set to take place throughout the day, whenever it is necessary.

Diplomatic sources have explained to CNA that there will be no negotiation as such on the issues at hand, instead delegates will attempt to outline the questions raised by the UN on security and guarantees which need to be addressed.

The Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides will have the opportunity to table their own questions on the subjects under discussion.

The high ranking civil servants who meet in Mont Pelerin in the next three days will start working on specific ideas, possible options, proposals to prepare the ground for a final discussion between the principals at the very high political level, the same sources have said.

The issue of security, as the same sources point out, is not limited to a military nature but concerns internal security, external security, Turkish occupation troops, the instruments of implementation of everything that might be agreed in a possible solution of the Cyprus problem as well as the concerns of the two sides.

The political decisions about future moves will be taken by those attending the Conference on Cyprus, when they are expected to meet again, at the end of January.

The EU will be represented at the talks by its ambassador to Geneva and the special envoy of Commission President Pete van Nouffel, as observers/interested parties. They will be on site and will intervene as necessary.

The UN will facilitate the leaders-led effort, support and assist their efforts.

Cyprus President will be represented at the talks by the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis.

The British Foreign Secretary will be represented by Jonathan Allen, Acting Director General, Defence and Intelligence at the Foreign Office, a post he took up in November 2016. Allen, who has served in Cyprus in the past, will be accompanied by legal experts and diplomats but not defence experts.

The UN hosted a conference on Cyprus last week, as part of continuing efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The meeting decided to establish a working group at the level of deputies, to start work on January 18 and then the conference will continue at a political level.

source: CNA