Only One EEZ in Cyprus - UN
There would only be one Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in a reunited federal Cyprus and the leaders are not even discussing the issue of oil and gas exploration during reunification talks, said UN Special Advisor Alexander Downer speaking after the latest meeting between the island's leaders.
The talks are only about setting the territories that would comprise the two provinces that would make up the federal state, he said.
"The issues about territorial adjustment relates, remember, to the notion of boundaries between constituent states, what we in Australia would just call the states, in the United States they just call the states or in Canada the provinces or the landaus in Germany," he said.
The issue of Cyprus' EEZ does not even have implications for the talks, he said, not even considering threats from Turkey and the defensive position taken up by Greece and Russia over Cyprus' right to explore for undersea oil and gas.
The leaders are talking about national boundaries, "so in terms of Cyprus' EEZ, there will be an EEZ for the whole island," he said.
President Demetris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis met on August 26th to discuss the issue of territory. Details of their discussion were not divulged by the UN, which insists on confidentiality until October, when the reunification plan will be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.
"I think everybody knows this is an incredibly difficult process. I mean, 37 years and it hasn’t succeeded. We have been working on this in the current phase for three years and it is difficult. I am not saying that we can’t succeed; I think we can succeed but I think it is extremely difficult so we want as few external issues to intrude as it is at all possible," Downer told journalists after the meeting.
The meeting lasted five-and-a-half hours and was at UN Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim's residence in Nicosia.
There is a lot at stake in these talks, said Downer.
"This isn’t a game, this is a really important negotiation about the future of this island and it has broader implications for the Eastern Mediterranean and the European Union and Turkey and their relations," he said.
The next leaders' meeting will be on Friday September 2nd, following the Muslim holiday of Bayram.