Article by Stavri Kalopsidiotou, member of the Central Committee of AKEL, the Cyprus Problem Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL and International Law expert
One wonders why the Presidential Palace felt the need to leak the document on Turkey’s initial positions at the Crans Montana conference regarding the issues of security and guarantees. Is there anything in them we don’t know about? What does it add to the public debate surrounding the outcome of the direct negotiations at the Swiss resort in July 2017? It adds nothing, simply because – and without going into the content of the Turkish position – the leak in question confirms what we all know, namely that during the first stage of any negotiation the sides involved put forth their initial maximalist claims which are not necessarily their final ones.
The preoccupation with suppressing the erroneous handlings that allowed Ankara to avoid being apportioned responsibilities by the UN Secretary General at the Swiss resort is understandable. However, also self-evident is the damage caused by such senseless and frivolous leaks which expose the Greek Cypriot side’s credibility internationally as a negotiating party, in contrast with the “diplomatic norms” which Mr. Anastasiades correctly invokes on 26th July 2017 and about which it appears that the Presidential Palace isn’t too interested in today.
More specifically, if one considers that these communication tricks maintain in plain view a measure of unwillingness of those doing the leaking – not the journalists’ – to answer the following question: what prompted the UN Secretary General to appease Turkey for its stance on at Crans Montana on the issues related to security and guarantees? And why are we calling for a resumption of negotiations from the point where they had remained if what the UN Secretary General is citing isn’t the case.
The government has never demanded from Mr. Guterres to say why as of 30th June after the end of the Conference, when having clarified his position for the termination of the Treaty of Guarantees and any intervention rights, he came to the following conclusion: ” Despite differences in their opening positions and public rhetoric, I could see from my in depth engagement with the three guarantors in Crans Montana that they had all come to Switzerland committed to seeking mutually acceptable solutions.” (Paragraph 18, September 2017 UN Secretary General’s Report).
Given that at the opening of the Conference (Guterres Framework) the Secretary General had said that the existing and untenable security system could be replaced by a mechanism for the implementation of the solution, how did he then arrive at the 6th July informal document if the original gap on the issues of security and guarantees had continued?
With what guarantees did he submit a mechanism for implementing the solution that abolishes the guarantees and any intervention rights, given that it gives only an advisory role to the guarantor powers?
In any case, the admission by the then Greek Foreign Minister that the Greek Cypriot side rejected such a document, which as a matter of fact Mr. Kotzias considers as a gain of the talks, was never convincingly explained.
But neither does the government ask, today too, the former Assistant UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman what he means when he stated in a recent newspaper interview of his that “the impression of UN officials, including myself, was that Crans-Montana brought both sides and the guarantors to the limits of the solution.” Furthermore, the government does not comment on Mr. Feltman’s claim about what was said “directly inside the hall” at the United Nations which according to him were creating this impression.
The destructive reactions with regards what was recorded in the 2017 Report submitted by the Secretary General, the telling silence of former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Morgherini when the Turkish Foreign Minister invoked Ankara’s constructive stance at Crans Montana and what officials of the international organisation support today are conflicting with the relentless “I accuse” attacks launched by the Presidential Palace and governing DISY party against AKEL, prove that in 2017 everything didn’t work as perfect as a Swiss watch – whether this concerns what really did happen or with regards the handling of the negotiations.
If the Presidential Palace-DISY can do something today, then it is to end its arduous work of degrading AKEL’s substantive criticism – about the experimentations, regressions and erroneous handlings of the Cyprus problem that unfortunately are being confirmed by developments themselves – to petty-party confrontation.
There is only one starting point for AKEL. Namely, the attempt to resume the negotiations from where they had remained or at least from where the international community had understood they had remained, given that the UN Secretary General’s Framework and the mechanism for implementing the solution rid us from the foreign guarantees and any intervention rights.