The piece-by-piece leaking of minutes from meetings at the Crans Montana conference and the attempt to make use of them has different goals and starting points for different people on the domestic front. Certain forces and circles may want to promote their longstanding views on the solution of the Cyprus problem.
As far as Mr. Anastasiades is concerned, he is probably trying to remove the guilt from himself with regards the results of his actions on the Cyprus problem because no one, not even his most fanatical supporter, can now claim today that these nine years of his government have brought the Cyprus problem closer to the solution or strengthened Cyprus’ international position.
1. Reading the minutes in question that have been made public, one can easily arrive to the conclusion that these are Turkey’s initial positions. However, what is most important is that the minutes refer to the meeting that took place at noon. Those who were seriously involved in what actually occurred at Crans Montana know very well that at 5 o’clock in the afternoon the position was conveyed to Mr. Anastasiades by the UN that Turkey was ready to discuss the issue of the abolition of the guarantees provided that the Greek Cypriot side accepts political equality and the discussion on a rotating Presidency. We all know what Mr. Anastasiades’ position was and is.
2. Worst of all for the Greek Cypriot side, is that at the working dinner that followed, it rejected the initiative taken by Mr. Guterres to table the informal document on the Implementation Mechanism for the solution that would replace the Guarantees. The former Greek Foreign Minister Mr. Kotzias had officially stated that we had rejected this initiative. Why it was rejected is a huge issue. The Chief Negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side Mr. Mavroyiannis himself in September 2017 publicly stated that we rejected it because any acceptance to discuss it would constitute arbitration. Mr. Anastasiades, a few hours later, said from New York said “There was so much tension in the room that there was no possibility of discussing it”. My interpretation is that we simply didn’t want to give an opportunity to reach an agreement. Nobody knows whether we would have indeed have reached an agreement had we discussed it, but we did not even seek to.
3. If the narrative being put forward by Mr. Anastasiades and his supporters about what happened at Crans-Montana is correct, why didn’t the President of the Republic react to the Report submitted the UN Secretary General in September 2017? On that point Mr. Guterres says at the end of paragraph 18 of his Report that, ” Despite differences in their opening positions and public rhetoric, I could see from my in depth engagement with the three guarantors (Note: that is to say, Turkey too) in Crans Montana that they had all come to Switzerland committed to seeking mutually acceptable solutions.” Turkey is relieved of responsibilities, while as far as the Greek Cypriot side is concerned he writes in the Report itself that he concluded that it did not have the political will to go all the way.
So, if Mr. Anastasiades’ narrative is correct and true, why did he permit this Report to become an official document of the UN? My answer is that the narrative/version of events projected by Mr. Anastasiades and his supporters is extremely weak.
4. Finally, if indeed Turkey did not agree to discuss the issue of replacing the guarantees, why did both Foreign Minister Mr. Christodoulides and Chief Negotiator Mr. Mavroyiannis say that we had come so close to the solution? Did they perhaps misunderstand things or acted insanely?
The tragedy for Cyprus is that at the same time as Mr. Anastasiades is trying to build up his image and others trying to uphold their ideological concepts, Morphou was lost, Famagusta is in danger and in the end the whole of Cyprus may possibly be lost.