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Mavroyiannis: Turkey never accepted abolition of guarantees
Politis reports that the leaked UN documents, which the paper claims were leaked by President Nicos Anastasiades, show that the GC side and Greece entered the final dinner with a very negative stance which affected the course of the discussion, while Phileleftheros publishes an interview with chief GC negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, who points the finger at Turkey.
In an interview with Phileleftheros, Mavroyiannis states that at Crans-Montana, Turkey insisted on the permanent presence of a number of troops in Cyprus and on the postponement of the discussion on whether to keep guarantees or not for at least 10 years after the implementation of a solution.
Mavroyiannis also said that the GC side and Greece were the only parties to consent to a discussion on the informal document submitted by Guterres on the solution implementation mechanism. He also said that despite being assured before the meeting that the sides were within the bounds of agreeing, during the dinner, once the UNSG attempted to get the parties to begin drafting a strategic agreement draft and mentioned the abolition of guarantees, Cavusoglu reacted and said Turkey does not accept this. This was the misunderstanding between Guterres and Turkey that led to the collapse of the conference, he said.
Mavroyiannis also said that Guterres’ six point framework involved elements that the GC side had to give and elements that it expected to receive, though despite doing the former it received nothing from Turkey.
Politis conducts a new analysis of the leaked UN documents, given that reactions have already been issued by Anastasiades, political parties, and the UNSG’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. The paper writes that what stands out is that all sides stuck to their initial narrative: Anastasiades feels justified for his stance, AKEL insists that we left Crans-Montana exposed because we didn’t stick around to explore every prospect for a solution, DISY’s Averof Neophytou reiterated that the Guterres framework was the best suggestion tabled so far, and the smaller parties stuck to their tendency to solely blame Turkey.
Politis reports that readers of the documents published by both Politis and Phileleftheros could arrive at the following conclusions: Firstly, the UNSG, in his evaluation of the course of negotiations, concluded that the two sides had almost agreed on the issues of political equality, property and territory. Secondly, the differences that remained had mainly to do with the issue of guarantees and troops that were to remain on the island after the solution. The paper writes that it is also clear that the UNSG had a solution to these issues, despite the red lines of each side: Turkey’s was there cannot be ‘zero guarantees zero troops’, while the GC side’s was that troops could not remain on the island in the framework of a long-term timeline.
Third, that Turkey was ready to agree to an abolition of guarantees and to accept a significant reduction of troops, given that internal issues such political equality, territory and property were agreed upon. On the issue of troops, the UNSG had been clear that this was an issue to be discussed at the Prime Ministerial level, in order to decide whether troops would have a set date of departure or a date of renewal of their stay.
Politis reports that the GC side knew Turkey’s red line going into the negotiations, and was also aware of the UNSG’s proposal for a mechanism for the implementation of the solution which would see the abolition of guarantees.
Given the above, Politis reports that when the UNSG opened the floor of the final dinner to comments by the parties, the former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said negotiations did mark progress but requested that they end so that representations can return home and study all documents, a position which saw UK’s Minister of State for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan accuse Kotzias of procrastination, setting off a small quarrel between the two.
Anastasiades then followed, by insisting on what he knew was Turkey’s red line and demanded the immediate abolition of guarantees and withdrawal of Turkish troops, even requesting Turkey’s positions in writing. Anastasiades also cast doubt on the document outlining the UN’s solution implementation mechanism, commenting that it was a mechanism for the continuation of guarantees through the back door.
Politis therefore reports that both Anastasiades and Kotzias initiated the discussion aggressively and negatively, undermining the process sought by the UNSG. The paper writes that it does not point this out believing that Turkey would have accepted the final solution, but in order to show that Greece and the GC side entered the discussion with suspicion, creating issues in the discussion process chosen by the UNSG.
This attitude, which was either naïve or on purpose, Politis reports, justifiably caused reaction from the UNSG, with Anastasiades no longer being in a confrontation with Turkey but with Guterres himself, who sought to clarify that Turkey was ready to scrap guarantees and that the solution implementation mechanism was not was Anastasiades was making it out to be.
Politis asks why Anastasiades did not stick it out to see for himself what Turkey’s intentions truly were, and responds that it is clear that Anastasiades did not even want to go to Crans-Montana, but preferred to see negotiations take place after February 2018, when Presidential elections were set to be held. The paper reports that Anastasiades also believed that he would be risking his own career if a Cyprob solution was found leading to a difficult referendum in the autumn of 2017. Without such a development, he knew he would win the elections with ease due to a lack of serious opponents.
Regarding Anastasiades’ actions after the collapse of the process, the paper reports that Anastasiades lied to the Cypriot people about the former TC leader Mustafa Akinci’s role by saying that he was essentially absent from the negotiations and left Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu to speak for him, though this is proven to be untrue by the UN documents which show Akinci making serious interventions and stressing that he was ready for a solution.
Overall, the paper writes that it is easy for other media outlets, pointing to Phileleftheros specifically, to selectively pick out parts of the minutes and place all the blame on Turkey, but on the other hand it is also clear that Anastasiades and Kotzias did not enter the discussion with a constructive stance, with the discussion to completely deteriorate after the break with Cavusoglu reverting to the position that guarantees would only be abolished after 15 years and Anastasiades taking all his proposals off the table. The paper writes that Guterres was also responsible for his hesitant stance, and for letting the conversation to deteriorate to the point where he had to terminate it.
Regarding Guterres’ report on Crans-Montana, Politis reports that it is what has allowed Turkey to feel free to make the moves it has in the Cyprus problem, and particularly as regards Varosha and the Cyprus EEZ, without substantial criticism from anyone, despite efforts by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and the EU’s encouraging statements regarding possible measures.
The GC side’s irritation with this situation, as well as in view of the delay in the appointment of a UN envoy, has led to the first time ever when a President of the Republic is in a direct confrontation with a UNSG. It is in this light, as well as in view of an upcoming publication by Makarios Droussiotis on Crans-Montana, that Anastasiades moved to leak the documents in order to at least safeguard his ‘patriotic narrative’, Politis reports. This also served to divert the public’s attention from the criticism being lauded against him locally and internationally due to corruption.
>> At Crans-Montana Turkey insisted on the permanent presence of a number of troops in Cyprus & the postponement of the discussion on whether to keep guarantees or not for at least 10 years after the implementation of a solution
>> The GC side and Greece were the only parties to consent to a discussion on the informal document submitted by Guterres on the solution implementation mechanism
>> Misunderstanding between Guterres & Turkey regarding the abolition of guarantees was what led to the collapse of the conference
>> Guterres’ six point framework involved elements that the GC side had to give and elements that it expected to receive, though despite doing the former it received nothing from Turkey