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Missed chance of Cyprus

The first real chance to solve the Cyprus problem appeared at the Crans-Montana conference, but it was missed because of Turkey's position; At the same time, a new situation and prerequisites for the unification of the island have been created, but the next negotiations should be better prepared, a diplomatic source told reporters in Athens, commenting on the results of the conference in Switzerland.

The diplomat recalled that soon the next anniversary of the invasion of the Turkish troops on the island and the occupation of its northern part. "We can not solve the issue 43 of the year, but when it was first possible to unite Cyprus, Turkey thwarted the conference." Ankara was not ready to decide, "the diplomat stressed.

Now, according to experts, it is unlikely to resume negotiations until the presidential elections in Cyprus, scheduled for February 2018.

История вопроса

Turkish forces on the night of 21 July 1974 year invaded the north of Cyprus and occupied 37% of the country's territory. The pretext for the invasion was an attempted coup in Cyprus 15 July 1974 with the participation of the Greek military.

In justification of the occupation, Turkey refers to international treaties on the granting of independence to Cyprus, which provide for the right of the three guarantor countries of independence, territorial integrity and security (Greece, Turkey and Cyprus) to interfere in the internal affairs of Cyprus and the deployment of small military contingents on the island. The treaties were signed during the collapse of the colonial system - then Cyprus was a British colony, and in the current circumstances many of its articles are considered an anachronism limiting the sovereignty of the country, which is also a member of the European community.

Against the Turkish invasion, the whole international community came forward. The UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions on de-occupation and unification of the island, but Turkey refuses to comply with them and withdraw troops. Cyprus is considered the most militarized area in the world.

So Cyprus de facto remains divided from 1974 year. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognized, was proclaimed in the occupied territories. At the same time, officials, including the leader of the Turkish community Mustafa Akynji, use the passports of the Republic of Cyprus for trips abroad because their own documents are not recognized by the international community.

Negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus are conducted almost from the moment of its division, they were repeatedly interrupted, and resumed in February 2014 year after a two-year break on the initiative of the current President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis.

In December 2016, the Greek Cypriot leaders Anastasiadis and the Turkish Cypriots Akynji agreed to hold an international conference in Switzerland under the auspices of the United Nations. In January 2017, the first conference was held in Mont Pelerane, and in late June and early July the second conference in Crans-Montana. In the second round, the head of the Greek community, the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis, the leader of the Turkish community of Mustafa Akynji, the representatives of Great Britain, Greece and Turkey, as well as the European Union invited to the talks as an observer participated. The special advisor to the UN Secretary General for Cyprus, Espen Bart Eide, was preparing the talks. At the opening of the conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was present. He also announced on the night of 6 on 7 July its failure.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told reporters that the conference was on the verge of collapse three times, but before the last meeting he was very optimistic.

In the failure of the conference and the unwillingness to make concessions, the parties accuse each other.

Greece against Turkey

"Greece was anxious to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, and as a guarantor country, Greece was involved in the solution of the Cyprus issue and made several proposals and initiatives in Crans-Montana, unfortunately, there was no result," the Greek diplomat said.

As stressed in the foreign policy department, Greece participated only in the discussion of those issues that concern it as a guarantor country - security and guarantees, Turkey interfered in all issues and matters of the negotiation process.

"The main thing is the problem of the invasion of Turkish troops, on which there were many resolutions of the UN Security Council, but they remained unfulfilled by Ankara," he said.

Another important, in Greece's opinion, is the theme - an anachronistic system of guarantees.

"Two years have been a great effort to solve the Cyprus problem, and we raised the issue of security and occupation." The chapter "safety and guarantees" was one of the main things in the negotiations .As in Mont Pelerin in January, there was neither objective, Topics of security and guarantees, although they were central to the negotiations, "the diplomatic source said.

According to Greece, there should not be a "military dimension" of the Cyprus problem, all foreign troops must be withdrawn.

"In Crans-Montana, we opened our maps." From the Greek side there were concrete proposals and initiatives on what will happen in Cyprus after the unification of the island. "The main idea is that the united Cyprus does not need guarantors, that somebody has the right to Interference, "the diplomat said.

Another important issue is the mechanism for monitoring compliance with agreements if they are reached, he said.

He said that by the end of the conference an initiative was put forward - "the three prime ministers (Greece, Turkey and Great Britain) will go to New York and discuss problematic issues." However, then this idea was abandoned.

During the conference, Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras held telephone talks with Turkish Prime Ministers Binali Yildirim and Great Britain Teresa May.

The fault for the collapse of the meeting in Crans-Montana lies only in Turkey, the Greek Foreign Ministry is sure. "From the first day of the conference it was clear that Turkey does not want rapprochement of positions, decisions and discussions on the topics of guarantees and security," the source said.

"The essence of Turkey's position is, in a nutshell, to preserve the status quo: it wanted to leave the troops, freeze the regime of guarantees and the right to intervene, and the talks were interrupted," the diplomat said.

He said that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu offered to preserve the right to intervene for 15 years - "and then, if you are good guys, we'll see."

"During the talks, our Minister Kotzias asked:" Why do you still have the right to intervene? "" To use them, "Cavusoglu replied, it was amazing for everyone, and Cavusoglu noticed this by the faces of the participants," the source said.

"When the UN Secretary General proposed to write down, state on paper what can be done, which positions can be brought closer, at that moment Turkey left, saying that it was against the abolition of the right to intervene." There was a moment when the representative of Great Britain said at the table that Turkey bears Responsibility for the disruption of negotiations, "he said. According to him, Turkey stated that for her security issues are above all.

Speaking about the position of other participants, the diplomat noted the position of Britain "we will support everything that you agree."

As for the European Union, he attended the conference as an observer. "For us, the European Union is the best guarantor of the solution of the Cyprus problem," the diplomat said.

Against the preservation of the safeguards mechanism was a high EU representative for foreign policy, Federica Mogerini. "Mogerini said that outside the logic of the European Union, when the EU member state is under the guarantees of another country, and the country is not part of the EU," - quoted the source of her words.

Problems and solutions

At the conference, Greece also offered solutions to specific problems.

"We understand that the Turkish troops can not be withdrawn instantly, this is a process.One of the schemes we proposed was similar to the scheme for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from East Germany.Then the conditions for the deployment of withdrawal troops were determined, the contract was for four years and for a much larger contingent - About 400 thousand troops, a withdrawal schedule was drawn up, "the diplomat said.

According to him, the conclusion should be gradual, gradual, on schedule, but it should not be delayed for many years.

"The discussion was to withdraw the Turkish troops in a year and a half or two, but Turkey says that there will be no withdrawal of troops," he said.

As for the withdrawal of UN peacekeeping troops from Cyprus, it is not discussed - "they will stay, their mandate is extended," the Foreign Ministry stressed. Greece regards as very positive and stabilizing the role of UN peacekeepers.

"We did not hear anything new in the talks, the Turks do not have any confidence in anyone, while there were dozens of UN Security Council resolutions calling for the end of the occupation." The Turks say that "we can not leave some Turkish Cypriots and withdraw troops, they must stay on Island, "the source said.

"Greece needs a solution, but this must be the decision of the Cypriots, they are the main ones at the talks," he concluded.

According to him, it is unacceptable for Turkey to grant four European freedoms to the citizens of Turkey after the unification of the island.

Ankara demands that the citizens of Turkey receive on the island the four main freedoms envisaged for the EU countries - the freedom of movement of persons, the movement of services, institutions (enterprises and the conduct of independent economic activities), capital.

The government of Cyprus and Greece consider this unacceptable, believing that Turkey thus wants to enter the European Union "through the back door", and giving 75 millions of Turkish citizens these four freedoms will lead to demographic changes in Cyprus, the destruction of the Cypriot economy and dramatic changes.

"Turkey arranged an oriental bazaar for the conference - you will give me this, and I'll give you this in return," the negotiator said.

The diplomat also said that disinformation also appeared repeatedly during the conference.

"In the era of fake news, there were many reports that the Greek delegation was allegedly leaving the negotiations and leaving for Athens, that the Cypriots are leaving negotiations." Someone posted a photograph of the helicopter with the allegedly departing Cyprian delegation, "the diplomat said.

According to him, such "fakes" include a photo where the President of Cyprus allegedly bows his head before the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Does Eide leave?

Asked to comment on the reports about the departure of Eide from the post of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, the diplomat replied: "We have no information, which may be known in the near future." Eide is a UN issue. "

The Foreign Ministry also believes that the conference was not properly prepared.

"On the one hand, there was a serious representation (Secretary General of the United Nations) of Guterres, his good role, and on the other hand, there was no appropriate tactical leadership by the special adviser to the talks." If there was better preparation and better management (from Eide), the results would be Others: During the two-day presence of the Secretary General, we saw a serious leadership: Eide's position was not what we expected from the adviser to the UN Secretary General, "the diplomat said.

The possible resignation of Eide was reported by the leader of the Turkish Cypriots Akynji after the failure of the conference.

As political observers note, Eide's resignation can be announced at the end of July in connection with his participation in the parliamentary elections in Norway. According to observers, Eide will be a good lobbyist for the interests of Norway and various companies, but he still needs to go to parliament.

At the same time, observers consider his resignation to be a foregone conclusion: he is a man of the former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Guterres is unlikely to leave him in this position. Guterres has another view of the Cyprus problem and another approach to it.

According to observers, leaving Eide will have a beneficial effect on the negotiations.

The Greek side repeatedly accused Eide of having taken a unilateral pro-Turkish position and demanded further concessions from the Greek Cypriots on the division of power in order to satisfy the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey. Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias, in this regard, announced the unilateral approach of Eide, noting that he did not intervene when Turkey demanded to retain the right to intervene, although UN Secretary General António Guterres considers this to be beyond the established framework of the Cyprus settlement.

Two days before the opening of the conference in Crans-Montana, President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis rejected the general document prepared by Eide. This document was supposed to be the basis for the talks, however, according to Anastasiadis, he ignored the problems of the Greek Cypriot community and did not take into account the decisions taken June 4 in New York at a meeting with Guterres. As a result, Eide decided not to submit a document at the conference.


The source said that the UN Secretary-General 30 June presented the framework for solving the Cyprus problem.

"For the first time, we saw the prospects for a solution: there never was such a thing.NXXX July there was a good opportunity to remove the terms of guarantees and the stay of the troops.The proposals were to return to the terms of the treaty on the independence of Cyprus and reduce the Turkish contingent to 6 people. But the Turks refused, said that "This is very small, this is not enough for us," the diplomat said.

Asked about the possibility of using the UN Security Council mechanisms for the Cyprus settlement, he replied that Turkey does not want a detailed discussion. Greece, on the other hand, believes that, in the case of arrangements, the UN Security Council will have to issue a mandate to monitor their implementation.

When asked about Greece's strategic goal in the Cyprus settlement, the source replied: "Greece's strategy is to find a solution, but do not forget that all this concerns Cyprus." We participate in negotiations on topics that concern us as a guarantor country. Cyprus: Cyprus, the Cypriots must decide, this is the fundamental difference between the point of view of Greece and Turkey. "

"The logic of the decision is that Cyprus must be a single state, a member of the European Union, and all residents should have all the rights of the European Union, naturally, and the Turkish Cypriots." So the parameters are unified Cyprus, without guarantees and without foreign troops, "the diplomat said.

"The next day of negotiations"

Despite the breakdown of the conference, a new situation has arisen in the negotiation process - a rapprochement on a number of important issues has been achieved, the framework and parameters for the settlement have been determined, the parties presented their vision for the future of the Cyprus system, the source said.

"Crane-Montana should also begin new efforts to resolve the conflict, but, according to the UN Secretary General, there must be a better preparation," the diplomat said.

As for the possible terms for the resumption of the talks, the break will last for several months, observers believe.

In February 2018, presidential elections will be held in Cyprus, and it is unlikely that the parties will return to the negotiating table before the formation of the new government of Cyprus and the solution of the first-priority tasks of the new Cabinet.

A source: RIA News

Author: Gennady Melnik

Tags: Cyprus, Politics, Cyprus issue, Northern Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Analytics, UN, Anastassiadis, Akynji, Guterres