Cyprus Mail
Our View

Our View: Anastasiades should not be swayed by possible Greek spanner in works

PRESIDENT Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci must be very close to an agreement on the issue of territory considering that the Mont Pelerin talks that resume on Sunday have been allocated only two days. The main criteria for territorial readjustments have in all probability been agreed and the UN may have already prepared the maps based on these.

This was probably the reason why the Turkish Cypriot side did not object to Anastasiades’ request for a week’s break in order to brief the party leadership and the Greek government. Everything was on track and the setting of a date for a multi-party conference, the final stage of the procedure, would also be decided in Switzerland, once the map is finalised.

The funny thing was that Anastasiades, on his return, did not call the national council meeting, which the rejectionist parties were clamouring for, to discuss the content of the talks with the leaders. He began briefing them individually on Friday, allocating 45 minutes to each one. He will meet the majority on Saturday and then fly to Switzerland, leaving them little time to react, set conditions or make a big public fuss.

In the end, he would have spent more time briefing Greece’s government and party leadership than Cyprus’ and while this may have seemed a clever ploy – none of the Greek Cypriot parties could criticise him for wanting to inform the Greek leadership – it may have gone wrong. A report in yesterday’s Phileleftheros suggested that the Greek government had now set conditions for attending a multi-party conference. It reportedly insisted that it would attend such a meeting only in order to abolish the system of guarantees and arrange the complete withdrawal of Turkish troops.

If the report is correct, Anastasiades would be faced with an awkward situation – Greece ruling out any type of negotiations at the multi-party conference for reaching a compromise on the issue of guarantees and security. How could such a conference take place with Greece setting conditions that are certain to be rejected by the Turkish side? And how could Athens tie Anastasiades’ hands by ruling out any compromise on the issue?

Perhaps this is just grandstanding, but if it is not, Anastasiades would need to do some very serious thinking on how to wriggle his way out of a very difficult spot. He has shown he could handle local opposition to a settlement, but a Greek government not supporting the peace procedure, as it entered its final stage, is a completely different problem. But we should not look too far. For now, all that matters is that the Mont Pelerin talks are concluded successfully and a date set for the multi-party meeting.

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