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Our View: Kotzias is displaying recklessly undiplomatic behaviour

Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias

GREECE’S foreign minister Nikos Kotzias yesterday tweeted the following: “All those officials, who think they are entitled to pressure without being pressured or that their lies must be accepted, are mistaken.” Athens News Agency, which reported the tweet, said Kotzias “photographed, indirectly but clearly, all those who seek to apply pressure on the Cyprus issue,” while “he has a dig at all those in Cyprus that reproduce their positions without putting up resistance, directing accusations at those who offer resistance.”

We do not know whether the agency’s interpretation of the tweet is correct, but we suspect it based it on some explanation it received from a spokesperson of the foreign ministry after asking ‘what was Kotzias talking about?’ We can guess that among “those who offer resistance” is the foreign minister who has a rather heroic view of himself, as he was exposing the liars that were applying pressure. Who were the liars that applied pressure and expected their lies to be accepted? The minister did not enlighten us.

His tweet may have had something to do with a statement issued by Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, who had been asked on Tuesday about Kotzias’ letter in which he made a scathing attack on Espen Barth Eide, accusing him of operation as a “lobbyist for Turkey.” Dujarric said he had not seen the letter but said the UNSG had “full confidence” in Eide who was “doing a very good job.” In other words, the UN did not take Kotzias’ letter seriously, which could be the reason that Antonio Guterres had not deemed it worthy of a reply.

The letter was sent three weeks ago and in it, Kotzias accused Eide of misinforming international officials about the issue of the four freedoms and wondered whether he was acting on instructions – presumably a dig at Guterres. Such recklessly undiplomatic behaviour is incredible, coming from a foreign minister, but it is not the first time Kotzias has displayed it. At January’s conference on Cyprus in Geneva he had infuriated Guterres with his aggressive comments. Subsequently, he had the audacity to claim that he had saved the conference from collapse, although it was clear that he had been solely responsible for its premature end, claiming he was not prepared to negotiate.

The sad thing was that the Cyprus government said it was aware of the Kotzias letter to Guterres, on which it avoided taking a stand. This gave the impression that it endorsed his views about Eide, underlining once again President Anastasiades’ erratic recent behaviour. He must have decided, like the indescribably Kotzias, to resist the pressure to move the peace process forward.

 

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