President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday said that the document prepared by UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide did not reflect what was agreed with the secretary-general in New York on June 4.
The document, referred to as ‘the common document’ was designed to be a starting point for the talks on security and guarantees in Crans-Montana, Switzerland on Wednesday.
However, from the moment it was presented to both sides, there have been issues with its content, particularly from the Greek Cypriot side, which submitted a list of proposed changes to it.
A short statement by the UN spokesman in Cyprus Aleem Siddique to the Cyprus News Agency early on Monday that the Eide document would be ready in time for the start of the conference appeared to irritate someone, and the UN retracted it shortly afterwards.
The UN said it would not be commenting further on it.
This was followed by a statement by Anastasiades saying he was going to Crans-Montana “with full determination and goodwill, ignoring any negative statements by Turkey and the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side to achieve the long-sought solution to the Cyprus problem which would abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees, the intervention rights, but which will provide for a withdrawal of the occupation army”.
But, he added: “I am not willing to accept documents that have been prepared based on the decisions of the meeting of June 4 in New York with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, that provided for the preparation of common document… documents that particularly ignore the fact that the dialogue is Cypriot owned.
“Therefore, as per the agreement with the UN secretary-general, the draft document presented should reflect the positions of all parties and not ignore essential issues for the Greek Cypriot community,” he added.
Anastasiades, who leaves on Tuesday for Switzerland, said the draft document, prepared by Eide did not fulfill what was agreed in New York on June 4, that he did not consider it binding and that any reliance on, or reference to the said document “is unacceptable”.
“I want to make clear that both the positions of the Greek Cypriot side and the positions of the Greek side do not exude negativity, but rather constitute a claim for fair presentation of the parties’ positions,” he said.
“In contrast to what some claim, I repeat that I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Conference on Cyprus and the talks with the sole aim and intention of reaching a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem. I hope that the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side will come with the same determination and will to find a solution that will serve the interests of the Cypriots alone.”
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said earlier on Monday Eide’s document did not represent the positions and views of the two sides and could in no way be considered an agreed common document.
“Currently there is no agreed common document before the two sides,” he told Cybc. “The draft contains ideas and opinions, some of which we have not heard at all in the past. They do not represent positions of the sides. We believe that this document has absolutely no substance and as it stands, it cannot be the basis for discussion on security and guarantees.”
Greece has also taken issue with the document and said on Sunday it had sent on its observations to the UN. At the same time, reports out of Turkey on Sunday said Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side would not give concessions on the issue of guarantees, which the Greek Cypriot side wants abolished altogether.
Christodoulides said he could not go into detail about the Eide document but from what he understands, there are issues coming from all sides as far as it was concerned not only from Nicosia but from Athens and even from the Turkish side. He added that Eide was not a party to the negotiations, but a facilitator.
“We do not know what the comments by the Turkish side are and it would not be correct to speak publicly on their behalf,” he said, adding that he understood “messages were sent” containing their positions on the document.
Little has emerged from the north on the Eide document ahead of Crans-Montana. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci was in Turkey on Saturday where he met President Tayyip Erdogan but no statements were made. Akinci was quoted on Sunday as saying the talks had reached their final stage. Either they would succeed or fail in Switzerland, he said.