Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides on Saturday urged UN Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide to reflect on his role in the negotiation process that led an inconclusive result at the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana.
The spokesman was responding to comments by Eide in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency that the collapse of the talks earlier in the month in Switzerland was due to a “collective failure”.
Christodoulides reiterated the official position of the government that the reason the Conference yielded no positive result was Turkey’s intransigence, which “cannot be disputed by anyone”.
“It is Turkey’s obsession on the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee, on intervention rights on Cyprus and on Ankara’s position on permanent Turkish military presence on the island that led the talks in Crans-Montana to a dead-end,” Christodoulides said.
He added that Eide’s account on what transpired at the July 6 working dinner in Switzerland that led to the UN announcing the inconclusive end of the Conference on Cyprus, “confirm what the President (Nicos Anastasiades) had publicly pointed out, that Mr Eide, unfortunately, in many cases believed that what was happening was what he wanted to happen, and within this context he downgraded substantive disagreements that arose at the negotiating table”.
Eide said that both he and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was leading the talks, “saw the possibility of arriving that night at the final total package; a total package with many elements in it, one of which would have been the end of guarantees”.
He said things were moving towards a situation of no guarantees. “We could have done it that night. That’s clear,” Eide said in the interview.
Hitting back at Eide, who said that all sides should stop engaging in a blame game and reflect on how to proceed, Christodoulides said: “Just as for us this is a time for reflection, evaluation and regrouping, it would be right and reasonable for this to be the time for self-criticism for Mr Eide too, who has played a role, has contributed to creating expectations and concurred to the preparation or the lack of sufficient preparation of the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem.”
Eide had said in his interview that if someone was unprepared, maybe it was the people who were in charge (the two sides) and not the people that were just helping them.
Christodoulides welcomed however that Eide “adopted” Nicosia and Athens’ position that there cannot be a settlement solution on the Cyprus issue that would provide for guarantees and intervention rights by a third country on the island.