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Mavroyiannis defends release of Crans-Montana minutes

Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis


Detailed minutes during the controversial five-hour dinner of July 6 at the Crans-Montana Conference on Cyprus, which ended in failure, were kept for the Greek Cypriot side by chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and contain the events that unfolded, the diplomat said on Wednesday.

President Nicos Anastasiades announced on Monday that the minutes from the final part of the dinner should be released in order to restore the truth, which he said was distorted by claims by United Nations’ special adviser Espen Barth Eide that Anastasiades may have squandered an opportunity offered unofficially by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Releasing the minutes, Mavroyiannis told state radio, is merely a “reaction to the fact that things we believe are undisputed are being disputed”.

“This isn’t something the president is doing blithely,” the chief negotiator said.

“It’s because his honour and dignity are being questioned.”

Mavroyiannis explained that he was the only one from the Greek Cypriot delegation accompanying President Nicos Anastasiades at the dinner hosted by United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“I kept the minutes, it was just the two of us in the room,” he said.

“I have the bad habit of keeping diligent notes, almost verbatim.”

Each side around the table, he noted, kept its own minutes, but “official minutes” are not kept in the Cyprus-problem peace process.

Mavroyiannis said he was taken aback by the debate over what actually took place during the dinner.

“What was said there is one thing, and what one may interpret what was said as meaning is quite another,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone can dispute what was said during the dinner. Only interpretations of what was said can differ.”

He said the minutes of the entire dinner were perhaps 30 pages, but the government will release only the final third, maybe eight or nine pages.

Anastasiades, Mavroyiannis said, had shown his hand the night before the dinner, which he even discussed during the dinner, but what remained to be seen was not the Greek Cypriot side’s positions, but those of Turkey.

“Following several meetings with the sides, the UNSG said that his reading was that the talks could move forward only through a short agreed text,” he said.

“On guarantees, he said they would be terminated, and that’s where the problem came up. Cavusoglu said ‘I have submitted our views, I did not accept the termination of the Treaty of Guarantee’. He repeated Turkey’s stated position that guarantees be maintained, subject to review after 15 years.”

Mavroyiannis expressed the view that Guterres refrained from assigning blame to any one of the sides “not because he was afraid, but in hopes of salvaging the process” at a later date.

“Despite the regret, exhaustion and despair, we have no choice but to try to keep the process alive,” he said, adding that what may not seem unlikely today could become likely tomorrow.

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