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Our View: Opportunities like Crans-Montana do not come along every day

Former chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis

“WE MUST slowly, slowly, in these weeks until September, manage to create the conditions for the re-activation of the good offices (of the UN) and possibly establish whether there could be another high-level meeting.” This is what Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis said in an interview in Politis on Sunday, answering the question of what were the next steps in the Cyprus problem from now on.

Time was of the essence said Mavroyiannis, adding the “resumption should be soon because everything that was discussed are in danger of being lost.” He concluded: “We must not allow time to be lost and the elections we will have in February and the Turkish Cypriots before us to derail the procedure.”

Mavroyiannis, a seasoned diplomat, usually, makes serious and measured statements, but these comments would suggest he has taken leave of his senses.

Perhaps he has been recruited to the government’s communications strategy and is merely saying things that suit President Anastasiades’ re-election campaign plans in which he will once again position himself as what Alithia newspaper described recently as the ‘solution president’. And when conditions for the re-activation of the good offices fail to materialise by September, which is less than three weeks away, the ‘solution president’ would blame Turkey’s intransigence for the latest setback.

How we would secure this re-activation, the negotiator did not say. The truth is that Anastasiades has gone out of his way to ensure against this happening, leading the orchestrated attacks against UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide, whom he publicly accused of being a liar and a duplicitous facilitator.

Greece’s foreign minister called the Norwegian a “lobbyist for Turkey” who could have worked as “a spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry.” After such treatment of the UN envoy, does Mavroyiannis seriously believe there is a chance in a million of another UN initiative, by September?

It is as if he is living in fantasy-land, warning that time should not be lost and that the elections not be allowed to derail the procedure. What procedure? Eide has closed his office and left. Has Mavroyiannis not realised that the procedure was derailed and terminated in Crans-Montana? Did he think that Eide, the President of European Commission and the Turks were joking when they were warning that Crans-Montana was the last chance for a settlement, and that a couple of months later we would have another high-level meeting?

This is not how things work and being an experienced diplomat Mavroyiannis should know it better than most people. The type of opportunity we had to reach a settlement in Crans-Montana, was a one-off and does not come along every couple of months as our deluded negotiators seems to think.



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