President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday came under heavy fire from opposition parties for not disclosing a document submitted by United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on the final night of July’s international Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, which outlined a proposed arrangement for the implementation of a solution to the Cyprus problem.
The existence of the working document, submitted by Guterres at the notorious five-hour dinner of July 6 that ended with the UN chief declaring the collapse of the conference, was revealed by Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias on Monday after a 15-minute tete-a-tete with Guterres in New York.
Kotzias said the Greek and Greek Cypriot side should work to “preserve the gains” from the document.
Later on Monday, Greek Cypriot chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis acknowledged the existence of the document and explained that it stipulated the replacement of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee and the intervention rights of Cyprus’ guarantor powers with a UN-enforced mechanism for the implementation of a solution.
But the document, Mavroyiannis said, was never discussed at length – besides a few brief comments – due to the increasingly heated discussion over guarantees, intervention rights and troop levels.
According to the Greek Cypriot negotiator, Turkey did not accept the document as it ignored its major demand of having the guarantor powers involved in an executive role in the monitoring of implementation of a solution.
From New York on Tuesday, Anastasiades also said the document was not discussed because of the “intense dialogue on guarantees, intervention rights and troop levels”.
“There was brief, superficial discussion [of the document],” Anastasiades said.
But despite two National Council sessions since the Switzerland talks, opposition parties lambasted the fact that they were never informed of the existence of the document, which main opposition Akel claimed was a superb opportunity to abolish the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.
“We were greatly surprised when we learned of the existence of this document,” Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said.
“It abolishes guarantor and intervention rights from Day One [after a solution], and leaves the guarantor powers with no executive role in the implementation of a solution. If this was, indeed, submitted, we should have jumped at the opportunity to discuss any clauses we might have not liked.”
Akel-backed presidential candidate Stavros Malas was even more critical.
“Are these things serious?” he wondered.
“We are being told that we didn’t discuss a document submitted by the UN secretary-general because the discussion at the time had been heated. This was a golden opportunity to call for Turkey to position itself on the issues raised by the document.”
Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, also a presidential candidate, also claimed opposition parties were not informed of this document, but pointed out that Turkey rejected it anyway.
“Turkey refused to discuss it; it wanted to talk about troops and guarantees first,” he said.
“But if the document does not include guarantees, intervention rights and troops, of course we are willing to discuss it.”
Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos and Disy leader Averof Neophytou dismissed the claims that the president did not inform the parties of the document’s contents.
“Anyone in the political arena who claims to have been unaware is not telling the truth,” Papadopoulos charged.
“The president briefed [the National Council] exhaustively on July 10.”
According to Papadopoulos, the document is a single page on the implementation and monitoring of the provisions of a solution.
“It was submitted by the UN secretary-general at a time when discussion had been intense on the issues of abolishing guarantor and intervention rights, as well as Turkey’s insistence that troops remain stationed in Cyprus forever,” the deputy spokesman said.
“And since there was a wall of intransigence on these issues, there was not sufficient time to discuss the issue of implementing a solution.”
Neophytou said the National Council was informed of the existence and contents of the document on three separate occasions.
“The president even read out extracts from the document,” he said.
“I, too, like the Greek Foreign Minister, believe the gains from it must be preserved.”