Akel-backed presidential candidate Stavros Malas on Wednesday accused President Nicos Anastasiades of failing to seize the opportunity for a solution in Crans-Montana, where crucial Cyprus talks collapsed in July.
In an address to his campaign staff attended by media, Malas, asked what he would have done at the dinner in Crans-Montana, said: “I would have taken full advantage of the unique opportunity that was given to us after 57 years since the founding of the Republic of Cyprus for the abolition of guarantees and intervention rights and I would certainly have used the proposal of the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to secure the return of Morphou.”
Malas said if he was elected he would negotiate on the Cyprus issue to reach a fair, viable and operational solution.
“I am not going to fix the Cyprus problem by destroying the Guterres framework and I will not throw away the possibility for the immediate end of the guarantees, the withdrawal of the troops and Morphou’s return,” he added.
He would not “throw such an opportunity into the trash” under the guise of securing a new strategy.
Following the release of the UN secretary-general’s report on Cyprus, the government has stuck to its two-point narrative, first that it had done all it could have to salvage the peace process, and secondly that Turkish intransigence was ultimately to blame for the collapse of the talks in Switzerland.
The report was circulated at the UN as an official document this week. It assigned no blame, but did remark that an “historic opportunity” for a settlement had been missed.
Malas said the report confirmed “that unfortunately we have a conflict with Mr Anastasiades’ narrative”.
He also wondered why Anastasiades has not yet contradicted the contents of the report if the UN chief’s account did not correspond to the reality as laid out by the government.
He said the UN, the EU, Britain had a clear position on ending the guarantees from day one “as recorded by the secretary-general”, and questioned why Anastasiades had not taken advantage of that.
The mechanism for implementing the solution presented at the Crans-Montana dinner did not constitute a new Treaty of Guarantee and gave the guarantor powers only a consultative role, he added.
“The secretary-general clearly adopted positions that were in favour of our side… How did Mr Anastasiades make use of that? Mr Anastasiades chose election considerations and he has not told us how he is now going to deal with the fait acompli that he has created,” Malas said.