THE government has been forced to fight a “communications war” when it comes to the resumption of Cyprus talks, spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told overseas Cypriots at the wrap-up of their annual conference in Nicosia on Friday.
A “systematic effort” was undertaken, which aimed at distorting the Guterres framework as the basis for a resumption of talks, the spokesman said a day ahead of the arrival of the UN chief’s envoy Jane Holl Lute to meet the two leaders.
“The communications war we have to fight is unfortunately on two fronts,” Prodromou said during his address, adding that in addition to the comments being put out by the Turkish side, there were also those in Cyprus who had also criticised the President “for their own political reasons”.
He then went into details of the last days during the Crans-Montana talks in Switzerland in July 2017 that ultimately collapsed. Prodromou said much of what had happened then had been distorted.
Referring to Lute’s arrival on Saturday and her separate meetings with the leaders on Sunday and Monday, Prodromou said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had asked for terms of reference under which to resume talks, “that is to say for an agreement to take place before hand on what we seek and how we seek it.”
“What happened in Crans-Montana when Turkey was supposedly ready to discuss the matter of guarantees and withdrawal of the Turkish occupying army but never did, should not be repeated,” he added. “The Secretary-General, justifiably, wants things to be clearer.”
The government has said the Greek Cypriot side’s aim is to agree on terms of reference that would pave the way for the resumption of talks from where they left of in Switzerland.
The two leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, are scheduled to meet Jane Holl Lute on Sunday though it has not been ruled out that she would see them again on Monday before her departure from Cyprus.
Anastasiades will then hold a national council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the meetings with Lute with the political parties.
Lute has been in touch with the two leaders and the island’s guarantor powers in a bid to strike a deal on the terms of reference.
The two leaders are expected to travel to New York in September where they will hold separate meetings with UNSG Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
It was not immediately clear if they would hold a joint meeting with Guterres.