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Akel accuses government of selectively leaking documents

The reunification talks in Crans Montana

Main opposition Akel on Tuesday accused the government of selectively leaking documents about the failed talks in Crans-Montana in July 2017 rather than provide answers about what really happened.

The latest volley is part of an ongoing spat between the government and Akel, which has repeatedly accused President Nicos Anastasiades of lying about what happened at the final dinner in Crans-Montana on July 6, 2017.

The spat followed publication over the past two weeks of ‘fly-on-the-wall’ accounts by journalist Makarios Drousiotis, published in the Sunday Mail and in Politis, which laid down a blow-by-blow account of the fated dinner.

Drousiotis said the issue of guarantees dominated the dinner given by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the night of July 6, attended by the three guarantor powers, the two communities of Cyprus and the EU as an observer.

“Opening the debate on guarantees, Guterres said the Treaty of Guarantee and the right of unilateral intervention were not viable. He also informed those present that Turkey had handed him an informal document in which she proposed replacing the Treaty of Guarantee with a new Implementation Treaty for a settlement. Instead of a new treaty, Guterres adopted in principle the Greek side’s proposal for creating a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the settlement. The UN prepared a draft document for this mechanism,” it said.

“Guterres asked Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu – in everyone’s presence – whether Turkey would accept the immediate abolition of the Treaty of Guarantee if there was a reliable monitoring mechanism in place. Cavusoglu replied that Turkey was open to dialogue and would be flexible, but it would depend on progress being made on the other four open issues.”

Akel spokesman Stefanos Stefanou on Tuesday responded to an article in Phileleftheros earlier in the day, accompanied by a scanned document purportedly of Turkey’s positions on guarantees, which the paper said Ankara presented during the final week of the Swiss negotiations.

The document suggested Turkey had no intention of immediately withdrawing its guarantor status or pulling its troops out of Cyprus and signalled that Ankara would not accept a review of either, until the end of a third rotating presidency under a federation.

However, it appears the document was submitted prior to the July 6 dinner where major discussions were held and where insiders have said repeatedly that Turkey was willing to discuss scrapping the guarantees and its right of intervention, even though last week, Ankara denied this, which gave more ammunition to the government’s narrative.

Stefanou, referring to the leaked document said rather than provide real answers, the government had chosen “a selective and targeted leak of negotiating documents”.

“Obviously they are not worried about the credibility of our side by such actions,” he said.

“The document outlines Turkey’s starting positions on security and guarantees. But there is no answer to the leak about what happened afterwards. What the government is not responding to is, how did the UN Secretary-General in his September 2017 report come to speak of the commitment of all the guarantors – that is to say Turkey – to find mutually acceptable solutions to security and guarantees?” he added. He also questioned why the government did not subsequently contest Guterres’ report or take action to remove anything they considered unfounded therein.

On Monday the government hit out at Akel and at Drousiotis. Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios said Akel was “always claiming the same untrue story, that Turkey was ready to leave. Akel relies on a similar narrative by columnist Makarios Drousiotis, who at the essential time of the Cyprus Conference in Crans-Montana was not present at the talks nor was he an adviser to the president.”

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