IT WAS extremely difficult to understand why Phil made such a big fuss about publishing the minutes of meetings held in Crans Montana four and half years ago.
From the unrestrained, self-congratulatory marketing of the scoop, you would have thought it had made ground-breaking discoveries after months of in-depth journalistic investigations that would shed light on what had happened in the summer of 2017 in the Swiss resort.
The reality is that no investigation was needed as the minutes it published were given to the paper by someone at the foreign ministry or the presidential palace, where copies were held. As for the revelation that the talks collapsed because of Turkish intransigence, we had all heard it before, at least a ten thousand times in the last four-and-half-years.
This was the only reason for the collapse, repeated ad nauseam by Prez Nik and the media, and accepted by the overwhelming majority of the population, who know their prez always tells the truth. Did Phil need to provide extra evidence when we had Nik’s word about events?
The scoop, especially last Sunday’s instalment, which also featured a mistake in the Greek translation, offered Prez Nik an opportunity to gloat. He had “repeatedly spoken about the reality,” he said and the minutes offered “the real events and not the myths and narratives spread by a UN official to all those willing to listen to him.”
The myth-spreader was Espen Barth Eide, who had been declared a liar by Nik after the conference.
THE TRANSLATION mix-up was the following: The English minutes said: “Mr Cavusoglu stated the Turkish Prime Minister had been ready to attend the conference, however Mr Kotzias had convinced the Greek Prime Minister not to come, which was also the reason the British Prime Minister did not want to attend.” Phil’s translation said Cavusoglu said “the Turkish Prime Minister was ready to come to the conference, however, convinced the Greek Prime Minister not to come, which was….” It was probably a mistake by Google Translate.
THERE WAS no presidential gloating after Friday’s publication of the minutes of a meeting Nik and his entourage had with the UNSG before the last supper as these exposed either total cluelessness on how to negotiate or his determination to see the collapse of the talks.
At this meeting, according to the minutes, UNSG Antionio Guterres “informed that Turkey presented him with a confidential paper, based on which Guterres was of the view there was an opening on the issue of security and guarantees. Turkey indicated its intention to abolish the 1960 Treaty of Guarantees and end unilateral rights of intervention. It would be replaced by an implementation and monitoring mechanism.”
There was more. Guterres “confirmed once again that Turkey would be willing to have an immediate and significant reduction of its troops. A review of its troops would not be today but it could happen later.”
Nik turned into a Tassos at the meeting, adopting a totally negative approach, even rejecting the abolition of guarantees and intervention rights. “He said that he would never accept a half agreement, an agreement that dealt only with guarantees, unilateral rights of intervention but nothing about the troops. He demanded the complete withdrawal of troops on day one.”
If, as Nik said, the minutes gave the real events, the myths and narratives spread by the UN official were probably true.
IN THE END, the leak of the Crans Montana meetings’ minutes proved a bit of an embarrassment for the hardline Phil and Nik. They did not prove the collapse of the conference was the result of Turkish intransigence, as Phil had assured readers they would, but worse still, they proved that Nik’s sole objective was to avoid any agreement.
In Friday’s report about the meeting at which Nik rejected the abolition of guarantees and unilateral right of intervention, Phil wrote: “The UNSG, during the meeting was trying to convince the Greek Cypriot side that there had been a Turkish shift on the issue of guarantees and unilateral right of intervention.”
The reason Phil implied Guterres was being dishonest was because in the previous meetings he had with Cavusoglu “no such picture emerged,” claiming “Cavusoglu said one thing to Guterres who said a different thing to Anastasiades.” The offer, as Guterres said, was in a ‘confidential paper’ the Turks gave him. The paper may have been delivered after the meeting.
As for Nik, the gloating was over on Friday. Asked by a hack, during a visit to Limassol whether he felt the Crans Montana minutes vindicated him, he said “I do not want to comment.” What was he going to say, ‘I rejected the abolition of guarantees and the withdrawal of a big number of occupation troops because of Turkish intransigence’?
WE CAN probably rule out the presidential palace as the source of the leak. If it were, it would not have given the minutes of the meeting with Guterres as these undermined all the myths and narratives he had been spreading for the last four-and-half years.
It had to be the foreign ministry, as the minutes do not reflect badly on the closet candidate, but this still does not answer the question of why he had leaked the documents. Did he want to embarrass his boss for asking him to come clean about his covert presidential campaign?
Doubtful, considering the calculating and scheming Paphite would have nothing to gain by angering Nik. Perhaps Phil obtained the documents from the Turkish Cypriot side which also had copies. The mystery remains.
A BIT of tension has developed between the two Nicoses over the presidential elections. Nik has asked his foreign minister to make clear his intentions and demanded that he issues a public statement about the matter.
The first statement Christodoulides produced was deemed unsatisfactory by the Prez as it was shrouded in vagueness. In fairness, talking a lot and saying nothing is Christodoulides’ style, but Nik demanded a clear statement. He has yet to deliver one, having missed three deadlines set by the Prez so far.
Nik would probably never have brought up the matter if he had not been under pressure from the Disy chief Averof, who is fed up of having to deal with the rogue Disy candidate exploiting his position for continuous media exposure. The God-fearing Paphite is in a bit of spot because Nik wants him to state that he would seek to be a presidential candidate through the Disy procedures, which he has no chance of winning.
Phil carried a big article about the matter on Saturday, which increased the pressure on Christodoulides to come clean.
STAYING on the issue of presidential candidates, it is increasingly looking like the 2023 election will have as many runners as the Grand National. I exaggerate, as many will fall at the first hurdle but there is an abundance of people expressing an interest in addition to the two that are almost certain to stand – lawyers Achilleas Demetriades and Marios Eliades.
On Friday another lawyer’s name, Giorgos Colocassides, was brought up as a potential candidate of the inbetweeners – the extremist parties of the centre, Diko, Edek and Dipa. Colocassides, a Diko member who left politics a while ago, failed to get elected as a Diko deputy so it is highly unlikely he would pose much of a threat to his fellow runners if he decides to join the race.
ON TUESDAY former foreign minister Erato Kozakou Markoulli also expressed an interest in standing when she was asked about the elections on a radio show. She was seriously considering it because she felt something had to be done about the Cyprob as we could not leave it looming for our children.
She had been receiving supportive messages and was being urged to consider standing, she told the radio show. Kozakou Markoulli pointed out that she would not be standing as an independent as candidates without party backing have no chance of being elected. In other words, she would be seeking the backing of Akel, which is being courted by half a dozen potential candidates.
Apart from the above-mentioned lawyers and Erato, there are also Pamborides and Mavroyiannis waiting in the wings, and don’t be surprised if Christodoulides falls out with Disy and turns to the commies as well. The central committee should seriously consider inviting tenders for Akel’s election support. It could back the person with the most sensible position on the Cyprob, or the highest bidder. Lawyers have a lot of moollah.
WITH the number of Covid cases rising, I fear that the police state will make a comeback in the next week or two. Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas is meeting the members of the scientific dream team on Monday to discuss what measures should be taken.
Greece, which we always copy, announced new restrictions on Thursday, banning the unvaccinated from all indoor spaces such as restaurants, cinemas, gyms and museums even if they test negative. The unvaccinated are being treated as outcasts in many EU countries, which have had no qualms about restricting their movements, so it will not be long before Kyproulla does the same. Of course, to enforce such a measure would mean having cops stopping us in the middle of the street demanding to see our SafePass.
Wouldn’t it be better just to detain all the unvaccinated and jab them by force? It would be a violation of their rights but so is preventing them from entering indoor spaces and the former would be more effective in bringing the number of cases under control. Alternatively we can create big concentration camps and put them all in there until Covid disappears.