Kotzias Book on Cyprus Blames UN Envoy for Unity Talks Failure

FILE- Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias, left, shakes hands with Espen Barth Eide before their meeting to discuss the progress of Cyprus Peace Talks in Athens, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who took part in the failed Cyprus reunification talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana writes in a book about the problem that the United Nation’s Special Envoy, Norwegian Espen Barth Eide, was mostly at fault.

Eide had tried to broker a deal to bring the two sides together, which has eluded a long line of diplomats after Turkey unlawfully occupied the northern third of the island in a 1974 invasion.

The Swiss talks fell apart after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove an army from the occupied territory and wanted the right to militarily intervene again when they wanted.

That led Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to walk away from the table and was a failure for UN Sectary-General Antonio Guterres, with earlier criticism that Eide had made too-optimistic assessments of a deal.

Kotzias piled on when he said Eide wasn’t prepared enough and had essentially favored Turkey by working to play both sides of the middle against each other in Greece and Cyprus and that the diplomat didn’t fully understand the consequences of changing the current policy of having Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom be guarantors of security on the island.

In his book, Cyprus 2015-2018: Three Years That Changed the Cyprus Problem” in which Kotzias shares unpublished letters he had written to Eide, he took shots at the envoy, according to the news website 24/7 that published a preface.

“In the Cyprus problem negotiations, particularly during the two international conferences, a unique problem had come up: contrary to the UN Secretary General, his special envoy who managed to keep his post from the previous leadership, had not made a contribution to good preparation, but he also failed to appreciate the importance and weight of the issue of guarantees and military occupation to the whole solution of the Cyprus problem.”

Kotzias also wrote that Eide was “forging connections with journalists in Cyprus and even more so in Greece in order to conduct opposition politics on the two government,” adding that he did not do the same in Turkey.

Kotzias said he had recommended replacing the guarantor of security system with a Friendship Pact between Greece and Turkey although the UK, which still has a military base on the island where it was a Colonial rule has a role in that as well.

Kotzias said he couldn’t understand why he was criticized for pushing for the abolition of guarantees when he said that was the real problem. It wasn’t said if he put any blame on himself for the debacle that didn’t change Cyprus.