UN Envoy Will be Briefed On Cyprus Unity Talks Swiss Collapse

FILE - UN envoy Jane Holl Lute arrives at the presidential palace for a meeting with Cyprus' president Nikos Anastasiades in the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

United Nations envoy Jane Holl Lute, an American diplomat, will get a briefing on the July 4, 2017 meeting at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana where talks to reunify Cyprus fell through, and plans to set up a new framework, Foreign Minister Nicos Christoulides said.

He also said he hoped that President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, whose negotiations broke off when Turkey insisted on keeping an army on the northern third it has unlawfully occupied since a 1974 invasion, would get together.

That would be only to set some guidelines for new talks that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was at the Swiss meeting when it fell apart, has set up in hopes of getting the two sides to sit down again despite four decades of diplomatic failures.

The government insists that a document with the minutes of a meeting that took place on that July 4 morning about clarifications on the Guterres framework was crucial for the Greek-Cypriot side although it seems to have been buried.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC radio, Christodoulides said besides the Greek-Cypriot side at the meeting where clarifications were given by then-UN Envoy Espen Barth Eide, who quit after the debacle, that others involved in the dispute were present, without naming them.

“We are therefore on the right track to let Mrs. Lute be fully informed of everything that was discussed that morning,” Christodoulides said, adding she wants to talk to everyone who was there and not just Guterres.

Lute has already had contacts in the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which still has a military base on the island and is to meet Greece’s Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos. Greece and Turkey are the other guarantors of security for the island.

“She will definitely go to Turkey and we hope that new data come out of these meetings,” he said. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who refuses to recognize Cyprus – a member of the European Union he wants his country to join – also bars its ships and planes and demanded the right to militarily intervene again when he wants.

Former Greek Foreign Minister, Nicos Kotzias, who was on the island for the kick-off of his book on the Cyprus problem, confirmed that the July 4 minutes exist.

“I imagine they have them but do not present them so as not to cause any tension with anyone,” Kotzias told CyBC, adding that the UN won’t reveal them to protect itself if the findings upset anyone after Guterres’ report at the time blamed no one for anything.

Kotzias also urged the government to keep an eye on Lute, as he he said he did with Eide, whom he had accused of siding with the Turkish-Cypriot side and Turkey. “We must never give the impression we make concessions easily,” Kotzias said.

He said he trusted Guterres but Eide, a Norwegian diplomat. “He was lying to us,” Kotzias said, adding that during the talks in Crans-Montana he was presenting his own positions as those of the UN Secretary-General while taking smiling photos with Kotzias.

Kotzias said Guterres is out of the loop now and will rely on Lute and his Special Representative to Cyprus, Canadian diplomat Elisabeth Spehar, to brief him on developments and whether Anastasiades and Akinci will talk again.

Kotzias said after Eide quit to go into politics in Norway and that the envoy wanted Guterres to also fire Spehar because she was his Eide and he had failed to broker a deal or breakthrough.

Kotzias, who Cypriot diplomats had accused of lying over his role in the talks, called on them to reveal how they knew since they weren’t present, the Cyprus Mail said.

“How do they know what took place that night better than us who were there?” he asked.

He said that they either received information from Eide, the Turkish Cypriots or the Turkish side. “Why do they trust them more?” he asked.

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