Consultations on the Cyprus Issue intensify

Consultations on the Cyprus Issue intensify

In the past few days processes, meetings and consultations on the Cyprus issue have intensified following Antonio Guterres’ announcement that the talks will continue in Crans-Montana Switzerland, on 28 June.

A precondition for the continuation of the talks is the agreement between the three guarantor powers of Greece, Turkey and Great Britain in the text expected to be presented by the UN Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide after his meeting with all parties involved.

On Tuesday, a Norwegian diplomat will visit Athens to meet with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias as part of his contacts on the Crans Montana’s proceedings.

On Monday, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, will meet in Luxembourg with his British counterpart Boris Johnson to discuss the Crans-Montana process and the convergence points of Eide’s letter. There may also be a discussion concerning the allocation of British bases in the Republic of Cyprus, as declared during the Annan plan.

On Monday, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will also visit Greece as agreed in Beijing during a meeting between Alexis Tsipras and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a bid to intensify the efforts of co-operation between the two countries which were thrown to the sidelines following the failed coup d’état in July 16 in Turkey. Beyond the bilateral talks, the Cyprus issue will also be a major issue.

However beyond contacts made in the context of the continuing Cyprus talks, there are plenty of behind the scenes contacts as well, with the British being much more active than any other time. The visit to Ankara by the British High Commissioner in Cyprus, Matthew Kidd, as published in the press, is no coincidence. He reportedly discussed the issue of security at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Nor is it a coincidence, according to information leaked to the press,  of the creation of a group of British diplomats who will take over the management of the Cyprus problem in cooperation with the Eide Group.

On the sidelines of the tripartite Cyprus, Greece, Israel meeting in Thessaloniki, Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades and Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, where they discussed the parameters of the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and the continuation of the talks in Switzerland. What concerns the two sides is the process to be followed in Crans-Montana as there is fear of a targeted involvement of the process on the question of guarantees and security.

While everyone is waiting for Espen Barth Eide’s text, contacts between all parties involved continue as there is a bilateral meeting in Brussels between Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the sidelines of the EU summit. Perhaps the two leaders will find an opportunity to discuss the Eide text and form a common line in the talks.

During his Brussels trip Nikos Anastasiades will also be in contact with the British Prime Minister Theresa May as well as with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

The thorns in this new process are, on the one hand, the convergence of the British and the Eide Group, the attempt to create a timetable with an expiry date and on the other the beginning of the Total explorations in the Cyprus EEZ in mid-July.

Intentions by all sides will be made clear in the next few days. Do they really want a solution to the Cyprus problem or is it a plan in favor of specific parties involved in the talks, dominated by energy? Matthew Kidd stated that Anastasiades and Akinji see that  the energy issue creates a new impetus for a compromise, because a situation will prevail that will be of benefit for both sides./ΙΒΝΑ