Espen Barth Eide “a red rag” to Greeks and Greek Cypriots

Espen Barth Eide “a red rag” to Greeks and Greek Cypriots

Reports of the “dark” role the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has in the Cyprus Talks are increasing. The Norwegian politician, who served as Norwegian Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs in the current NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s government, has prompted reactions to his attitude during the dialogue process for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

According to diplomatic sources from the Greek side, Espen Barth Eide orchestrated an attack against Greek FM Nikos Kotzias, through Politico and some Cypriot media who are open to his position, that he was responsible for the collapse of the talks in Geneva and that a request was sent to Alexis Tsipras to withdraw him from the negotiations.

According to IBNA information, Nikos Kotzias, during a nearly three and a half hours meeting with the UN Special Envoy in Athens, used a strict tone to draw his attention to his handling of the Cyprus problem, announcing that he would not tolerate similar behaviour in the future.

In an interview with RealNews newspaper on Sunday, the Greek Foreign Minister on Espen Barth Eide’s role stated, “Eide argues that a kind of 4 freedoms can also be realized for the Turks in Cyprus. To prove it, he cited a series of misguided examples, such as Russia’s agreement with Kaliningrad. The agreement, in fact, concerns the possibility of the transit of Russians, to move between the main territories of Russia and the Russian Kaliningrad. Of course, Cyprus has nothing to do with such a case, because it is neither a transit zone for Turkey nor its territory. Here disagreements are mixed up to justify misguided requests from the other side. And, in fact, he is trying to rationalize these misguided demands on the EU leadership. But that is not his job. Finally, let me express my doubt, politely, some, in order to justify him, are consciously falsely saying that we have “come close to a solution”.

But the attitude of the Norwegian politician has also irritated the Greek Cypriot side, which was expressed by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis.

In a statement to reporters, on the sidelines of a charity basketball match at the Lefkothea stadium, the President of the Republic invited to comment on recent statements by Mr Eide said that “I am particularly saddened by the fact that the SG’s Special Advisor without first and foremost hearing or passing positions, tends to adopt positions that are expressed only by one side. We have repeatedly said that it is Cypriot property (the dialogue), that we do not want arbitration, that was the agreement, that we do not want timetables. And I am constantly listening to this danger that can arise if prolonged. I want my friend Eide to realise something, that with statements or intimidation results with an opposite affect are achieved. The less is said, especially on his side, the better. He should have learned from his predecessors, at least, that they have created major problems in either community, that he needs to pay special attention.

The Cyprus problem is a sensitive subject. And I cannot imagine that references should be made to the urgency of this issue when we have a two-month interruption in the talks for a simple reference – I shouldn’t just say a simple reference – to a historical event. Mr. Eide is trying not to see the threats against the Republic of Cyprus and the climate of mistrust created by various NAVTEX and the presence of the Barbaros. He does not appreciate the fact that my representing the Greek Cypriot community I have not left not because of the reference to historical events but due to a real threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.

And I am even more disappointed with the admission or misunderstanding of presidential elections – the presidential elections are in February 2018 and I have not shown that I am concerned about when the elections will be held. But I am not ignoring the timetable and the rush for some other elections to be held in September and more specifically in Norway. ”

Asked if what he predicted would be included in the letter to be sent to the UN Secretary-General, President Anastasiades said that “I do not intend to go up against him, nor do I want this to be treated as a personal dispute with the Special Advisor, but repeatedly I have warned him that he should be careful about any statements made because they cause distrust or give the impression that he adopts one side’s positions against the other’s.

What the Secretary General should know is that there are talks taking place under threats and this is unthinkable, it is a violation of international law, and his Special Adviser is unfortunately dealing with some meetings that have to provide a new date for a multilateral summit in Geneva. And I want to make it clear that I am not against the multilateral summit because Turkey will be at the multilateral and it has to answer as to what needs to be done with the issue of guarantees, the withdrawal of occupation troops, and so on. He is rushing as he has in the past. And I warned him that the only thing we will achieve is disappointment for Cypriot Hellenism since  we always raise expectations and in the end we are exposed to the intransigence of positions that do not allow us to move on to what we desire”.

It is worth noting that during the visit and participation of Alexis Tsipras in the One Belt One Road Summit  in Beijing, according to IBNA information, a meting will be held between the Greek Prime Minister and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the presence of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias./IBNA