Kasoulides – Kotzias discuss the next day on the Cyprus issue

Kasoulides – Kotzias discuss the next day on the Cyprus issue

In Crans Montana, the President of the Republic and the Greek Foreign Minister gave the battle at a field that has never been given again, that is to say, the guarantees, invasive rights and security, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said today.

At a press conference after a working lunch with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias, Mr Kasoulides said that “not many words are needed to summarize the essence of the matter, that it was a battle for the Cyprus issue in Crans Montana, hand in hand with Greece. President Anastasiades and Nikos Kotzias have even fought the battlefield at a field that has never been given again: in the field of warranties, invasive rights and security. ”

As the Foreign Minister added, and repeating words of the Secretary General of the United Nations, “a solution was not reached because the elements were missing that Cyprus has the right to a normal state – these are not my own words, but the UN SG’s – has the right not to include warranties and invasive rights in any agreement because it is non-sustainable – not words of my own, but words of the UN Secretary-General himself – and therefore, from what I understand, this is where the next battles will be given, if the international community wants, first, to convince Turkey to accept, and if the Turkish Cypriots prefer a Cyprus settlement, than to become complete puppet of Turkey”.

For his part, the Greek Foreign Minister, after mentioning that he had the honour to be invited by the President of the Republic to attend the National Council, reminded a previous invitation to Mr Kasoulides for his participation in a special council of the Greek National Foreign Affairs Council, concerning the Cyprus issue, in which the Cypriot Foreign Minister was the rapporteur for that day’s debate.

Referring to the discussions in Crans Montana, Mr Kotzias expressed confidence that the negotiations on the Cyprus problem and the way they worked together in quite a positive way, with the Cypriot government, and above all with President Anastasiades, brought the two countries and the two peoples even closer. “Because they are two peoples who share common values, common principles, great common history and culture for thousands of years”, he said.

Regarding his participation in the current National Council, the Greek Foreign Minister said: “I listened closely to the presidents of the parties, the former Presidents of the Republic, as well as the President of the Republic himself. I told and narrated, in a way, the experience I gained in Crans Montana. What we saw and how we saw it. There, we saw a Turkey that played with words, but when the moment for a decision came it showed that it had no mood or perhaps was not yet ready for a solution.

There, we made a great conquest, we managed and raised the issue of guarantees and security on the agenda of the Cyprus problem and there is no doubt that in any future negotiations, it is the issue that this negotiation should start with”.

Referring also to today’s meeting with Mr Kasoulides and the two countries’ delegations, Mr Kotzias noted that views were exchanged on how to further intensify relations between the two states, what will be the next steps they want to be taken – in the Issues concerning Greece – for the future solution of the Cyprus issue, how they should be treated and how to use the possibilities offered by the European Union, how to deal with the Customs Union that comes in the next few months on the negotiations table, while many other aspects of the cooperation between Cyprus and Greece were also discussed.

In a journalist’s observation that the term “normal state” was worded by the Greek Foreign Minister first and was then reiterated by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kotzias said: “I find it a great honour for the formulations that I use every day, when I make them for certain big problems, to be adopted by important personalities and gaining momentum. Ideas are not to be kept for ourselves, they are to be transported.

And let me take the opportunity to explain this. We went to a negotiation that everyone started saying 1, 2, 3, 4, 18, 48 and I said, ok, in order to judge 1, 2, 4, 48, 18, we should say what the goal of this Conference is. And I asked them the simple question: Is it our common goal that Cyprus should be a normal state? That is, a state, independent, with territorial integrity and full sovereignty? And if we agree to that – no one dared to disagree – to discuss the way we will reach it and, in our opinion and the opinion of the Republic of Cyprus, this way  is for Cyprus to be released from the two treaties of Zurich-London 1959-60, the Treaty of Guarantees and the Treaty of Alliance”.

Asked whether Turkey could show a constructive attitude towards the Cyprus issue, taking into account the presidential elections in the country in 2019, the Kurdish issue and the Syrian issue, Mr Kotzias replied that “these are causes/counter-disincentives for Turkey, but there are incentives as well. The incentives are its relationship to the western world, the EU tools at the moment, the Customs Union, the international environment in which Turkey is not as victorious as it hoped – we see it in Syria, where we have an relatively easy disorientation of its military units – the ‘undefeated’ Turkish army does not have such an easy course, there are too many internal contradictions in Turkey that can, when they manifest, force it to take a different path and there is also an international environment, on which we have to work in order to be forced to obey, in a good way, creatively, within the international law”.

Asked whether the result in Crans Montana could release another process on the Cyprus issue that would serve Turkey more, Mr Kotzias said that “there is a big question whether Turkey has led negotiations to this – inglorious I would say – end, having in mind to play with other things. But, it is not the negotiation in Montana that has brought to mind “alternative” solutions, our job is to prevent it from playing with a, b, c, d solutions and being forced to take into account the international law.

The second, my sense of Geneva 1, was that many international actors – and not just Turkey – believed or thought that what we were saying about guarantees, the abolition of the guarantee status, the Treaty and the ‘invasive rights’ of Turkey, and The retention of troops on the body of Cyprus, that we said these about the show, and that we would surrender when we entered the negotiations. Turkey found out that not only did we not surrender to these issues, but were tabled and will be involved in any future negotiation first.

My personal opinion is that its (Turkey’s) references to plans b, c, d, etc are part of the negotiation for the solution of the Cyprus problem in the way it understands and wants.

I want to make a clarification because here, in Cyprus, I heard a lot about the choices of the Greek government and my personal ones: Negotiation for the solution of the Cyprus problem is not just the ten days in Montagna or the two days in Geneva. Everyday statements, daily pressures, the alternatives that are being processed, the way one convinces his own society or trying to influence the opposite society, the way one tries to limit some players or not allow them be left rampart to serve third Interests, are all elements of negotiation. These things are not separate to the negotiation process. That is why we are talking today about public diplomacy, civil diplomacy, all of these elements are part of the negotiation, its core is the negotiation itself. Therefore, when reading the Turkish statements, take this into consideration. It negotiates its position and tries to avoid the responsibilities that are attributed to it”.

Invited to state the assessment of whether any new initiative will emerge in the near future, the Greek Foreign Minister said: “We must work to give a new opportunity to negotiate a solution to the Cyprus problem, but this new opportunity must be well prepared and effective. I attribute to Eide, among other things, that he was unprepared and had not allowed the necessary preparation at the conference in Switzerland”.

Asked whether a message can be given to the people regarding the energy policy, Mr Kasoulides said: “My message is that the challenges, however annoying they might be, are manageable”.

For his part, Mr Kotzias said that “Turkey is a country that has difficulty adapting to international law. The Foreign Ministers’ job is to help it understand its obligations”./IBNA

Photo: pio.gov.cy