The second week of the Conference on Cyprus starts on Monday after the catalytic intervention of GS UN Antonio Guterres on Friday in Crans-Montana.
The involved parties, which made unnecessary delays and ambiguous proposals will, on the initiative of Antonio Guterres, have to clarify proposals on the major issues being discussed.
The leaders of the two communities, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiadis and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, will definitely have the first and last word in this process.
However, important roles are also played by the Foreign Ministers of the guarantor countries, Greece’s Nikos Kotzias, Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu, Britain’s Jonathan Allen who is Director of National Security at the Foreign Office – as Allan Duncan and Boris Johnson are in Britain for the completion of the formation of a new government by Theresa May – as well as the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, and GS UN Antonio Guterres.
The first week in Crans-Montana could be described as preparatory, as in terms of organization the Conference on Cyprus had many shortcomings, but it also served as a communication storm for the impressions each side wished to win in these consultations.
As a result, the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side gained in the field of communication with targeted photos and leaks, but the result was essentially determined by the presence of GS Antonio Guterres and the clarity of the proposals, at least the parts of the proposals of the Greek and Greek Cypriot side that were made public.
It is interesting to record the profile of the protagonists through their presence in Crans-Montana, their statements, their moves, their reactions and their participation in the Conference on Cyprus through talks and reports.
Antonio Guterres: With his presence, the GS has for the first time in many years showcased the institutional role of the UN on the international scene. A political personality with rich political experience, good knowledge and emotional approach to the Cyprus issue, acted as a catalyst in a process that looked, at least at the beginning, as stalled, if not failed. He carefully listened to all sides, highlighted the major problems and guided the parties involved to the next step, with the UN assuming the role of the catalyst in the process rather than the protagonist. The difference in the atmosphere was obvious, as diplomatic sources told IBNA, following his departure from the Conference on Cyprus. His return may be necessary in coming days.
The Hasty one
Espen Barth Eide: The Norwegian politician and UN Special Adviser on the Cyprus issue, in the first week of the talks in Crans-Montana appeared to rush his judgements and decisions, while his failures in his public appearances provoked tensions and objections. He appears to have linked his political future to the results of the Cyprus talks and his anxiety seems to pressure him and make him act opportunistically without keeping equal distances for creative dialogue. Weak and disheartened after the visit of GS, he is trying to find his pace, since this will not be the last chance for the Cyprus issue, as he likes to say, but it may be his own political end.
Nikos Anastasiadis: The President of the Republic of Cyprus, despite being pressed by many sides about the way he will negotiate – as the political leaders of the Cypriot Parties are all in Crans-Montana with their own proposals and positions on all issues – realizes, better than ever before, the red lines in the negotiations. Having overcome the explosiveness of his character, he is calmer – although not always – trying to understand and analyze the situation and strategy moves in the conference rooms. Having in mind the upcoming elections in the Republic of Cyprus, he strives to balance between realism and his political future; a difficult venture, however, so far he seems to still be alive at every level.
The Quiet One
Mustafa Akinci: Although in the meantime between Geneva and Crans-Montana, the Turkish Cypriot leader was talkative and critical of Nikos Anastasiades, he appears to be systematically avoiding revealing his hand, despite the persistent efforts of journalists to get him to respond even to a single question. I will speak when the time comes, is his permanent response. According to information from Greek Cypriot sources, the negotiation at this Summit is obviously seems to have been assumed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Mustafa Akinci remains firm and immovable on many issues in the talks, depriving the parties involved of the dialogue progressing. GS Antonio Guterres’s urged community leaders to take a more active role, and this may prove to be a catalyst for a change of strategy by the Turkish Cypriot leader. However, in communication terms, he and his team have so far handled his image well at the Swiss resort.
Mevlut Cavusoglu: The Turkish Foreign Minister, remains the main interlocutor at the Conference on Cyprus, taking over the leading role of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side. Wanting to win over the impressions and take initiative, he has tabled his own proposals, which are characterized by both ambiguity and repetition, according to the Greek Cypriot side. Having his hand well hidden, he tries to elicit thoughts and intentions of the Greek Cypriot side. Via delays he tries to save time and work on proposals that have been tabled in order to get the best result. Mevlut Cavusoglu knows that his post at the Foreign Ministry may be at stake, which is sometime apparent in the way he reacts. The attempt to exploit the explosive character of both Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias and Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis seems to have failed and he appears to be seeking ways to play the dominant role in the negotiations.
The Consensual One
Nikos Kotzias: Compared to the Geneva summit, the Greek Foreign Minister has chosen a different strategy. For the first time he is talkative with journalists and does miss an opportunity to make statements, thus indirectly forming the agenda by perplexing his interlocutors. While he was known for his explosive character, he is now calm, relaxed and optimistic in the face of the difficulties that have arisen so far. There were many times, according to information, where he had to help calm down talks, avoiding tensions and restoring the dialogue on positions and arguments; often frustrating those striving for tensions. Stable in his views, he appeared flexible enough to drag his interlocutors into a more constructive dialogue.
The British: Without the leadership of British diplomacy at the Conference on Cyprus, the country’s position seems weaker than ever, even though it has tried to shape the agenda of the summit behind the scenes before it even began. What is primarily of interest to them is nothing more than the bases they hold in Cyprus. But Brexit, as well as the talks on Gibraltar – that are expected to start in September with increased persistence on the Spanish side – show Britain’s weakness that one could exploit. They have obviously realized this at the Foreign Office and are trying to manage the situation in an uncertain environmnent triggered by the political crisis and May’s alliance to form a government. The new British foreign policy, far from the EU’s shield, may form new balances that can be a catalyst for the Cyprus issue./ΙΒΝΑ