Greece’s Foreign Ministry hit out Monday at the United Nations special envoy for the Cyprus issue, Espen Barth Eide, after taking umbrage at comments by the Norwegian which suggested that Nicosia and Athens had not accepted a proposal by Turkey that would have led to the gradual withdrawal of troops from the island.
“It appears that Mr Eide is making statements as someone who intends to resign from the post of UN mediator in favor of taking up what would apparently be the more satisfactory position of spokesperson for the Turkish government,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Although Eide insisted in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on Saturday that there had been a “collective failure” in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, where the last round of the reunification talks took place, he also suggested there had been a genuine offer from Ankara to discuss a formula for troop withdrawal and an end to guarantees.
Nicosia and Athens indicated that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was not willing to commit to this in writing, prompting the talks’ collapse. Eide, though, suggest otherwise.
“Out of the various bilaterals we saw the possibility of arriving that night at the final total package; a total package with many elements in it, one of which would have been the end of guarantees,” he told CNA.
In its statement, though, Athens suggests that Cavusoglu had not been ready to accept an end to the rights of intervention and the Treaty of Guarantees from the first day of the implementation of any agreement.
“We are anxious to see when he will speak to a Turkish newspaper and explain Turkey’s responsibility for the collapse of the talks,” said the Foreign Ministry.