OP/ED:The Cyprus Issue, Brexit and Gibraltar behind latest attack on Greek Foreign Minister
This is not the first time international media spend their time targeting the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
Let’s not forget the time when the well-known politico.eu, openly and purposefully, with the help and support of the United Nations Special Envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, through Sara Stefanini, tried to pass the failure of the Geneva talks to Nikos Kotzias. An attack which had as its only aim the breakdown of relations between the Greek and the Greek Cypriot side. Something, that in the end of course, was not possible, as it further strengthened the two sides’ relations and exposed Eide irreparably.
Amazingly enough, the same thing happened following the Crans-Montana failed talks where Politico again using the same journalist [a specialist on energy issues?] attacked both the Greek Foreign Ministry and the Republic of Cyprus as those responsible for the ineffectiveness of the talks.
The well-known British practice of “divide and conquer” had no effect this time. The mention of this well-known British practice is not by chance since according to IBNA information the preparation for the Crans Montana talks was done by the British side and the Foreign Office.
Britain’s involvement, apart from being a guarantor on the Cyprus issue, has to do with two other issues of great concern for British diplomacy. Brexit and Gibraltar. Two issues in which both Greece and Cyprus are directly involved since both are EU countries, which Britain should “divide”.
On the part of Britain it would be wise to use the Cyprus issue to try and get close to Greece and Cyprus and thus have two more allies in the countless votes that will take place during the Brexit process. Something that it knows very well will play a major role in the negotiations.
And then somewhere amongst all this there is that infamous Financial Times article. The false and slanderous FT article written by their correspondent in Athens, Kerin Hope not only describes the Greek Foreign Minister as a Stalinist, it also suggests that Nikos Kotzias intervenes in Justice and persecutes the freedom of expression. The reason for the article is the conviction of a top-level magazine for the defamation of Nikos Kotzias.
In previous articles this particular reporter linked the government, especially Nikos Kotzias, with far-right Russian elements and prior to the 2015 referendum she predicted that the savings of Greek citizens would undergo a haircut of up to € 8,000 causing wide spread panic. Yet another article aiming to damage the credibility of the government and the Greek Foreign Ministry.
The British were defeated as far as the Cyprus issue is concerned. They know it very well and they hold Kotzias responsible. He is the one that placed the issue of security guarantees and the withdrawal of occupation troops on the table for the first time. This success may have frightened the British as far as the British bases are concerned. This type of success makes the stay of the British bases in Cyprus in the long run precarious to say the least.
But there are two other issues that Nikos Kotzias will play a direct role in: Brexit and Gibraltar. On Brexit things are fairly well known. However a problem that will be of main concern in the near future will be the issue of the Gibraltar regime.
In April 2017, at the Summit of the Southern countries in Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy raised the issue and even threatened with involvement by the Summit. According to IBNA information, the debate took up most of the first session and in a very strong tone, as Mariano Rajoy wanted a clear position by the leaders of the South for a new regime in Gibraltar. Faced with the impasse that was created, with François Hollande’s intervention, the issue was moved to the Nicosia Summit in October, as Brexit had yet to be placed under consultation.
Knowing that Nikos Kotzias will handle these issues, the efforts from the British side to weaken him are obvious. Although Nikos Kotzias’ entry into the EU political scene were tumultuous, with his refusal to sign the new sanctions against Russia a few days after taking office as Foreign Minister in January 2015, without discussing them, the facts have now changed in his favour.
Nikos Kotzias is no longer the “bad boy of the EU” as he had been characterised at the beginning of his term, but a scholar and analyst, a supporter of International Law, the EU and the Common Foreign Policy, an ally in an energetic and multidimensional Foreign Policy. Time has proven that Nikos Kotzias has been able to change the original image they gave him. He has formed strong alliances within the EU and his participation in the sessions give a new dimension.
“When Nikos speaks, we all look like students and we listen to him with attention because we learn from him”, a prominent EU Foreign Minister told IBNA.