Cyprus Issue: How Espen Barth Eide got “uncovered” after Politico’s hit on the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias
On the 12th of January 2017, the conference on the Cyprus Issue at Geneva has concluded without any success.
Three days after, a Politico’s article accused the Greek FM Nikos Kotzias for the derail of talks.
“The Greek FM Nikos Kotzias is to be excluded from future talks regarding the Cyprus reunification talks, after he ‘defected’ and distorted the fragile discussions on Geneva” published Politico on the 15th of January, relying on comments of two officials who followed the talks closely, but whose names were not revealed by the website.
While Politico accused Nikos Kotzias for the disruption of the talks at Geneva, the provocative comments of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the Turkey – Cyprus part Mustafa Akinci, proved that talks failed due to the intransigence of the Turkish side.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that: ”We will always be in Cyprus“, and Mustafa Akinci added: “Turkey is a safety for us”. These statements were made because of the fact that Nikos Kotzias insisted that a timetable for the withdrawal of the 30,000 (thirty thousand) Turkish soldiers from Cyprus had to be established.
The article, which targeted Nikos Kotzias, was signed by Politico’s reporter Sara Stefanini, who as a journalist specializes in climate and energy matters, as she admits on her Twitter profile.
This caused a great fuss among the most observant diplomats.
Due to the complex nature of the Cyprus Issue, it is expected from experienced journalists on diplomatic affairs to cover such stories, and not from ones who have never written about such matters, because questions are raised regarding the latter ones’ independency and credibility of their stories.
Politico’s article also mentioned the rumors about a verbal conflict between the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
Commenting on what Sara Stefanini wrote on Politico, Nikos Kotzias said: “They, who are the voice of their master – meaning the Turks – think it is reasonable to consider it as a success if we surrendered to the Turkish demands in Geneva”.
Nikos Kotzias, criticized the Turkish side for interrupting the talks in Geneva, implying that the Turkish side was facilitated by Espen Barth Eide, the Norwegian diplomat appointed as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary – General on the Cyprus Issue.
“It is remarkable that there are European, Greek and other press publications that adopt the ways of those who canceled the agreement procedure at Geneva. Some think that they can do what they want and then transfer the burden of their acts on those who insist on an agreement” Nikos Kotzias said, commenting on Politico’s article.
During that period, Espen Barth Eide denied that he was the person behind the supposed leak of information to Politico.
Mr. Eide and Politico’s journalist, both keynote speakers on conference about the unification of Cyprus
“Coincidentally”, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary – General on Cyprus Issue and Politico’s reporter Sara Stefanini who both simultaneously got informed by an official – close to the Cyprus Issue talks – that FM Kotzias is the one to blame, will be keynote speakers on the conference on “Strategic & Sustainable Development for a Unified Cyprus”, held by Atlantic Council think tank.
Although It might be difficult to prove that Mr EIde was the one who leaked the negative information against Nikos Kotzias to the Politico’s reporter, all indications suggest that the leak was made by a UN official so as the head of the Greek diplomacy to be incriminated and finally neutralized so he would not be able to continue with the talks.
Scandalous coincidence, don’t you agree?
How impartial is the attitude of a diplomat, who sets up a blame game on one of the sides that take part on tough negotiations?
How unbiased can the mediator of the negotiations be, if he is leaking information against the Greek Minister in order to weaken his position in benefit of the others?
What does Mr Eide’s attitude actually imply about the continuation of the negotiations?