Trilateral in Paris

Trilateral in Paris

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invited the Turkish and Greek Cypriot presidents in letters sent last Friday to a trilateral summit in Paris in November. According to initial reports, the two leaders have tentatively agreed to attend. Again, according to sources with insight on Cyprus diplomacy, with the participation of Turkey, Greece and Britain, the three guarantor powers, Guterres has suggested holding an “unofficial” +5U.N. conference at some time in December to help outline and finalize reference points for the resumption of talks and an outline for a future federal resolution.

The suggested trilateral meeting Nov. 12-13 in Paris might be a good occasion for wining and dining, at least, shopping ahead of Christmas, but will it yield a resolution of the Cyprus problem? The United Nations must have huge funds to be exhausted liberally for Cyprus diplomacy as insisting on something that has proven to be a failure, not once or twice but repeatedly since 1977, cannot be otherwise possible. As Einstein is often quoted as saying, insanity must be doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Jane Holl Lute, the special envoy of the U.N. secretary-general will soon make yet another trip to the island for contacts with the two leaders to prepare the ground for the prospective Paris fiasco. She must make a tour of the island in late November as well as prepare the ground for the suggested 5+U.N. unofficial conference to convene in December. Where will the 5+U.N. unofficial conference convene? My sources could not read that much in the letters of the secretary-general to the two leaders, but I have a suggestion: Geneva. It must be fun to be in that beautiful city for year-end shopping with U.N. financing.

Particularly after the Crans-Montana collapse of the process over the Greek Cypriot refusal to share power on the basis of effective political participation and political equality with Turkish Cypriots, any exercise aimed at finding a federal solution to the Cyprus problem will be a waste of resources, time and energy. Could there be hope? Yes, when and if Greek Cypriots agree to give up their intransigence and claim of being the sole owners of the island, government, sovereignty and the island’s entire resources. The problem is not confined to the refusal to share power or sovereignty as two equal political entities with the same rights. More so, Greek Cypriots insist not to give up their assumption that everything on and around Cyprus belong unconditionally and entirely to them. That is a sick mentality. But, as was clearly seen in statements of Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades to the effect that agreeing to the effective participation demand of the Turkish Cypriot side would mean succumbing to the minority.

Meeting in Paris, Geneva, Crans-Montana or Pretoria would make no difference. The mental framework is not suitable for a federation which has to be built on sharing power, land, sovereignty and resources on the basis of equality of founding partners.