The importance of this moment for Cyprus cannot be underestimated. Finally after stops and starts from last year, there is a Conference taking place in Crans Montana, in Switzerland in which Greece, Turkey and the UK are alongside the Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiating teams trying to solve an intractable problem that has lasted for more than 43 years. As a Cypriot I know that so many people are hanging on every press conference, reportage and event that takes place. The proposals put forward by Turkey, the disappointment expressed by President Anastasiades on important issues concerning guarantees and security, the appearance or not of Junker who is busy elsewhere, and the injection of energy and freshness that Antonio Guterres, please call me Antonio, has added to the mix.
My question is naive in as much as it is genuine. There are working lunches and dinners, there are short meetings, Boris was there for the opening dinner, then replaced by someone else from the foreign office. Junker said he was busy but could pop in. Kotzias likes being there and presumably also enjoys the food. I simply cannot see how any work is done, how any progress can be made in these half hearted working bouffes. How can you achieve anything constructive slurping your soup or eating your brioche, how can you have notes of relevance and points of agreement there tucked underneath your napkin. How can you agree or disagree anything critical sipping on wine other than that is a vintage year? So far we have had all too many of these events and then ANOTHER committee formed to look at how settlement will unfold. My wicked temptation would be to say no one eats until the deal is done - and then lets see how fast they would get to a thoroughly digestible outcome.