Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades praised the part played by Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras but also Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in two separate interviews to Greek newspapers published on Sunday.
"Let me make clear that Mr. Kotzias was the most positive of the participants in the conference," Anastasiades told the Greek daily "Kathimerini". "He presented his positions, supported our positions, without provoking anyone and giving anyone grounds to claim that Greece in any way contributed to the failure."
The second point that had to be stressed, Anastasiades added, was that they had successive meetings from the first to the last day to arrive at a common line, within the parameters set by UN Secretary-General, in order to achieve progress and possibly even convergences that would allow the prime ministers to participate in the meetings and conclude the issue of the troops.
Anastasiades said that cooperation with Kotzias and Tsipras and the handling of the entire negotiation for the Cyprus conference was "flawless" and thanked them both publicly for "their absolute support" in statements to both newspapers. He confirmed that he spoke twice with Tsipras to brief him on events and that the "Greek prime minister was ready to come to Crans Montana if there was an agreement."
"Ankara was not ready for a solution and this was made clear during the contact and communication that recently took place between the Greek prime minister with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and [Turkish Prime Minister Binali] Yildirim," Cyprus' president said. He also expressed his conviction that the strategy followed at the Crans Montana talks was "absolutely correct".
He was critical of UN special envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, however, saying that he had misread the situation and "considered that what was happening was what he wanted to happen," misleading the UN Secretary General into the conference prematurely, before the necessary preparatory work was done, Anastasiades said.
This did not mean that "title credits" for the Cyprus issue had come up, Cyprus' president said, stating his readiness to return to the negotiating table for a new round if the effort was well prepared. The process of upgrading EU-Turkey customs union, which will be examined after elections in Germany and Austria, can act as an incentive to resume the talks, he said.
Talking to the newspaper "Vima," Anastasiades said that the "war scenes" painted by certain news websites, in particular, "has absolutely nothing to do with the reality." The drilling in Block 11 was going ahead without any problems or harassment, while any Turkish activity was nothing more than their usual tactics and at no time had there been any kind of violation of the Cyprus Republic's sovereign rights, he said.
He also appealed to the Greek media to "present the correct and not the communications picture that Turkey was trying to impose, regarding supposed turmoil in the sea region around Cyprus' EEZ."
"The Cyprus Republic has international law and the law of the sea on its side. This is our shield," he added.