|CYPRUS CRANS-MONTANA JUNKET
Perhaps to impress a new Secretary-General, a projected meeting in Switzerland's Crans-Montana was pronounced to be a "historic opportunity" in closing the over seventy-year dispute
of the partitioned island.
In fact, Cypriots on both sides look at it as an enjoyable farce. Who, in the July heat of Nicosia, would not readily accept a paid luxurious invitation to the Swiss Alps? Nicos and
Mustafa may publicly disagree in politics, but they would gladly share a flight to Lake Geneva. They could easily feign considered interest in Espen Barth Eide's presumptuously
repetitive proposals, enjoy fresh air and peaceful surroundings, then -- at the last minute, of course -- express appreciation to everyone, and to each other (Tashakkur, Efharisto poli),
before returning home, in the same position they left.
Indeed, Espen (not Aspen, that's in Colorado!) himself would enjoy the gathering nearby his full-time employer's abode. (That's Davos, if you care to know.) A Nordic, who visited Nicosia
earlier as an "Advisor" to the U.N. Secretary-General (but will not reside there), would rather "snacker" by familiar mountains.
Of course, "shuttle diplomacy" will continue to iron out issues. That would mean, obviously, other "stakeholders" coming in. Why not the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political
Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who would certainly proceed from New York's summer to the green green grass of Crans. What about representatives of the guarantor countries? If Athens popped
in, would Istanbul be far behind? And if the U.K. representative (with a solid military base at U.N. expense) showed up, what about the European High Commissioner Federica Mogherini? At
least she would spread a shadow of gracious beauty which had so fascinated Iranian parliamentarians that an official apology was issued for intruding competitive selfies by conservative "shirts."
Even Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could not resist making the trip, while -- of course -- visiting his former Geneva abode. He at least deplored the fact that "despite strong
commitment and engagement of all delegations" (careful about "all sides?!), the conference was closed without an agreement.
Espen, however, kept a bold face. The two sides, he stated, "are in a period of reflection." By mid-August, as his jockeying in Switzerland turned into a public joke in Cyprus and
the U.N. Secretary-General's own stature in that area questioned, Espen "called it a day" as they would say in British Norsk and announced he will be going home to run for public life.
But why after putting the U.N. through an expensive whimsical junket?