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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Aides setting leaders shining example of how to negotiate ]

Aides setting leaders shining example of how to negotiate

WHEN THE TWO leaders met on March 21 and agreed to open Ledra Street and prepare the ground for the start of fully-fledged negotiations it was reported that public statements would be avoided by the two sides. This was understandable considering the tense relations between them over the last five years and the ease with which the media would blow minor differences out of proportion.

In fact the media on both sides has, over the years, played a negative role by constantly focusing on the differences between the two sides, however inconsequential, and mindlessly encouraging antagonism rather than co-operation.

The only way to limit the damage done by the media and the hard-liners in the two communities, who are opposed to any compromise, is for the leadership of the two sides to avoid engaging in the customary war of words and public blame game.
Unfortunately this has not been the case and in the last few days the exchanges between Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat appear to be getting out of control. Neither leader, it appears, is prepared to allow a comment by the other to pass without a response. The lastest spark for the exchanges were views, expressed by Christofias in an interview published at the weekend, about the Turkish army being an obstacle to a settlement; Talat’s spokesman responded with a terse statement, provoking a statement by Christofias’ spokesman.

All that these unnecessary exchanges achieved was to provide the opponents of a settlement with ammunition to attack the peace process which is about to start, with the familiar arguments – Talat is a puppet of the army and has no power to negotiate, Christofias is playing a blame game and is not interested in a solution and so forth. Can the two leaders not wait until negotiations begin before questioning each other’s motives and engaging in the blame game? At least then, disagreements would be easier to understand, even though it would be preferable if these were addressed in the negotiations hall rather than in public.

The two leaders should perhaps take a look at the responsible and constructive way their two aides, Ozdil Nami and George Iacovou, have been conducting themselves during their ongoing discussions for the opening of Ledra Street and the setting up of the technical committees. They have set an example of how the representatives of the two sides should behave, avoiding any statement that could be construed as antagonistic and telling the media that differences which delayed agreement on specific issues would be resolved. And neither has used the media to gain an advantage over the other.

If anything, Nami and Iacovou have shown how talks should be conducted when both sides want to achieve a result. It is a shame that their bosses are incapable of following the shining example their aides have set.


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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