Cyprus Officials in Stealth Talks with Victoria Nuland on Turkish Troop Plan

Lambert here: Seems legit. Oh, and I like “Evasions that are so far from the point. add up to admissions.” That would seem to have wider application…

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is holding secret negotiations this week with Victoria Nuland (lead image, right), the US State Department official in charge of Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, on a plan to maintain Turkish military forces in Cyprus under the flag of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Anastasiades has sent his aide, Nicos Christodoulides (lead image, left), to negotiate in Washington; he met with Nuland on Monday.

After losing control of the Cyprus Parliament to an increasingly nationalist vote in an election on May 22, Anastasiades has remained behind at the presidential palace in Nicosia, where he met on Tuesday with the NATO official now conducting Cyprus negotiations for the United Nations, Espen Barth Eide. The Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, is due to met US Secretary of State John Kerry, on June 13.

So sensitive is the US-Turkish plan for Cyprus that American reporters for Associated Press and Reuters at the State Department have refused to ask Nuland about the talks. Gayane Chichakyan, a Washington-based reporter for the Russian government television company Russia Today (RT), has also refused to lift the news blackout.

Greek and Cyprus media have been reporting details of the Nuland plan after they details were leaked from proposals circulated by Turkish and US diplomats. The Nuland plan calls for the government in Ankara to withdraw some of the Turkish forces which have been occupying the north of the island since they invaded in 1974. Fresh Turkish troops and arms would then be redeployed in a NATO base to be opened in the area.


The plan also envisages overcoming Cypriot voter opposition to the Turkish military and the Nuland plan with promises of US investment in the local economy, plus the offer of US weapons. For more details of the plan, and of Russian government warnings against it, read this.

Stung by the report of Nuland’s influence on Anastasiades, Christodoulides announced: “I have read this report and [it] does not correspond to reality or to what was discussed between the President of the Republic and Mrs Nuland.” Cyprus political sources said this was so far from a denial of the Turkish troop plan that Anastasiades is suspected of trying to relieve the American pressure by intimating the details, and then denying he had discussed them.


Meeting in Nicosia, April 19, 2016, from left to right – US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kathleen Doherty; Nuland; Anastasiades; and Christodoulides

Yesterday, following his meeting with UN negotiator Barth Eide, Anastasiades tried publicly to buy time for himself and slow down the negotiating process. Barth Eide claimed Anastasiades had privately agreed to speed up the negotiations.

After his meeting with Nuland at the State Department, Christodoulides said their negotiation had been “constructive”:



This week’s agenda of Christodoulides’s negotiations with Nuland and with other State Deparrtment and US officials has been released by his office.

In Cyprus, government officials, members of parliament, and reporters believe the American message for Anastasiades is a combination of inducements and threats. Cash is the carrot, the sources say; one of the sticks is the business relationship Anastasiades had, before he became president in 2013, with the Russian businessman and politician, Leonid Lebedev, now a fugitive in the US. The Cyprus press has been publishing questions on their relationship for Anastasiades; so far the president won’t answer.

From Nicosia, sources report growing anxiety in the presidential palace that he may be legally compelled.

Subpoenas for testimony and documents from the President’s law firm and his business partner Theofanis Philippou, have now been ordered by the New York Supreme Court and the High Court of Ireland. These, it is speculated in Cyprus, may expose the involvement of Philippou and Anastasiades in the disappearance of up to a billion dollars moved through Cyprus into the US by Lebedev. For details of the Lebedev case, read this. Lebedev is seeking to stay in the US under the protection of the US Government. In exchange, he is reportedly talkative about his business relationships.

Lebedev (below, left) was in Cyprus to meet Philippou (centre) and other influential figures last month. He is now in the US again.


On May 26, Lebedev’s deputy, Andrei Korolev (right), was arrested in Bucharest on a Russian warrant. Korolev has been charged with fraud in the stripping of more than $200 million from the regional electricity utility, TGK-2, controlled by Lebedev. Allegedly, that money disappeared through Cyprus front companies of Lebedev’s, supervised by Philippou and Anastasiades, before he became president.

In Bucharest, Romanian political sources say they expect the local court to approve Korolev’s extradition to Moscow without delay. Korolev’s lawyer says he is innocent.

In Washington yesterday Nuland’s spokesman, Elizabth Kennedy Trudeau, refused to answer questions about her talks with Christodoulides, or about State Department involvement with Lebedev. She was asked:


Trudeau (pictured below) has been director of the press office at State since last year. Before that, she was a press spokesman for several years at NATO in Brussels. By telephone she said she had referred the questions to Nuland’s office, but did not respond to the questions herself, claiming she receives “several hundred queries a day”.



In response to the three questions, a State Department source, who asked not to be named, said: “While we will not discuss specific diplomatic conversations, the United States fully supports the UN-facilitated process under UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. We continue to support efforts by the parties to reach a settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region. We hope the leaders will focus on the future and reinvigorate their efforts to achieve a solution.”

According to a Cyprus press report, a State Department source also said “Assistant Secretary Nuland welcomed news that the leaders of the two sides will meet on June 8 to continue efforts aimed at reaching a settlement.”

“Evasions that are so far from the point,” observed a Cyprus veteran of US diplomacy, “add up to admissions.”

1818_5The Lebedev case, which he started with a $2 billion claim in New York state court, moved to the High Court in Dublin last week. Philippou is one of the targets of a disclosure order by the court, issued on May 30. Irish accountants, Peter Roberts (right) and Liam Grainger, are also named in the court order for questioning in the alleged scheme. Roberts is out of his Cork office this week, a source there said, adding he is not in Cyprus.

Roberts and Grainger are employed by two of the leading accounting firms in Ireland, Roberts Nathan and Moore Stephens. Irish lawyers close to the case say that those being sought for testimony in the Lebedev affair may also be questioned by the Irish tax authority in pursuit of more than $100 million in capital gains tax.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ambrit

    What no one is mentioning is numbers of troops. How many Turkish troops will “leave,” and how many will “return?”
    Seeing the wacky misadventures of the Sultan Erdogan, one would be wise to keep ones strength up. Could North Cyprus become the ultimate ISIS rear staging area? Firmly under the thumb of the Porte, but murky enough politically to supply ‘deniability.’ Seeing that Russia is a primary target of Jihadism, this would be seen, and rightly so, as a real threat to Russian security. What would the U.K. Sovereign bases do if Spetsnaz started doing their thing in the north half of the island?
    And, please dear deity, stop Vicky before she ends all life on the planet.

  2. EndOfTheWorld

    War…doodle doodle UGH, UGH, what is it GOOD for? Absolutely nothin’.

    IMHO that’s why we need an outsider like The Donald to come in and get the world off the war footing. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Trump has actually been fairly consistent throughout his life in spouting anti-war sentiments.

    1. pretzelattack

      and has no ties to the kagan family afaik. unlike our nobel peace prize winner and the designated successor.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Trump has also never been invited, not seeked an invitition, to the Bilderberg Group, afaik. The Donald did supposedly have a meeting with Henry the K recently, but the details were not released. One supposes it was less than a lovefest.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Wasn’t there a Foreign Policy article (or maybe American Conservative) a while ago in links that argued that Trump was in fact a Kissengarian realpolitik believer? I didn’t find it convincing, except insofar as Trump tends to take a narrow ‘whats in it for the US’ approach to foreign policy. But I suspect he would have more in common with a cynical realist like Kissinger than the Neocons.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Why this is not “intuitively obvious to the most casual observer” is completely beyond me.

      Too busy being “terrified” by Trump, I guess.

    3. RepubAnon

      Oh, please – the man who wants to charge the rest of the world for the privilege of having US bases on their territory would get the world OFF a war footing? Under Trump, war, like June in the song, would be busting out all over. North Korea would invade South Korea again (like they did after the last time the US said that Korea was outside of its defense zone), for starters:

      Donald Trump echoes Kim Jong Un’s vision for Korea

      And don’t be fooled by Mr. Trump’s 20/20 hindsight: for example, Mr Trump strongly supported intervening in Libya at the time. It was only after things didn’t work out so well that he began claiming to oppose the very actions that he advocated for at the time:

      Donald Trump Bashes Libya Intervention… Which He Strongly Advocated For in 2011
      by Alex Griswold | 12:50 pm, January 19th, 2016

      Donald Trump’s negotiating tactics are to bluster and promise, trick others into funding his efforts, and then walk away- leaving his erstwhile partners responsible for the resulting debts. (While also failing to pay his business partners for work performed.) Source: Wall Street Journal Donald Trump’s Business Plan Left a Trail of Unpaid Bills It works in a series of one-time deals, right up until one’s reputation becomes known to the players – then, nobody will do deals with you any more.

      In international circles, a reputation for unreliability and untrustworthiness gets circulated rapidly. Donald’s bluster would get discounted and ignored by everyone – triggering lots of wars to which we might, or might not, get pulled into.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I want the US to avoid war. If North and South Korea decide to kill each other off, so be it. I’m pretty sure if Trump is elected the female quadrumvirate (it’s a word–I looked it up) of Nuland, Trudeau, Power, and Rice will be relegated to making occasional whining comments on CNN. I will take my chances with Trump over Hillary any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

      2. John Wright

        You assert:

        “In international circles, a reputation for unreliability and untrustworthiness gets circulated rapidly. Donald’s bluster would get discounted and ignored by everyone – triggering lots of wars to which we might, or might not, get pulled into”

        So Trump’s bluster “would get discounted and ignored by everyone” AND yet “triggering lots of wars.”

        Seems a bit contradictory to me.

        1. polecat

          “Bluster’…uhh…compared to who?……John Kerry???…John McCain??…Lindsey Graham???….Robert Menendez??..Ashton Carter??… the Dishonerable David Petraeus..Who?

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              Polecat, I might well add: George W. Bush? Dick Cheney? Donald Rumsfield? Actually, Trump LOOKS sincere when he’s speaking. Yeah, I know, it’s probably just an act. Like the old actor said: “The main thing is sincerity—once you learn how to fake that, you got it made.”

              1. polecat

                My point is that both sides of the MONEY PARTY bluster and bloviate continuously…so as to give the illusion of concern to a given problem, when what they’re really doing is doubling down on being at the receiving end of the money & power spigot !!

                1. EndOfTheWorld

                  My point is Trump, though perhaps somewhat egotistical, represents an opportunity to throw away the old playbook, which has resulted in one losing season after another, and inventing a new offense. He’s unpredictable—yeah, that’s a good thing. As far as unreliability and untrustworthiness, Bush and Cheney hold the world record for that.

                  1. polecat

                    well..perhaps that will come to pass…we’ll see as things progress…or digress, as it were….

        2. different clue

          I think RepubAnon’s theory is that if the Indispensable Nation withdrew from the job of Policing The World, all the nasty little countries would go to war with eachother once America’s strong hand was missing and unable to prevent them any more. And we might be “drawn into” one or more of these nasty little wars between nasty little countries.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            As it is we are already always being “drawn in” to nasty little wars. It’s a big money-grabbing business for the weapons manufacturers and the rest of them. What she is saying is we have to keep going along with the status quo, because she is afraid not to. I’m not afraid —I say give Trump a chance. Maybe he’ll be more like George Washington, who advised against foreign entanglements.

      3. Frank

        It does not matter one whit what you think Trump will do, everyone one can plainly see what Hillary’s presumptive SOC is trying to do here, like she has done in Ukraine before. And everyone knows Hillary’s war hawk tendencies. This is definitely a time to choose “the Devil you don’t know!”

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    I backed Bernie to the tune of 9 USD. I would have backed Jesse Ventura, and probably McAffee of cybersecurity fame, if either had been annointed by the libtards. A serious third party candidate would win the election. Instead, Gary Johnson appears to be a frivolous goofball, not “in it to win it.” His foreign policy? Nobody knows, least of all him. He’d probably just let the Pentagon run itself, as usual, to avoid assassination.

  4. Chauncey Gardiner

    How is the well being of the people of the United States dependent upon U.S. involvement in Cyprus? Foreign entanglements seem to be the very definition of the D.C. crowd.

    1. ambrit

      Insofar as Cyprus makes an excellent place for an indirect move against Russia, all those Russians trying to move their ill, and sometimes, well, gotten gains into the world economy in a more, er, economical fashion, it risks escalating into the dreaded Full Exchange. Basically, as I see it, Russia has long standing ‘issues’ with Turkey, and Neuland wants to help Turkey “sanitize” their seizure of North Cyprus, so, on the principle of “the enemy of my enemy…” America looks to be lining up with Turkey and, thus, against Russia.
      Let’s not confuse the well being of “the people of the United States” with the wellbeing of “the D.C. crowd.”

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re: “Let’s not confuse the well being of the people of the United States with the wellbeing of ‘the D.C. crowd’.”

        Agree. The challenge is how policy control can be wrested from them despite their now long list of very damaging policy failures. This small group of individuals, who have taken it upon themselves to define our nation’s foreign policy principles and interests, seem to continue to enjoy inordinate policy influence despite the very damaging results of their policies.

  5. timbers

    I am puzzled by this part. Why the weak response when Putin is coming under attack for being too weak against the U.S.?:

    “Gayane Chichakyan, a Washington-based reporter for the Russian government television company Russia Today (RT), has also refused to lift the news blackout.”

    Why would RT not pursue this which seems against Russian interests in Cyprus and Syria? Steven Cohen is cited in ICH article that average Russians and even establishment media are growing alarmed by all the military excesses NATO and the U.S. are doing so close to Russia:

    “NATO’s buildup is hotly debated on, for example, prime-time television talk shows. Opinions vary as to the actual threat, but one growing opinion is that “a scent of a great war is in the air” and that Putin has not done enough to ready the country at home or abroad. Analogously, a leading Russian journalist publicly criticized the Kremlin for not having intervened militarily in Kiev in February 2014, when the ongoing crisis began with the overthrow of a pro-Russian Ukrainian president. That is, Putin also has a public opinion to consider as he decides how to react to NATO’s buildup.”

    And this:

    “The inclusion of a German contingent among the NATO forces has further awakened that memory in Russia” and “a scent of a great war is in the air.”

    I have a very bad feeling about this. “A set of a great war is in the air” indeed.

    1. Peter Pan

      Perhaps the Russian government has an alternative action plan in play via the SVR to undermine Nuland’s efforts in Cyprus. If so, they may have requested that RT not highlight this situation.

  6. DJG

    The absolute disaster of U.S. policy continues, and the destruction of the Greek world is either part of the plan or just more collateral damage. Another gigantic base in a country that already has two oversized U.K. bases that claim U.K. sovereignty? Is this eleven-dimensional chess, or what?

    What Cyprus requires is to be reunified and made a neutral. No more bases: But if war is what gives the U S of A its purpose in the world, then bases are just real-estate transactions for more “disruption.”

    Nuland for Secretary of State? Is that idea going to get through the U.S. Senate? How? Another glass-ceiling pitch? A pitch that Nuland is competent?

    1. Frank

      Nuland is an example of the new Washington insider, the NeoLib/Con, or NeoCon/Lib, depending on your own stated identity/preference. She worked for Cheney (NeoCon) before working for Hillary (NeoLib). That, and she’s the wife of the PNAC prick Kagan. If presented to the Senate as SOC nominee, they might put up faux ruckus for a short time, but ultimately, and likely quickly, they will anoint her SOC.

  7. dbk

    A strange story indeed. What I managed to surmise:

    (1) Turkish troops wearing Turkish uniforms withdraw and are replaced by Turkish troops wearing NATO uniforms
    (2) Northern Cyprus gets re-baptised as a NATO base!
    (3) VN wants to become SoS
    (4) Anastasiades is in poor health
    (5) Erdogan may not be in power much longer – maybe a year
    (6) UN Secretary-General election later this year (Dec)
    (7) US Presidential election in Nov (obviously)

    So the stars align themselves: UN Secretary-General gets to say “I reunited Cyprus”; VN gets to say “I reunited Cyprus and got the US (another) proxy base in the Eastern Med!”; Erdogan gets to say “We’re still occupying Cyprus” (may buy him some time). Cyprus gets money; Anastasiades gets shafted. HRC concludes “Look what a great negotiator VN is!”

    I realize that these Byzantine machinations do not matter to most people in the US who are planning to vote for HRC in Nov, but frankly, the fact that over one-third of Cyprus is set to become a NATO base at Turkey’s front door is a pretty big deal, and not in a good way.

    The fellow in Russia is watching, and I would bet he’s not pleased.

    I can’t figure out the money-laundering exactly, though. From Russia via Cyprus to Ireland? Where do the Irish accountants and lawyers fit in?

    1. Bvz

      Dbk, where do you read in this (difficult to parse and understand) article that Erdogan may not be in power much longer?

      1. dbk

        Sorry, that isn’t in the actual story – learned it last week in response to a direct question from me to friends who own a company in the Turkish capital with an all-Turkish staff. They (necessarily) follow the country’s political situation closely.

        1. Bvz

          That’s potentially newsworthy. I’d be curious to learn more. Do you know of any journalists/bloggers who are following that angle? He seems pretty entrenched and solidly in power.

        2. Frank

          Hmmm… Reminds of the time people in America thought that Bush stepping down and Obama coming into Washington riding a wave of public enthusiasm was gonna lead to big changes.

          Does having your niece’s husband succeed you really count as regime change?

  8. Alex morfesis

    Kayfabe in greece and turkey via cyprus…no one wants a solution because it leads to limited empathy and donations…another fight over “gerosalima”…there will be no deal that will hold over cyprus without major changes in the greco-turkish dynamic…

    So nulitsa can enjoy her frequent travel miles at american taxpayer expense and act all government like, but there are other issues and forced by blackmail baby steps will not get anyone anywhere…

    Turkey is bottled in by greek interests…interests that quite frankly greeks care not enough to do anything but complain about…turkey wants control of the seas from cyprus to its shores, but greeks wont allow that…turkey wants access to Aegean for vacation destinations and exploration…greeks wont live on the bare and abandoned islands but wont negotiate with turkey…turkey wont give the Greek orthodox patriarchy vatican style nation state status, greece and turkey are forced by now basically dead treaties to allow access thru bosphorus and Aegean sea to third parties, the turks have records which will show the brit, mr elgin, never got any permission to remove the Parthenon marbles…and both countries are the largest tank contingents of nato…by the time they stop fighting over oil and gas exploration rights in the Aegean, the world will be using wind and solar…generations lost over commodities that will never be converted to usable resources…money pissed away on weapons for a war that will never be fought…

    She might get some piece of paper she can wave around all Chamberlain like, but last we checked, her brilliant chess moves in kiev led to dancing on the streets and massive economic recovery in ukraine with a mini baby boom since things look so good there for a brilliant future…

    Oh wait, wrong movie…

  9. Dave

    Are her Neocon people still trying to get revenge on Russia?
    What’s with these war mongers?

    Is her face melting into one of those horror masks in that picture.
    “They Live!”

  10. Pawl Spring

    I’ll have my oligarch call your oligarch. We’ll do lunch – Restaurant At The End Of The Universe? … cause there’s gonna be Bugger All left Down Here on Earth.

  11. JerseyJeffersonian

    To those lamenting that President Putin is showing weakness, perhaps it were well to note that Lebedev’s deputy, Korolev, was arrested on a Russian warrant in Bucharest, Romania, and signs indicate that he will be extradited to Russia quickly. He may have many interesting things to say, not only directly about Lebedev, but about the Cyprus situation in general, and about the roles of various highly-placed individuals involved.

    What is notable to me in the arrest and likely extradition from Romania is the correlation with Romania’s hosting of the Aegis missile batteries just implemented, and President Putin’s very hard-nosed comments about the Romanians having put themselves in the crosshairs thereby. Maybe the Romanians are sweating a wee bit. John Helmer recently posted on this (this was cross-posted here at NC) on the ratcheting up of tensions over this placement of Aegis systems first in Romania, and later in Poland.

    Nuland’s fingerprints are all over this shit, along with those of other Democrat NeoCons such as Ashton Carter. More reasons, should any more be required, why Hillary must be stopped.

  12. Lon

    Nice to find people who are on to the Neo-con Democrats and particularly Victoria Nuland as the person whose relationship with Hillary Clinton could have and should have been used by Bernie Sanders to turn the tide against Hillary in primaries. It is not too late and needs to be brought front and center in the Progressive demonstrations at the Dem and Rep conventions. Bill Clinton to Dick Cheney revolving back to Hillary/Obama destabilization and creation of failed states. As expat in Russia, I witnessed the Ukraine destabilization and its destruction in Color Revolution replay. See this, for example,:
    This is Nuland working with Mossad apparently. Does New World Order mean Likud fascism?

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