Geoff Hazel - A failed negotiation

Running time
3 min 51 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The political side on the second tour was something. You had an independent UN group of politicians who were doing the negotiating with both sides, trying to come up with a solution which wasn't happening at all on the first one. It was just sit there, it's rolling along. Nobody's killing each other. So, war hasn't started again, so we are meeting our mission statement.

But second tour, I heard them say... The message came that well, they're flying the Secretary General in, because they've told him that all he's got to do is turn up and both sides will sign the peace agreement and open the borders. And I looked at him and said, "Who said that?" I said, "People are up there in the UN, whatever it is." I said, "It's not going to happen." "Okay, yep. It's going to happen."

So we had the Secretary General flying in. Now, all we had, "He will be arriving at this time on this flight. There will be negotiations. He'll be here four days and he'll be leaving." Nothing else. Plan. Yeah, right. Okay, so we planned the route to get him from the airport to where he was staying. And CYPOL secured that route and cleaned out, did all the bomb checks of everything that was dangerous.

But for the rest of it, we thought, "Well, we don't know where he is going to go. So how's anybody going to know where he is going to go, so we don't have to worry about checking for bombs on routes or anything because we don't know." But the thing is we got his armoured vehicle' it was the number three vehicle for the president of Greek Cypriots. And one of my guys got to be the driver. And he said, "If ever somebody stopped in a hurry in front of us, we were going to hit him," because [00:24:30] that things brakes were bloody awful.

But he came in, and we got them all. Now the first day of the conference, the secretary general drove into the compound with his 17-vehicle convoy. The Turkish Cypriot president, Denktas, drove in with his 17-vehicle convoy. Greek Cypriot president drove in with his 17-vehicle convoy. And the past president from the Greek drove in with his 11 separate convoy.

Now, then they're all going to the chief admissions house for lunch. So I'm sitting down there with a British major and we're trying to figure out how we're going to get these convoys from there and into here, which is a very narrow turnaround; not enough room for five vehicles, never mind 17. And we'd almost come up with an idea. And the young corporal there said, "Excuse me sirs, I wouldn't worry about that." I said, "What?" He says, "Look at the television."

And there was the Turkish Cypriot president and his convoy leaving and going back to north, immediately followed by the Greek Cypriot president heading south. It was over. 40 minutes in of what was supposed to be three days of negotiations. And they both refused to comply or cooperate in way whatsoever, and it was finished.

But I got to meet the Secretary General of the United Nations, and he shook our hands and thanked us. And I got to push a few journalists around, especially the Greek Cypriots thought they ruled the roost there. "No, you're not getting closer to my boss."

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