AT LEAST Prez Nik did not cry in Monday night’s televised address to the people when he explained his brilliant tactical plan for securing the permanence of the impasse, while claiming his proposal would ensure the continuation of the peace process.
Such an accomplished actor, capable of using the movement of his eyebrows and killer stare to devastating effect does not need to resort to tears to fool his audience. Over the last four years, he could have won an Oscar for best actor politician as he has performed the role of ‘president committed to a settlement’ with such conviction that the whole world bought it.
We are sorry to say that our establishment, which takes such pride in its bullshit-detecting techniques, was taken for ride, and our shame is not lessened by the knowledge that Nik’s consummate acting also fooled the previous US administration, the UN, the European Commission and the Turks.
Espen Barth Eide realised that he was being taken for a ride only on Thursday, after their last meeting at the presidential palace. On Friday he decided to throw in the towel, ending his shuttling between the two leaders and announcing he would seek the advice of his boss Antonio Guterres about how to move the process forward.
You would have thought that after two years of this farce, Eide would have finally understood that the best he could ever hope for was for the process to move sideways.
THE NORWEGIAN may have thought he had cornered Nik at their meeting on Tuesday when he told him that the Turks did not object to our prez’s “creative proposal” that “would allow us to finally break the current impasse”. They were prepared to discuss the chapter of security and guarantees first, followed by territory as Nik had creatively proposed.
The Turks had called Nik’s bluff. His “creative proposal” had backfired so he needed a new plan and he found it in setting criteria for progress. He demanded that there had to be sufficient progress in the talks on security, before the two sides moved to territory. The progress, he craftily insisted, had to be judged on certain mutually agreed criteria.
But what was the likelihood of Nik and Mustafa mutually agreeing the criteria for what constituted progress on the chapter of security? Nik’s plan, I suspect, was to embark on a new round of negotiations with Mustafa for the next few months at least in order to agree the criteria that might pave the way for a Geneva conference.
And if there were an impasse in the negotiations over the criteria for progress on security, Nik would no doubt come up with another creative proposal to break the new impasse. As he said in his address on Monday night, “my sole objective was to avert an impasse that was in sight.” For now, we have another impasse caused by Nik’s proposal that was to avert the first one.
SYMPTOMS of ethnarch-type intolerance to criticism were also displayed by Nik in his address. His intention, he said, was “not to comment on what is being attributed to me either by the Turkish or Turkish Cypriot side or, unfortunately also by Greek Cypriot politicians”.
A little later, he said, “since the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side, and unfortunately some circles from the Greek Cypriot community as well, claim that my proposal focuses on procedural matters….” This idea that Greek Cypriots criticising him was unfortunate, because they were supposedly identifying with the Turks is very Tassos.
Nik must have forgotten how Tassos’ spokesmen used to accuse him of speaking like a Turk when he dared criticise the great Ethnarch back in the days when he allegedly supported a settlement. Having repented for his past political sins and become a born again rejectionist, he is entitled to have a go at his Greek Cypriot critics who are obviously not as patriotic as he is.
It is irrelevant that the Turkish Cypriots and, unfortunately, the Greek Cypriots were absolutely right to claim his proposal focused on procedural matters.
ON WEDNESDAY Nik threw a beans and fish lunch at the presidential palace for all the Disy big-wigs – deputies, ministers and top officials – and urged them not to be influenced by those assorted lobbies who claimed he was not interested in a settlement.
Nik, according to the report in Phil, “did not hide his irritation about the claims by journalists and politicians that he did not support a settlement”. The lunch was held in order for the prez to brief the Disy apparatchiks about the Cyprob, but if there had been the neon signs outside the palace they would have flashed ‘election campaign gathering.’
The Disy apparatchiks must have seen his televised address on Monday night so there was nothing more they needed to know. And if they missed it, they could have been given a DVD recording to watch at home, or read the transcript on the PIO website.
The Cyprob was the smokescreen as it could not be an election gathering, given that Nik allegedly has not decided whether he will be seeking re-election. But according to the Phil report the meeting still managed to discuss better coordination of ministers and deputies in promoting the government’s work and the implementing of Nik’s election promises, but not for electoral purposes of course.
MOTHER Russia is obviously pleased with Prez Nik’s efforts to cement the impasse. Nik’s patriotic stance was rewarded with an extensive interview featured on President Putin’s multi-media propaganda organ Sputnik International which joyfully declared on Thursday, “No progress on Turkish troops withdrawal, territory at Cyprus talks – official.”
Moscow called a stop on all the personal attacks on Nik that had accused him of being a corrupt, unpatriotic, US poodle and had featured on the all the Russia-funded websites when the Cyprob talks were going well. Now that he has led the talks to deadlock, he has earned gushing write-ups in Sputnik, a clear message that he is back in favour with Putin.
This did not stop Nik in engaging in some mega-embarrassing groveling to Mother Russia in the interview, like some servile provincial governor paying his respects and advertising his devotion.
He told Sputnik: “I have extended an invitation to President Putin for a visit to Cyprus, and if President Putin is not available, then maybe Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev might have [an opportunity] in accordance with his programme to visit Cyprus… In case they could not, I have asked to be received by President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev. We are talking about autumn.”
Putin just has to give the signal and Nik will run to Moscow on all fours. Autumn would be a good time for a visit to Mother Russia as it could help his re-election campaign, if he decided to stand that is.
DESPITE ingratiating himself with Moscow with his skilful handling of the talks, Nik might not be the only horse Mother Russia will back in the presidential elections. Russian ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy, from what we hear has been in contact with the Akel leadership trying to persuade it to back the candidacy of Giorgos Lillikas.
It is a nice way of repaying Lillikas who has been openly championing Russia’s political interests in Cyprus, including the granting of military facilities, regularly meeting Osadchiy and speaking to the press with him, not to mention his principled opposition to a settlement that alone deserved to be rewarded in some way.
The only problem is that the comrades no longer follow Moscow’s orders as obediently as they did in the past under comrade Tof’s enlightened rule, because they have finally realised that on the Cyprob they do not have the same objectives. How could the commies, the only party supporting a settlement today, back a guy religiously committed to partition, even if he has Moscow’s blessing?
THE WILY Lillikas is still hoping Moscow will persuade Andros and the comrades which is why he is persisting with his candidacy that has ‘loser’ written all over it. He is scheduled to meet the Akelite leadership again in the hope that with Osadchiy’s help they could fool it into backing him.
For now the Paphite opportunist, who described himself as the ‘Safe choice’ (Russia’s choice might be more attractive to voters?), has come up with the nonsensical claim that he was “appealing directly to citizens”. He is having contacts with citizens all over Kyproulla, said his new spokesman.
The original spokesman walked out with another five members of the leadership of the Alliance of Lillikas 10 days ago because they felt he had put his personal interests above those of the party and the country. Surely, they were wrong to even think the selfless Giorgos would do such a thing.
THE AKEL Central Committee yesterday held its first meeting to discuss the names of a possible candidate, although a decision will not be finalised before July. Businessman Mike Spanos is said to be the front-runner, and he is already making noises in the press about his ‘independent candidacy’, but nobody can say what the comrades will decide.
Phil ran a gushing report about Spanos, informing us he was “a non-party personality, with a particularly successful professional career. He is in favour of a settlement and is considered, as a good manager, capable of dealing with important issues of the economy… Therefore, he is a person of broad acceptance and recognition, has common positions with Akel on the Cyprus problem and has similar positions on economic issues and domestic policy.”
As the commies will not have embraced neo-liberal economics, we will assume Spanos has abandoned his economic ideas in order to bolster his ambitions of being Akel’s independent candidate.
WHILE Junior was addressing his first presidential rally in Limassol on Friday night, in Larnaca the Cyprus Peace Council and Akel union PEO were staging an anti-Nato protest with the slogan ‘Cyprus neither in Nato nor Nato in Cyprus.’ Why on earth they thought of Nato now, nobody knows.
The Cyprus Peace Council, is a subsidiary of the World Peace Council that was set up by the Soviet Union during the Cold War in an attempt to promote the alleged moral and political superiority of communist totalitarianism over the West. It describes itself as “an anti-imperialist, democratic, independent and non-aligned international movement of mass action”.
Member of the Council secretariat Stelios Sophoklis called for the “dissolution of the machine of war and destruction” saying that “humanity cannot remain a victim or a simple spectator of the Nato killing machine.” I beg to differ. I think we owe a big debt to the Nato killing machine as it ensured that at least half of Europe remained part of the imperialist free world and was not enslaved by the democratic forces of Soviet totalitarianism.
THE TOWN hall of the European capital of culture hoisted the rainbow flag on Friday in support of Cyprus Pride Week. It was the first time Paphos had done so, as gay pride is still in its infancy in this part of Kyproulla. Still, congratulations to the mayor for having no qualms about hoisting the flag in this cultural backwater.
Meanwhile the Pride Parade will be held in Nicosia today. It will be interesting to see how many presidential candidates turn up in order to win the gay vote? My bet is that none of them would want to be seen anywhere near the parade, for fear of alienating the homophobic and churchgoing voters.
PAPHOS has decided it does not like one of its main squares named after John Kennedy and has decided to rename it via a referendum. Citizens will have a choice of uninspiring names from which they would have to select one. These are Rebirth, Light, Justice, Ktima and Paphia Aphrodite. I think it is scandalous, bordering on treacherous, that nobody on the municipal council proposed naming the square after Archbishop Makarios III. Is the great man no longer respected in Paphos?
Follow Patroclos on Twitter @Coffeeshop1991