Archbishop Chrysostomos on Wednesday defended his apparent support for a two-state solution in Cyprus, a day after coming under attack for referring to the politically taboo subject with a group of young Greek Cypriots.
The criticism of his statement on Tuesday had prompted a backlash from opposition Akel but other political parties appeared nonplussed by the throwaway comment at a gathering to discuss youth issues organised by road safety NGO Reaction and Bank of Cyprus.
During the event, the archbishop expressed the view that most Greek Cypriots under the age of 50 did not believe a federal solution was workable and they did not want a federal solution. He himself would not oppose a two-state solution if it came to that, he said. After a brief critical statement from Akel on Tuesday evening, Chrysostomos on Wednesday spoke on Cybc radio clarifying that his personal preference was for a unitary state.
However, as the island’s leadership had accepted the notion of a bicommunal, bizonal federation, “so as not to divide the people”, the Holy Synod has gone along with that.
Asked to clarify whether he meant two states as part of a federation of two states as in partition, he said: “If there is no good solution to the Cyprus problem than a non-solution is a good solution.” Chrysostomos said he did not believe that there was any solution right now that would pass a plebiscite.
In response, Akel general-secretary Andros Kyprianou said on Wednesday that the archbishop’s comments were “very dangerous” and that the church leader appeared to be willing to write off part of Cyprus with ease.
“The worst part is that he is presented as more patriotic than the rest of us,” he added.
“Our aim was and will always be the reunification of Cyprus, and finding the way for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins, to live in our common homeland in peace, security and stability.”
This was provided for under an already-agreed framework, Kyprianou said.
“The inability of some to understand this reality pushes them into positions that are dangerous and destructive, and if they are adopted I am very afraid that they will cause huge problems for Cypriot society and Cyprus.”
He called on the rest of the political parties, who have been silent on the church leader’s comments, to clarify their positions.