By Constantinos Psillides
REACTION to the Biden visit has not yet subsided, with parliamentary parties on the one hand welcoming the visit and its aftermath but on the other, criticising the government over the Eroglu meeting.
Ruling DISY was the only party that had nothing negative to say, with MEP candidate Stavros Zenios saying that it was not time for celebrations but painstaking diplomacy. “We have to be ready for historic compromises with the Turkish Cypriot community as we intensify our efforts to force Turkey to leave the people of Cyprus alone to decide their own fate,” said Zenios, adding that the message the Biden visit sent was that Cypriots should approach each other with confidence not fear.
“Let us extend our hand to the Turkish Cypriot leader. So he can stop being the leader of a community in the occupied north and be the leader of a community whose prosperity is of concern to all Cypriots. The European Union gives us the tools and the United States seem willing to help. This is a historic convergence of interests to solve our problem in a way that is functional and viable,” said Zenios.
Main opposition party AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said that the main concern of the Biden visit was energy and the Ukraine crisis, adding that the US was lobbying for more sanctions which would put Cyprus in a very difficult position with Russia.
“The president’s goal to tie Cyprus to the US-NATO chariot is very disconcerting. Russia has been a staunch supporter of Cyprus and the Cyprus problem,” he said.
DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos was less excited. While he welcomed the visit by the Vice President of the United States, Papadopoulos pointed out that in his statements Biden made no reference “to Turkey’s intransigence that has intensified since the Eroglu-Anastasiades agreement”.
Papadopoulos demanded Anastasiades brief the national Council and all Cypriots if he is setting the UN and other members of the Security Council aside and giving the US the role of facilitator in the negotiations.
Papadopoulos maintained that the statements Biden made –that the US only recognises the legal government of Cyprus – were “obvious and expected” and that the whole visit was completely overshadowed by Biden’s meeting with Eroglu.
EDEK and the Green Party, who are banding together for the coming euro elections, had similar reactions to DIKO. House President Yiannakis Omirou also welcomed the visit but, like Papadopoulos, gave emphasis to the meeting with Eroglu saying that the Greek Cypriot side should not downgrade it.
“Biden’s meeting in the north without the explicit disagreement by the government makes for a dangerous precedent.
Other foreign leaders might interpret the absence of objection as a nod of consent by the government, that they should make visits that violate international legality and UN resolutions,” said Omirou, who, also urged the government to appeal to other Security Council member countries.