THE CURSE of the World Cup on the Cyprob that we revealed four weeks ago was quite clearly not the joke some people had thought. In the last week it was again confirmed that the latest bout of talks was going nowhere, Nik and Dervis emerging from their meeting disappointed and dejected and engaging in the customary blame-gaming.
Hopes that Brazil would win the trophy and break the curse – as had happened in 1994 and 2002 – were shattered at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte last Tuesday as Frau Merkel’s boys ran riot heartlessly humbling the emotional and disorganised Brazilians 7-1. However, it must be said that Brazilian players’ tears were unrelated to the blow the result had dealt to Cyprus peace talks.
Today’s finalists, Argentina and Germany also contested a World Cup Final in 1986 and 1990, but these were years when the curse on the Cyprob held. The Germans won the World Cup in 1974, a year in which there was so much Cyprob movement that nobody would want repeated in 2014. Yet there was no movement after they won in 1990 so it is difficult to make any safe forecast.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s final wins (’78 and ’86) coincided with the years of complete stagnation and there is every possibility we could return to this era of innocence and happiness after tonight’s match.
THIS lack of progress is of great concern to the UN and the Yanks who are keen to secure the settlement that would allow them to implement their energy plans for the region. However, neither the people at the US nor at the UN seem superstitious enough to attribute the deadlocked talks to the curse of the World Cup.
It is believed that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim is much too gentle and polite to knock heads together and force the two sides to cut out the diversionary tactics, giving them the leeway to wriggle out of real negotiations. This could be because she does not have the same mandate that Big Bad Al had but also because she is not inclined to employ the Aussie’s bullying tactics.
Without a bullying special envoy of the Bad Al type, it is believed the talks will eventually grind to halt. But the US has already found a man to take on the thankless role of Special Representative – former Under-Secretary-General of the UN Lynn Pascoe.
However not all Cyprus’ political parties have given their consent to his appointment, the UN having decided to consult the parties before making its announcement. The commies of AKEL are opposing him. Apart from being American, he also committed the cardinal sin of having had a row with comrade Tof when the latter was president and has not yet been forgiven.
PASCOE, whom many of our journalists insist on referring to as Pasko-e, served as Under-SG at the UN Department of Political Affairs from 2007 to 2012 during which time he was actively involved in the Cyprob. He knows the problem inside out, which is why he is considered the ideal man to take charge of the talks.
And the Yanks obviously want one of their own. He had previously served as US Ambassador to Malaysia and Indonesia and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs at the State Department; he was also the US Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabach.
However, Pasko-e had always received bad write-ups in our papers, when serving at the UN, especially from the omniscient Washington-based hack Michalis Ignatiou, who regularly portrayed him as another Turk-loving Yank, whose sole objective was to screw over the Greek Cypriots. Ig, if my memory serves me well, even wrote an article singing the praises of comrade Tof, for falling out with the scheming and ruthless Pasko-e.
Nothing has been leaked about Pasko-e’s proposed appointment, probably because other parties apart from AKEL want to scupper it and fear publicity will ruin their plans to protect Kyproulla from the dastardly plans of our new strategic ally.
THE YANKS seem to have been serious in declaring that we are their strategic ally. They keep sending their officials over for visits, even if it is the assistants of the deputy Secretary of something or other.
A couple of days ago, we had assistant deputy secretary of defence and ditto of the State Depertment for European and Eurasian Affairs arriving to enjoy our heat and humidity. The former, James Townsend, met defence minister Christoforos Foikaides, who has taken his new position very seriously, and thinks he will create a proper army out of the civil servants in fatigues that is the National Guard.
In an interview in Politis last week, Fokaides said that he had raised the issue of the US embargo on the sale of arms to Kyproulla at the highest level – during the visit of Vice-President Biden. And we had expected that during Townsend’s visit the purchase from the US of a few weapons of mass destruction would have been announced by Fokaides.
But it seems the embargo is still in place and Fokaides agreed to co-operate with our new strategic ally on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which was a big disappointment, as we were hoping the US would agree to their proliferation for the sake of its strategic ally.
NOBODY markets and promotes their heroic patriotism as effectively as DISY MEP, Dr Eleni Theocharous. Her branding, as the fearless warrior princess and scourge of Turkey, won her by far the most votes in last May’s European parliamentary elections; the second most popular candidate received 18,000 fewer votes.
Having scored countless victories over Turkey, the blonde doctor with the husky voice, decided to take on the cowardly Greek government for its refusal to defend Kyproulla’s honour after she was publicly humiliated by the horrible Huns.
The Turks submitted an official document to the EU referring to our Republic as ‘defunct’ two-and-a-half weeks ago, and Greece which held the EU presidency failed to raise a whisper, making smoke come out of the doctor’s nose and ears.
“Cyprus was subjected to a brutal and extremely insulting attack by Turkey and the attack that was carried out a fortnight ago remains unanswered,” lamented the courageous doctor, when she took a break from tirelessly treating all those wounded in the attack. Over-reaction and hyperbole is part of the Theocharous brand.
UNABLE to cope with humiliation and suffering caused by the Turks on Sunday night Dr Eleni bravely called for the resignation of the Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on TV. His cowardice and lack of patriotism had let poor Kyproulla down and he had to go.
But what did the warrior princess want Venizelos to do? Should he have declared war because Turkey called the Republic defunct or kicked Turkey’s Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s in the testicles? And why did she not ask our prez to respond to the brutal attack given it was Kyproulla that had been insulted and not Greece.
It is not even as if the patriotic doctor was asking very much. All Venizelos or Nik had to do was issue a strong-worded statement – condemning Turkey’s brutal provocation and unacceptable behaviour – that nobody would take any notice of except the Cypriot media and Kyproulla’s badly hurt pride would have been restored.
All the brave doctor’s finest triumphs over Turkey were achieved with well-planned verbal attacks. Hollow rhetoric, like our Republic, is not defunct.
THE SELF-promoting, self-regarding, self-parodying patriot must have taken great satisfaction from the havoc wreaked by her crazy antics.
First, Greece’s foreign ministry issued a statement expressing its displeasure at the MEP’s criticism. Then Cyprus’ foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the Greek presidency and Venizelos handled Turkey’s provocations very satisfactorily.
Venizelos followed with a statement accusing Dr Eleni of ‘politically exploiting national sensitivities’. He also slammed her irresponsibility in attempting to create problems at the plenum of the European Parliament when it was being addressed by Prime Minister Samaras.
Prez Nik also intervened, saying relations between Greece and Cyprus were impeccable and that nobody should jeopardise the unwavering support of Athens. Greece’s ambassador, speaking to the CyBC, said the matter was considered closed.
However, Nik will be visiting Athens at the end of the month to repair the damage done by the bash-patriotic doctor and smooth over relations. Relations cannot be so impeccable if they were shaken by the crazy rants of a publicity-mad, bash-patriot that nobody with half a brain would take seriously.
DR ELENI may have over-reacted to the word ‘defunct’ because in her free time she is a poet – she recently had an anthology of her poems published – and is more sensitive than the average politician. She is also more arrogant to believe she could call for the resignation of a minister of another country because she did not approve of his actions.
Now, the sensitive poet is sulking because neither her party nor prez Nik backed her publicly. Feeling hurt and unloved she sent a letter to the prez withdrawing the interest she had expressed for the position of EU commissioner, it was reported. Applying for a commissioner’s post, which pays in excess of 200k a year, was another big sacrifice she was prepared to make for the good of the country, but not after the way she was treated.
As she said, in her letter to Nik, “it is better to represent, as a parliamentary representative, a people that struggle, claim and fight with me than to represent a Republic that vilified me and punished me because I tried to defend it when someone called it defunct.”
She might not be appointed EU commissioner but she has attained martyrdom, which must soften the blow, even if it does not pay as well.
TWO WEEKS ago, we had written that the board of Bank of Cyprus had not made a final decision on a new capital issue because there were disagreements among directors over the price that would be charged for the new shares.
Our establishment had naively taken this information at face value, which was a big mistake. The fact was that directors had used the alleged disagreement over the share price as an excuse not to take a decision, because the majority was opposed to the capital issue as this would have diluted the existing shareholding and some would have lost their seats on the board.
And keeping their board seats was the overriding concern of the happy bunny and his fellow political party appointees. Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georgadji knew exactly what they were up to and sent them a gloriously nasty letter informing them that if they did not sanction the issue of capital she would remove them all from the board. She also leaked the letter to put more pressure on them.
Cunning Crystal knew the only thing the directors cared about was keeping their board seats and her threat worked perfectly. The happy bunny would agree to a number one hair-cut to keep his chairmanship a bit longer. A week later, the humbled and humiliated directors approved a €1 billion share issue and a few days later the BoC road-show was abroad meeting foreign investors.
CRYSTAL has got balls. She smartly prevented another devious plot by the board to avoid the issue of new capital. When the board had decided to carry out an investigation into the issue of convertible bonds, she immediately realised what they were up to. If there was an ongoing investigation at the bank, the issue of new capital would have to be put on hold until it was completed.
She quickly demanded to be given the investigation file for approval. She shelved the file and the approval was never given, thus thwarting the directors’ plan. If these directors devoted as much time and grey matter to saving the bank, as they did to saving their board seats, the BoC would have been flying by now.
ETHNARCH Junior’s alliance building, designed to help his assault on the presidency, gathered momentum last week when he met EDEK boss Yiannakis Omirou and agreed their parties would seek re-negotiation of the memorandum.
He had made a similar agreement with AKEL a few weeks ago so we can look forward to an EDEK-AKEL-DIKO alliance led by Junior, the presidential hopeful, in the near future. Once they have re-negotiated the memorandum – the Troika is arriving tomorrow – they could then forge a united front against the appointment of Pasco-e, who is bound to be as pro-Turkish as bad Big Bad Al if he ever became Special Representative.
They cannot rely exclusively on the curse of the World Cup to prevent a settlement.