Cyprus Mail
Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop:Cementing our capital and regional relations

Some 3,000 cubic metres of cement were poured into Nicosia's moat last week

By Patrolcos

THE LONG wait is over and it looks like we will live to see it. The upgrading and transformation of Eleftheria Square into Concrete Square (Platia Tsimentou) made big progress last weekend when a couple of hundred trucks invaded the area and poured some 3,000 cubic metres of cement into the moat.

It was a bit like war-scene with the trucks, waiting like battle tanks to enter the area they had been ordered to destroy. The mission was accomplished ahead of schedule, but unfortunately there was no concrete left in the trucks that could have been poured in another part of the old town to make it look as pretty as Platia Koungriou.

Call me an old reactionary, but I swear the moat area looked much more aesthetically pleasing before last Sunday when renowned architect Zaha Hadid’s ‘beautification’ plans took shape. I found myself agreeing, for once, with Anna Marangou, a do-gooder with strong public opinions, who had unsuccessfully campaigned against this architectural monstrosity.

In the architectural competition held more than a decade ago, the evaluating committee chose Hadid’s plans, presumably because, they liked the idea of associating the project with an architect of international acclaim. The design proposal and whether it matched the surrounding area were ignored for very concrete reasons.

THE COMPETITION, oddly, was held at a time when the construction industry was booming and cement factories could not keep up with demand. This ruled out the cement companies being behind the plans for Cement Square, as they were not to know that 10 years later construction would be suffering the worst slump in its history.

In stark contrast to comrade Tof, who at around about the same period urged us to ‘vote no in order to cement the yes vote,’ the evaluating committee voted yes in order to cement the square, and unfortunately was much more successful than the loser commie. Even after five years as president the only thing he managed to cement was state bankruptcy.

The good news is that Platia Tsimentou will be open to the public by the summer allowing people to enjoy a stroll in the sweltering July heat on the burning hot concrete which will offer an authentic oven experience in the heart of the city, completely free of charge.

IN KEEPING with the spirit of the week, Prez Nik was in Athens on Wednesday cementing the tripartite co-operation of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt which is his brainchild. The threesome involving Israel, Greece and Cyprus has not been as big a success because Nik’s pal Bibi refuses to buy the idea.

Apart from photo-ops and joint declarations about its intentions, the third tripartite summit in a year failed to come up with anything concrete (perhaps it needs Zaha Hadid as a consultant), but the threesome expressed hopes of a breakthrough. “We have decided to establish a standing joint committee of co-operation which will develop, formulate and promote practical projects of trilateral interest,” said the joint declaration.

Our energy expert Giorgos Lakkotrypis revealed what the leaders had in mind the following day on state radio. Egypt would be given know-how and assistance for setting up fish farms, particularly from Greece and more importantly growing olives. President Al-Sisi wants to turn Sinai into an olive growing region. Does he really need assistance for this?

So the “fullest exploitation of the potential” of the “strategic nature of this tri-lateral co-operation”, that the declaration spoke about, passes through fish and olives.

 

AT THE FIRST summit last year in Cairo, the threesome agreed to proceed “at the soonest with negotiations for the delimitation of their maritime zones.” This was repeated, almost word for word, in the joint declaration after the April summit in Nicosia.

So it was no surprise to read in Wednesday’ declaration that the three amigos “agreed to speed up negotiations with regard to the pending issues of the delimitation of adjacent maritime zones of the three countries.” What was holding them back asked an anxious mega-patriotic columnist, implying they did not want to piss off Turkey and would rather wait for the settlement of the Cyprob before speeding up negotiations?

What’s the betting the speeding up of negotiations will be included in the declaration of the fourth summit in Cairo at a date to be arranged?

 

THE NEXT stop in Prez Nik’s never ending world tour was Kiev where he surprised us all by taking a stance that many back home could have seen as a betrayal of Mother Russia.

He said Cyprus supported the positions of principle for the independence and sovereignty of the Ukraine. He hoped that through dialogue a peaceful solution would be found that restored human rights, the independence and sovereignty of the Ukraine. He did not name the country that violates human rights, independence and sovereignty, just as our mother never mentions Turkey when she takes her principled stand on the Cyprob.

Credit to Nik for showing everyone that small Kyproulla can be as principled as Mother Russia in international relations. We are now waiting for Russia’s local cheerleader Yiorkos Lillikas to issue a statement censuring Nik for his lack of gratitude to the country that always supported Kyproulla.

 

SPEAKING of our principled mother, her ambassador in Kyproulla, Stanislav Osadchiy has recruited another party leader to market Russia’s interest to the natives. He must have decided he cannot rely exclusively on Lillikas to campaign for Russia’s interests so he has also sought the help of EDEK leader and Botox pioneer Marinos Sizopoulos.

Last Monday he met first Sizo and then Lilli. After his meeting with Osadchiy, Sizo said that Russia should be given military facilities like those granted to France and the ambassador agreed, saying the matter was being discussed with the Cyprus foreign ministry.

Lillo, to ensure he remained the number one local spokesman of Russia, said after the meeting that he had written to all parliamentary parties asking them to pass a resolution urging the government to grant military facilities to Russia at the ports and the Andreas Papandreou air base. He also expressed his objection to the possible renewal of EU sanctions against Moscow and urged the government not to consent.

 

OSADCHIY repeated the issue of military facilities was being discussed with the foreign ministry and hoped to have an agreement signed soon. This forced Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides to issue a denial saying that talks were underway between the two countries for the granting of “facilities for humanitarian purposes and in emergency instances”.

Why had the ambassador failed to spell this out when he was speaking to the press with his protégés allowing the suggestion of military facilities to linger when he knew it was out of the question? Perhaps he did not want to shatter Sizo’s and Lilli’s hopes and dreams of a Russian military presence in front of the cameras, as he did not know how they would react to such a bitter disappointment.

 

DR ELENI Theocharous abandoned the front-line at the European Parliament, where she has been bravely defending the Republic from the threat of dissolution, to attend several important meetings in Kyproulla regarding her political ambitions.

Last weekend she met Junior to discuss the possibility of her one-woman Solidarnosc movement joining forces with DIKO to contest the parliamentary elections that might not be held in May, according to Nik. On Friday she also met Sizo and Lilli but the meetings focused on Eleni sharing her anxiety about the possibility of Cyprus deal with them, rather than any electoral co-operation.

Lilli mentioned his visionary proposal idea of all anti-settlement parties uniting into one grouping and La Theocharous said she liked it. Asked from what position she would join, she diplomatically said as “leader of Solidarity”, but avoided saying she did not want the leadership of the group, as the devious Lilli had done, pretending he puts the national interest above his personal ambitions. La Theocharous is more honest in that respect. She believes the national interest can only be served with her as our leader and saviour.

Her meeting with Sizo concentrated on their shared anguish about the future of the country. “The co-operation that concerns us at this moment derives mainly from the anxiety that consumes us about the future of the country and the imminent cataclysmic developments which can happen at any time that cannot be foreseen.”

She is a doctor so why does she not prescribe herself some drugs to ease the anxiety?

 

THE GOOD news is that the executive office of DIKO gave its approval to start talks with Dr Eleni about co-operation. The bad news is that voices in DIKO are expressing opposition to letting her into the party for fear she will insist the new group is called Solid-Dik.

Son of Spy Kyp, Markos, who has been keeping a low profile since the Mari blast and his subsequent court case, is working his way back into the political scene and has expressed objections to the deal with Dr Eleni. Markos’ newly-found courage to take on Junior could be traced back to a tete a tete he had with Nik immediately after the National Council meeting last weekend.

Nik the stirrer encouraged Markos, who is pro-settlement, to undermine Junior who will now have a second front to deal with in the party apart from Garoyian’s. But with Theocharous by his side he has nothing to fear, until she turns into a third front.

 

NOBODY could have thought it possible a few years ago that the supporters of Akelite football club Omonia would turn against the leadership of the party. It happened on Monday when a few hundred of them gathered outside the AKEL HQ demanding “Freedom for Omonia” and chanting “Down with the party junta.” The sheep had turned into hyenas.

The club is plagued by financial problems and has not been doing well in the league for years now. Some of the smarter Omonia fans have realised that the club is suffering because AKEL has been running it as incompetently as it ran the economy. The tragedy is that Omonia cannot be rescued like the country was by DISY politicians and the troika. The club is condemned to stay indefinitely under commie control, a guarantee of mediocrity on the football field.

 

THE COMMIE leadership was very upset by this unprecedented show of dissent, which could spread through party ranks like a virus. It hit back at the rebellious fans, labelling the protest “unacceptable and deplorable”.

Efforts by a small group of fans to target and damage AKEL “for issues it has no involvement in, is the result of actions orchestrated by known circles with ulterior, self-serving and nefarious motives,” the party said in a statement. I was rather disappointed the party did not accuse NATO and greedy neo-liberals as being behind the revolting Akelites.

Comrade Andros, meanwhile, insisted the party had no involvement in the running of Omonia and it was wrong to blame AKEL for the decisions taken by the club’s board. What he failed to mention was that only true-red Akelites, clueless in management, become members of the Omonia board.

 

A CHINESE madam was sentence to four months in prison by Nicosia district court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of living off immoral earnings and maintaining a brothel. The hypocrisy of our courts was illustrated once again, even the judge mentioning that this was not one of the worst cases he had encountered.

As he said in passing sentence, the two women offering sex in the madam’s apartment did so of their own free will and were not forced to do so by the defendant. They also got to keep the larger part of their earnings. In short, they were paying the madam rent, just like all other professionals do when using someone else’s premises for their work.

To justify the prison sentence, Judge Korfiotis said “of course, the moral dimensions of the offences, can on no account be ignored.” Are we still living in the 1950s?

 

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