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Our View: President’s latest initiative a pointless pantomime

Tuesday’s national council meeting was another example of hollow theatre

THE peace process collapsed on July 6. The much-maligned special advisor of the UN secretary-general is leaving for good. The Turkish side is talking about steps that indicate the pursuit of Plan B it threatened immediately after Crans-Montana.

On the Greek Cypriot side, the response has been the familiar Cyprus problem theatre (or should we call it pantomime?) featuring defiant posturing, the blame game, merciless attacks on the special advisor, the announcement of meaningless diplomatic initiatives, national council meetings and of course promises of putting Turkey in the dock.

It has to be seen to be doing something after the fiasco, which appeared to have been President Anastasiades’ objective and was warmly welcomed by all the political parties with the notable exception of Akel.

Tuesday’s national council meeting was another example of this theatre. Akel and Disy both supported a resumption of the talks, presumably ignoring Anastasiades’ assertion that Turkish intransigence was 100 per cent to blame for the collapse of the process. What would be the point of resuming talks given Turkey’s intransigence? Disy chief Averof Neophytou claimed that the UN secretary-general’s framework “should be exploited and the Greek Cypriot side’s position that based on this framework we are fully ready for the resumption of the dialogue”.

Had he not heard the president’s conditions for agreeing to a resumption of the dialogue? One of these conditions – ‘zero troops’ – was outside the UNSG’s framework, not to mention the fact that Anastasiades’ conditions are a guarantee against the talks resuming. The Turkish side would never give everything he demands on security and guarantees before negotiations start, and Anastasiades knows it. In fact his conditions are part of the theatre – he claims he wants to the talks to resume but sets conditions that rule out any such possibility.

The rejectionists, meanwhile, happy with the collapse were eager to discuss measures supposedly aimed at countering Turkey’s moves. Diko chief Nicolas Papadopoulos lamented the fact that the national council meeting devoted no time to discussing the initiatives that would be undertaken internationally to avert Turkey’s plans on Cyprus. It has not crossed anyone’s mind that the talks on which we have triumphantly turned our backs were the only opportunity to avert Turkey’s plans. A deal would have seen the return of Varosha to the Greek Cypriots, but the collapse ensured it will stay under Turkish control. It would be very interesting to hear how Papadopoulos and his allies would internationally avert Turkish plans to keep Varosha under its occupation?

The government also has plans to counter Turkey’s moves. According to spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, it was “processing specific measures, which among other things, involve the utilisation of the European factor”. He did not elaborate because the script of the Cyprus problem theatre features only hollow words.



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