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Our View: President clearly signals priority of election over talks

Anastasiades joins residents from Morphou on Sunday

IT WAS A pity President Anastasiades did not elaborate after expressing the hope to the an-nual gathering of people from Morphou on Sunday that an opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem would emerge after January’s presidential elections. He left his audience guessing how and from where this opportunity would emerge. Would it be through a divine act, an ac-cident of nature or an initiative undertaken by the Russian Federation?

The president did not explain on what his hope was based because his speech was part of his campaigning. He was speaking to people from Morphou so he had to offer them hope of a settlement that would allow their return to the village; he could not tell them that the prospect of their return disappeared in July in Switzerland. At the same time, he did not make any promises that he would try to secure a resumption of the peace process so as not to alienate voters opposed to a settlement – the opportunity would emerge from somewhere but not through any Anastasiades initiative, assuming he was re-elected.

The UN Secretary-General has made it clear that his Good Office’s mission would go back into action only when the two leaders asked for this, having first signalled their readiness to reach an agreement. Therefore, unless Anastasiades and Akinci went to the UNSG the oppor-tunity to solve the Cyprus problem would not arise. So when Anastasiades was declaring that he was ready to return to the negotiating table at any time, subject to certain conditions the Turkish side would not accept, it was just theatre.

He has no intention to return to the negotiations because as the Turkish side has repeatedly argued his priority is the election. Of course, he has denied this, the presidential palace re-peatedly making the assertion that the president was ready to return to talks before the elec-tions. This is not true, as events have shown. Anastasiades has done nothing to make this happen despite what he has said in speeches and now he has come clean. An opportunity could emerge after the elections, because before the elections he has no intention of pursuing the resumption of talks.

For the president his re-election campaign has taken precedence over settlement talks, for months now, probably since before the conference at Crans-Montana, which he was not too keen on attending in the first place. Having ensured the Cyprus problem would not interfere with his campaign he is now looking forward to an opportunity for a solution emerging after his prospective re-election.

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