Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: National problem and talking point revived by UNSG

HIP-HIP HOORAY. After a year on its deathbed – it was taken off the life-support machine and given the last rites exactly a year ago – the Cyprob made a miraculous recovery this week with the announcement that the UNSG will send an envoy to Kyproulla as well as Greece and Turkey to explore the possibility of starting another doomed peace procedure.
This was fantastic news, not just for our politicians who had nothing to get their creative, negative juices flowing, but also for newspaper columnists, who had nothing to write about this week except the tediously boring Co-op fiasco, which has been monopolising the news for weeks. Nothing beats our beloved Cyprob for excitement and inspiration.
Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou could not resist the opportunity to have a dig at all the doomsayers that claimed our problem was kaput. “The fact should be recorded that contrary to the worries that existed the Cyprus problem (Kypriako*) is open and alive,” said PP, officially confirming its miraculous recovery, which could have been an act of God, executed by the UNSG.

So ecstatic and relieved was everyone that our problem was open and alive there was not a single negative comment from the members of the patriotic coastguard. Not even Phil’s ever-vigilant reporters identified an Anglo-American trap or a plot for a “rushed closure of the Kypriako,” this time. Perhaps it was too early to uncover conspiracies or they decided to enjoy the problem for a couple of weeks before making their revelations about the sinister machinations of the Anglo-Americans.

THE UNSG’s envoy Jane Hall Lute is expected to visit at the end of the month so we have a few weeks of the Cyprob in rude good health to inspire us and give our lives meaning. We will enjoy it while it lasts.

What will Lute, a tough cookie Yank, actually be exploring when she visits the triangle of bad faith? Would she be looking to arrange a resumption of the talks as our side has been claiming, try to prepare the ground for another international conference or inform us that Unficyp will be pulled out in a year and the two sides would have to discuss what would happen to the buffer zone?

Nobody is discussing the third possibility even though Yiorkos Lillikas mentioned it after he met UN special rep Elizabeth Spehar on Thursday. He considered the next few weeks “very important” because the UN Security Council would discuss the UNSG’s report and request for renewal of the Unficyp mandate.

We had to make sure the mandate was renewed said the worried Paphite and added: “We must not take anything for granted in today’s conditions and with the specific policy of some permanent members of the Security Council.” He was referring to the Yanks who have been demanding cutbacks in the UN peace operations abroad for some time.

Unficyp would be a candidate for the axe as there have been no hostilities in Kyproulla for more than 40 years and its presence, providing a sense of security to Greek Cypriots, has helped prolong the problem.

WITH the UN protecting us from the Turks we feel secure and have no incentive to reach an agreement. Our unwavering support for the maintenance of the status quo that keeps the Kypriako open and alive would disappear if Unficyp was no longer part of the equation.

Lillikas came up with the bombastic statement about the possible withdrawal of Unficyp that was indicative of this attitude: “I want to hope that especially the permanent members of the UN Security Council will consider their own share of responsibility, which they have undertaken to humanity on issues of peace and security, and views will not prevail that could harm countries like Cyprus.”

In plain language, the Security Council owes it to humanity to keep Unficyp in Kyproulla so that Lillikas, Junior, Perdikis, Theocharous and Sizo could carry on playing the uncompromising, courageous, patriotic, armchair freedom-fighters from a position of safety. Humanity needs to keep these careers alive as they are part of world heritage.
If the Yanks are not convinced by this compelling argument we could adopt the cunning strategy for influencing the White House deployed by our crafty US-based brothers of PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee-Justice for Cyprus) a few months ago. Our government could book a couple of floors at the Trump International Hotel Washington DC for a few months and the US administration will honour its responsibility to humanity.

The holiday’s over for the UN’s Spehar

SPEHAR, who had to call a premature end to the one-year holiday she was enjoying on our sun-soaked island, while the two leaders were engaged in the UNSG-prescribed reflection on whether they actually wanted a settlement, had to do some work last week.

Not only did she have to meet the pompous Paphite on Thursday, which is not the best way to end a one-year holiday, the next day she also had to pay a visit to former buddies Nik and Mustafa to brief them about Lute’s visit in the last week of the month. “It will be up to the secretary-general to decide what the next step will be,” based on the outcome of the one-year reflection by the leaders, she told reporters on Friday.

Prospects, however, are not good. After the meeting, Mustafa said he would not agree to open-ended talks and that time-frames had to be set. Nik, who insists on never-ending talks to keep the Kypriako alive for future generations, simply repeated his burning desire to see a resumption of the talks, not mentioning that he does not want them ever concluded.

The official government line was that talks should resume from where they left off in Crans-Montana. A bit strange considering they ended in an acrimonious meeting and deadlock. Are we going to resume the talks with deadlock?

WHILE Spehar was on forced holiday for the last year because there was no movement on the Cyprob the governor of Central Bank Crystal has no excuse for being on holiday ever since her appointment some four years ago. She may travel to Frankfurt to attend ECB Council meetings but her contribution is the same as the vase of flowers on the conference table.
Last week there was something akin to a bank run on the Cyprus Co-operative Bank (CCB) but she remained hidden in her palatial office, neither seen nor heard. She could not even be bothered to issue a statement reassuring customers that guaranteed deposits were safe. Perhaps they were not but you’d still expect the governor to make an appearance, maybe say something, if only to give the completely false impression that the supervisory authority for banking was monitoring the turmoil in the banking sector.
Our establishment considered hiring a private detective to investigate whether Crystal actually exists and was not an imaginary creation of the Nik government so it could do whatever it wanted with the CCB while pretending it had the approval of the central bank.
We decided it would be a waste of money and that Crystal was in hiding because she was a waste of space, an absolutely clueless governor. Never before in the history of Kyproulla has a state official been paid so much (the governor is the highest paid state official) to do so little. I avoided saying nothing because I hear she goes into the office every day which is something.

IF MORE proof that the lunatics had taken control of the asylum were needed it was provided on Tuesday by the government’s unveiling of the Estia Scheme that will supposedly protect people’s primary residences by helping them repay their bank loans.

The scheme, which is a state reward for strategic debt defaulters, envisages that defaulters would pay only 50 per cent of what they owe the bank at low interest over an extended repayment period while the state would pay a third of the remainder and the bank would write off the rest.
The scheme was formulated supposedly to protect vulnerable groups, but the criteria for being eligible to the hapless taxpayer’s help shows that it is nothing of the sort. People with houses valued up to €350,000, additional assets of €87,000 and an annual salary of up to €50,000 would be eligible to apply to the scheme. Only the lunatics of our government and parties would regard someone who is paid 4 grand a month, is living in a 350K house and has assets of 87 grand a vulnerable individual in need of state protection and state help.
These are probably people who decided not to repay their bank loans because our lunatic deputies insisted on protecting the primary residence and they will now get a 50 per cent discount on the loan for not honouring their agreement with the bank. Nowhere in the world does flouting the law play as well as it does in our lunatic asylum.

THIS INSANE scheme was put together by the loonies running the country, supposedly, to persuade the parties, particularly Diko, to vote for the government bills that would speed up foreclosure procedures, reduce NPLs and thus help banks pass the imminent stress tests.
It would be no surprise if this were the case as you would expect debt defaulters to be well-off Dikheads with an expertise in screwing as much out of the taxpayer as they can get away with. They are all probably employed in the public sector, which is why the annual income and house value criteria for eligibility to the scheme are so high. Most probably there are members of other parties included in the vulnerable group of householders on 4 grand a month.

A nod of approval: Crystal

THE IRONY is that the parties have proposed so many amendments to the bills, expected to be approved at a special House session today, that there is no way foreclosures will be speeded up. Our deputies’ primary concern was to protect the rights of the people refusing to repay their bank loans. It is a human right not to repay your housing loan that our deputies want protected by law.

There are too many amendments to list here, but Edek wants a borrower to be able to appeal to the courts if he disagrees with the amount the banks want repaid. It is a legal delaying tactic. Apparently prez Nik has agreed to this suggestion and will set up special courts to examine these disputes in three to four months. The special courts will probably take a couple of years to set up.

Akel’s amendments were even better. The commies want the suspension of the foreclosure of primary residence and business premises, but also the suspension of the repossession of equipment that a business was not repaying its bank loan for.

Even if the laws approved today do not speed up foreclosures and repossessions, they will at least protect Dikhead debt defaulters and allow the government to pay Hellenic Bank to take over the healthy business of the CCB. Crystal, I hear, has given her approval to these measures with a nod of the head.

THE PARASKEVAIDES siblings, Leonie and Efthyvoulos, finally succeeded through court action in ousting Andreas Papathomas, the partner of their younger sister and trusted business associate of their mother, from the board of J&P (Overseas). Papathomas, a jet-setting bon viveur, had run the Saudi Arabia operations of Cyprus’ biggest international company into the ground while he was living the mega-rich lifestyle, travelling in a private jet accompanied by an entourage of servants and assistants. So if any multinational company is looking for a high-living CEO with an expertise in wrecking businesses with turnovers of billions they might be interested to know that Papathomas is looking for a job.

*Kypriako – In Greek the Cyprob is referred to by its adjective, which literally means ‘Cypriot’. This is common practice in the Greek language, which often uses the adjective for a problem/issue on its own as a noun. If we Google translated this we would have to refer to the Cyprob as ‘the Cypriot’, but it makes no sense in English to report ‘Developments in the Cypriot’ or ‘US attempts to close the Cypriot’. Most people would still know that ‘the Cypriot’ referred to what our country is world- famous for, and it is not for our halloumi.

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