THE WAY the tripartite summit, with the ad hoc participation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was reported by some you would have thought the Yanks were on the verge of bringing the US Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean to provide security for the Cypriot EEZ and see off any threats by the Turks.
Phil, which has a policy of cultivating delusions of geostrategic importance among its readers and regularly promoting the idea that with strategic alliances Kyproulla could force Turkey to agree to our terms – a view also peddled by the fearless diplomats for our foreign ministry – put such a positive spin on the Jerusalem meeting it made you dizzy reading it.
“Placing Turkey (even without reference to its name) in an axis of evil, the quadripartite summit in Jerusalem conveyed the determination of Israel, Cyprus, Greece and the US to cooperate in the defence against ‘external malign influences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East’,” it reported in its lead story on Thursday.
Perhaps the reporter was also dizzy from the ultra-positive spin and did not realise the declaration was not referring to Turkey, which cannot be regarded an external influence as it is actually located in the East Med and is as much an internal influence as Kyproulla and Israel.
The ‘external malign influences’ the Yanks and Israel had in mind were probably Iran and Mother Russia, but why let geography get in the way of Phil’s feelgood fantasy?
THE SPIN had the full approval of the government, which failed to get anything it wanted out of Pompeo. There was no explicit mention of Turkey’s actions in the summit’s declaration as we had desired and Prez Nik failed to secure an expression of support from Pompeo for the rights of Cyprus in its EEZ, as his spokesman said he would try to do.
Having failed to get anything it could really boast about to us gullible natives, the government had to be happy with the summit’s declaration of platitudes about increasing regional cooperation and “affirming their shared commitment to promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity the East Med region.”
The government could not possibly say it was disappointed that Pompeo could not bring himself to endorse any wording or make any comment that would have caused the mildest irritation to the Turks. However, according to Phil, which often acts the mouthpiece of our foreign minister, reporting his views anonymously, the government was ecstatic with the outcome of the summit.
“Nicosia welcomed the declaration with great satisfaction, evaluating it as a very clear (it also used Christodoulides’ favourite adjective, ‘xekatharo’) message that was sent in the direction of Anakra, even though there is no substantial reference by name,” reported Phil.
This was not the only positive. “In parallel, through the declaration, the Cyprus side (Christodoulides probably) sees the sending of a message to Turkey that the four countries will not tolerate interference in any way in their energy plans.
Perhaps the Sixth Fleet will be arriving in our EEZ after all, because it is difficult to see how else Kyproulla will not tolerate interference by Turkey in its energy plans.
THE MORNING after the meeting the silk-tongued foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides was the guest on Trito’s morning show and managed to speak for about 25 minutes about the summit without allowing anything meaningful to slip into his discourse.
He informed listeners that “we did not enter discussion of military terms and the militarisation of the region it is not our aim, in absolutely any circumstance.” So the Sixth Fleet will not be coming. He raised hopes however, five minutes later, when asked how the US would protect our EEZ. “Yesterday there was no discussion about militarisation of the region and we will not engage in such a dialogue and, especially, at a public level.”
Within the space of five minutes he ruled out militarisation of the region – as if this were up to us – and left the possibility open, if it arose in the future, even though it would be done secretly.
TO BE FAIR militarisation was not his main theme. His main theme was that “we are working with a positive approach” a phrase he repeated half a dozen times.
The other key phrase was “we do not exclude anyone,” to emphasise that Turkey was welcome to the “tripartite formations that were developing” as long as it behaved like a civilized country, and respected our sovereign rights. Adopting the tone of a benevolent headmaster, ready to allow the naughty and disruptive kid to go on the school excursion, he said:
“Turkey is absent, not because we are imposing exclusions, but because Turkey, with its behaviour, is excluding itself. Of course we hope that at some moment the behaviour of Turkey would allow it to participate in regional cooperation in the region(sic) not only relating to energy but also other forms of regional co-operation. We cannot change geography.”
Naughty Turkey now has a big incentive to stop its bad behaviour. When it does, Kyproulla, which has the exclusive rights on East Med threesomes, would invite Erdogan to a tripartite jamboree with Nik and Tsipras. Erdogan has to show good behaviour and come to terms with what the wise man from Paphos said: “we cannot change geography.”
STAYING on diplomatic issues, it appears that neither Prez Nik nor his foreign minister were entirely honest about what they were told by the British government when they visited London earlier in the month, giving in to their urge to boast about their allegedly assertive diplomacy.
After his meeting with PM Teresa May (referred to as Maybot until recently because of her robotic style but re-christened Lino last week, an acronym for ‘leader in name only’) Nik told reporters that “most importantly she reiterated the position that Britain would not wish to continue its role as guarantor power.”Christodoulides told Phil that he asked foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt “to re-confirm the British position that London was not seeking a role as guarantor power and was told what May said subsequently.”
It turned out that neither was told the UK did not wish to continue its role as guarantor power, because the British government’s position is different. The British High Commission twitter feed pointed out: “unchanged UK position: we are open to whatever arrangements the other parties can agree on security & guarantees.” When the matter was raised with Cyprus government, the Brits were told not to take the prez’s comments seriously and a make a fuss, because they were meant for his domestic audience. We gullible natives love the fantasy world our prez has created for us.
ALARM bells were ringing in diplomatic circles when word was out that our secret service Kyp had arranged for several staffers to learn Russian. The question everyone was asking was whether the government had decided to make our intelligence agency a subsidiary of Mother Russia’s FSB providing it with classified information on request?
It would not be a surprise considering how the attorney-general’s office, thanks to senior state counsel Eleni Loizidou, had been turned into a branch of the office of Russia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, pulling out all the stops to extradite people wanted by Putin regime, many of them for political reasons.
It turned out to be a false alarm. The Kypites were learning Russian in order to be able to monitor and identify possible security threats from Mother Russia. At least this is what concerned ambassadors of western countries were told, even though it unclear whether they are regarded as a domestic audience by the government.
If this is correct, it is a major volte face by Kyproulla, a betrayal of Mother Russia and big show of ingratitude for her perennially principled stand on the Cyprob. Perhaps it was inevitable after we entered a strategic alliance with the Yanks and all Kyproullans have suddenly become pro-American.
THE SUPREME Court rejected the appeal against the gagging order imposed by the district court on Politis, thus preventing the paper from publishing the emails exchanged by senior counsel Eleni Loizidou and the Russian prosecutor’s office, whom she was zealously serving.
There is little point boring anyone with the legalistic arguments used by the judges about constitutional rights on privacy overriding the right to free speech. Our judges always deal with the detail and never the bigger picture, which in this case was the subservience, beyond the call of duty, shown by a Cyprus state employee to the service of a foreign country.
This is all evident in Loizidou’s work emails that were hacked and posted on the internet. By what logic must a state employee be protected by the courts suppressing information showing that she was not performing her duties adequately? Have our judges embraced the union mentality or were they also protecting the AG as he has some responsibility for Lozidou arranging politically motivated extraditions?
THE FULL bench of the Supreme Court also issued its ruling about the law approved by the House regarding the 56th parliamentary seat that remains vacant. It ruled the law, drafted by the person that caused the mess, Dr Eleni Theocharous, and sent back to the House by Nik, as unconstitutional.
It was the third time the Supreme Court (first as electoral court) had dealt with the matter, on all three occasions deeming the fixes thought up by the legislature, to enable another Solidarity candidate to take Dr Eleni’s seat unconstitutional.
What is unbelievable is that our so-called lawmakers, have no problem passing laws that even the man on the street would tell them were unconstitutional. Perhaps they were hoping Prez Nik would turn a blind eye to their cheating, but he did not. What is worse is that the taxpayers picks up the legal bills for these exercises in legal futility.
In the latest case, the House hired three lawyers, two of whom are renowned for charging a king’s ransom for their services. None of the three told the House that it had no chance of winning the case, happy to charge their premium rates as the taxpayer would be picking up the bill. We are paying through the nose because Theocharous deceived the voters, asking for their vote while having no intention of giving up her seat in the European Parliament which pays much better than our House.
MUSTAFA Akinci appears to be permanently sulking of late. His latest sulk was precipitated by the bi-communal football match between Nea Salamina and Magusa Turk Gucu in Pyla, which he decided not to attend, because the game was not played in the buffer zone as originally planned.
The UN decided the match should be played in the village centre because they could not provide the necessary security in the buffer zone. This would have meant Akinci would have to enter the Republic, which he had no objection to doing, as long as he could arrive there in his limo, with the flag of the ‘TRNC’ on it.
The Cyprus government would not hear of it, as this would constitute recognition of the pseudo-state and insisted that the flag had to be removed before the car entered the Republic. Akinci went into a sulk and attacked the UN, saying it “did not grasp the sensitivities in Cyprus.”
It was his loss. He missed hearing Prez Nik’s rousing speech, in which he referred to Akinci as his “dearest friend” and claimed that they shared a common vision for achieving lasting peace and stability. Nik’s speech was meant for a domestic audience.
Don’t forget the wise Paphite’s words. “We cannot change geography.”