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Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Wanted: new ‘bad demon’ after Brexit

Our irrepressible foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides, pictured here with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis on Tuesday, had to put up a fight with the duplicitous Brits about the wording of the final text

IN THE END, our irrepressible foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides secured the maximum punitive measures the EU was willing to take against Turkey, which, were not very much. Let’s put it this way, they are unlikely to incur the big cost that would force Turkey to terminate its illegal drilling in the Cypriot EEZ or stop causing tension any time soon.

The measures had two objectives – showing some form of solidarity with Kyproulla while not pissing off the Turks enough to jeopardise the EU’s cooperation with Turkey on a range of vital matters such as migration and security. Turkey will protest, giving us the satisfaction that we achieved something, even though nothing will change in the EEZ.

On Monday the Foreign Affairs Council will adopt the Coreper proposals suspending negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement, freezing meetings of the high-level dialogues, cutting €146 million from pre-accession assistance in 2020 and reviewing the European Investment Bank’s lending activities in Turkey.

Sanctions like those imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea, which were being demanded by our political parties were not even discussed. The funny thing is that even those sanctions, were pretty ineffectual as Russia is unlikely to pull out of Crimea any time soon, not to mention the fact that our parties were calling for their lifting because they were unfair.

 

CHRISTODOULIDES’ mouthpiece Phil, reported on Saturday that the paper’s hero had to put up a fight with the duplicitous Brits about the wording of the final text.

Our biggest diplomatic triumphs of the past always were related to the changing of words in UN Security Council resolutions or reports on Cyprus by the UN Secretary-General so now we are scoring similar victories in EU statements.

According to Phil, our tough foreign minister, who is also its source, objected to Britain’s insistence that “possible targeted measures,” earmarked for the future, should be linked to a possible escalation of Turkey’s actions in the final statement. In the end, he defeated the scheming Brits, with help from Federica Mogherini, and the wording was changed.

It called on the European Commission to carry on working on preparing “targeted measures” (the word ‘possible’ was removed because Nicos objected to it) without any conditions or prerequisites. His only failure was that he was unable to include a time limit for the drafting of the “targeted measures” by the Commission in the statement that was finally approved, so nobody has any idea when these will be submitted. It would have been a bit rich for a government that is on principle opposed to suffocating time-frames to make such an unreasonable demand.

 

WHO will Phil’s intrepid Brussels correspondent Pavlos Xanthoulis have to blame for all the difficulties Kyproulla encounters at EU bodies when Britain leaves the Union at the end of October? Rarely a week goes by without the Brit-bashing Xanthoulis reporting some devious anti-Cyprus action by the Brits.

Even with one foot out of the Union, the back-stabbing Brits are hell-bent, if Xanthoulis’ reports are anything to go by, to cause as much trouble and grief for Kyproulla as possible. It is a surprise that Foreign Office remainers have not used the ability to cause harm to Kyproulla as a compelling argument for not leaving the EU.

The strange thing was that on receiving an extension to the Brexit deadline in March, Prime Minister May had given the undertaking the British government would always back the majority on issues on which there was disagreement among the member-states. So how was it that only Britain disagreed with the “targeted measures” according to Xanthoulis and his source Christodoulides?

On Thursday’s front page Phil’s banner headline read “British thorn in measures”, claiming “London was working on the sidelines to refer decisions on sanctions at a later stage,” while inside it reported, “British scheming in favour of Turkey sparks Nicosia reaction.”

 

BLAMING the country comrade Tof labelled “our bad demon” for the difficulties encountered at Coreper suited Nicosia down to the ground because in this way it did not have to mention that other member states had expressed reservations about the statement.

In fact, diplomatic sources informed our establishment that “our bad demon” was among the majority of countries that supported the original draft proposal for the measures. It was not even among the countries that expressed reservations about the measures, because of their own interests, such as Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Malta and Denmark.

Something not reported by Xanthoulis, probably because his source did not mention it to him, was that the only two countries that were in favour of “targeted measures”, that is, sanctions, were Greece and Cyprus. And the majority of countries, including Britain, France, Spain, Germany supported that “targeted measures” should be considered at a later stage.

But it was convenient to blame “our bad demon” even when it was not justified, and cover up the fact that despite the outside show of solidarity with Kyproulla, many of our European partners were not very keen on taking measures against Turkey.

The big headache for Nicosia now is that after October 31, when Brexit takes place, the Turks are carrying on drilling we will not have our beloved demon to blame for the EU’s failure to impose sanctions. Perhaps we can blame Malta, which is under British influence.

 

IF WE REALLY wanted our partners to impose sanctions on Turkey, should we not have set a good example ourselves by imposing sanctions on the pseudo-state? We could have closed the checkpoints, suspended the Green Line regulations.

In this way, not only would we have caused chaos with their tourist industry, by preventing visitors that arrive in Larnaca to holiday in the north, but also stopped the increasing number of Greek Cypriots crossing over to buy petrol, tobacco and medicine, or to gamble. We cannot expect other countries to impose sanctions on Turkey when the Republic is not prepared to take measures that would starve the north’s economy of funds.

The outrage is that at the very time we were fighting for sanctions against Turkey at the EU, the interoperability of phones was introduced in Kyproulla which was yet another concession to the illegal regime. Now a Greek Cypriot can also use his mobile phone as well when buying cheaper petrol or holidaying in a hotel in the north.

You would have hoped Prez Nik would have blocked the connecting of the phones until Turkey’s stopped drilling in our EEZ.

 

THE ONLY thing achieved by the mobile telephony deal, according to our uber-patriotic parties was the “upgrading of the illegal regime and the parallel downgrading of the Cyprus Republic.” Diko did not leave the matter there, wanting to know if the Turkish Cypriot companies involved in providing the service “have any operating licence from the legal authorities of the Cyprus Republic,” or whether “they have obtained ‘operating licences’ from the illegal authorities of the pseudo-state.”

The party called on the auditor-general to investigate whether the laws of the Cyprus Republic were being violated by this agreement. I am certain Odysseas will oblige, even though it is the attorney-general’s job to investigate possible violations of the law, because he now carries out patriotic audits, and the mobile telephony case is a flagrant violation of the laws of patriotism.

 

COMRADE Tof may have passed away, but comrade Andros seems unwilling to completely cut Akel’s links with its shameful Stalinist past. Quite the contrary, Akel seems set to join the ongoing efforts of the Russian Communist Party to whitewash Joseph Stalin, and present him as a heroic figure of Russian history.

Speaking about a meeting he had with the Russian Communist Party, on his return from a recent trip to Moscow, Andros said “we were briefed about a series of events for the 75th anniversary of victory, for the 150 years of Lenin and for the 140 years of Stalin and they asked us to exchange views as to whether we could jointly organise some events and I told them to continue our communication.”

We look forward to the celebrations.

 


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