Cyprus Mail
CM Regular Columnist Opinion

The president has an obligation to be clear

By Christos P. Panayiotides

THE recent statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu concerning President Nicos Anastasiades have complicated an already highly complicated problem.

I have no difficulty in accepting that any references made by the president to solutions other than a bicommunal, bizonal federation (BBF) were aimed at ascertaining Turkey’s intentions rather than place on the negotiating table other solutions which entail an open or a disguised expropriation and assignment of north-eastern Cyprus to Turkey, either in the form of a two-state arrangement or a confederation, or a “loose” federation. In other words, any arrangement that would be equivalent to a disguised partition.

It is true that the president, in his agonising struggle to pull Cyprus out of the impasse she is in, has made statements and he has adopted positions, which could have been misinterpreted and were, in fact, misinterpreted.

Given that the next few months constitute a critical period for the future of Cyprus, it is of the utmost importance not to leave any room for doubt or misinterpretation as to the positions and the intentions of the Greek Cypriot side.

It follows that it is of particular importance for the president to declare in an explicit manner that is not open to misinterpretation, that the Greek Cypriot side is unreservedly in favour of a solution that is based on BBF within the Guterres Framework and in accordance with UN resolutions, a solution that would recognise the political equality of the two communities in Cyprus, the right of all Cypriots to participate in the management of hydrocarbons.

In addition, the president, in recognition of the fact that time is against us, should state that he is not merely asking for the re-launching of the negotiations from where they left off at Crans-Montana but that he aims at successfully concluding the process within a short period of time of the order of two or three months.

The president has, of course, the right – and the obligation – to modify his positions to the extent that he has come to believe that the positions previously held were incorrect or are in need of correction because of changed circumstances.

In such a case, he has an unquestionable obligation to go to the people of Cyprus and to explain and justify the change.

The future of Cyprus is not just any issue. The solution, which will be adopted by agreement or by default is of vital importance for the survival of the Cypriot people.

Nobody has the right to commit the people of Cyprus to something in absentia. The president has an obligation to clarify his positions in a candid, honest and sincere manner without any asterisks or footnotes, without any ‘constructive’ ambiguities; in a manner that does not avail itself to multiple interpretations. Any other approach poses grave risks, which are certain to lead to trouble at an enormous cost.

My impression is that the international organisations as well as the individual governments that are involved in the resolution of the Cyprus problem have become a little tired and, as a consequence, they are setting the problem aside and are turning their attention to other more pressing issues.  This climate inevitably results in cementing the 1974 fait accompli.

The responsibility of the president is enormous. He must assume it with courage and frankness in recognition of the heavy historic burden he is called upon to carry. As clearly stated by the UN Secretary-General and which has been widely confirmed, the prolongation of the present status quo is not an option.


Christos Panayiotides is a regular columnist for the Cyprus Mail, Sunday Mail and Alithia

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