Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Cyprob tries to come out of lockdown

Jane Holl Lute might visit, and we can stick her in quarantine for two weeks to delay the process

IT WAS BACK briefly on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, but, sadly it did not last. I refer to our dear Kypriako (Cyprob), which had been consigned to oblivion by the coronavirus, since early February and had not been heard of again until Tuesday night, when the state broadcaster attempted to bring it back to life, by making it the top story of its television news.

It was also the lead story on its Wednesday morning radio news, but nobody picked it probably because there was no patriotic capital to be made of it, and it had nothing to say about Turkey’s provocativeness, intransigence or expansionist plans. Even Phil, which for three decades had the Cyprob as its front-page lead story every day, snubbed the news.

The story, the source of which was our perm rep at the UN, Andreas Mavroyiannis, who has been self-isolating in the Republic’s Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan, informed us that “discussion are beginning for the renewal of the resolution on Unficyp while behind the scenes there is a search for ways to create the preconditions for a new substantive meeting on the Cyprob.”

It was fluffy news, with Mavroyiannis coming up with the type of comments you would not expect from a man of his intellect. He said “the UNSG Antonio Guterres, in all his contacts, repeats his will, when the time is right, to become actively involved in the Kypriako.”

He explained however, that “the coronavirus pandemic affects indirectly the Kypriako, with the result that developments are moved to after October.”

 

THE PARODY did not end there. Mavroyiannis also reported that the “UNSG’s personal envoy Jane Holl Lute was continuing her contacts with all the parties involved,” but according to RIK, “clarified that at this time there are no specific actions and there are no specific margins.” RIK did not ask what the purpose of her contacts were given there are no specific actions or margins.

Mavroyiannis also noted that the “situation for developments is difficult because of the lack of will on behalf of Turkey and its provocative actions in the Cypriot EEZ, Ammochostos and the Aegean.” Prez Nik, in contrast, has been full of the will to have a “substantive meeting” but is held back by Turkey’s provocative actions. Nobody is mentioning a settlement, because all we want are developments.

What we want was eloquently articulated by Mavroyiannis on Rik. “Preconditions must be created so that immediately after (October elections in the north) a new effort is developed with a meeting of a procedural nature that will create conditions for a substantive meeting.” And what happens after the substantive meeting? Nothing.

Our interest is solely the renewal of the Unficyp mandate, so whenever its discussion, as the UN Security Council approaches, we start pestering the UNSG for a meeting with the other side so that we can pretend there is progress in the Cyprob and the withdrawal of the peacekeeping force could jeopardise the progress.

How much longer this charade will last nobody knows. But if there are developments after October and a substantive meeting by December we could get another renewal in January. Why even Jane Holl Lute might visit, and we can stick her in quarantine for two weeks to delay the process.

 

SPEAKING of the Cyprob, I have to mention Phil’s columnist Kostas Venizelos, who constantly writes scathing articles against the appeasing of Turkey and the need for us to adopt a more assertive policy in the defence of our national interests.

He is from the Dr Lyssarides school of Cyprob thought which is based in the belief that the country of overpaid public employees can stand up to Turkey and win. And Venizelos has the answer. “Turkey is not invincible,” he wrote on Wednesday, before concluding:

“It is obvious that to confirm that she is not invincible, deterrent policies and policies that incur a cost to occupying Turkey must be formulated. The tools exist. Even if restricted. The dilemma is a comprehensive policy of deterrence or the continuation of the policy of appeasement that lead Cyprus and Greece to ‘Blue Country’.”  This, disappointingly, is all we get from Venizelos, who never explains how his theory would be put into practice. He doesn’t even bother to tell us what tools exist – hammers, spanners, screwdrivers? Nor does he explain how we will get the Unficyp mandate renewed if we abandon our policy of appeasement and stop pretending we want developments in the Cyprob?

 

DR THEOCHAROUS’ Solidarity has condemned the Nicosia multi-store selling protective masks for the coronavirus made in Turkey and with “the Turkish national symbols in a prominent place.” The party considered this “unacceptable and condemnable and calls for their immediate withdrawal.” It also called on the public not to buy these masks and make their own, “given that all the state has managed has been to flood the market with Turkish made masks.” Why has the multi-store not been named and shamed by Dr Eleni and her brave freedom fighters? Were they too scared?

 

CORONAVIRUS uber-celebrity Professor Kostrikis, in his interview on Tete a Tete, last Monday, which I somehow managed to miss, spoke “for the first time about the woman of his life,” I read on the Larnaca Online website. He also denied reports “that wanted his wife to be of the Muslim faith,” the website reported. His wife Nadia is of Moroccan origin, born in Paris and a lawyer, he said before he clarified: “She is not Muslim by religion but an agnostic.” Would it really matter if she were a Muslim? Obviously, it would to the low-profile professor, otherwise he would not feel the need to mention it. He is really taking care of his public image, despite his deep desire to be an “unknown among unknowns.” Perhaps he has political ambitions and will not return to his laboratory when the pandemic is over.

 

IN THE PREVIOUS week, after the government withdrew the bill on the state-guaranteed bank loans, opposition parties mocked the government for sulking because it did not get its way. Now the opposition parties are sulking because finance minister Constantinos Petrides has come up with a way to provide liquidity to businesses without needing the approval of the legislature. Akel has accused the government of co-governing with the Federation of Employers (Oev) and the Chamber of Commerce (Keve) which for communists are by definition sinister organisations. Meanwhile Junior, who contributed to the withdrawal of the bill by insisting Odysseas should be overseeing the granting of loans, is not just sulking, but he seems inconsolable. On Thursday he tweeted more than 10 messages slamming the government’s alternative plans and as many on Friday doing the same. He has taken his failure to embarrass the government very badly. We hope he gets over it soon, because there will be plenty more government bills block in the coming months.

 

ANOTHER one sulking was auditor-general Odysseas, who was on Friday night targeted by Prez Nik, who in an interview on Omega TV accused him of overstepping his authorities and meddling in politics. “I never get involved in politics,” Odysseas fired back, which I suspect not even he believed, given the times he has publicly ticked off ministers and tried to impose his diktats on the government.

On Thursday he offered backing to Junior’s twitter war against the government, taking a swipe at finance minister Petrides (proof that he never gets involved in politics), for not agreeing to him being an observer in the lending process. The wounded Odysseas tweeted in the obligatory royal plural: “I had asked the CBC Governor Constantinos Herodotou if he objected to our participation with status of observer in the supervision committee and his answer was NO. Now on (a Cybc news show) ‘Eftheos’, Petrides is saying something else. The finance minister knows better than us how an audit service works after all?”

 

ODYSSEAS’ mouthpiece Phil on Saturday reported that an investigation by the auditor-general’s office had discovered thousands of National Guard reservists were not showing up for duty, falsely claiming they were living abroad. Is Odysseas showing up for reservist duty, because when this serious matter was in the news a few years ago it was revealed that he was not turning up. He claimed at the time he had been told the auditor-general was exempt from reservist duty. And he had much more important things to do – like meddle in politics, which he has never done.



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