Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: The art of diplomacy for public consumption  

Nicos Christodoulides

YOU COULD not help but share the genuine anguish of Dr Eleni Theocharous about our weakened defences, “ at a time when Cyprus is being continuously invaded by the Turkish fleet in the seas and the occupation army is being dramatically strengthened.”

Why the occupation army would be dramatically strengthened when our own defence is being weakened, she did not say, even though she referred to Prez Nik’s admission that the “national guard, because of its size, was in no position to cover the entire length of the ceasefire line.”

Logically speaking, with the Turks being involved in fighting in Syria, Libya and more recently in Iraq, you would have thought the occupation army would have been dramatically reduced. But for Dr Eleni to say the opposite, she must be keeping count of the occupation troops. To make matters worse, “the national guard has not been substantially upgraded in all these years, while nobody knows what the billions in defence funds have been spent on,” she said. We can answer that – on the salaries of all the layabouts that run the national guard, the public parasites in army fatigues.


KYPROULLA’S version of Xena: Warrior Princess was not just exercising sterile criticism of the government. She had positive suggestions for tackling the problem.

“We call on President Anastasiades and the ministry of defence to study ways for the immediate upgrading of the battle-readiness of the National Guard and strategic cooperation with the Greek armed forces and the Greek government, and in this struggle we do not rule out the conscription of women, because of the draft-dodging and shortage of males in our country.”

She admitted that by conviction she had always been opposed to drafting women into the national guard, but with the country in desperate need for soldiers she was prepared “to modify certain views” because “it is imperative for the government to proceed with the use of women in facing the outside threat.”

Having failed to reach an agreement with fellow political opportunist Yiorkos Lillikas regarding co-operation between their personal parties in next year’s parliamentary elections, the warrior princess has decided to play the patriotic-military card to win support. She should have kept women out of it though because women in the army is guaranteed to lose votes and lead to an even more dramatic increase in Turkish occupation troops.


THERE is an even better solution than the one dreamed up by Dr Xena and does not involve conscripting women. Bring in an EU army, if it exists, to protect our ceasefire line. Defence Minister Savvas Angelides has already proposed something along these lines for protecting our seas. During a teleconference of EU defence ministers last Tuesday, Angelides reportedly stressed the need for an EU naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean and condemned Turkey’s continuous attempts to destabilise the broader region.

With an EU navy, assuming it exists, protecting our EEZ and a non-existent EU army protecting our territory, we would be pretty safe, and Dr Eleni would feel less stressed over our inadequate security. The only snag is that Dr Eleni has no faith in the EU, which “has accustomed Recep Tayyip Erdogan, every time he raises his voice, to reward him with many billions of euros to deal with his threats and wildness.”


IT WAS not a good week for our foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides, as the great achievements of his multi-level, multi-dimensional, multifarious foreign policy were publicly questioned not only by Akel, but also by fellow rejectionist Dr Eleni.

Referring to the teleconference of EU foreign ministers, the warrior princess’ party Solidarnosc said the habit of securing an EU condemnation of Turkey’s actions was “futile and of no benefit,” before lashing out at Christodoulides’ repeated claims he would secure sanctions against Turkey.

“This touches the bounds of deception of an entire people when it is repeated at regular intervals,” said Solidarnosc, before telling the foreign minister that he should “stop considering his ‘subjects, naïve and ignorant and not having a memory”.

He ignored this, but he was obviously stung by Akel’s attack which was much more restrained and merely pointed out that he was building up expectations with the support of the media and never delivering on them. Have the comrades only just realised he was a slogan guy?

Christodoulides has announced the introduction of all types of diplomacy, since becoming foreign minister – economic, cultural, accounting, sexual equality diplomacy – upgraded the strategic significance of Kyproulla, gave it a leading role in the energy field and made its voice heard in the EU etc. But the reality is that the only successful type of diplomacy he introduced, which never gets mentioned, is the diplomacy of public consumption, for raising the political profile of the foreign minister and boosting his popularity.


RATHER than respond to Akel’s criticism – what could he say considering it was correct ?– he got the government spokesman KK to issue a statement that no doubt he wrote for him.

In the statement KK censured the commies’ for “personal attacks against the foreign minister”. Who did KK want Akel to attack for the failures of foreign policy? The agriculture minister? Christodoulides makes sure he takes personal credit for the alleged ‘successes’ of his policies, which he peddles on radio and TV and through leaks to newspapers, but when he is debited with failures in his foreign policy it is a personal attack and the government should be blamed and not the foreign minister.

And why did he not respond to Akel himself instead of getting KK to defend him? The guy has no stomach for confrontation, which is a handicap for a politician with his type of ambition. It also undermines the profile he has so carefully built for himself. How can the brave minister that is leading our assertive foreign policy of putting Turkey in a corner, be afraid to confront a bunch of harmless Akelites?


SO AFTER failing for years to register halloumi as a protected designation of origin, the agriculture ministry has decided to put the Cyprus potato on the EU list of protected geographical indications (PGI). “Cyprus potatoes need to be recognised as products of protected geographical indications,” said agriculture minister Costas Kadis, who added that an expert would soon arrive to help prepare the application.

Has anyone given any thought to the pseudo-potatoes, because I bet the Turkish Cypriots will also want to get in on the act? After the halloumification of the Cyprob we do not want its potatofication as well. According to some this PGI will protect us not from pseudo potatoes but from Greek potatoes. A few weeks ago, there was an outcry by Cyprus farmers because Greek farmers were marketing their potatoes to supermarkets abroad as Cyprus potatoes.


ODYSSEAS, the self-righteous, found his match in Bishop of Kykkos Nikiforos at a House committee meeting on Thursday. Nikiforos, not the most popular priest, labelled Odysseas ‘Javert’ for wanting to demolish a goat farm in the protected Paphos national park that is part of Natura 2000.

The farm that belongs to Kykkos monastery has no permit and last December the administrative court issued a demolition order which has not been enforced. Why Odysseas felt obliged to issue a report about the farm, given that no public money was wasted, and insist that it should be demolished nobody knows.

It was after all just a farm, built in 1960, long before the area became protected, and goats are not a threat to the environment. Nikiforos put the whole issue in perspective when he told Odysseas: “For God’s sake it’s just a farm. Yes, I admit that due to ignorance we broke the law, but we did it to help a desperate man. It’s not as if we destroyed the Parthenon.”


THE MYSTERY of the stench wafting over Nicosia was solved on Tuesday. It was, of course, from the north, the CyBC TV news smugly reported. We should have guessed that only the Turkish Cypriots could be responsible for such a stink descending on Nicosia. This should be a concern for us because even if we agree to partition and each community went its own way there is no escaping the stink.

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