By Achilleas Demetriades
Recent events have raised concerns as to the government’s ability to handle the serious issues the country is facing. Efforts to cover up the huge responsibilies of the ‘Governing Trio’ of Anastasiades, Christodoulides and Averof, to overcome the stalemate which they have led us into, are pitiful.
It is increasingly clear that the plans to build the EastMed pipeline were in fact nothing more than a pipedream. In retrospect it has become obvious that this was merely a matter of political expediency for domestic consumption. Statements in various capitals in addition to analysis by experts in the oil industry prove that its construction was not viable.
The positions that the UN Secretary General has outlined recently essentially bear witness to the government’s lack of credibility. Antonio Guterres is waiting for the two leaders to come up with their positions before examining the possibility of appointing his special representative. Once again, efforts by the Trio to cover up their huge responsibilities are no longer convincing. Varosha has been abandoned to its fate, and the deadlock is steering Cyprus from the verge of reaching a solution, towards the path of partition.
In Europe, the policy of trying to impose sanctions on Turkey at the European level has failed. Discussions on this issue have all but ended and nearly all member states have turned their attention to an EU-Turkey “positive agenda”, with a view to finding common ground for mutual benefit. We have lost our credibility and are increasingly isolated.
All of the above prove, in the most resounding manner, that the foreign policy the Trio has exercised has in fact failed.
It is necessary to document the present state of affairs, so as not only to appreciate where exactly we stand but also to evaluate where we want to go and how we will get there.
I believe Cyprus has to adopt a new policy and to achieve this it is imperative to change course. I consider the following three points, to form a strategic redirection which the majority of the public embraces:
- No compromise on rejecting the division of the island and a two-state solution. We should focus all our strength in preventing this development as it is the worst for our country.
- Regain our credibility in Europe and the international community through adopting feasible and consistent policies. If we align ourselves with European interests we can re-establish the necessary political capital which we can utilise, through the EU-Turkey agenda, to the benefit of Cyprus. The objective is to resume the UN process to solve the Cyprus problem.
- Exploiting natural gas reserves is linked to our policy on the Cyprus issue and its resolution. Without stability in the region, no big company will invest the necessary funds in the sea area around Cyprus. Already EastMed seems to belong to the past. This should remind us that only through realistic assessment, convincing arguments and alliances can we change the harsh realities we are facing.
The Cyprus problem, natural gas and our EU membership are all interlinked in a package which we must manage with integrity. Unfortunately, the Trio has brought about the dire circumstances we find ourselves in today. Regaining our credibility is the answer to this dangerous impasse. We do have advantages and strong arguments. We have right on our side and this calls for a consistent, modern and effective foreign policy to vindicate our rights.
This is the only way we can secure our future and that of our children in our home country. I believe that together we can do it.
Achilleas Demetriades is a partner at the Lellos P Demetriades law office LLC https://achilleas.eu