Does President Anastasiades ever tire of repeating the same platitudes about the Cyprus problem whenever he meets a foreign dignitary? For whose benefit are these platitudes uttered? His visitors who know they have no substance or the domestic audience that needs to remain under the illusion that the government has not given up on the national issue?
On Tuesday he met the UN Assistant General-Secretary Miroslav Jenca, to whom, according to a statement issued by the government spokesman, he expressed the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to continue efforts for the resumption of the process for a solution of the Cyprus problem. The solution would be on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as outlined in the UN parameters and Security Council resolutions.
Does Anastasiades seriously believe that by repeating these platitudes he will eventually secure the resumption of talks on the basis of a federation about which he had expressed strong reservations on countless occasions in the recent past? He had walked out of the most concerted attempt, since the Annan plan, to find a settlement, so why would anyone now believe that he is serious about the resumption of the process?
The reality is that all Anastasiades wants is the resumption of the process for the sake of it. This is why he is so keen on the appointment of an envoy by the UN Secretary-General. The last envoy achieved nothing, while the one before, who set up the Crans-Montana conference, was branded a pro-Turkish liar by Anastasiades and his entourage. He claims an envoy would contribute to the creation of a positive climate – until the government leaks negative reports to the media that is – between the two sides and lead to a new round of negotiations within a certain time-frame.
The timeframe, which Anastasiades would not hear of in the past, is a concession – an admission that he will not engage in interminable talks for the sake of talks – but it is not enough given that his trustworthiness is shot. This is why his proposed confidence-building measures are a non-starter as well. The negotiations to agree them in a way that prevents the so-called upgrading of the pseudo-state, would never be finalised.
Nobody can take the president seriously when he advocates the return to a process which has always resulted in failure. It is as if he wants this failure repeated and the only reason he wants an envoy to facilitate the process is to have someone to blame. In the highly unlikely event that he is sincere about a settlement – not wanting to be debited with Cyprus being excluded from the energy plans for the region that is distinct possibility in current conditions – he needs to come up with a completely new discourse.
The platitudes of the past about the Greek Cypriot ‘readiness to resume talks’ are long past their expiry date. We need to hear something radically different from the president.