Cyprus Mail

Christodoulides has a chance to solve Cyprob. Will he take it?

letters 1 grammata

While Senora Holguin is “off island”, may I put into the written word a moment of reflection that may impact her future conduct.

The previous president who pulled out of the Crans-Montana talks had many reasons to do so in his own interest, a casual observer would surmise. He was soon after re-elected president with an improved vote, and he avoided the post mortem of a deal that would have been controversial simply because it would have had to be a compromise that had not returned “Greek” Cyprus to June 1974. It would probably have fallen in a referendum held hostage to the years of super patriotic indoctrination. In particular he saved his party from self-crucifixion. The coincidence of progress and personality at Crans had been wasted and could never occur again that easily.

So here we are now. One of the Crans Brigade is now the president without a party to worry about. He doesn’t have one and is not, to our knowledge, a member of one. After being expelled by Disy, he was an electable independent, ridden by a bunch of minor parties from across the political spectrum.

Just as the best placed “outfit” to remove the Turkish army is the Turkish-speaking Cypriots themselves, so President Christodoulides is the best placed president for many years to be able to pull off a deal, if he wants to, because he doesn’t have to worry about destroying a party. And so long as it is not a silly deal and is seen to have popular support, his gaggle of supporters will wear it in the interests of self-preservation. Akel may even support his efforts as a pro solution party.

Two obstructions, at least, remain, a referendum and the squabbling and sabotage of the other parties who will have been denied the opportunity to be the party of the solution.

How can this be reasonably circumvented? The referendum comes first in the sequence of events. (1) “Do you want a solution -Yes or No”. (2) Give a preference to the administrative structure (Give some realistic options on the ballot and mark 1,2,3 in order of preference).

Consider also a phased approach, that is don’t try and deliver a solution all at once. We can always pass through a series of settlements – probably the best confidence building measures if they address prerequisites, like territory, property, citizenship(s), defence and EU membership for example. That done, it may influence administrative structure.

Now squabble aversion or diversion: that will require “involvement” right from the start. The team needs to be diverse, not concentrated in the “friends” department and communication. Leakage will be a huge temptation for the politically savvy, but given that the flavor of solution will have to be declared anyway, does it really matter? In fact the team might actually benefit from continuous feedback, if that happens.

We’re not good at it, but some sensible planning and preparation is required and hopefully Senora Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar will be good at that. As we say, “Na doume ti tha ginei” – let’s wait and see what happens. She will be back very soon.


Philip Beardwood

Paralimni, Famagusta


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