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Cyprus Mail-Article

How can we solve it? (keep it civilized)

Cyprus Mail-Article

Postby michalis5354 » Sun Jun 06, 2004 6:26 pm

ARTICLE - Cyprus Mail

SO WHERE do we go from here? The UN Secretary-general has submitted his long-awaited report on the failure of the latest peace process. As expected, it lays the blame squarely on the Greek Cypriot side, and specifically on President Tassos Papadopoulos.

The reaction in Nicosia has been predictably incensed. No surprises there: the ground had been laid for several weeks now with sustained spinning from the Presidential Palace about how the report was expected to be vindictive and punitive, largely inspired by the ‘Anglo-Americans’ who were pursuing their own Machiavellian (read pro-Turkish) agenda. Batten down the hatches and hunker down: we’ll weather this storm from the nasty foreign powers.

Fair enough. Probably we will. Rauf Denktash weathered decades of criticism far more withering than what we have just been submitted to. And he was the leader of an unrecognised pariah statelet, whereas we are full members of the European Union. Cyprus will survive this one. No doubt about it. And the government will probably survive with its domestic credibility intact.

But beyond battening down the hatches, what is our ultimate aim? Papadopoulos insists he still wants a solution – and a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution at that. He insists the changes he wanted did not affect the substance or philosophy of the Annan plan. Good. But how do we plan to achieve that objective?

As the UN Secretary-general said on Thursday, it is now up to the Greek Cypriot side to “explain to the Turkish Cypriots, the UN and the rest of the world how they see the way forward”. Yet a diplomatic source commenting on the meeting between Papadopoulos and Annan told this paper that Papadopoulos had “no ideas on how to go forward”.

Papadopoulos will no doubt disagree. He will say he has a carefully thought-out strategy. So far, however, he has told the public he could not reveal that strategy, just as neither he nor any of his aides could not reveal the strategy he supposedly had for dealing with the backlash from the referendum – a strategy, which, if it existed, does not seem to have achieved the desired results.

Until we see any signs of a strategy, the suspicion has to be that the government intends to sit back and maintain the situation in the limbo it was in for so many years.
But that limbo is no longer sustainable. Like it or not, the status quo has changed since the referendum.

We are entering a dynamic period that does not allow us to sit back: the status of the Turkish Cypriots is changing before our very eyes, Turkey is coming up to its December rendezvous with Europe, Greece appears to be losing patience and increasingly decoupling Cyprus from its relations with Ankara.

All these things will affect our future. We cannot just sit back, otherwise the situation will simply bypass us, leaving us face-to-face with certain faits accomplis that we will have to live with for decades to come.
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