Just a few hours after the setback in Switzerland a public rhetoric began to be rekindled arguing for the need to adopt a “new strategy” on the Cyprus problem, not only by forces that now officially reject bicommunal, bizonal federation, but also by political parties who remain committed to the agreed framework of the solution.

At the same time as AKEL is underlining the need for the leaders of the two communities to resume the talks, the priority of certain circles and forces I regret to point out was to declare a stalemate and the necessity of developing a “new strategy” with regards the Cyprus problem.

Various imaginative ideas were put forth: the holding of a national conference between Greece and Cyprus, the adoption of the policy of “protaxis” as the official line (Note: the policy of setting “preconditions” that predetermine the results of negotiations), the denunciation of the negotiation procedure, the pinning of Cyprus’ hopes to the future (when Erdogan will leave), the abandonment of Federation and the maximization of the cost for Turkey. These ideas, approaches and practices have been tested and have failed, some of them miserably. Others had been abandoned in a disorderly way, after causing damage, such as for example the policy of “protaxis”.

It certainly is the inalienable right of parties to explore every possible option. However I am very afraid that certain circles and forces are avoiding the real issue, despite the necessity for any idea – to be of any value – to lead towards promoting the cause of the solution of the Cyprus problem and not to widening the gap and thus perpetuate the occupation – unless that is it lingers in some minds as the second best solution.

We strongly believe that right now the Greek Cypriot community’s only priority must be to return to the negotiating table, from where they the talks had left off in order to achieve a converge on the criteria on the territorial issue and their reflection on a map. It is not an easy task, but it is possible and feasible. The ultimate aim should be the combination of such percentage and territory to be recovered that will ensure the right of return of most of the refugees under Greek Cypriot administration, together of course with a correction in the percentage of the coastline.

If and provided that we arrive within range of an agreement on the chapters concerning the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, an international conference must be convened on the external aspects, that is the chapter on security and guarantees, aiming at abolishing the guarantees and rights of intervention with the presence of the Republic of Cyprus safeguarded not only for self-evident political reasons, but also for an important reason as regards International Law. The Republic of Cyprus as a subject of International Law and a principal contracting party in the two of the three 1960 Treaties cannot be absent from the process to review or abolish them.

Undoubtedly, after the negative precedent in Switzerland, the degree of difficulty has increased. However, there is no alternative other than the continuation of the talks. The President of the Republic by insisting on positions of principle, with steadfastness and pragmatism must assert without any vacillations the perspective of liberation and reunification. And of course the international community must knock on Turkey’s door, if there is to be a real prospect for a solution that can be accepted and be viable.

New Strategy” – old ideas

Article by Aristos Damianou, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL

“Haravgi” newspaper, Sunday 27th November 2016

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