Interview with Yiorgos Loucaides, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL and AKEL Parliamentary Spokesperson
7 July 2019, “Haravgi” newspaper
We do not trust Anastasiades at all
The government says one thing, but means and acts completely differently
Why were you asking to be forwarded Anastasiades’ letter to UN Secretary General Guterres? Does that reflect how much you no longer don’t trust the President of the Republic?
We have no trust in Mr. Anastasiades at all. You will find similar statements we had made, even when we were backing the negotiation procedure on the Cyprus problem. Mr. Anastasiades, the government ruling forces in general, say one thing, but mean and act completely differently. They are totally untrustworthy. In previous years, we have experienced similar political behavior on their part in most cases and issues. And so, not even in this case too, did we trust all that was being said publicly, in particular as regards the Foreign Minister’s statements on the content of the letter.
Despite all their untrustworthiness, we were hoping to be disproven and that they had really changed course. We were hoping that they would cease questioning the negotiating acquis, namely the convergences that have been achieved and the Guterres Framework. We had hoped that belatedly they would have measured the devastating consequences of their policy and would have really complied with the clear demands set out by the Secretary General of the UN for a resumption of negotiations.
The leak of Anastasiades’ letter to the UN Secretary-General apparently did not allay AKEL’s concerns judging from your public reaction…
Unfortunately the content of the letter has confirmed our assessment yet again. In the letter, Mr. Anastasiades repeats himself. Instead of continuing the procedure of the Conference on Cyprus from where it had remained on the six main pending issues, the President of the Republic is calling for the resumption of the Conference only to discuss the procedure and terms of reference. He is also insisting on opening convergences in a way that violates the negotiating acquis and, consequently, the specific terms set by the UN Secretary-General for a resumption of the procedure.
Once again, they appear to be underestimating people’s intelligence and believe that they can deceive everyone in Cyprus and abroad. In reality, it is Cyprus and the Cyprus problem that will continue to pay the heavy price.
What hasn’t the President done that he should have?
Mr. Anastasiades opened issues that in essence are questioning the negotiating acquis and, in particular, the convergences that have been agreed: Firstly, regarding the questioning of the one positive vote of the Turkish Cypriots in the Cabinet. That a positive vote, for example, on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Eastmed isn’t required, as he has said in the past.
Secondly, he opened the issue of the central federal government’s competences in relation to the federated constituent states within the framework of a so-called decentralized federation.
Thirdly, he reiterated, within the framework of his new ideas, the issue of changing the government structure into a parliamentary system instead of the presidential system.
Let me also remind you that Mr. Anastasiades, among other conditions he set after Crans Montana, opened the key question of the Guterres Framework’s content. He opened it in a way that left the Greek Cypriot side extremely exposed when he in effect accused the United Nations General Secretariat of conspiring to alter the content of the Guterres framework with the “disappearance” of the July 4th minutes.
To this, one has to add in general Mr. Anastasiades’ public rhetoric, but also his actions and omissions. Thus, one can easily judge the degree of consistency or better, inconsistency between words and actions in relation to his readiness to resume talks from the point where they had remained.
Is your accusation about the President’s flirt with a two states solution also part of these actions?
For sure, Mr. Anastasiades did not stop, behind the scenes, flirting with a two states solution and confederation. It is a tragic reality, but it explains the picture being conveyed by Anastasiades’ handling on the Cyprus problem, coupled with his public rhetoric. N. Anastasiades is the man who severely criticized the statement of Tassos Papadopoulos, “‘I received an internationally recognised state and I cannot deliver a ‘community’,” denouncing that such positions lead us to a two-state solution.
Today, he is using precisely the same expression in public. But he has adopted in general the rhetoric of the so-called intermediate centre spectrum, which either no longer criticizes him or agrees with his handling of the Cyprus problem. It is a matter of fact that Nicolas Papadopoulos states in public that Mr. Anastasiades, at least in part, has adopted the “new strategy” being proclaimed by DIKO.
To all this, if we also add that instead of taking other initiatives, N. Anastasiades is secretly meeting with Kudret Ozersay – whose support for a two-state solution and confederation is well-known – it is therefore logical for people to worry and be anxious about where things are being driven to.
As AKEL we have warned that if that’s how Mr. Anastasiades will continue, he will lead Cyprus and the Cyprus problem on the rocks. Namely, to the final partition.
As AKEL don’t you feel that you are alone in your criticism of the President’s handlings?
Not at all because, firstly, we believe that, apart from the people of the Left, citizens from all political spectrums identify with our policy on the Cyprus problem, believing that we must proceed with determination to a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution, through an honest compromise, based on principles that will free us from the occupation. Most of our compatriots continue to pin their hopes on AKEL to achieve this goal. This was also expressed in the recent European elections. Furthermore, those who are at fault and developments themselves are refuting them are in fact the ones feeling isolated.
In our case, AKEL is constantly being vindicated by developments, albeit in a tragic, unfortunately, way. On the other hand, AKEL’s consistency with regards the handling of the Cyprus problem – but not just on the Cyprus problem – is not subject to any regressions serving any petty-political and electoral expediencies/considerations. We don’t take into account how many other political forces are backing positions that we support. We shall continue to put the interests of our people, the prospect of a solution and prevention of the final partition above anything else, for the liberation and reunification of Cyprus and our people.
We, as a country, are facing new challenges and dangers. How should these be addressed? And how should the Republic of Cyprus act?
The surest and most effective way to shield ourselves against any Turkish plans, aspirations and fait accompli, is through our consistent and steadfast pursuit of a solution, in a way that will convince the international community that our side is doing everything it possibly can and that it has all the necessary will for a solution of the Cyprus problem. To the extent that the Cyprus problem isn’t solved despite our recognized sincere efforts, then the responsibility should be assigned solely on the other side and Turkey. This provably makes it difficult for Turkey to implement any of its unacceptable and illegal plans.
On the contrary, the assignment of responsibility on our side and the relieving of responsibilities on Turkey concerning the Cyprus problem, as is the case today when its stand is even being praised, facilitates Turkey in the promotion of its objectives. All the developments concerning Turkey’s aggressiveness should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a general framework, with the Turkish occupation as a common denominator. The occupation represents the womb that gives birth, produces and reproduces this anomaly and the gravest dangers for our country and perspective as a people.
For that reason, only the solution and reunification will give a prospect to our country. Consequently, to break the vicious circle of tension and illegal fait accompli by Turkey, on the one hand, and to breach the ongoing stalemate in the negotiations on the other hand, it is imperative that the President of the Republic at long last listens to what AKEL is proposing, by taking an initiative for a resumption of the negotiations as the Secretary General of the UN is calling for, setting at the same time as a condition the prior termination of Turkey’s illegal fait accompli in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus.
They knew about the Menendez-Rubio bill’s provisions, why are they protesting now?
The President expressed his regret about something that in essence he was welcoming as a positive development all through this period as, it may not have been a precondition for enforcing the bill, but that the ban on the docking of Russian ships in Cyprus must be avoided was from the very beginning a provision included in the Menendez-Rubio bill. In particular, Article 13 of the section three reads: “Encourage the countries of the region to deny port services to ships of the Russian Federation…”
So on the one hand, they are celebrating about the content of the bill and on the other hand they appear as being annoyed by the turning of a secondary provision of the bill into a precondition, which although repulsive is but a detail when bearing in mind the monstrous content of the bill.
This bill, through a series of its provisions, aims at securing the absolute dominance of the US in our region, transforming Cyprus into a colony of the US and NATO and at clearing Cyprus and our region of Russia. It aims at eliminating the Russian Federation’s presence and influence in Cyprus and our region.
The government ruling forces and leadership of DISY not only welcomed the content of the Menendez/Rubio bill, but also tabled a relevant resolution in the House of Representatives welcoming the Bill’s content. It is evident and clear that the government ruling forces, in this case as well, are acting dogmatically and contradictory in a way that is damaging the interests of our country and people.