Cyprus problem… zero hour
Article by Andros Kyprianou, former General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL
19 March 2023, “Haravgi” newspaper
Mr. Christodoulides, upon his election to the Presidency of the Republic, declares at every opportunity that the solution of the Cyprus problem is a priority for him. He even states that he will not engage in public clashes so as not to undermine the efforts to find a solution.
These positions are correct. But are they enough for the negotiations to resume? Unfortunately NO!!!!
Since the breakdown at Crans Montana and the prolonged deadlock on the Cyprus problem that subsequently followed, the situation has veered dangerously off course. Turkey is strengthening its intransigence, provocative actions and aggression even more. While all this is going on, the international community is exhibiting enormous tolerance towards it. The interests of various countries are unquestionably influencing towards this end. But we have to admit that the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is also considered to be equally responsible for the downward slide of recent years has also had a negative impact.
Our first objective must be to restore the credibility of the Greek Cypriot side among the international community. We must also convince Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to abandon their unacceptable demand to a two state solution.
Statements by the President of the Republic that he will negotiate the six points of the UN Secretary General’s Framework not only do not help, but risk enabling Turkey to convince certain forces and circles among the international community of its unacceptable demands.
The attempt to give the EU a leading role does not help either. The EU participated at the highest level in 2017, both at the Geneva Summit and at the Crans Montana conference. The EU has been following the talks for over 15 years. It states that its role is auxiliary to that of the United Nations.
If we sincerely want to solve the Cyprus problem, if we want to corner Turkey and persuade it to abandon its unacceptable demands, in my view we need to be credible and very specific. We should be saying the following:
1. We are ready to continue the talks from the point where they were interrupted at Crans Montana on the basis of the Guterres Framework and the convergences that have been recorded so far. The 6 points of the Guterres Framework will be negotiated to be completed.
2. If negotiations are resumed within the correct framework, we should declare our readiness to table bridging proposals on the 6 points. Proposals that do not deviate/depart from the principles of a solution, but create preconditions for recording convergences.
3. We should convince them that if negotiations resume, we will do everything possible to go all the way this time, provided that the Turkish side cooperates within the correct framework.
4. We should make it clear that the Turkish Cypriots have rights to Natural Gas and state that if there is agreement on the 6 points of the Guterres Framework, we are ready to discuss how to involve them in decision making on natural gas.
5. We should declare that if the Cyprus problem is resolved in the correct way, we are ready to start discussions with Turkey on possible cooperation on natural gas issues. This will give Turkey an incentive to contribute towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.
My humble opinion is that if we stick to the trivial we will be led with mathematical certainty to the partition of our homeland. Let us for once work with logic and not with emotion and slogans. Only then might we return to the Framework as defined by the UN resolutions, the High-Level Agreements and the principles on which the EU is founded.