● The forces for a solution must revive joint actions
● It is not enough to declare that the talks must continue
● Developments will not evolve on their own unless we act
Interview with Elias Demetriou, Head of the Rapprochement Bureau of AKEL and Central Committee member
Sunday 21 April 2024, “Haravgi” newspaper
QUESTION: The situation so far following the UN Secretary General’s meetings with N. Christodoulides and Ersin Tatar and UNSG Envoy Maria Angela Holguin’s contacts do not appear to be yielding results. Do you agree with this assessment?
ED: It is obvious that the gap between the positions of the two sides is, at least over the last few years, the biggest that has been recorded in the history of the Cyprus problem. In addition, we note the fact that we still have, for the seventh consecutive year, the absence of any negotiation procedure.
Without doubt the principal responsibility for the gap lies with the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides with their unacceptable demand for a two state solution, their provocative statements and actions on the ground.
On the other hand, President Christodoulides, in addition to the correct position regarding the basis for a solution, is called upon to defend the damaged credibility of the Greek Cypriot side, which was caused by all the regressions of the previous government, of which he himself was a main protagonist.
QUESTION: Do you see any prospects for breaking the deadlock?
ED: Throughout the history of the Cyprus problem, many times developments have come about in phases that nobody expected. Furthermore, the conditions that lead to developments are also taking shape on issues that have nothing to do directly with Cyprus itself. Taking this into account, we all have to be on the alert always.
But the most important thing is to try to help create the conditions rather than waiting for events to evolve on their own. The leaders [of the two communities] themselves, of course, have a primary role in this, but so do the opposition parties, as well as all those social forces fighting for a solution and reunification.
QUESTION: What should be done from now onwards? Should it be considered that there is no longer any hope for a federal solution? Should we wait for a change of leadership in the Turkish Cypriot community? Should initiatives be taken? By whom?
ED: Despite the pessimistic climate, a lot can be done. As AKEL we have regularly proposed that incentives for a solution of the Cyprus problems should be presented to Turkey through the energy issue without crossing any “red lines” and that the position of the Greek Cypriot side should be clarified on issues related to the Guterres framework.
It is not enough [for the President of the Republic] to state that the negotiations should continue from where they left off in 2017.
For example, the Greek Cypriot position on issues related to political equality, which were the spearhead of the collapse at the Crans Montana conference, should be clarified. These included issues relating to a rotating presidency with weighted and cross vote, the effective Turkish Cypriot vote etc. These points are important to highlight in order to reveal whether Turkey is willing to revert to its previous positions on the basis of a solution.
At another level, openings must be made to Turkish Cypriots on a broader societal level. The relevant measures announced by President Christodoulides, while moving in the right direction, could be more comprehensive and substantive (e.g. extension of Turkish language use in the public sector, on citizenship issues, etc.). Related measures could be taken to deepen bi-community relations, which at the end of the day shape the consciences that elect leaders and help build peace and reunification.
The progressive forces of our country have a special role to play in all these movements, without waiting for the end of any elections or other circumstances.
As far as AKEL is concerned this is precisely our goal and orientation.

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