The Cyprus problem, the European Union and the need for substantive initiatives to be taken
Article by Stavri Kalopsidiotou – International Law expert, member of the Cyprus Problem Office of AKEL and member of the Central Committee, Candidate for the European Parliament Elections
Sunday 26 May 2024, “Haravgi” newspaper
The effort pursuing a perspective for the resumption of a meaningful dialogue on the Cyprus problem, which was marked by the appointment of the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy on Cyprus Ms María Angela Holguín Cuéllar and the completion of a series of contacts both in Cyprus, as well as internationally, is evidently comes up against the Turkish side’s intransigent stand. Namely, the insistence, projected as a precondition, on recognition of “sovereign equality” and the rejection of the agreed basis for a solution.
At the same time, however, in the most scathing manner, the sparing in her public interventions Ms. Holguín Cuéllar has indicated that she expects substantive initiatives to be undertaken by the Greek Cypriot side too and “as far as incentives are concerned, the Christodoulides government has a very clear picture and knows what could unlock the process”.
The downplaying of this recommendatory statement on the part of President Christodoulides, as well as the lukewarm reception of this position by the government coalition parties and DISY, is – to say the least – sad. After 7 years of prolonged stagnation in the negotiating procedure and accelerating consolidation of the partitionist status quo, the public rhetoric is far from promoting the assumption of practical initiatives.
We are concerned and worried by this hesitancy. Because President Christodoulides continues with the blatant frivolousness in the handling of the Cyprus problem that was pursued by his political mentor, Mr. Anastasiades. That is to say, the inconsistency, contradictions and regressions that have made the Greek Cypriot side untrustworthy vis-à-vis the international community and the Turkish Cypriots. Because it reminds us of his own politically damaging failures, the supposed “communication tricks” [Note: regarding the Turkish side’s threats to colonise] Famagusta, the one-dimensional and misleading commitment to trilateral meetings and EastMed, the empty pretentious statements about [the imposition of] EU sanctions on Turkey.
These all contributed nothing to changing the unacceptable Turkish stance, but only to disorientating public opinion in Cyprus as to what initiatives could possibly create momentum for a resumption of the negotiations.
Mr. Christodoulides’ refusal so far to discuss AKEL’s targeted and comprehensive proposals, even at the level of the National Council, unfortunately confirms that he remains trapped in the expediencies of the policy that was pursued by the Anastasiades government since 2017. His insistence on the one-dimensional making use of EU-Turkish issues reveals his inability to realistically assess whether and how much they can affect the overall solution of the Cyprus problem, but also reveals a curious reluctance to indulge in more substantive initiatives that can, within the “red lines” of the Republic of Cyprus, put the Turkish side to the test.
Even more so, when making use of secondary factors such as EU-Turkish factors is not a new challenge or a novel milestone in the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Since 2004 and onwards AKEL, evaluating that in the arena of the European Parliament and the EU in general we can project relevant issues, we have been asserting the support of Cyprus’ partners achieving results. Whether this concerns the very form of the solution of the Cyprus problem, the verification of the fate of the missing persons, the implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations on Famagusta, the respect for the UN Law of the Sea, the full respect for Ankara’s Cyprus-related obligations stemming from the Negotiating Framework and the EU-Turkey Customs Union.
This has frequently and unfortunately, come up against the expediencies served by the political groups to which Mr. Christodoulides himself, DISY, DIKO and EDEK – the EPP and the Social Democrats – boast of belonging to and who recently voted against an amendment tabled by the Left Group in the European Parliament for an imposition of an embargo on the sale of arms to Turkey.
We will continue to assert in Europe. Recognising however that what is at stake today is not confined to what we can or cannot achieve in Brussels. In the face of the danger of destroying another glimmer of hope to the prospect of resuming direct dialogue,
AKEL will continue to demand from the President of the Republic and those who cite the necessity of a solution to prove that it isn’t a command serving communication considerations. They should meet us in the full adoption of the Guterres Framework and the convergences that have been recorded so far, making use of energy as an incentive, and in the implementation of Confidence Building Measures that promote cooperation and reconciliation between the two communities.
We should be seeking to reshape the landscape and push for the creation of the perspective we are striving for.

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