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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Chritofias has to decide what he wants ]

Chritofias has to decide what he wants

“I BELIEVE that whoever entertains the idea of negotiations being held outside the framework of the changes to the Annan plan, sought by the National Council, is in the world of fantasy. And the Cyprus problem will never be solved by recourse to the world of fantasy.”

The above is an extract from an article published last week by my friend and former government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou. I would add – and I do not consider this an exaggeration – that all those who advocate that the solution of the Cyprus problem could be taken outside the framework defined by the 2004 UN peace plan are not just living in the realm of fantasy. They are ruthless demagogues and myth-peddlers.

We are talking about calculated deception and conscious misleading of the people with the objective of preventing a compromise solution and making partition permanent. Consequently, the slogan-peddlers are not naïve dreamers; if they were, the problem would not have been so serious.

But I find it impossible to believe that there are in Cyprus today politicians who are so naïve to believe there is even one chance in a million for the Greek Cypriots to secure a settlement that is significantly better than the settlement outlined in the Annan plan. On the contrary, the reality shows that the best we could hope for would be to secure some limited improvements on a few issues.

Under the circumstances, you have to wonder what President Christofias is actually playing at, particularly when you consider what he had been saying during the election campaign. The rhetoric against the Annan plan, in which he engaged after his election, has led things to a rather dangerous situation. He has become a prisoner of his own rhetoric which leads him to one dead-end after the other.

It was, to say the least, incredibly naïve for him to expect the working groups to come up with results. If he genuinely thought that the Turkish Cypriots were so stupid to agree that their starting point for negotiations would be the Annan plan while ours would be the 1977 High Level Agreement then he must be living in the realm of fantasy.

To make matters worse, his peculiar stance has led to a hardening of the stance of his rejectionist government allies, who, from the moment the new peace drive began, have been trying to kill it. DIKO chief Marios Garoyian has essentially pushed the president aside and is setting the public agenda with regard to the peace efforts. A day rarely goes by without Garoyian declaring the collapse of the new effort and putting the blame for this on “Turkish intransigence”. It makes you wonder whether Christofias has surrendered power to the DIKO boss.

The president’s incomprehensible rhetoric against the Annan plan has created another serious problem. It has given the Turkish Cypriot side the opportunity to go back to positions that had been by-passed by the Annan plan. The infamous ‘virgin birth’, which the Turkish side has been demanding for the new state, is a case in point. This was inevitable, from the moment we chose to reject the Annan plan in its entirety. We have allowed the other side to go back on everything it had agreed to in the Annan plan.

DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades was absolutely right to warn about the dangers of this badly thought out policy. If Christofias sincerely wants a settlement, he should turn his back on fantasy politics. The Cyprus problem will be solved neither by the working groups nor by irresponsible rhetoric. To solve the problem, the president must exhibit a certain degree of boldness which is a must for the necessary political decisions to be taken.

If Christofias feels that he does not possess this required boldness he should say so. But if he thinks he can proceed towards a settlement while also keeping happy the hard-liners, Papadopoulos, Garoyian, Omirou, Koutsou and Perdikis, then he is definitely living in the realm of fantasy and wishful thinking.

He needs to decide. Either he goes for a settlement, relying on the support of DISY, which with his own party AKEL, accounts for 67 per cent of the voters, or he should accept partition. If his choice is the second option, then he may as well officially hand over power to Garoyian.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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