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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Editorial: Christofias must answer a historic imperative ]

Editorial: Christofias must answer a historic imperative

DEMETRIS Christofias comfortably won yesterday’s election run-off to become the sixth President of the Cyprus Republic. He is the first leader of communist party AKEL to become president and will be the only Communist head of an EU member-state. It was a remarkable achievement, given the acrimony that had marked his decision to leave the tri-partite alliance and stand for election against his former partner Tassos Papadopoulos, from whom he will take over on March 1.

Within two days of Papadopoulos’ elimination from the contest, Christofias managed to reform the AKEL-DIKO-EDEK alliance, which propelled him to the presidency, with a comfortable margin over his opponent Ioannis Kasoulides. Once DIKO, at the behest of Papadopoulos, had made its decision, the contest was all but over, with an upset for a second successive Sunday looking highly unlikely. Kasoulides only had DISY backing him and the fact he secured just over 46 per cent of yesterday’s vote was impressive under the circumstances.

The new president will now have to deliver on his campaign pledge to undertake initiatives for the resumption of the peace process. He repeatedly warned that we were on the brink of permanent partition and that his priority would be to concentrate all his efforts on securing a settlement. After the five wasted years of the Papadopoulos presidency, which he had supported for four and a half, he has a moral obligation to try to make up the lost ground. How he will go about it, nobody knows, but he must make a complete break from the negative, procedure-obsessed tactics pursued by his predecessor.

Whether he will have the freedom to pursue his own agenda remains to be seen. Hopefully he would not have made commitments to Papadopoulos, in exchange for DIKO’s support, which would restrict his movements on the Cyprus issue. After all, two of the parties that elected him fully supported Papadopoulos’ hard-line approach, which brought us closer to partition. It is to be hoped that his presidency will not be a hostage to the hard-liners backing him, because time is running out. According to most observers, there may be one last opportunity for a settlement this year and it must be seized.

At the same time Christofias needs to start work at rebuilding relations with our partners in the European Union, which were all but destroyed by his predecessor’s confrontational diplomacy. If he is to be successful in securing a settlement he will need the EU on his side, supporting and assisting his initiatives. He could also recruit the help of DISY, with its good relations in the Union to assist him. This is not the time for the old rivalries to resurface, but for the unity that was the main message of his campaign.

President Christofias said all the right things during the campaign, but now he will have to deliver, aware that the buck stops with him. He is in the position to lead Cyprus to re-unification and he knows what the cost of failure will be.


(Source: Cyprus Mail)





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