He didn’t know. This is what I suspect. I am referring to Government Spokesperson Prodromos Prodromou when he was responding on Thursday to Andros Kyprianou, General Secretary of AKEL party, saying “the discussion over possible decentralization of competencies or administrative functions in no way does it change the fact that the President of the Republic is talking about a federation.”
So what exactly did Mr. Prodromou not know? On the previous day, at the President’s office, President Anastasiades had asked Nicholas Papadopolos, the leader of DIKO opposition party, not to give credence to what was being said regarding a loose federation because his aim was a confederation.
The following day, Prodromou wrote down his response to a series of questions posed by AKEL’s leader, starting with an introductory paragraph filled with irony. “With an automatically generated response, you can keep hoping that you will take others down a path with you into a void of illusion, but this is where a thing some people today call ‘fake news’ meets what is commonly known as slander.”
I wonder, however, which is more deplorable? Slander or partition? A federation well within the parameters of UN resolutions that constitutes one state or a confederation which is two or more states maintaining their own sovereignty and could easily cede from the confederation at any time of their own choosing?
If we lived in normal times, such a statement would have brought down Anastasiades but during his re-election campaign not only did he not take a hit but in fact got the crucial 56%
So if, according to confirmed sources including three highly placed sources, Anastasiades’ intentions include a two-state confederation, then his remarks on 2/01/2018 regarding two EEZ (exclusive economic zones) was most definitely not an uncalculated reference. “If the Turks choose to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots in a separate, independent entity, then they ought to limit themselves within their corresponding EEZ of the so called illegal entity. And consequently, they have no reason to challenge the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.”
Such a statement, if things had been normal, would have brought down Anastasiades. However, on the contrary, during a re-election campaign Anastasiades not only did he not take a hit but in fact got the crucial 56%.
Apparently this could explain why he might have judged things his way after leaving the collapsed Switzerland talks combatively, taking part of the blame but also emerging stronger in the polls, which let him read into this that the majority of people do not want a solution or this type of solution.
Play be ear
And because he came to consider himself an expert in reading public opinion, he took it upon himself since Crans Montana and onwards to sound out first the intentions of Turkey and then all the other parties involved in the Cyprus issue, even though it seems he may be going down a lonely path with a “play by ear” approach as his guide instead of a well-thought-out plan.
And besides, this could also be based on the fact that the Bear sitting on the Security Council has always been eager to help us unravel the sweater for yarn. There is also his apparent feeling that he can rely on Israel, which obviously does not favour a settlement where Turkey would have a say, albeit indirectly, on Cyprus or energy matters.
That being so, in the 16 months following Crans Montana, Nicos Anastasiades had put forth “confidentially” to dozens of officials all around his view that a velvet divorce might be preferable and in the best interests of Cypriot Hellenism either by way of partition or a loose confederation.
During a recent National Council dated 8 October, the President had unleashed what is dubbed “decentralised federation” sparking new debate while in the latest meeting of the National Council on 22 October he restored and exonerated even Tassos Papadolpoulos for saying NO, because, as he emphasized while responding to Andros Kyprianou, he is now living through it himself.
And 48 hours later he revealed to Tassos’ son that the target is not loose federation, which would get the necessary votes from Turkish Cypriots, but confederation.
If the late Tassos could hear all this, he would probably utter the same phrase as quoted by Mr. Prodromou in his written response to Andors Kyprianou, in that “there is a lack of rationale which we cannot follow.”
The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 28 October 2018