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Changes and romantic conceit

Cyprus issue goes into freeze as new realities on the ground take hold around the world

Andreas Paraschos

Andreas Paraschos

The world is entering a new phase of geostrategic changes half a century after the Cold War. With the United States under Trump’s protectionism, which has shown to generate income mainly for the large middle class thus boosting electoral support, moves on the geostrategic playing field seem to be altering the landscape considerably.

Starting from Trump’s very important Helsinki meeting with Putin, where the two men most likely sat down with a global map on the table to sort things out, we can see a series of prolonged open issues in our neighbourhood in the Middle East taking a new course. The Middle East conflict, the Syrian question, Turkey with the Kurds, Yemen, Libya, but also the Cyprus issue are all at the doorstep of groundbreaking settlements.

In our case, as the Cyprus issue once again enters one of the notorious dead ends, we ought to take into consideration how America is attempting to solve the Middle East conflict. While a two-state solution with an Israel and a Palestine had been at the core of the peace plan, and following the Israeli election outcome, Trump has once again taken a huge burden off the shoulders of all Jews by stating that the solution to the problem is an Israeli state.

What will happen to the Palestinians, the ancient Philistines who had been recorded as living there since 1270 BC? Let them become an Israeli province! The logic behind this move is that realities on the ground become established facts which are then embedded in living memories and experiences. Everything else is just tales for the romantic idealists, such as a Constantinople for Greeks.

The Cyprus issue is along the same path with the Middle East conflict, and following the new dead end that is already prescribed, partition will be the obvious new starting point for those who will attempt to resume settlement talks in some years from now.

If we try to argue that someone who was born in Cyprus fifty years ago is a settler, we will be the laughing stock the world over

To sum up, we’ll have tomorrow the new report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is not expected to pull any ears and whatever he has to say he’ll say it in his report next fall.

If contacts after the European elections remain fruitless, the UNSG at some point will be forced to report back to the Security Council. But Guterres differs from his predecessors in that he understands the Cyprus issue according to a diplomatic source, who said “if the UNSG concludes that there is no hope for the so called ‘terms of reference’ and declares Jane Lute’s mission a deadlock, he would need to explain why” and so “the parties will begin to worry as he has the courage to point fingers.”

But is it perhaps possible that the sides have already resigned to it and made up their minds? And if Guterres writes in his report blaming Anastasiades for this and Akinci for that, is this going to change anything?

What matters is that a great opportunity was lost in 2017 in Switzerland and two years later the Cyprus issue is going into a freeze. At the same time, everything is changing with Akinci most likely being sent home in April 2020 and a tougher Ozersay taking over, while Anastasiades’ term ends in 2023 which is half a century after the invasion.

The majority of Greek Cypriot properties will most likely have passed through the Immovable Properties Commission or will be piled up high in that office, rendering the property issue non-existent. If we try to argue that someone who was born in Cyprus fifty years ago is a settler, we will be the laughing stock the world over, while population in the north will probably be similar to that in the south.

And this is where the Makarios-Dountas-Tassos school of thought about a long-term fight waged from the depths of centuries will be proven to be a myth, as it will echo through space and bounce back sounding something like Socrates’ aphorism that “the empty sacs are inflated with air and the fools with conceit.”


The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 14 April 2019


Cyprus  |  geopolitics  |  peace  |  Middle East  |  Israel  |  partition  |  Palestine  |  Turkish  |  Greek  |  Cypriot  |  settlement  |  Paraschos  |  Trump

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