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15 June, 2024
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I don't want to live in half a country

'There isn't a Cypriot who doesn't recognize Averof Neofytou's uncanny ability to break down barriers and find solutions.'



by Dimos Georgiades

I was born a refugee, far from my birthplace. Half Kyrenian, half Famagustan. I adored my hometown despite never having lived there... I do not want to live in half a country, so the Cyprus issue is a major factor in my decision to support Averof Neofytou. But why is this so?

Averof Neofytou seeks to find a solution to the problem rather than the potential problems of the solution.

There isn't a Cypriot who doesn't recognize Averof Neofytou's uncanny ability to break down barriers and find solutions. The well-thought-out plan he presented to solve the Cyprus problem also confirms his leadership charisma. The three issues of security, energy, and economy have the potential to break the current deadlock.

Averof Neophytou is breaking taboos with his suggestion to use the security system of the West. He is outlining the one practical solution to the problems of security, assurances, and getting rid of occupying forces. Because the negotiations will end in another disaster if we don't have a realistic plan or if we buy into the myth that we can somehow pressure Turkey on our own. The proposal put forth by Averof Neofytou, which has the best chance of being approved by the Turkish side, is extremely clear: the security issue should be handled by the Western security system.

Averof dared to suggest that energy could be the key to solving the Cyprus problem. In an era of a global energy crisis, the card of the Eastern Mediterranean's natural resources is our most powerful tool for attracting international attention. He proposes the only realistic plan, including Turkey in the energy equation if our island is reunited, providing the incentives needed to break Turkish intransigence. We must finally recognize that empty hands and hazy proposals will not solve the Cyprus problem or any other issue.

I agree with Averof Neofytou that resolving the Cyprus problem will be the most significant reform in our country, particularly in terms of the economy. A free Cyprus can attract even more foreign investment, tourists, and opportunities for economic growth for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

To solve the Cyprus problem we need a strong president who can gain the support of our allies in the European Union.  A president who can show the international community that he has the political will to resume negotiations and is surrounded by people who want to help. On the former, Averof Neofytou's close relationship with Manfred Weber, President of the European People's Party, who has openly expressed his support for the DISY President's candidacy, as well as his strong political and personal ties with Greece's Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, demonstrate his dynamism and political credibility within the European Union.  Averof is clearly oriented west. He's never walked in two boats, and his opinions have never changed. That is why he has gained international credibility and can secure the necessary international support.

We should consider the political backgrounds of all three leading candidates, particularly in terms of the required credibility and the need to demonstrate a clear political will to the international community. On the one hand, Mr. Mavroyiannis has been the negotiator of the Cyprus problem, and he has rejected every solution proposed thus far. If, on the other hand, Mr. Christodoulides is elected, his association with the reactionary DIKO and the rejectionist EDEK will only send the international community negative signals.

Turkish Cypriots sent an encouraging message in the occupied territories' local government 'elections' a few days ago. We must build on this foundation for the next day of negotiations. We have a patriotic duty to find ground for cooperation with Turkish Cypriots as well, in order to ensure the survival of Cypriot Hellenism on our island, without fear and without politicking only for the applause of our internal audience.

At the same time, we require someone who can put a stop to Turkish revisionism and aggression. To have that international foundation. And to have the political acumen and experience to break through impasses.

Contrary to the practices of a cautious - conservative diplomat, Averof Neofytou seeks to find a solution to the problem rather than the potential problems of the solution. He possesses both the knowledge and the political will required to reopen negotiations. He has the ability to take advantage of international conditions to benefit our country.

We want to return to our roots, we want our country to be reunified, and we want to be free.  Therefore, it's Averof Neofytou.

**Mr. Dimos Georgiades is a practicing attorney in Cyprus

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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