by George Kakouris
There are no last chances beyond the emotional charge of those involved in the Cyprus problem; only conditions abroad and at home that improve and deteriorate, and real life that consolidates situations and parameters. "Last chance" exists only if we consider the Cyprus settlement to be a philosophical process, the value of which is entirely dependent on a transcendental moment at the end of the negotiation, which will correct all the evils, from refugees and occupation to corruption and the Cypriot state's clientelistic philosophy.
"former President Anastasiades was unable to clearly explain in public the positive convergences he had reached with Mustafa Akinci on the free residence and property ownership for all in both states"
It is up to political interpretation whether this "Crisis Day" leads to a nation's paradise or a nation's hell, a happy Hollywood happy ending, or a depressing end to a cinematic dystopia. However, no such thing as "Judgment Day" or "Resolution Day" exists. What does exist is the option to act as adults and begin to repair the damage done by occupation and partition, one step at a time, with provisions and mechanisms for managing daily life that we have studied in depth for decades. No other alternative has been presented in such concrete terms.
The fact that the solution is a work in progress - but also a feasible reform plan - should be remembered as the government embarks on yet another attempt to reopen the talks. We must also remember that the government made no meaningful efforts to prepare and inform citizens between 2015 and 2017 and that former President Anastasiades was unable to clearly explain in public the positive convergences he had reached with Mustafa Akinci on the free residence and property ownership for all in both states, with arrangements that would not affect those who wanted to return.
And to recall the Anastasiades government's outrageous inaction following Crans Montana, inaction in the face of warnings about Varosha and the EEZ, the cynical turn to statements about supporters of "any solution" only for party audiences and the next election. Wherein Mr. Christodoulides was Foreign Minister, and where even his successor, Ioannis Kasoulides, presented the fulfillment of obligations under the Green Line Regulation as a positive step, while being consumed in confrontations with the UN over the Chetinkaia stadium.
As President Christodoulides appeals to the EU and the UN for more active involvement, he should remember that his opponents criticized (overtly or covertly, but that is another matter) the inaction of Anastasiades' final years in office during the election campaign. And keep in mind that he won by just over 50%.
Let us look beyond the election announcements of appointing an EU special envoy (something being tested to see if and how it can be done) and concentrate on the EU's current role.
Already, the EU has contributed to bringing us closer than ever to finalizing arrangements for a framework for the federalization of the Cypriot state (at the same time as with freedom of movement) that is consistent with the liberties we take for granted. It has kept the prospect of the federalization of Cyprus on the agenda through interventions and very clear positions and has rejected any two-state scenario. It has been an effective tool in communicating to Turkey that challenges will be met. It has also demonstrated, through the funding of projects benefiting both communities, how Cypriots can work for the betterment of the country beyond any ethnocentric dreams.
What is needed right now is not a traditional political envoy traveling between Nicosia, Athens, and Ankara. After all, the United Nations is in charge of the process. Perhaps an EU political envoy to Cyprus is required, who can bring the European perspective to the public debate. However, he will be able to speak out against any moves by either side that are aimed at internal audiences and the blame game rather than the benefit of Cypriot citizens north and south.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]