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24 March, 2019
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The constructive ambiguity of the Cyprus problem

The Cyprus problem causes fear to the people that manage it

Michalis Tsikalas

Michalis Tsikalas

Lute has come and gone, she will however return with the New Year if all goes well for us. Will it? I don’t know, since a number of parameters and variables that need to be taken into consideration; are handled by people who say very little and their analysis is important if we are to communicate a coherent message to the public.

For now the question whether we are good or not when it comes to the state of play of the Cyprus problem remains a question that is 'answered' through a constructive ambiguity projected by experts and therefore no one knows with certainty. Whatever is said, they will subsequently tell you that this is not what was meant. And if we write it in the opposite way, once more they will say that that is not what they meant.

In essence we are talking about an issue that is being consumed as current news; that causes fear when it is discussed, to the very politicians that manage it

The Cyprus problem has become a literary work. My old Greek language teacher will probably, suddenly appear to ask me what the poet implies, and I, stupidly will answer that she should go and ask the poet himself. This is what the Cyprus problem resembles now and it is within this shrouded scenery that the interview of the US Assistant Secretary of State emerged. Sentence by sentence he provided to-the-point answers without constructive ambiguity. We are dealing evidently here with a different school of thought and a different culture of political communication.

We, in our country are making efforts to ascertain what was said between Anastasiades and Lute. Very little has been officially said, a lot is being implied and at the same time whatever is said could be immediately denied. Where are things heading then? What are the next steps? The US rhetoric is not just words according to Wess Mitchell. The US appears to have changed course in the region, placing emphasis in energy developments in the Cypriot EEZ as current US interests align with this approach. But there is in Cyprus scepticism whether this interest will last. Nevertheless Turkey has got the message. The message of US support has also reached the Cypriot society and everyone has understood that. But I don’t think we can find people who understand where the Cyprus problem is headed.

In essence we are talking about an issue that is being consumed as current news; that causes fear when it is externalised [discussed], to the very politicians that manage it. So following the second coming of Lute, in essence, very little is clear. Politicians have the right to be vague, novelists also, but even then answers must be provided at the conclusion; society however must know so that it will be able to give a coherent answer when called upon. At this current phase I am of the impression that the public does not know. Society adopts new expressions such as Terms of Reference and rides along with the news cycle. For the time being no one is certain about what follows. Lute is abroad for the holidays and conveniently time passes. Are the UN comfortable with this? We will see. Let’s hope for a similar interview like Mitchell’s, this time about the Cyprus problem. Perhaps, so that a large part of society understands where we are, where we are headed and what is our plan.

Published in Kathimerini Cyprus print edition on the 23rd of December 2018 

Cyprus  |  Problem  |  US  |  America  |  Mitchell  |  Ambiguity  |  Lute  |  Anastasiades

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