No president of the Republic of Cyprus will ever negotiate a two-state solution as that would amount to being guilty of high treason.
This is what a seasoned politician told me the other day, someone with years of experience and a long list of publications on the Cyprus issue, as we were talking in the presence of a third individual about the fallout from last Sunday’s piece by colleague Dionysis Dionysiou of daily Politis.
One point that my interlocutor was unable to explain had to do with the reasons why nothing had been written about Nicos Anastasiades (according to “Kathimerini” on 5 August 2018 by the qualified Apostolis Zoupaniotis) “for an entire year (since Crans Montana) when he was putting forth privately, to at least a thousand people, his view that a velvet divorce might be preferable and in the best interests of Cypriot Hellenism (whether by way of partition or by a loose confederation). It never even came up as a subject on the long campaign trail in the presidential race.”
It didn’t even register a reaction within the analysis offered by Dionysiou, while no remarks were ever made about a response by former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides to Anastasiades in April 2017 titled “Don’t even say such a thing ever again.”
As he came to realise that the risk was too high when playing Russian roulette for a third time, he took a step back not to veer off the UN framework
Here in this column on 4 March 2018 in a piece titled “The two states and the keys” I said among other things, as already mentioned by Dionysiou, that “towards the end of autumn, a foreign colleague citing a source in Ankara informed me that President Anastasiades, too, was sounding out the two-state solution.”
“The information was confirmed also by Nicosia. Specifically, I had received information that between the first and second Sunday election rounds (28 January - 4 February), Nicos Anastasiades had spoken with party leaders of the centre opposition in separate meetings about a two-state solution, telling them he would try to get the consent of the European Union and with a nod of approval by the Archbishop.”
Nicos Anastasiades never refuted anyone on these reports. Why? Is it perhaps because he really does view the two-state solution as the only appropriate? Is it perhaps because, as he often says, the rotational presidency provision could not pass in a referendum in the Greek Cypriot community?
But can the two-state solution pass? And if he officially puts down such a proposal on the UN table, would he not hear the masses screaming “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”? Without a doubt.
So, as he came to realise that the risk is too high when you play Russian roulette for a third time, he took a step back favouring something which under the circumstances does not veer off from the UN framework.
Decentralised or loose, same thing
That would be federation. Decentralised or loose, same thing. From 2003 and onwards, I have made the argument many times in favour of a structure where by each statelet would take care of its own housekeeping and the absolutely necessary competences would remain at the federal level.
Time, life, and the marketplace would cede those areas to the central government that would be necessary, just as it has happened in all other federations.
I don’t believe that President Anastasiades was pushing for a two-state solution because he could be traitor (even though I insist that the status quo is the biggest investment for the political and economic leadership conclave currently running the RoC).
The President, in my view, is a political gambler who places a bet while holding all the aces in the hydrocarbon energy game in one hand. Is there a card that beats all four aces? Yes, there is. But personally I keep my fingers crossed on Anastasiades’ aces and nobody else’s. Because we got burned with all the others.
In 1978, left opposition party Akel and centre opposition part Diko turned down Varosha and the Anlgo-American-Canadian plan by heeding Moscow’s call just like in 2004 citing so-called “cementing” steps.
But the deal is already in motion as Kathimerini wrote on Sunday (page 4) that Turkey has began signalling that it would discuss a loose federation in light of the natural gas all the while Anastasiades gets ready to meet Akinci on Friday.
So, it’s four aces and crossed fingers in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is turning into a frontline between superpowers.
The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 21 on October 2018