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13 April, 2024
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UN's silent visit leaves Cyprus guessing

EU discord and drone deals under wraps

Pavlos Xanthoulis

Pavlos Xanthoulis

Maria Angela Olguín Cuellar kept her cards close to her chest, according to the "briefing" from the Presidential Palace following the UN Secretary-General's personal envoy's inaugural trip to Cyprus. She arrived, listened intently, but refrained from making any definitive statements, according to Cypriot government officials.

They asserted that upon Olguín's departure, they remained in the dark about her subsequent course of action. Consequently, President Christodoulides discreetly shelved the firsthand insights gleaned from the Colombian envoy of Antonio Guterres. These insights, as we unveiled last Sunday, mirrored verbatim the stances articulated by the UK's top diplomat in a recent interview with "K". In essence, both Olguín and Irphan Siddique urged the Greek Cypriot side to "up the ante" in coaxing the Turkish Cypriots back to the negotiation table.

They argued that the Confidence-Building Measures fell short and were incapable of advancing the Greek Cypriot side's stated objective of resuming talks and conclusively resolving the Cyprus conundrum. Maria Angela Olguín Cuellar, like Irphan Siddique, implored goodwill gestures from the Greek Cypriot side beyond the CBMs.

In Britain's case, Nicosia opted to sweep the matter under the rug, personifying it and painting Irphan Siddique as the scapegoat for all woes. Consequently, it lodged a protest against Siddique's remarks but remained silent on London's positions!

Beneath Nicosia's veneer lie other significant issues. The Commission/Borrell document, received by Nicosia with a perfunctory nod, alongside its 26 counterparts, proposes forging a durable EU-Turkey relationship, complete with seven concessions to Ankara, devoid of any linkage to resolving the Cyprus issue. Similarly, concealed under Nicosia's expansive rug are its disagreements with Berlin, which President Christodoulides chose to conceal during his meeting with German counterpart Frank Walter Steinmeier.

The government's portrayal of the meeting suggests seamless relations, sidestepping major contentious issues. Thus, buried under Nicos Christodoulides' rug are both Germany's attempts to undermine EU decision-making unanimity and the Republic of Cyprus's veto rights. Also hidden are Berlin's involvement in the production of Turkish Bayraktar drones, pivotal in breaching Cyprus's EEZ and stationed in occupied Lefkoniko. Additionally, obscured is the "German blueprint" of the Commission/Borrell document, offering concessions to Ankara, including Customs Union upgrades. All conveniently detached from the Cyprus imbroglio.

During his meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, whom he steadfastly supports for a second term at the Commission's helm, Nicos Christodoulides kept the same issues under wraps. This included the Commission's proposal for direct EU trade with the pseudo-state, deemed a "third country," casting a shadow over the Republic of Cyprus. Unfortunately, at some point, everything swept under President Christodoulides' rug will come to light, underscoring that as expansive as the presidential rug may be, the political carpet Nicosia treads upon is equally vast.

P.S. In an inter-channel interview, President Christodoulides championed "Solar panels for everyone." Yet, he seems oblivious to the fact that citizens residing in communities with preserved houses, some nestled in mountainous regions, requiring more electricity, are precluded from installing solar panels on their roofs due to Conservation Department restrictions. Hence, the president must address the discriminatory treatment experienced by a segment of Cypriot citizens while ensuring better consultation within his ministries before making statements.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  EU  |  Turkish  |  Nicosia

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