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22 July, 2024
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Analysis: The President’s speech

''I drank zivania in the streets with Akinci, didn’t I''

A visibly irritated, and at times angry, Anastasiades attempted yesterday during a press conference to decodify his views on how to end the deadlock that has marred the Cyprus peace process.

For those who know him, it is clear, that behind his frustration and tactless response to perfectly warranted questions from the media, lies his fear of losing control.

Observers of the Cyprus problem often witness that conversations end up feeling like a fish swimming in a very small fishbowl. This time around it became apparent that the President has reached his ideological wall, that he is personally confronted with an impasse that power alone cannot rectify.

During an eventful press conference the President, pressed to offer specific details about his proposal to devolve powers to the future constituent states of a unified Cyprus offered two startling responses to highlight his concerns.

In one instance the President rhetorically asked if Turkey would allow the Kurds in Turkey, which Anastasiades argued reflect similar population ratio as the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus, to approve all the decisions of the Turkish central government.

Responding to a separate question Anastasiades reluctantly but with expressive mannerisms asked what would happened if Cyprus had to sign an agreement on the path the East Med pipeline will have to take – through Greece or Turkey - exemplifying that the Turkish Cypriot members of the Cabinet would vote for the Turkey route, thereby bringing government decision making to a standstill. ''These are the much feared outcomes I am trying to prevent'' said the President alluding to the need to establish a reliable mechanism to resolve differences.

On the other hand he pleaded with the Turkish Cypriots to return to the negotiating table -the main message of the press conference. ''We have accepted political equality'' something that is being reflected in all convergences reached about effective participation, the President emphasized. Importantly a devolution of powers would create a feeling of security for Turkish Cypriots and perhaps incentivize Turkey to castoff guarantor and intervention rights.

The recent meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu and the Anastasiades in New York appears to have been a landmark event in that it influenced the perception of the President as to what is feasible and what is not within the current setup.

It must be said that the structure of the President’s speech was such that it conveyed to the audience a message that himself and his predecessors have done all they could. This was also reflected in his statement ''what should we have done that we haven’t'' as a response to a question on the lack of additional confidence building measures over the past five and a half years.

''I drank zivania in the streets with Akinci, didn’t I'' exhaled Anastasiades.

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