Interview with Yiorgos Loukaides, member of the Political Bureau of AKEL and AKEL Parliamentary Representative
“Haravgi” newspaper, Sunday 14th May 2017
Are we facing a possible collapse of the negotiation procedure on the Cyprus problem?
The Cyprus problem is at a difficult and critical turning point. For several months now there has been a stagnation in the procedure and the danger of a deadlock is apparent.
In recent weeks, however, we have a contrasting picture. That is, an improvement in the situation, given the fact that it has been announced that progress has been recorded, even though it’s not considered as satisfactory. The President of the Republic himself has also spoken of progress being registered. Despite the difficulties that have been encountered and that have been added in this period of time, and we must not underestimate them, nonetheless a ray of light has emerged which we must build on in order to register more progress so as to achieve the desired goal of achieving a comprehensive solution that will liberate and reunite our homeland and people.
Given that progress appears to have been recorded, how do you explain the stand of the President of the Republic, as well as his attempt to approach the so-called “intermediate space” with his rhetoric?
This is just yet another contradiction. The rhetoric of the President of the Republic, and not only rhetoric, appears changed. Indeed it is presented in a way that yet again, unfortunately, creates the impression and image that we are facing a new transformation, pre-election in character, of the President and the political party from which he originates. And we have publicly expressed our deep concern about these very concrete examples, which appear to be recording this transformation and mutation.
This attitude of the President of the Republic also concerns the United Nations itself as well, namely the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Cyprus. Shouldn’t this worry us?
We are deeply concerned by this change of attitude and behavior and the President’s new transformation. One of the examples precisely of this change in his stand was Mr. Anastasiades’ reaction to the UN SG’s Special Representative Mr. Eide. He reacted in a counter-productive and detrimental way. He spoke just like others, whom he was criticizing before. And I am referring to the leaderships of the so-called “intermediate space”. The President followed their own recipe and policy, when he could follow another path. For days he was issuing threats in public, breaching diplomatic norms, to send letter of denunciation to the UN SG Mr. Guterres. In the end, it seems that although a letter has indeed been sent, there is no actual reference to Mr. Eide.
Why do you think so?
An obvious reason and the specific reaction of Mr. Anastasiades is that it had more to do with domestic consumption, and not with an attempt to correct wrongs, which might not help the effort to reach a solution.
In saying so, I want to make it clear once again that the President of the Republic has every reason, as we all have, to want and wish – and it is his own responsibility principally – to denounce the Turkish provocation and aggression in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone.
One could say, however, that it’s not the first time that the Special Representative of the United Nations SG has come under criticism, by others as well, not just by the President of the Republic.
Mr. Eide was also at the centre of our criticism too, because in some cases he did not act in the best possible way to assist the procedure on the Cyprus problem. That’s something else. The essence is the way you react to these phenomena, that is whether your intention and purpose is to assist the negotiation procedure, address the problem itself, or whether your intention is to address voters and act with the purpose of serving presidential election considerations. The UN Secretary General’s reaction to the criticism against Mr. Eide was a response too, expressing his full confidence in his Representative.
Why would Nikos Anastasiades want to get closer to the parties in the intermediate spectrum?
But when Mr. Anastasiades reaches the point, addressing all those circles and forces who criticize him for his lack of consistency and stability on the Cyprus issue, including AKEL too, calling them “advocates of any solution”, what should one think? That says a lot about the transformation of Mr. Anastasiades.
And unfortunately, this behaviour and others that stem from the rhetoric of this government, exacerbate our worries about the future, but also dangers or threats that we might have to face because such an approach by the President of the Republic, regardless of whether the other side is responsible for the non-solution, the dangers of responsibilities apportioned on us are enormous.
Such a development in the event of a breakdown of the negotiating procedure, will pave the way for weakening the political shielding of the Republic of Cyprus and will make us less able and efficient in our efforts to deal effectively with faits accomplis in the occupied territories. It will also make us less able in our effort to keep open the prospect of a solution to the Cyprus problem and in our efforts to prevent faits accomplis in the Exclusive Economic Zone and avert tension that may affect the economy of Cyprus.
The President of the Republic must keep in mind that on the one hand the prospects for a solution of the Cyprus problem have not been closed, but on the other hand, even if this goal is not achieved, it is of paramount importance that our side should and appear ready for a solution.
This is not undermined by AKEL’s or the rest of the opposition’s criticism, but by the government’s actions and behaviour, from which it is judged, both on the domestic front, but also by international observers who closely follow developments on the Cyprus problem.
The criticism against the President of the Republic is weakening his negotiating position and burdens our side with responsibilities, the Presidential Palace and DISY reply…
It is a provocation on the part of the government to try to find scapegoats, preventively, so as to shift its own responsibilities elsewhere. No one will judge it – including international observers on the Cyprus problem – according to what the opposition may say. The President of the Republic will be judged by his actions and behaviour exclusively with regards the Cyprus problem.
Political parties and leaders are proclaiming a new strategy on the Cyprus problem. Have we exhausted the possibilities for achieving a solution so as to pursue a new strategy today?
We have never heard what this new strategy actually is, nor will we hear about it. If all of them refer to the strategic goal of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as it has been defined for almost four decades, our own position is well-known. A change in the strategic goal, with mathematical precision, will lead us to the finalization and consolidation of the occupation and partition. If we stray from what all the Presidents of the Republic have agreed on, from what all the UN resolutions and the international community have been supporting over time as a solution to the Cyprus problem, all we will be achieving is not just to open windows, but to open back doors for Turkey to fulfill its plans for the finalization and perpetuation of the occupation.
The parties of the so-called intermediate space are proceeding towards the Presidential election with this position…
The fact that these parties have proceeded, permit me to say, in a paradoxical way to forge their cooperation without clarifying the candidate’s political program, especially his programmatic positions on the Cyprus problem, and given that the majority of these parties have a declared position against bicommunal, bizonal federation, is of concern. It provokes concern because it is likely that such a position will, ultimately, be the official policy of the candidate of these parties, with all the dangers this would entail.
From there on, if they do not refer to the strategic goal, but to the tactics we follow, the examples from the past of such a corresponding behaviour are there for all to reflect on and be judged on. Let me just recall the fact that beyond the 50 meetings held between Tzionis and Perev, following the 8th July agreement of 2006, they yielded no results. Not a single technical committee or a working group was set up.
“A candidacy that will open new perspectives and horizons”
Everybody’s eyes are on AKEL and the candidate it will decide to back in the presidential elections…
The procedures are expected to reach a climax this month in the Party’s leading bodies. Soon as it has been decided, we will proceed at the level of the Party Base Organizations to the discussion, and through a fully democratic procedure, the members of AKEL will subsequently take their decisions in the special Congress to be convened in early July.
It is our belief that the possibilities exist for AKEL to have a hopeful victory candidacy that will open up new perspectives and new horizons for our country and people.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13