Last Monday, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told Plus TV that any new Turkish move to open up the fenced Varosha area would affect all efforts to find a settlement. Anyone who heard him would wonder what efforts he was talking about exactly? No effort has been made by anyone, not even the UN, which seems to have concluded that any effort would be a waste of time.
Christodoulides said: âIf they (Turkish side) move with more facts accomplished in the fenced area of ââVarosha, the territory chapter is gone. What would we be talking about at the negotiating table? On Wednesday, another fait accompli, the Turkish Cypriots were cleaning up part of the area they had demilitarized, removing the barrels so that Anexartisias Avenue could be reopened.
This may not have been a new fait accompli – no new part of Varosha had been opened – as a day later, on Thursday, Christodoulides said that “yesterday’s developments in the occupied areas will not affect in nothing the prospect of resuming talks “. But what would the two sides be talking about at the negotiating table with the missing territory chapter?
“What is needed is the political will to resume talks on the basis of an agreed framework,” said Christodoulides, who appears to have lost touch with reality. There can be no agreed framework given the positions of both sides, as to the “political will to resume talks”, even if it did exist, the likelihood of it reaching an agreement is extremely low.
There was a conference on Cyprus in 2017, and the talks were based on an agreed framework, but there was always a collapse. President Anastasiades wants talks to resume where they left off at the time, but he resigned at the time, blaming Turkish intransigence. He doesn’t even accept the Guterres framework, which he wants the talks to be based on, in its entirety.
Again, as Christodoulides said, the goal was to resume talks, not a settlement. Of course, before that happens, we have another priority: the appointment by the UNSG of a special envoy. The Foreign Minister admitted that this appointment would not solve any fundamental problem, but it would mark the start of a new effort through the envoy’s contacts with the two parties, in the hope that the prospects of resuming talks would be created.
âEveryone understands what a negative fact is not to have talks, because the status quo in Cyprus is not static,â Christodoulides said. But was having discussions for more than 40 years that got nowhere a positive fact? We will hear many more contradictory and absurd statements from the government, whose priority now is to persuade people that it had no responsibility for driving the Cyprus problem to the point of no return.