Recent events have raised concerns about the government’s ability to handle the serious issues the country is facing.
Efforts to cover up the huge responsibilities of the “Governing Trio” of Anastasiades, Christodoulides and Averof to overcome the stalemate they have led us into are pitiful.
- It is increasingly clear that plans to build the EastMed pipeline were, in fact, nothing more than a pipedream. In retrospect, it has become obvious that this was merely a matter of political expediency for domestic consumption. Moreover, statements in various capitals and analyses by experts in the oil industry prove that its construction was not viable.
- The positions the UN Secretary-General has outlined recently essentially bear witness to the government’s lack of credibility. Antonio Guterres is waiting for the two leaders to come up with their positions before examining the possibility of appointing his special representative. Once again, efforts by the Trio to cover up their huge responsibilities are no longer convincing. Varosha has been abandoned to its fate, and the deadlock is steering Cyprus from the verge of reaching a solution towards the path of partition.
- In Europe, the policy of trying to impose sanctions on Turkey at the European level has failed. Discussions on this issue have all but ended, and nearly all member states have turned their attention to an EU-Turkey “positive agenda” to find common ground for mutual benefit. As a result, we have lost our credibility and are increasingly isolated.
Most resoundingly, all of the above proves that the foreign policy the Trio has exercised has, in fact, failed.
It is necessary to document the present state of affairs so as not only to appreciate where exactly we stand but also to evaluate where we want to go and how we will get there.
Cyprus has to adopt a new policy, and to achieve this; it is imperative to change course. Therefore, I consider the following three points to form a strategic redirection that the majority of the public embraces:
- No compromise on rejecting the division of the island and a two-state solution. We should focus our strength on preventing this development as it is the worst for our country.
- Regain our credibility in Europe and the international community through adopting feasible and consistent policies. If we align ourselves with European interests, we can re-establish the necessary political capital, which we can utilise, through the EU-Turkey agenda, to the benefit of Cyprus. The objective is to resume the UN process to solve the Cyprus problem.
- Exploiting natural gas reserves is linked to our policy on the Cyprus issue and its resolution. Without stability in the region, no big company will invest the necessary funds in the sea area around Cyprus. Already, EastMed seems to belong to the past. This should remind us that we can change the harsh realities we face through realistic assessment, convincing arguments and alliances.
The Cyprus problem, natural gas and our EU membership are interlinked in a package we must manage with integrity.
Unfortunately, the Trio has brought about the dire circumstances we find ourselves in today.
Regaining our credibility is the answer to this dangerous impasse.
We do have advantages and strong arguments.
We have right on our side, and this calls for a consistent, modern and effective foreign policy to vindicate our rights.
This is the only way we can secure our future and that of our children in our home country.
Together we can do it.
By Achilleas Demetriades