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A vote of no confidence

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While the world frets about another war in Europe, the government has picked an opportune moment to pedal its proposals for confidence-building measures.

President Anastasiades said he was to tell European leaders all about his heartfelt initiative to get Cypriots to stop hating each other and smoke the peace pipe.

Trying to garner sympathy and compassion for a lost cause that has been buried beneath our subconscious for so long is unlikely to produce desired results.

And what exactly are these measures that the President is so fond of revealing to his best friends?

Why haven’t the Cypriot people he represents seen his master plan to get the Cyprus negotiation train back on track from the tundra of neglect?

And what is it that is going to get Greek and Turkish Cypriots mixing in the same circles of trust and friendship that has seen previous attempts fail?

There seems to be a pressing need – where none existed before – to persuade outsiders that the government is trying to be inventive and proactive.

It is a very tall order because the inertia on the ground tells a different story, one of missed opportunities, dithering and indecision.

First, the government should convince Cypriots that it has a solid plan of action that could break the thick ice preventing reconciliation between the two sides.

With the 2023 Presidential Elections hovering over the horizon, the government needs to develop a big idea to prove it hasn’t completely given up on reunification.

But big ideas in Cyprus don’t live very long; they get hijacked by vested interests in the status quo.

The language of Cypriot politics is never very subtle; when it is not transactional, it is reactionary and self-serving.

Actions have to be bold and brave enough to be trustworthy, but there is no clear path for the government to walk down.

There are no deep reserves of trust to rely on; the Turkish Cypriots will treat anything offered with distrust.

Never mind the absence of a conducive climate where trust can grow because people-to-people contacts are not on a scale to build firm foundations.

Cypriots are estranged from each other; we live in different worlds that hardly ever meet, bystanders to our fate.

As long as Cyprus can play its strategic role without upsetting the power balance in Europe, nobody will come to bat for us.

Government ministers like to portray the EU as one big charity where Cyprus safety and sovereignty is guaranteed.

Russia is ready to devour Ukraine, and there is no cavalry charge to save the country; it would be no different for Cyprus.

If Cyprus can be betrayed once, it can be betrayed again, no matter how many friends or military exercises it conducts.

An occupied country can never be safe from conflict.

This is an EU member state with United Nations peacekeepers patrolling a ceasefire line since the 1960s, but politicians are still scrambling to cook up confidence-building measures.

Building bridges requires the cement of education, tolerance and acceptance of diversity – ingredients our society sadly lacks.

In many respects, we are trapped by our history, experience and tribal instincts – changing opinions doesn’t happen overnight.

Whatever one side says, the other will call it out as propaganda or political grandstanding because honesty is always the last resort.

Essentially, the so-called confidence-building measures are an attempt to stop a land grab on Varosha rather than resolve a painful history.

Nicosia can dangle a carrot of international air and sea links, but Turkey won’t bite.

Ankara prefers the game of brinkmanship that Cyprus has willingly entered in the hope of taunting the bear to make a mistake.

Regrettably, there are rarely consequences for those wearing big-boy pants; the weakest are made to pay for the admission fee of their own demise.

No matter the diplomatic playbook, Nicosia’s gambit to garner support for a breakthrough will get a lukewarm reception at best.

Whether sincere or not, Turkey will press on with its partition agenda with the Turkish Cypriot leader, an enthusiastic lead singer for a two-state solution.

That’s the stark reality facing a government that has allowed the prospect of Cyprus reunification to sink without trace.

The rescue party will need more than confidence to salvage the wreckage.

Can we all agree on that?