No PM for Eide
I got word from a senior UN source following newspaper reports on Wednesday suggesting that UN envoy Espen Barth Eide is pursuing a “personal agenda” on the Cyprob, and that this is not unrelated to political developments in Norway, where there will be a general election in September.
I was told, in no uncertain terms, that Eide is absolutely not running for prime minister and that, if he were, he would not be hanging around in Cyprus.
As for the talk going around of arbitration—the great Greek Cypriot taboo since the Annan Plan period—it is worth remembering that it was President Anastasiades himself who said in an interview that the UN could do better, and that a new methodology was needed.
It is possible that the UN responded to his concerns by putting forward some methodology ideas that Anastasiades’ team did not like. But I know that the UN is also allergic to arbitration, after getting eaten alive over the Annan Plan. And no one can deny that we need something new to save these dying talks from the ashes.
Talking about dying talks, a friend and very good source was in Strasbourg this week and had the chance to test the sentiment among the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on the Cyprus negotiations process and the prospects for a solution. Well, the news is not positive, I am afraid. The dominant sentiment among MEPs is exasperation. They find it almost impossible to understand how such a hopeful peace process could come to a deadlock because of a stupid incident.
The MEPs are anything but impressed with the decision of the Republic of Cyprus parliament to commemorate the 1950 Enosis referendum at schools, following the lead of a neo-Nazi, deeply racist political party. “The fact that the proposal was made by a far-right party would have been enough reason for it to be rejected in most democratic EU countries,” said one MEP.
Yet the negotiations did reach a (hopefully temporary) deadlock, whether the people of the European Parliament can comprehend the development or not. Most MEPs (of the few that still have an interest in the peace talks) are hugely disappointed in both leaders. They believe President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci should have been able to rise above the silly (to say the least) Enosis crisis and keep the negotiation process intact.
The prevalent feeling is that the window of opportunity was kept wide open until the end of autumn 2016. After that, there was a slight chance remaining, and most likely this has now been lost. The worrying and hugely undemocratic developments in Turkey, and the direction the country has taken, do not allow anyone to believe that Ankara (or rather Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) could play a positive role in the solution any more. Even those MEPs who have always been very keen on talking about the Cyprob are now choosing to avoid the subject.