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UN optimism replaced with tension rising

Cyprus Today Opinion

Cyprus Today Opinion

UN optimism replaced with tension rising

  • 11.10.2017

A BOUNDLESS supply of optimism must be among the prerequisites of the job of UN secretary-general when it comes to Cyprus.
After some half a century of dialogue, the latest incumbent in a seat that has been traded half a dozen times during that period displayed an unusual hint of exasperation when he announced in July that a make-or-break Crans-Montana peace summit was “closed” without success and wished “the best for all Cypriots”.
But now UN chief Antonio Guterres is said to be readying for business as usual, reportedly planning to relaunch his “good offices mission” after talks with all sides on the fringes of the world body's General Assembly in New York.
The omens are not good, however. That much is clear when one such as Mustafa Akıncı is warning the Greek Cypriots that he is not prepared to make concessions on Turkish Cypriot “equality, freedom and security”, and that if they're not ready to share a united future, the time has come to find a way to exist peacefully side by side “under two roofs”. 
Not unexpectedly, Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu is more blunt: there can be no more negotiations except on a state-to-state level – anathema to the Greek Cypriots – and there's no point in the UN “insisting on” keeping up a long-running process that has ended in failure and “stolen 50 years from Turkish Cypriots”.
South of the “Green Line”, attitudes are hardening palpably as political stalls are set out post-Switzerland and prior to a presidential election early next year.
In moves that smack of 1980s- and '90s-style cross-border hostility, recent orders have resulted in tourists arriving in the South being refused entry because they planned to stay in or – horror! – visit the North, while hardline sentiment has put paid to cooperation on bicommunal committees, the first “victim” an apparently innocuous drama production.
Reading the runes, it's hard not to feel that UN optimism right now is wildly misplaced.
 

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