Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
Print this page Print Bookmark and Share
Media Watch 2005

08 February 2005
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Elias Hazou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 8 February 2005.
'Britain is our nemesis'
"Christofias was fiercely critical of Britain, which he described as "Cyprus' longtime nemesis". The communist party leader went on to accuse the British government of deliberately trying to undermine the Republic of Cyprus in its efforts for a just and viable settlement. Asked yesterday how Cyprus could break the former colonial power’s hold, Christofias said few doubted Britain’s nefarious role. "Even within the British Parliament there are many who agree with this analysis," he added. Throughout the post-war period, Cypriots had been trying to struggle against "Britain’s efforts to maintain Cyprus for its military purposes"... Christofias added Britain had played a part in all the critical junctures of Cyprus’ history, in 1960, 1963 and 1974, accusing London of exploiting rival nationalisms for its own purposes of divide and rule... the AKEL chief said Britain was using its leverage to promote an EU directive authorising direct trade with the breakaway regime in the north. "This is because they want to enforce use of the illegal airports and ports in the north, bypassing the legitimate government of the Republic... those who sneakily shift responsibility for a new initiative on our side" to turn to Turkey instead, adding that Ankara’s stance was key to progress. He also warned of a concerted effort to discredit the Greek Cypriot side, charging the United States of colluding with Britain in a Machiavellian approach to the Cyprus issue... "bear in mind the hostile statements and threats issued at Cyprus both before and after the referenda." ... According to the AKEL boss, the powers at be in the United States have been striving to extract from the UN Secretary-general a report that would render Security Council Resolution 541 null and void. That resolution designated the breakaway regime as illegal, and called on all UN members to refrain from any dealings with it... Similar sentiments were echoed yesterday by EDEK chairman Yiannakis Omirou, who asserted that “those who claim that Turkish Cypriots are isolated should be ashamed of themselves... How can they say that, when Turkish Cypriots are entitled to free health care, have identity cards issued, and thousands of them are employed in the south?... To claim that we are responsible for the Turkish Cypriots’ economic or other isolation is intolerable hypocrisy... We shall not submit to pressure, and we shall certainly not consent to our own undoing.""

AKEL boss Demetris Christofias yesterday launched a scathing attack on British policy in Cyprus, saying the former colonial power had been the island’s “nemesis” for the past half century.

Returning from a visit to the United Kingdom, the House President, who is acting President of the Republic in the absence overseas of Tassos Papadopoulos, said it was “crystal clear that the British factor had been paramount in recent developments to solve the Cyprus problem”.

If the Greek Cypriot side was now seeking changes to the Annan plan, this was because so many of the plan’s provisions “bore Britain’s fingerprints, and in particular those of Lord David Hannay, who now comes up with books from which to hurl his thunderbolts at us”.

Lord Hannay, Britain’s former special envoy for Cyprus, is currently on the island promoting his book, Cyprus: the Search for a Solution.

Christofias added it was not the first time he had made his feelings about British policy known.

Speaking at an expatriates’ event in London on Sunday, Christofias was fiercely critical of Britain, which he described as “Cyprus’ longtime nemesis”. The communist party leader went on to accuse the British government of deliberately trying to undermine the Republic of Cyprus in its efforts for a just and viable settlement.

Asked yesterday how Cyprus could break the former colonial power’s hold, Christofias said few doubted Britain’s nefarious role. “Even within the British Parliament there are many who agree with this analysis,” he added.

Throughout the post-war period, Cypriots had been trying to struggle against “Britain’s efforts to maintain Cyprus for its military purposes,” he said.

Christofias added Britain had played a part in all the critical junctures of Cyprus’ history, in 1960, 1963 and 1974, accusing London of exploiting rival nationalisms for its own purposes of divide and rule.

On Sunday, the AKEL chief said Britain was using its leverage to promote an EU directive authorising direct trade with the breakaway regime in the north.

“This is because they want to enforce use of the illegal airports and ports in the north, bypassing the legitimate government of the Republic,” observed Christofias.

He urged “those who sneakily shift responsibility for a new initiative on our side” to turn to Turkey instead, adding that Ankara’s stance was key to progress.

He also warned of a concerted effort to discredit the Greek Cypriot side, charging the United States of colluding with Britain in a Machiavellian approach to the Cyprus issue.

Christofias yesterday hit back at US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s comments in Ankara that the US government favored the resumption of peace talks and lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

The top US diplomat described Greek Cypriots’ rejection of the Annan plan as a “major disappointment”.

“This is reheated food,” was Christofias’ contemptuous response.

“Admittedly, the tenor was milder this time, but bear in mind the hostile statements and threats issued at Cyprus both before and after the referenda.”

According to the AKEL boss, the powers at be in the United States have been striving to extract from the UN Secretary-general a report that would render Security Council Resolution 541 null and void.

That resolution designated the breakaway regime as illegal, and called on all UN members to refrain from any dealings with it.

And at another seminar organised by the AKEL branch in the UK at the weekend, the veteran leader said there now existed three trends or approaches to the Cyprus problem. First, there were those who were opposed to any federation-based solution, and consequently rejected the Annan plan outright; second, those who accepted the Annan plan as is; and third, those who wanted substantive improvements to the plan.

AKEL fell into the third category, explained Christofias.

Similar sentiments were echoed yesterday by EDEK chairman Yiannakis Omirou, who asserted that “those who claim that Turkish Cypriots are isolated should be ashamed of themselves.”

“How can they say that, when Turkish Cypriots are entitled to free health care, have identity cards issued, and thousands of them are employed in the south?” wondered Omirou.

“To claim that we are responsible for the Turkish Cypriots’ economic or other isolation is intolerable hypocrisy,” the EDEK leader remarked.

“We shall not submit to pressure, and we shall certainly not consent to our own undoing.”"