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‘Red lines’ is not the language of diplomacy

11 April 2016

Part time judge Alper Ali Riza QC writes that he believes the latest Cyprus negotiations began to stall when negotiators began using the phrase “red lines”. He reflects that such a phrase is used as a strong warning to others and is only to be used sparingly in situations requiring diplomacy.

Such language he says, is inappropriate in talks which are attempting to resolve decades old political problems.

He points out that there is room for manoeuvre within the current framework of the talks, aimed at reuniting the island, that comprises two ethnic communities and excludes union with any other country or partition.

Riza goes on to say that President Anastasiades is a “light weight” politician and lacks the “gumption” to resolve the problem without public pressure.

He also makes the point that both community leaders are hampered by extreme nationalists.

President Akinci, he observes has the added weight of Turkey looking over his shoulder, although he concedes that President Erdogan has been amenable, in the past.

Riza highlights the conundrum that “you need to please the nationalists to solve the Cyprus problem but if you please the nationalists you cannot solve the problem!”

A Catch 22 situation, as he describes it.

Finally, he asks: “Should Cyprus reunite as a federal state or should the two communities remain separate?’ And the alternative responses: ‘reunite as a federal state’ or ‘remain separate’. No general election result can provide as conclusive a mandate as a reunite majority in a referendum!”

Cyprus Mail

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