Be­tween a rock and a hard place


Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cyprus once again finds it­self in an awk­ward po­si­tion, with Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades head­ing a high-level del­e­ga­tion to Moscow with the hope of clinch­ing as much as he can from the Rus­sian Pres­i­dent.

To think that Moscow will do any­thing more than re­it­er­ate its sup­port to a vi­able and just so­lu­tion to the Cyprus prob­lem, is naïve, to say the least.

Some seem to live in Won­der­land if they think that Vladimir Putin will ca­pit­u­late and ev­ery­thing will re­turn to nor­mal – Rus­sian de­posits will flow once more, tourists will stream back to our beaches and our fruit and veggies will once again end up on Moscow store shelves.

The main rea­son that the Krem­lin in­tro­duced the con­tro­ver­sial “de-off­sho­ri­sa­tion” bill was not nec­es­sar­ily to pun­ish Cyprus for rob­bing Rus­sian in­vestors of their bank de­posits, but aimed at keep­ing bet­ter con­trol over the key play­ers in in­dus­try and trade, who will be called upon to do their pa­tri­otic duty and prop up the ail­ing econ­omy that has over-re­lied on oil rev­enues. The cri­sis in Ukraine is not some­thing that will go away and it has hurt the rou­ble, as much as its ex­ports, which is why Moscow has turned to new­found al­lies, such as China and Turkey, to sup­ply its oil and gas.

But Pres­i­dent Putin has not yet fin­ished his grand scheme of re­in­stat­ing the glory of the Rus­sian em­pire and Cyprus is but a speck on his map.

Anas­tasi­ades is right to re­fresh some out­dated bi­lat­eral pro­to­cols, with the sup­port to mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, such as the evac­u­a­tion of Rus­sian ad­vi­sors from Syria and else­where, be­ing the most im­por­tant to Putin at the mo­ment.

It is now clearly ev­i­dent that ask­ing the Krem­lin for a loan back in 2013 back­fired, eco­nom­i­cally and po­lit­i­cally, be­cause we had noth­ing to of­fer or to bar­gain with. Now we do.

Anas­tasi­ades must play his cards rights, as with noth­ing left to lose, we have much more to gain from re-in­stat­ing ties with Rus­sia. Moscow will never give up its his­toric love-hate re­la­tion­ship with Ankara, dat­ing back more than a cen­tury, so Cyprus needs to carve its own lit­tle piece of the ac­tion. With our west­ern ‘al­lies’ also lean­ing to­wards main­tain­ing an open chan­nel to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, this time, al­legedly, in or­der to fight the new threat of the Is­lamic State, Ni­cosia is once again on its own, with­out any fun­da­men­tal help from our fel­low EU mem­ber states.

It is time for Cyprus to re­vise its for­eign pol­icy and strate­gic co­op­er­a­tions with Rus­sia, en­ergy neigh­bours Is­rael and Egypt, as well as Le­banon and oth­ers, by keep­ing a bal­anced re­la­tion­ship and one that will, at last, look af­ter Cyprus in­ter­ests and not oth­ers’.

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