OPINION

Fear of political cost

Fear of the political cost of a solution to the Cyprus problem is what has prevented one from being reached for the past 50 years. Every time it appeared that a categorical solution was about to be reached, the Greek and Cypriot political leaderships would focus on ensuring that their choice was in line with public opinion rather than on the practicalities of the problem. There have been at least five or six critical phases in negotiations when political leaders have resorted to tricky politics rather than behaving responsibly. The result was tragic: Every time the proposed solution was worse than before and so public opinion was more decidedly hostile. And the same is likely to happen again. If we reject Annan’s plan, the next round of talks – if there are any – will occur in much less favorable circumstances and will invariably be unpopular once again. Opinion polls have confused matters even further. Even if they are a faithful reflection of public opinion, they also serve to reinforce existing trends and influence politicians in their decision making… No one is suggesting that a solution should be imposed without considering the will of those whose lives it will influence, but the problem should be openly addressed, with all its practical details and all possible solutions, without the fear of its political cost.