Statement by the General Secretary of AKEL after the meeting with the Minister of Defense Charalambos Petrides
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 10th July 2020, Nicosia
To begin with, I would like to congratulate Mr. Petrides in public as well on assuming the important post of Defence Minister and to wish him every success in the difficult task he is undertaking. For AKEL it is very clear that we must build Defense and organize it in the best possible way – not because we believe that we will solve the Cyprus problem through war, but because we need to have an adequate defense system so that we can react in the event Turkey decides to proceed to any moves forward until the international community will react.
We have made it clear to the Minister that as AKEL as it has always supported issues concerning national security, so we will continue to do so today too, always in a serious and responsible way and, of course, expressing – wherever and whenever the situation demands – our longstanding view about decisions and actions that are taken and with which we disagree with.
I am also forced to raise the issue which has arisen with the announcement made by the United States, namely its desire to train the Cypriot army. I put it this way because we believe that this announcement must not be judged on its own. This announcement is part of a broader plan, which stems from the formulation of the relevant legislation for the charting of a strategy on US national security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
We are familiar with the Rubio-Menendez law. In it, the United States make it clear that their goal and priority is to remove any Russian, Chinese and Iranian interests from the region. And they will use three countries, they say, to achieve their goals: Cyprus, Greece and Israel. When we raised these issues, the government told us that these are unilateral decisions taken by the United States, that they do not have the support of the government and that Cyprus will never get involved in such an effort. We therefore declare that little by little all these decisions are being implemented.
I would also like to say the following. If the United States had the good intention to come here to the region and help us politically, militarily, financially, in the field of tourism, replacing all these inflows that we have today from Russian and Chinese capital, from Russian and Chinese tourists, support us politically against Turkey, which is engaging in provocative and aggressive actions against Cyprus, some people might say “okay, let’s go along, let’s attach ourselves to the chariot of the United States and in exchange gain some concrete rewards to the benefit of Cyprus and the Cypriot people”.
Unfortunately, neither in the field of economics, nor in tourism, but even more so nor in the political field, has the United States shown any intention of supporting Cyprus against Turkey’s provocative actions. On the contrary, the recent statements by both Mr. Pompeo and the US Ambassador say that “we support Cyprus, we support the just cause it has on its side, but Turkey is a very important ally for us and we are not going to provoke any problems with Turkey”. As a matter of fact, the statement by EU High Representative J. Borell was characteristic that in the teleconference they had with Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Pompeo raised two issues: the escalation of the crisis in Libya and the attempt to keep Turkey far away from Russia and China – contrary to all that the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus was saying that a very strong transatlantic message would be sent to Turkey.
We, therefore, consider that the US is trying to promote their strategic interests. The government accepts that Cyprus should play the role of serving those interests, without the interests of the Republic of Cyprus being served in any corresponding way whatsoever.
My appeal to the government is that it should reply to what AKEL says by putting forth arguments and not to engage in aphorisms because in the end it will be apparent that the only thing they know is engaging in aphorisms and attempting to connect whoever disagrees with the government with any situations. They don’t accept criticism on political issues, nor on socio-economic issues. AKEL makes it clear to them that we will not stop expressing our views in a well-documented way based on arguments. Let them reply to us with arguments.