Cyprus is perhaps one of the few places on earth where a UN General Secretary’s presence can have the opposite effect. Ban Ki-Moon’s recent visit ended on a stormy note when he met with Turkish Cypriot Leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, in the presidential palace that Greek Cypriots, and the majority of the international community, excluding Turkey, consider as ‘illegal’. Now one could ask if he had done otherwise, would the same people who are making a meal out of this seemingly naïve diplomatic hiccup, have found something else to pick out, to pick up on and criticize. Would they have condemned the UN General Secretary for referring to Talat as ‘his Excellency’? They could have even picked out the flag fluttering on the car carrying his Exohotatos Mr. Talat.  

Quiet how far we all want to go with these issues has dumfounded me today. One politico with an exaggerated rhetoric called it a ‘act of war’ and another accused Ban Ki -Moon of violating UN Agreements. Watching the news tonight one felt the end was nigh again. That is was an issue of us against them and yes, another UN Gen Sec hath declared us as persona non grata. We seem to forget that he flew to Cyprus via Larnaca and that his special envoy on Cyprus, Alexander Downer even stated word for word that the meeting with Mehmet Ali Talat at aforementioned place was not intended in this way. But many of us are stubborn enough to believe otherwise by voting with knee-jerk reactions and spur of the moment emotions.  

So until such time as some one tells us where it is totally politically correct for officials to hold meetings with any Turkish Cypriot leader – and please not the coffee shop or his house – then I am perhaps one of the few Greek Cypriots who does not react in the aforementioned spontaneous way. In addition until such a time when the Cyprus Problem is once and for all solved, these kinds of issues will only get worse, deepen and become more irreversible. 

 Imagine if the current situation, which some politicians in both communities thrive on as a safe pursuit for power, remains as is. Who I ask myself would a future UN General Secretary be holding a meeting with in say 2030? Where will such a meeting take place? Won’t the venue be completely irrelevant, just as it is today? Because by 2030, like it or not Cyprus without a solution will be a partitioned island and the then UN Gen Sec will be meeting the representative of North Cyprus (please note the capital N and C and no inverted commas) who will more than likely be Turkish and not Turkish Cypriot. The main issue will not be how can we solve the problem but how can we physically divide the island once and for all. 

And if we ever reach this very fateful day I will remember a humble Korean gentleman, who was once UN General Secretary, a Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who came to Cyprus in 2010 and due to naïvety, and our stubbornness, left the island somewhat disappointed.