Cyprus: NATO Targets Only Remaining European State Not Member, Partner
February 28, 2013
AKEL wastes no time in slamming PfP proposal
By Elias Hazou
“Our people know all too well that NATO and its arms, like the Partnership for Peace, promote anything but peace. Instead, as events themselves have demonstrated, NATO is responsible for waging unjust wars, promoting juntas and dictatorships, and bringing death and bloodshed across the planet.”
Cyprus is the only EU member state [indeed the only European state except for micro-states] that is neither a NATO member state nor a member of PfP.
…AKEL yesterday censured President-elect Nicos Anastasiades for his stated intent to apply for Cypriot membership of the NATO-affiliated Partnership for Peace.
A party spokesman warned such a move would backfire on the divided island.
It was the first skirmish between the soon-to-be opposition AKEL and the Anastasiades government which takes power in a few days.
In announcing plans to join the Partnership for Peace (PfP), Anastasiades has manifested a major foreign policy shift from the outgoing administration of President Christofias.
AKEL is strongly opposed to any links with NATO, holding it responsible for what it says was a conspiracy to split the island in 1974.
Through its spokesman, AKEL reiterated yesterday that joining the PfP would constitute a major strategic and diplomatic blunder.
The move would cast doubt on the Greek Cypriot side’s commitment to demilitarising the island subsequent to a political settlement, Giorgos Loucaides said.
In addition to undermining Cyprus’ credibility, he said, the move would play into the hands of Turkish diplomacy by taking the spotlight off Ankara.
Loucaides dismissed the notion that Cyprus was being blamed for its absence from the PfP programme, which is said to be causing problems in EU-NATO defence relations.
“We would actually be scoring an own goal because, by joining, the pressure would be taken off Turkey and shifted onto Cyprus,” he argued.
“Our people know all too well that NATO and its arms, like the Partnership for Peace, promote anything but peace. Instead, as events themselves have demonstrated, NATO is responsible for waging unjust wars, promoting juntas and dictatorships, and bringing death and bloodshed across the planet,” said Loucaides.
The matter should be debated at the National Council before any decision was made, he urged.
Anastasiades’ intentions, said Loucaides, served to expose DISY’s dogmatic persistence to “deliver Cyprus into the US-NATO tentacles.”
There was no immediate response from the DISY camp.
PfP is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) programme aimed at creating cooperation between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 states are members.
Cyprus is the only EU member state that is neither a NATO member state nor a member of PfP.
In February 2011 parliament voted to apply for membership in the programme, but President Christofias vetoed the resolution.
The Cyprus Center of Studies, a foreign policy and strategy think tank, favours joining the programme, and has compiled an extensive report on the subject.
Their report concluded that the cons of joining PfP were “virtually nil,” said Christos Iacovou, the think tank’s director.
On the other hand, a major drawback of not joining, he said, is that Cyprus is not eligible to receive classified information as part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
Iacovou dismissed also the notion that joining the PfP would drag the island into NATO-led military operations.
Neutral states such as Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Ireland and Finland are all members of PfP, but have no intention of joining NATO, he said. [All have sent troops to Afghanistan]
What’s more, most of the former Warsaw Pact nations (including Russia) are now members.