In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, expressed his appreciation that after the pandemic there will be changes both at the international level and in transnational relations.
According to Christodoulides, many of the states are evaluating the data that characterize the management of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects, with the possibility of redefining policies and approaches.
Asked about the progress of efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, he stressed that the Cypriot side wants and is ready to “continue the effort as soon as conditions allow. There is no other option”, said the Cypriot Foreign Minister, adding that “among other things, the escalation of Turkey’s illegal actions in the EEZ of Cyprus cannot be ignored, what’s more, in the midst of a global pandemic and the multifaceted effects it causes, including the energy sector”.
Asked how diplomacy is affected by the coronavirus pandemic worldwide, but also in Cyprus, the FM believes that diplomacy in general will be significantly affected both in terms of procedural issues, such as the need for physical presence in bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as in relation to matters relating to the international system, which is the framework in which diplomacy is called upon to operate.
He went on to say that after the pandemic, we will see changes both internationally and in interstate relations. “We are experiencing to a great extend conditions of war and I refer you to the international system and international relations as they changed after the First and Second World Wars, the end of the Cold War and other important international events. After these developments, a new period had dawned at the international level”, the Cypriot Foreign Minister noted.
As he noted, the pandemic and the economic and many other effects it causes, follow the global economic crisis that began in 2008 and the recent migration crisis. “These two crises have led some states to gradually challenge the structures, principles and values of the international system as they were formed after the end of the Cold War. Several countries have resorted to isolationism, introversion, the challenge of multilateralism and the role and importance of intergovernmental organizations. I believe that after the end of today’s pandemic, such tendencies and approaches will be further strengthened. I believe that priorities set through the foreign policy of states will be revised and redesigned”, he added.
Asked if the Foreign Ministry has prepared a plan and made a plan for this period and the post-coronavirus era in terms of promoting its policies, Christodoulides said that within the framework he mentioned, planning and evaluation have already begun, both for procedural issues but more so for substantive issues, “so that we are able to respond to the new situation that is being formed”.
He added that “regarding issues of substance, in addition to other actions we are taking, within the Ministry, we have discussed with a number of academics, asking them to submit to us in writing their own approaches, assessments and suggestions”.
Asked about the impact of the current situation on the bilateral, tripartite and multilateral relations of Cyprus with other states and organizations, Christodoulides pointed out that all states were called upon to manage an unprecedented state of affairs. “I remind what the French President said very aptly: We are at war. It is an indisputable fact that in many matters influenced by the management of the pandemic, some states, unfortunately, have chosen a lonely path. Even at EU level. It is a test of endurance for both the EU and all states, as well as for the entire international community, a transition period that it is possible, as I mentioned above, to bring about significant changes in its form”, he said.
He added that “especially for our ‘family’, the EU, there is another dimension, the consequences of which, I believe, we will experience as an EU in the near future”. In particular, he said that “all these days, in addition to discussions with my EU counterparts, I am in contact with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of neighboring countries. One of them, in the course of our discussions, asked me to mediate with EU Member States that did not allow the export of medical equipment that had been purchased by his country, repaid and were at the airport for export. In fact, in the same conversation, he gave me as an example the behavior of a third country that not only does not follow such policies, but instead provides free assistance”, he said.
“You understand that these behaviors will affect not only the international system and intergovernmental relations in the post-pandemic era but also the EU’s own prestige and international credibility. All the data that characterize the management of the pandemic and its impact on international level I am sure are being evaluated by many states, and will lead, possibly, to a redefinition of policies and approaches. Nor does the phenomenon goes unnoticed, and I am referring you very specifically to a neighboring state that internally has particular difficulties in managing the pandemic, but chooses, through the sending of healthcare material to third countries, to improve its image internationally”, he added./ibna