Janissary music

Espen Barth Eide, the U.N. secretary-general's special Cyprus envoy, will soon be meeting the leaders of the two peoples of Cyprus, to explain that many years of United Nations-sponsored Cyprus talks may be leading to a humiliating failure, perhaps forcing an "embrace of the serpent."

No one should expect Eide tell the story of the 2015 film by Ciro Guerra, the story of the relationship between Amazonian shaman Karamakate (the last survivor of his people) and two scientists who work together over 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant. After all, hopes in the Cyprus talks, continuing since 1968, have almost been exhausted that there may one day be a federal Cyprus resolution allowing for the cohabitation of two politically equal co-founding people of the island, their embracing of each other, and their sharing of a federal government and state.

In his latest remarks, Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades tried to explain that he was indeed looking for a just and lasting federal agreement, but the Turkish Cypriot side must understand that the expectations of the Greek Cypriot people must also be met in order to reach a sustainable settlement. What he said was of course a reworded expression of his earlier hypothesis that the minority and the majority cannot be the same, and that the minority Turkish Cypriots should accept that they can only have minority rights in a new partnership state. In fact, his statement was an explanation in a nutshell of why over the past half-century no Cyprus miracle has emerged from the intercommunal talks process: If one side is the "majority" governing element and the other side is perceived as a minority to be given some privileged minority rights, the talks could continue for many centuries without...

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