You may remember the recent Reuters article about how the U.S. sent a note to the Cypriot parliament warning against any move to pass a bill requiring the display of GM food in shops on separate shelves. The note warned that such a move would damage bilateral relations.
The note, which came from the American Embassy in Nicosia and was addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, was seen by Reuters. It urged parliamentarians to oppose the passage of the bill, saying, "The bill is in essence a poke in the eye of the U.S." (US says Cyprus ties could suffer over GMO plan, Reuters)
The note also issued the following warning: "Do you really want to take this step which will only hurt US-Cypriot relations while doing nothing to protect the health and welfare of your citizens?" It then told the Speaker to "do what you can to keep the bill from coming to the floor" and that if he could not do this to "at least postpone further consideration of this bill until after the summer recess". (What were they thinking? Cyprus Mail)
Not long afterwards the local press reported that, "A vote on the controversial bill to separate genetically modified foods on supermarket shelves will likely be put off until after the summer break." It also reported that the bill’s sponsor balmed ‘the potential delay on the intervention of the US Embassy. He argued that before the US circulated a note to parliament, all parties were ready to vote through the bill on GM products... . We had three meetings about this before and all the parties had agreed, now after the US Embassy intervention, they're not sure any more,’" (Greens' GM bill shelved until the Autumn, Cyprus Mail)
Comment - The twin face of our leadership
The more Papadopoulos and Christofias step up the domestic rhetoric, the more concessions they make to the Americans
by Makarios Droushiotis
Cyprus Mail [shortened]
CYPRUS has recently concluded an agreement with the United States on a memorandum against terrorism. The text of the memorandum has not been made public, although it is known that the United States is interested in carrying out inspections of ships flying the Cyprus flag, since Cyprus has one of the biggest merchant marine fleets in the world.
It should be remembered that when in May this year a group of US senators visited the occupied areas using Tymbou airport, Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou had warned that Cyprus would refuse to sign the memorandum on terrorism as a reaction against US policy on Cyprus. Despite the above threat, Cyprus has become the first European Union country to reach such an agreement with the United States, while Iacovou is anxiously expecting an invitation to visit the United States for the signing ceremony.
Even Demetris Christofias, the President of the House of Representatives, who makes the most virulent anti-American speeches in Cyprus, has digested an "ultimatum" contained in a memorandum addressed to the House by the US embassy in Nicosia. The memorandum asked for his personal intervention against a bill providing that genetically modified foodstuffs should be placed on separate shelves in the supermarkets and, in addition, to carry special labelling. Even though the embassy's note
was unofficial (a non paper), it warned Christofias that it was not in his interest to promote this controversial bill. Christofias is assumed to have taken into consideration, not only the essence of the note, but also the warning it contained, since neither the bill was approved, nor did he accuse the United States of interfering in Cyprus' internal affairs, something that we have become accustomed to hearing from him.