Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The magic of ‘Time-Server’ Alex

Back in July 2008 when he took on the role of UN envoy in Cyprus, former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer seemed to be setting himself up for failure:

“It’s not going to be a cakewalk. These things are always untidy. It’s never easy to do.”

Still, Alex seemed willing enough to have a go:

“We ended the civil war in Bougainville. We played our part in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why not try to fix up Cyprus as well?”

Well bully for Alex, why not indeed!!

Sadly, some parties in the Cyprus dispute have lately criticised Alex as being hopelessly ‘biased’.

“We have a problem and it’s called Downer,” said Rikos Erotokritou, vice-president of Cyprus’ small but hardline European Party. “It is our belief that he should step down.”

And what’s more...

‘‘It is incredible that he still hasn’t set up permanent residence in Cyprus. How can the negotiations be fruitful if he is here for a few days and then flies off?”

For which Alex has a compelling excuse:

“I was employed on a part-time basis and I’m not paid full-time.”

Fair enough... but whatever happened to our Can-Do-Alex, the man Janet Albrechtsen described as the ‘Warrior Statesman’?

Then again, perhaps the Cypriots will have only themselves to blame if they don’t seize the opportunity presented by the part-time Warrior Statesman.

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