By Stefanos Evripidou
DIKO LEADER Marios Garoyian yesterday held a first meeting with party members poised to participate in the various working groups set up to assist the Greek Cypriot negotiating team in the peace talks.
The DIKO members will assist negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and his team if and when fully-fledged negotiations are launched.
“Our wish and hope is for the talks to start as soon as possible provided Turkey abandons this intransigent stance it has been following for years, as confirmed the other night during the meeting between the President and Mr (Dervis) Eroglu,” said Garoyian.
“I have no doubt that DIKO now, as in the past, will be able to contribute through its suggestions, proposals and documented positions to achieve the goals set by the Greek Cypriot side,” he added.
The working groups will provide assistance and input when requested by the negotiator and president Nicos Anastasiades.
Recently, Anastasiades sent letters to people from across the political spectrum, some with years of experience in peace talks, asking for their participation in specific working groups set up to assist and provide expert opinion to the Greek Cypriot negotiating team.
Before the working groups can be activated, the two sides will first have to agree on a joint declaration setting out the basis and methodology of the talks.
The working groups have nothing to do with the bicommunal technical committees – already up and running – that have been tasked with tackling every day issues of joint concern to the two communities, such as the more high profile technical committee on cultural heritage.
According to a press release, the DIKO members included in the new working groups are:
Governance and power-sharing: Christos Patsalides (former health minister), Tasos Parperis (lawyer).
Economy: former finance ministers Makis Keravnos and Christos Mavrellis.
Territorial: Christos Ktorides (former head of the town planning department [TPD]), Stefos Papanicolaou (over three decades in TPD).
Property: Yiannis Papadopoulos (former head of TPD), Eftychia Avramidou (architect in TPD).
EU affairs: Antonis Paschalides (former trade minister), Themis Themistocleous (director of CyBC, former head of EU office in Cyprus), Menelaos Kyprianou (lawyer).
Security: Petros Zarounas (international relations expert).
Civil aviation: Leonidas Leonidou (former head of civil aviation).
The former deputy head of DIKO, Nicos Cleanthous, is already a member of the Cyprus problem negotiating team.