Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

AKEL: ‘no room for acrobatics’ over talks

By Stefanos Evripidou

MAIN OPPOSITION leader, AKEL’s Andros Kyprianou, yesterday accused the government of “acrobatics” in its handling of the Cyprus problem, prompting a denial from the government spokesman.

Briefing reporters on his recent meetings with UN, US and EU officials in Brussels, New York and Washington, Kyprianou suggested President Nicos Anastasiades had drifted away from the long-standing positions of the National Council in his handling of the issue.

“There should be no room for acrobatics in the handling of the Cyprus problem, which aim to reach certain balances in the government or communication needs,” he said, in a likely reference to Anastasiades’ perceived efforts to keep government coalition partner DIKO happy.

Such a handling is dangerous and should be avoided, added Kyprianou.

The AKEL leader called on the president to show more consistency with the long-standing positions of the National Council and criticised his efforts to change the basis of the peace talks as established in 2008.

During his world tour, Kyprianou met a range of officials in Brussels, the UN and US who deal with the Cyprus problem, including EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, Director of the Europe Division for Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, Elizabeth Spehar, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and her deputy Eric Rubin.

According to Kyprianou, the message he got from Brussels was that they would like to see greater consistency by the president on the Cyprus problem.

The AKEL leader welcomed greater US involvement in the talks as long as it’s in the right direction and based on the accepted framework of a solution.

He said he disagreed with US officials who expressed the view that Turkey was ready to cooperate towards a solution once the talks get properly going.

The talks are currently in first gear, with the two sides wrangling over the words of a joint declaration which would set out the desired outcome of peace talks and set out clearly the procedure to be followed. Anastasiades has made a joint statement a precondition of any meeting he will have with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

Responding to Kyprianou’s statements, government spokesman Christos Stylianides welcomed AKEL’s “new” position on the enhanced role of the US in finding a solution.

“Everyone needs to understand that to promote a solution we must be ready to knock on any door necessary,” he said.
Stylianides rejected the notion that Anastasiades was not sticking to his pledge to seek consensus on the Cyprus problem, noting that the president was following the same policy of the late Glafcos Clerides on the domestic front regarding peace talks.

Regarding the president’s handling of the Varosha proposal, the joint declaration and the substance of the peace talks, the spokesman said this should be judged based on the result and not before.

He regretted to hear Kyprianou use words like “acrobatics”, noting this doesn’t help the common effort to find a framework that will give the talks a chance of success.

Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot negotiator in the peace talks Andreas Mavroyiannis yesterday briefed the House Refugee Committee on the president’s proposal for the return of Varosha to its lawful inhabitants in exchange for the opening of Famagusta port and the unblocking of some of Turkey’s EU accession chapters.

Mavroyiannis told MPs that the UN and EU “have not done enough” to promote the Varosha proposal, which is still on the table.

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