By Jean Christou
The joint declaration, on which the resumption of Cyprus talks depends, appears to have been agreed even though the government spokesman avoided confirming it on Wednesday.
The government is not ready to officially announce anything until consultations with the party leaders and with Athens have been completed The Cyprus Mail was told.
The development saw a flurry of activity at the presidential palace on Wednesday morning.
But when commenting, government spokesman Christos Stylianides used the word “finalising” rather than ‘agreed’.
He said: “Substantial consultations remained to be done in connection with finalising the communiqué, which, understandably, require delicate handling, seriousness and responsibility.”
President Nicos Anastasiades has called a meeting of party leaders for Thursday morning after which he will travel to Athens in the afternoon to meet the Greek leadership before returning home early on Friday. Stylianides said the party leaders meeting was to “ensure the necessary unity on the domestic front”.
Despite an official meeting being called, party leaders were seen coming and going from the presidential palace on Wednesday morning. Also seen was former DIKO leader Marios Garoyian, CyBC reported.
Politis said current DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, during his visit to the palace had expressed strong reservations to Anastasiades about the joint statement. The Cyprus Mail was told he had threatened to leave the coalition. Reports also said he was furious that Garoyian had been called to the palace.
Stylianides said he would not go into the details surrounding the issue of a joint communiqué, because “it is very sensitive” and would be better to avoid public debate on the issue, which he said could interfere with further progress.
“As I said before, at the same time, we may be very close and very far away [from a statement]. A word can often make the difference. For this we insist that these consultations are sensitive and should currently be at the level of political leaders and in consultation with Athens,” he said.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides met the ruling DISY leadership on Tuesday and told them a deal was close. He said much the same to CyBC in an interview on Tuesday night.
The developments come on the heels of a visit by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland who met both leaders on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the weekend the US was “working on Cyprus quietly”. “You’re not hearing about it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Security Conference in Munich on Saturday where he had a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.