By George Psyllides
The Greek Cypriot side has made too many concessions to Turkish Cypriots, DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said on Thursday, hours after his party voted to leave the coalition government over the terms for the resumption of talks on the Cyprus problem.
Papadopoulos said the party’s central committee had taken a clear and historic decision to leave the administration of President Nicos Anastasiades who “chose to completely ignore the views and positions of the party on the Cyprus issue and annul the pre-election agreement he had with the Democratic Party.”
DIKO’s central committee voted by 97 to 81 to uphold the recommendation of the party’s executive office to abandon the coalition due to its disagreement with a joint declaration agreed between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
The DIKO leader called on the party’s four ministers and the three heads of semi-government organisations to resign their posts.
Papadopoulos said the agreement confirmed the old and included new concessions to the Turkish Cypriot side, which helped it achieve its pursuits before the talks even started and irrespective of their outcome.
The talks were starting on the wrong basis and will lead to a bad solution.
He said DIKO had consistently supported Anastasiades and suffered political cost as a result.
“Unfortunately though, the Anastasiades-Eroglu agreement annulled the pre-election agreement between Anastasiades and the Democratic Party,” he said.
Despite the disagreement, DIKO would continue to submit its views and alternative proposals on the Cyprus problem in a bid to bolster the Greek Cypriot side’s negotiating position.
“We are defending what is right, our dignity and history,” Papadopoulos said. “The people who dream or pursue the breakup of the Democratic Party will run into the unity and determination of the proud people of DIKO.”
The government said it respected DIKO’s decision but with or without the party, the president would continue to implement the programme agreed with the coalition partners having in mind the best interests of the Cypriot people.
“Cyprus currently faces historical challenges as well as prospects, both as regards the solution of the Cyprus problem and restarting the economy,” government spokesman Christos Stylianides said. “Society demands a high sense of responsibility from its leadership and not fruitless and hopeless negativity.”
Anastasiades will convene a cabinet meeting Friday morning and ministers have been asked to present any urgent or pending matters.
Later on Thursday, EAC chairman Giorgis Pipis and Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) boss Costas Kadis both issued statements saying they had submitted their resignations.
Pipis said that after the party’s decision, it was “morally and ethically right” to submit his resignation.
Kadis said he had taken over the CTO chairmanship on the recommendation of the DIKO leadership even though he was not himself a party member.
“Despite the fact that I do not belong to the Democratic Party after the decision to withdraw from the government, for reasons of ethics, I have submitted my resignation,” Kadis said.