By George Psyllides
THE government’s aim is to put international interest in the Cyprus problem to use, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said yesterday, as he rejected anew that US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit was in any way linked to the European Parliament elections.
The spokesman said it was a fact that there was increased interest in Cyprus and the aim was to use this to resolve the issue.
“I cannot imagine that the American vice president is visiting Cyprus this specific period in time because there are elections,” Christodoulides said. “What we need to see is the essence of the visit and whether all together we can use this visit, and the interest in general, to achieve progress in the Cyprus problem.”
Christodoulides played down concerns expressed by various circles that Biden’s visit could upgrade the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island.
“We have assurances from the American side and we expect these assurances to be proven in practice,” he said.
On Sunday, President Nicos Anastasiades assured that “we will not allow the upgrade of the illegal regime” and “will react accordingly to any such attempt.”
Former coalition partner DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos insisted yesterday that Biden’s visit to the north would cause political damage to the Republic.
He said the government was merely engaging in communications management and not dealing with the substance.
“Unfortunately, realising the problem they have started to play with words and underestimate the people’s intelligence,” Papadopoulos said.
The DIKO leader said there was no bigger symbolism than the US vice president visiting the so-called presidential palace in the occupied areas.
“Doesn’t this fact alone constitute an upgrade for the breakaway state?” Papadopoulos said. “Is the Biden visit to the north taking place with the consent of the Anastasiades government, yes or no?”
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervish Eroglu was quoted in the press as saying Biden will be received in the “VIP hall of the office of the president” like all other guests.
The flags of the breakaway state and Turkey will fly outside the building as they always do, Eroglu said.