By George Psyllides
THE NATIONAL Council will convene in a lengthy session in the autumn to draft a strategy with the help of experts for tackling what it described as Turkish intransigence, the government announced on Monday.
Speaking after a National Council meeting on Monday morning, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said that parties were briefed by the president about his meetings with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
The council also decided to convene in a lengthy session that could last several days “to plan a strategy to tackle Ankara’s plans”.
Papadopoulos made it clear that the talks cannot enter a new phase unless both sides submit proposals on all aspects of the Cyprus problem, recalling that Eroglu has agreed to do so, something which has been announced by the UN’s special representative in Cyprus.
“We cannot speak of a new phase without the submission of these proposals,” he said, adding that this was a red line for the Greek Cypriot side.
“How can we advance to the third stage during which we can see if convergences and divergences exist and how these can be bridged, if we don`t have the views of both sides and especially those of the Turkish Cypriot side on all aspects.”
The National Council also decided to set up a body of experts – a geostrategic council – to advise the body on how to proceed.
President Nicos Anastasiades has asked the parties to recommend qualified experts who will staff the council, considered decisive in enabling the presidency and the council to process strategies and tactics.
Speaking after the four-hour meeting, AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou suggested that the Greek Cypriot side must display more consistency on the convergences decided between former president Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
Kyprianou said it was obvious that Eroglu appeared to be in favour of the convergences in public, when in reality he was against them.
The Greek Cypriot side was running the risk of being blamed if substantive moves are not made, Kyprianou said.
AKEL, Kyprianou said, backed Anastasiades’ demand for the Turkish Cypriot side to table proposals on all the issues, which will be discussed.
Kyprianou said 40 years have gone by since the coup and the Turkish invasion.
“We do not have the luxury to continue at the same pace. It must be intensified to reach a fair, functional, and viable solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible,” he said.
EDEK said it was necessary to define a strategy based on the new facts that have developed over the past 40 years, globally and regionally.
Party leader Yiannakis Omirou said it was clear that Turkey was engaging in the “same chicanery and intransigence” it has been engaging in for the past 40 years.
“This recurrence of Turkish intransigence requires discussing this necessary new national strategy,” Omirou said.
DIKO chief Nicolas Papadopoulos said the Greek Cypriot side lacked a clear strategy to tackle Eroglu’s manoeuvrings.
Papadopoulos said Eroglu appeared to be trying to lead the talks to a deadlock but in contrast to the Turkish Cypriot leader “our side does not seem to have a clear strategy on how to tackle” his manoeuvrings.
“Our side’s approach is characterised by confusion and perplexity,” he said.
By George Psyllides