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CyprusCyprus Talks

Parties denounce Turkish actions, but vary on how to proceed

DISY leader (r) with Espen Barth Eide

By Elias Hazou

POLITICAL parties yesterday roundly denounced Turkey’s provocations inside the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, but offered varying assessments on how the Greek Cypriot side should proceed next.

Ruling DISY leader Averof Neophytou endorsed the President’s decision to suspend peace talks with the Turkish Cypriots, but suggested that at some point the negotiations must resume.
“We shall not do Turkey a favour in allowing the status quo to go on forever,” Neophytou told reporters.

“We are doomed to achieve the reunification of our country. We have no choice but to try, through dialogue, to reunite our country,” he added.

He was speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with UN special adviser Espen Barth Eide, who earlier in the day saw President Anastasiades.

Averof said the latest Turkish provocations dominated their discussion with the UN official, to whom DISY explained that these actions, in addition to causing a deadlock in the peace talks, serve to further fuel suspicions among Greek Cypriots as to Ankara’s true intentions.

Asked about Eide’s take on the present situation and on the peace drive in general, the DISY boss said the UN official’s role is one of mediation.

“Mr. Eide will not be finding the solution to the Cyprus problem, nor do we expect him to. We want him… to help us reach a solution as soon as possible,” said Neophytou.

He declined to comment on whether Eide’s remarks after meeting the President could be construed as pointing to the continuation of negotiations via proximity – as opposed to face-to-face – talks.

Main opposition AKEL likewise agreed with the government’s decision to freeze talks with the Turkish Cypriot side, but stressed that the talks should resume at some point.

AKEL MP George Loukaides noted that so far, Cyprus’ allies – the United Kingdom and the United States – have only paid lip service to the need to safeguard Cyprus’ territorial integrity.

“Our analysis is that Turkey’s regional role is being upgraded, while our own relations with Russia are entering a new rough patch due to the flawed policy choices of the government, which has shunned a multi-faceted foreign policy and replaced it with a monolithic attachment to the West, in particular to the United States,” Loukaides said.

DIKO’s take on the developing situation was far more aggressive. The party took exception with Eide’s remarks earlier in the day, when the UN official spoke of ‘maritime disputes’.

“It is clear – and this should be pointed out to Mr. Eide – that in the case of Cyprus’ EEZ there is no maritime dispute. Rather, there has been an illegal and blatant questioning of the Republic’s sovereignty on the part of Turkey, who is in breach of both international law and the Law of the Sea,” a statement by party spokesperson Christiana Erotocritou read.

The only way for Turkish Cypriots to share in the country’s wealth and natural resources is through achieving a workable and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue, it added.

DIKO also criticised the US State Department and the British Foreign Office for failing to explicitly condemn Turkish provocations at sea and for their “lukewarm and hollow” reactions.

“Now is the time for decisive and assertive action. Now is the time for taking specific measures – beyond suspending our side’s participation in the negotiations – that will cause a real political cost to Turkey,” DIKO added.

Socialists EDEK proposed that Cyprus take recourse to the UN Security Council against Turkey, call for the immediate cessation of Turkey’s EU accession talks, and ask the European Council to impose sanctions on Ankara.

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