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Hardliners heap scorn on Anastasiades’ vision for a united Cyprus

By Elias Hazou

The rejectionist parties on Thursday heaped scorn on President Nicos Anastasiades’ vision of a reunited island as it was relayed to a group of businessmen and diplomats a day earlier.

At an event co-organised by the communities’ respective chambers of commerce on Wednesday, Anastasiades cited a number of studies which found that, post-settlement, the island’s GDP could double in 20 years’ time.

And in his speech, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said: “The natural resources belong to all Cypriots and they should be taken as a source of cooperation instead of conflict. A solution of the Cyprus problem will create favourable conditions for a win-win situation where all sides will benefit by linking fields and selling the resources in the most economical way.”

DIKO took exception particularly with Akinci’s statement on the need for joint exploitation of the island’s offshore hydrocarbon resources, which he interpreted as a provocation.

The party said the Turkish side “had a nerve” demanding control over the Republic’s natural resources, but blamed this on concessions made by President Nicos Anastasiades but also his predecessor Demetris Christofias.

In a statement by party spokeswoman Christiana Erotokritou, DIKO called on the President to state that no discussion whatsoever on hydrocarbons would take place in the ongoing peace talks.

Back in January, Anastasiades said he was ready to talk hydrocarbons at the tail-end of the negotiations.

“The President must understand that he cannot mortgage the future generations, in order to serve the policy of concessions, of which he is the architect.”

The Citizens Alliance accused the President of bandying numbers about, in a misguided bid to drive home the message that reunification will benefit the people.

The single-seat party proceeded to give Anastasiades a lesson in economics: “In the last 20 years, the Republic’s GDP has grown by two-and-a-half times, and this with two stock exchange crashes, a haircut on deposits, a sharp decline in property prices and the bankruptcy of at least two state companies.

“In other words, the President is promising a solution that offers no benefit to the Cypriot economy.” The statement concluded: “The haircut on deposits cannot be fixed by a haircut on the Republic of Cyprus.”

Socialists EDEK also sought to dismantle Anastasiades’ vision for Cyprus, which it dubbed “a nightmare.”

The party wondered how the President can quote economic forecasts from “dodgy reports” when, at this time, no one knows what shape a settlement might take.

“After a solution, will a strong central government emerge exercising a single economic policy throughout the Republic, or will two states emerge, leading to more bureaucracy and a cash-guzzling state apparatus?”

EDEK added: “What will the true cost of the solution be, and how would it be paid? Who would pay for it and how?
“Who will pay the billions in property compensation? Will Turkey, some foreign donors, or the people of Cyprus?”

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