Following a fracas, the government on Tuesday asked two media outlets to say whether a document handed to parties had been leaked by the Presidential Palace.
Government spokesman urged the two media outlets that published the document, hours after it was distributed to parties who had promised not to leak it, to say where it came from.
“Not who gave them the document, just to answer the question if it came from the government or the Presidential Palace,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.
The document, a copy of the Greek Cypriot positions that was given to UNSG Ban Ki-moon last month, was distributed to the party leaders after they complained for the umpteenth time that President Nicos Anastasiades was keeping them in the dark the talks.
During the meeting, the president said he was ready to circulate documents on the negotiations to them ahead of a closed-doors briefing of Parliament on February 11, on condition they would not leak the information. They promised they would not.
Within a few hours the document had been leaked to Sigmalive and Philenews.
The leak prompted Anastasiades to reconsider his decision and the way he briefed parties.
“It is something that concerns the president. In the next few days he will decide how the national council will function in general, and the matter of documents,” the spokesman said.
Christodoulides said the president was considering having individual meetings with the parties though nothing had been finalised.
“I am saying that this is one of the thoughts. No final decisions have been taken so far,” he added.
The president however, signalled that he would not be giving the negotiation documents to the parties.
Anastasiades censured the act, saying he would not be an accomplice in the effort to destroy the reunification procedure.
“Can you tell me how serious a side can be when it publishes the matters it negotiates, especially through those supposed to be the president’s advisors,” Anastasiades said during an interview with Sigma television. The interview was scheduled to be aired on Tuesday evening but excerpts regarding the leak were released earlier.
He suggested that if he gave the negotiation documents they would most probably be used to highlight the Turkish positions as if that were the result.
“I will not be an accomplice in the effort of some people who may disagree to destroy the procedure,” he said.
DIKO accused the Presidential Palace of leaking the document as part of an ill-conceived game that reminded of Byzantine machinations.
The party said it was obvious that the document was leaked by the Presidential Palace because Anastasiades wanted an excuse not to give parties the negotiation documents.
“From the moment President Anastasiades was forced, under pressure from DIKO, to brief the parties with documents, we doubted the sincerity of his intentions,” the party said.
It went on to say that its suspicions were confirmed, and that ruling DISY and AKEL, wanted the people to remain in the dark.
“They are worried that if the people are informed, they will reject what they have negotiated and what they have accepted.”
EDEK chairman Marinos Sizopoulos also suggested it was a Presidential Palace job.
“Is there a possibility that the document was leaked by the people who don’t want to give us the documents?” Sizopoulos said during a lunch time news show on Sigma television.
He said the document did not come from his party and a lot of fuss was made for a paper that essentially was nothing special.
AKEL said it was an unacceptable phenomenon that not only undermined the national council and the procedure to resolve the Cyprus problem.
Party spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said AKEL was in favour of having transparency and informed parties and society.
At the same time though, it should not be done in a way that undermined the efforts to resolve the problem and the Greek Cypriot side in general, he added.