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Parties insist they are still in the dark over talks

President Nicos Anastasiades will not engage in a public debate with parties that disagree with the way he handled reunification talks, the government said on Friday, amid a barrage of criticism from naysayers who insisted that they were still in the dark, even after a briefing in parliament the previous day.

Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos reiterated that Anastasiades would not be engaging in a public debate after Thursday’s comprehensive briefing in parliament, with those who oppose his handling of the talks.

Papadopoulos added that all documents tabled in the talks were at the disposal of the parties who could study them at the presidential palace.

He said this in response to claims by political leaders that they were still in the dark regarding aspects of the talks.

“Also, the Greek Cypriot side’s negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis has instructions from the president to brief any parties or groups whenever they ask, so that they have a full picture,” Papadopoulos said.

DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said the president’s speech in parliament proved that he was afraid of public dialogue and substantive discussion on the course of the negotiations.

“He confirmed that his policy was a continuation of (former president Demetris) Christofias’ policy with generous offerings, information blackout, secret diplomacy, and countless ambiguities,” Papadopoulos said.

Anastasiades, according to the DIKO chairman, raised fresh questions and concerns for Greek Cypriots, mainly refugees and property owners in the occupied north.

Papadopoulos said the president had failed to give any specific answers to important issues like the property criteria.

With UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide considering that 90 per cent of the property issue was solved, “what are the criteria of discussing territory? What are the decision-making mechanisms? What is the cost of the critical parameters of the solution?”

Papadopoulos said his party proposed another session in parliament in a bid to have a substantive discussion and exchange of views with MPs.

EDEK chairman Marinos Sizopoulos accused Anastasiades of hiding important issues and suggested that the talks were leading to a confederate model.

Sizopoulos said the information Anastasiades failed to mention concerned convergences “with the main aim being to paint a pretty picture and hide the concessions he made without anything in return.”

The EDEK leader suggested that the president did this so that it would not become apparent that the convergences were the same as in the Annan plan – overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots in 2004 – and in some cases even worse.

Ruling DISY said all political forces must engage in constructive dialogue to strengthen the goal for an acceptable, functional solution that would end Turkish occupation and unite Cyprus.

“We think that instead of spending time on assessments and predictions, we would be more useful for the national cause if we strengthened President Anastasiades’ efforts and increased the positive messages he sent to the UN, the EU, and the internationally community, but especially Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.”

The party reiterated the president’s message that despite the progress in the talks, there were also difficulties and a long way to go.

AKEL spokesman Giorgos Loukaides said the president’s briefing on Thursday confirmed for the umpteenth time that the basis for negotiation was the bizonal, bicommunal federation.

“The president correctly noted that all presidents without exception had negotiated inside this framework,” Loukaides said.

He said AKEL would continue to support the procedure as long as the president held the current line.

“We are at a critical junction and AKEL is appealing to all political forces – always retaining the inalienable right to disagree – to make an effort to achieve the greatest possible unity that is necessary today more than ever,” Loukaides said.





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