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Cyprus

MPs to discuss two ways of declassifying secret service files

Two proposals for archived documents of the Cyprus secret service (KYP) to be declassified and made public will be examined by the House Ethics committee next week, chairman Nicos Nicolaides said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after the session, Nicolaides said that a bill reforming the operation of the intelligence service has garnered unanimous support, with the exception of one article – out of 37 – for which two proposals were made.

“Article 7 relates to KYP’s archives, for which two final proposals will be brought before the committee on Tuesday,” he said.

According to Nicolaides, the first proposal is to create a specialised KYP archive, subject to rules different than other state archives, while the second calls for placing the secret service’s archives under the provisions of the generic law on State Archives.

“Both approaches are certainly valid, they’re just different philosophies,” the committee chairman said.

“The goal is to place the issue of KYP’s archive – specifically, of making its archives public – in a light that serves the country’s historical and political necessities.”

AKEL deputy Aristos Damianou said his party offered a way out of the impasse.

“AKEL has proposed inserting a clause into the legislation regulating the service’s operation, to designate the management of its archives,” he said.

Damianou added that the government will be allowed a transitional period, most likely until November 2016, to submit regulations for the creation of an advisory committee that will handle matters of declassification and publicising KYP documents of historical significance.

“Our proposal seems to have garnered the support of most parties,” he said.

“We believe it allows for the voting of the KYP bill by next month, while ensuring that our reasonable concerns over the management of important historical material are addressed effectively.”

If and when this matter is dealt with, the entire bill can be voted in the coming weeks, Damianou said.

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