Cyprus Mail

Hardline parties fence-sit on Sizopoulos move

The National Council

EDEK  leader Marinos Sizopoulos seemed to be a lone fighter on Wednesday as none of the other political parties, not even the hardliners, rushed to support him when he decided to reveal minutes from National Council meetings, though the rejectionists blamed the government for forcing his hand.

AKEL’s Stephanos Stephanou, in a statement condemned the move calling it irresponsible.  “Such behaviour nullifies the role of the National Council, regardless of the problems it faces in its operations,” he said.

Calling on parties to not allow the upcoming elections to undermine the talks, Stephanou said “publishing minutes, like leaking documents, damages our side and the negotiations. It’s one thing to responsibly inform society, which needs to happen, and another leaking and revealing documents.”

Greens leader Giorgos Perdikis, though he stopped short of supporting the move by Sizopoulos, laid the blame on the President.

“For the sake of the truth, I would like to note that the first one who recently publically presented minutes from the National Council was President Nicos Anastasiades.”

He was referring to a month ago when Anastasiades in parliament read out excerpts from a session on March 9, 1977 and quoted President Makarios.

Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos responded saying this was neither a revelation nor a violation of trust as the excerpt is included in a book published by former President George Vassiliou.

Papadopoulos also went on to ask Perdikis and DIKO for a direct answer.

“Do you condemn Sizopoulos’ move? Yes or no?”

DIKO ‘s statement said “transparency and public dialogue help and do not prevent negotiations.” Both DISY and AKEL have a practice of keeping the public in the dark, a dangerous feat, it added. “Unfortunately, today’s move by EDEK leader to publish excerpts from National Council minutes gives an excuse to President Nicos Anastasiades to keep people in the dark.” Comments by the Citizen’s Alliance echoed those of DIKO.

At its December meeting, Anastasiades had taken a decision in principle to share documents from the talks with the party leaders but one paper he gave them – a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – was leaked within hours, after which the president decided to reconsider his decision to share documents with the party leaders .

In response to the publishing of the minutes by Sizopoulos, ruling DISY said it was not going to drag itself into a public dialogue which undermined the function of the National Council “particularly at a time when the Cypriot public expects from political powers the necessary responsibility on handling our top issue and is correctly indignant when this is sacrificed for the sake of petty political expediency.”

EDEK’s deputy Costas Efstathiou, commenting on the reaction of the government to Sizopoulos, said: “We understand the concern and panic which has overcome the palace because of the systemic and organised misinformation given to the Cypriot public when it comes to what President Anastasiades discusses and agrees behind their backs.”

“The truth never hurt anyone,” he added.

Efstathiou then posed his own question to the government.  “Did what fellow Mr Sizopoulos reveal reflect reality or not?”

He then proceeded to counter claims that Sizopoulos was the first to disclose National Council minutes by citing two books which contain excerpts, authored by Vassiliou and former President Glafcos Clerides, as well referencing Perdikis’ point on Anastasiades’ speech to parliament in February.

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