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Cyprus

Palace calls on party leaders to behave responsibly (Updated)

Presidential Palace in Nicosia

Despite President Nicos Anastasiades’ plea to party leaders to behave responsibly on the issue of publicising classified documents from National Council sessions, views from both camps continued to be aired on Thursday.

In a statement, Anastasiades said he had nothing further to say about EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos publicising excerpts from the minutes of National Council meetings.

“We consider unnecessary to further study the theories of Mr Sizopoulos,” a statement from the palace said.

It added that, following the declared intention on the part of the EDEK leader to disclose further details from the National Council, the President was inviting all party leaders to “rise to the occasion and behave with real political responsibility”.

“The effort of Mr Sizopoulos to impress and distract violated a basic principle of the National Council on confidentiality and the classified nature of what is said and recorded,” the statement said.

“The worst thing however is that Mr Sizopoulos’ fragmentary report of the proceedings of the National Council effectively misconstrued and distorted the positions recorded in order to arrive at his own arbitrary conclusions.”

Speaking on state radio, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said that “Wednesday was not a good day for political life”.

“Sizopoulos gave the Turkish side unexpected boons,” he said.

“The Turkish side often makes the argument that it is unable to discuss sensitive issues because the Greek Cypriot side leaks everything, and asks that they are left for discussion at the last stage in a meeting abroad.”

Further, Papadopoulos said, it is hard to see how anyone can speak freely at the National Council any more, since “Sizopoulos, or someone else, will get the minutes and may take them public at any time”.

But even as the government has made its refusal to engage in a public debate over the points made public by Sizopoulos quite clear, EDEK continued to challenge it for further response.

“What EDEK has revealed is too serious to go unanswered,” a statement said.

“We call on the government to respond on the issues: has Mr Anastasiades accepted the make-up of the Senate to be based on criteria of ethnicity and separatist clauses or not? Has he accepted that a foreign judge, to be selected by draw, will decide on all major constitutional issues in our country? Has he accepted that the people of Cyprus will belong to one of four separate categories, depending on ethnic background and place of residence? Has he accepted that over 100,000 settlers will remain in Cyprus?”

The party reaffirmed its intention of “informing the public of everything can shape its future, responsibly and seriously”.

“We repeat that the truth never hurt anyone,” its statement said.

AKEL member Stefanos Stefanou said Sizopoulos’ move was neither responsible nor creative.

“The National Council is a forum for free discussion,” he said.

“If all parties, depending on circumstances or time, start making minutes public, then we will simply find national unity disarray, and the talks will simply fall apart.”

DIKO remained ambivalent, saying the disclosure was a mistake but also arguing the public’s right to a clear picture.

“We don’t want to undermine the President, but on the other hand the public has a right to know,” spokeswoman Christiana Erotokritou said.

The Greens’ leader Giorgos Perdikis wondered why Anastasiades does not inform the public himself – which he did at an open parliament session last month.

“Why does he not inform the public himself, and leaves it to the discretion of each political leader?”

EVROKO leader Demetris Syllouris was dismissive, saying the issue merits no discussion.

“Let us discuss the core of the Cyprus problem, instead of wasting time on political sideshows,” he said.

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