Cyprus Mail

National Council plans ‘bad political joke’

Eleni Mavrou

Resumption of the National Council’s operation is important at a time when efforts are afoot to speed up reunification negotiations, main opposition AKEL said on Saturday, following the president’s announcement that he would consider reconvening the body if party leaders agreed to his conditions.

“Although it is an advisory body, the National Council is at the same time a place of sharing information and consultation, elements we consider important,” AKEL MP Eleni Mavrou said in a written statement. “AKEL considers the resumption of the National Council’s operation important, especially at a time when an effort is underway to expedite negotiations on the Cyprus problem.”

The council’s operation was questioned earlier this year after EDEK chairman Marinos Sizopoulos made public the confidential minutes of two meetings, saying the public had a right to the truth.

The move prompted President Nicos Anastasiades to rethink a promise to allow documents from the talks to be circulated at meetings and in the meantime said he would brief party leaders separately.

He said he would inform party leaders of his decisions on the matter right after the May 22 parliamentary elections.

On Friday, Anastasiades said he would convene the council “provided the leaders of the parties accept some fundamental issues.”

Asked if his proposal entailed some sort of confidentiality agreement, the president said it included an honour protocol.

Mavrou said the existence of rules was not enough if they were not respected by everyone.

“It is a fact that leaks and turning the National Council into an arena of unproductive confrontation hinder its constructive operation,” Mavrou said, adding that her party will take a stance after studying the president’s proposal.

Sizopoulos, whose party lost two seats during the recent elections under his tenure, described the president’s proposal for an honour protocol as a “bad political joke.”

The EDEK chairman suggested it was impossible for Anastasiades to set such a condition when he failed to keep numerous verbal and written pledges, and disrespected the people’s verdict in the 2004 referendum on a UN reunification blueprint, reporting his country to the EU.

Sizopoulos was referring to a letter Anastasiades sent to Pat Cox, the president of the European parliament at the time, denouncing the conditions under which then president Tassos Papadopoulos was organising the referendum.

In the April 21 (three days before the referendum) letter, Anastasiades spoke of undemocratic conditions, media misinformation, gagging and pressure on state sector employees to influence their decision.

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