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Cyprus Talks

Anastasiades’ goal is to enhance National Council, spokesman says

Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides

The new framework for the National Council being mulled by President Nicos Anastasiades aims primarily at enhancing the effectiveness of the body, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Sunday.

Speaking at a 1974 commemoration event in Chlorakas in Paphos, Christodoulides said the president “more than anyone” wanted to exploit the positives of the National Council, an advisory body on the Cyprus issue made up mainly of party leaders, former presidents and others.

The spokesman said all members of the National Council at some stage have spoken negatively about its operation and effectiveness. That was why the current initiative being undertaken by the president was needed, he added.

“In order to ensure and achieve effectiveness issues of confidentiality should be taken into account,” he added. He also said the smaller the number of people involved, the more productive the dialogue could become, though he did not specify further.
Christodoulides said the palace hoped the parties would respond quickly to the proposals he will send them.

Referring to criticism expressed by the political parties Christodoulides suggested it would be wiser for political parties to read the framework first before reacting whether in writing or in public.

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

The move prompted 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.
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.”

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