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Cyprus Talks

Cyprob solution ‘not close, but let’s make it viable’

Lawyer Polis Polyviou

WE are not close to a solution of the Cyprus problem, but if one is agreed we need to be very careful in ensuring that it is a viable one, because there is no coming back if it fails, prominent lawyer and advisor to President Nicos Anastasiades Polis Polyviou said on Thursday.

Polyviou made headlines this week after an email he had sent to the team advising Anastasiades on the Cyprus problem was leaked to the press. The email contained his “reservations and concerns” over aspects tabled in the ongoing negotiations for a solution, some of which he termed dangerous.

“In the last two months, I’ve written three emails on various aspects of governance, which I sent to the members of the negotiating team,” he told state radio.

“They included suggestions, reservations, disagreements – all part of the negotiation and the help we should offer the President.”

Polyviou said he had no comment on how his communication was leaked to the press, but was in fact peeved over how it was used.

“I am bothered not by the fact that it was made public per se, but by the noise it has sparked, because all this is a distraction from the real issue, which is finding a viable solution to the Cyprus problem,” he said.

Viability, according to Polyviou, is key to any solution that might be agreed, which is why his primary concern is the issue of governance.

“There are convergences on several issues, like the economy, the EU, and other serious issues, but a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is an extremely difficult matter, because once there is a solution there is no coming back,” he said.

“All of my concerns are primarily focused on the issue of governance. Without overlooking the significance of things like human rights, guarantees, territory, properties, the single most important aspect to me is that of governance. Because without a satisfactory and viable system of governance, everything could collapse, and then things will be irreversible.”

Contrary to the optimism, cautious or otherwise, expressed by the leaders of the two sides and UN representative Espen Barth-Eide, Polyviou said he does not feel that a solution is close yet, but acknowledged that the effort should continue nonetheless.

“In my opinion there are very serious issues that have not yet been adequately discussed or resolved,” he said.

“We are not close [to a solution], this is my assessment. But I must say that the effort must be made.”

Commenting on the process of airing of views when advising Anastasiades, Polyviou described him as receptive and open.

“He is fully receptive to differing opinions, criticism, and opposing views,” he said.

“He listens and accepts opinions. I have seen him change, or reshape, his own opinion. The view that the president does not listen because he has already made up his mind is not my view. There is an absolute right to criticism. Some of my own observations have been taken into consideration. Others were not, for reasons the president considers important.”

Discussion is not a mechanical process, Polyviou explained.

“Quite often, long discussions are held on any given issue,” he said.

“Sometimes in [the president’s] presence, others in his absence, views are aired by everyone, sometimes intensely. The president listens, and he has never stopped anyone from expressing his view.”

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