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Our View: Anastasiades should not give rejectionists opportunity to scupper a deal

Party leaders meet the president

THE MOST oft-repeated demand we hear from the parties opposed to a settlement is for information from President Anastasiades about what was being agreed at the talks. Diko chief Nicholas Papadopoulos keeps repeating, conspiratorially, that the parties and citizens were being kept in the dark while the Citizens Alliance has accused Anastasiades of treating the talks as his private affair. Opposition leaders complain that they were waiting for Sunday’s national council meeting to be informed about agreements and decisions already taken.

All these complaints create the misleading impression that Anastasiades, is in some way accountable to the party leaders and that he has a political – if not constitutional – obligation to consult them before agreeing anything at the talks, on the spurious grounds that the Cyprus problem should be handled collectively. Successive presidents have played along with this idea because it kept the party leaders off their backs and gave a semblance of unity which did not really exist. Anastasiades played along with this, but has no time for it now that talks are moving at a fast pace and convergences being reached.

This is why the opposition parties have changed tack, demanding to be briefed about everything agreed at the talks and insisting that the people also had a right to know as it was their future that was being decided. The cause was taken up, last week, by former Akel deputy Nicos Katsourides who in a newspaper article, wrote that people should not rely on selective leaks from both sides for their information because this was “extremely dangerous” and would create “big confusion.” This was why it was an imperative for the parties and the public to be given a comprehensive briefing about what had been agreed at the talks.

While this may sound reasonable, it does not answer the basic question – why? How would the full briefing of the parties and the public, before an overall agreement had been reached, be helpful? It would be helpful to those who want to undermine the talks because they could take isolated issues and campaign against them as being unfair and unjust, when as part of an overall agreement they might be acceptable to people. People would be in a better position to make a decision on a settlement when they had a comprehensive agreement before them instead of being served isolated cases of alleged injustices by politicians that want to undermine a deal.

After all, an agreement, once finalised would be put to a referendum and the people would have a comprehensive view of what is on offer when they are called to make this decision. If there was no provision for a referendum at the end of the procedure, the calls for information now would have been justified, but as this is not the case everyone should be patient until the two leaders have agreed a deal, which is no certainty.

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