President Nicos Anastasiades briefed the National Council on Monday about his proposal that he says would allow a new Geneva conference to go ahead, but party leaders did not appear enthused.
Anastasiades has described his proposal – reportedly centred on the order on which the six chapters would be discussed and agreed at a new Geneva conference as “creative” and “daring”.
He said, if accepted by the Turkish Cypriot leader, a solution could be found before the presidential elections in February. The proposal has been deemed a list of “unacceptable preconditions” by the Turkish side.
Akel chief Andros Kyprianou who had harsh words for both leaders on Sunday, said after the National Council meeting that he would not hide his concerns about the “risk and responsibility” assumed by the president for the proposal.
“It would be tragic if the process collapsed on procedural issues,” he said. “And I think it is political naivety to think that someone could in March 2018, after the presidential elections, continue the discussions from the point where they left off.”
He said that for 40 years the position has been to close the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, or even to reach convergence on those issues and then go to international discussions. He said some parties had over the years suggested reversing this and that Anastasiades had explained why this approach was wrong. “Today he is adopting it,” he said.
“Whenever we thought we had room to toughen our stance and to demand things which we thought were right, in the end it backfired on Cyprus and the Cypriot people.”
Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said “the erratic contradictions of Mr Anastasiades has dispelled every trace of credibility our side has”.
“There are no suggestions, no strategy on the Cyprus problem,” he said. “Instead on our side there is perplexity, confusion, and a mood for further concessions. This is kind of submissiveness which breeds Turkish intransigence.”
Papadopoulos, who is running for president in 2018, said it was clear that the proposals of the president were to serve electoral considerations.
Citizens Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas said the proposal should have been presented long ago and not at the eleventh hour, adding that he felt the talks were “close to a dead end”.
Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos called for strengthening of party unity and the bargaining position of the Greek Cypriot side to address any possible deadlock.
A spokesman for the Solidarity Movement said the role of the National Council was for parties not only to be informed, but also to express their opinions, concerns and suggestions. “We expected President Anastasiades to discuss with us and take our views before submitting his proposal for an international conference to Mr Akinci,” he said.
“We do not see anything positive happening on Cyprus at an international conference. We see a talks’ collapse problem.”
Ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou said it supported the president’s proposal, which gave a window to the UN special envoy to consult with the Turkish Cypriot side. Espen Barth Eide is due to meet the leaders separately on Tuesday.