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Cyprus

Akel leader accused president of lying about talks collapse (updated)

File Photo: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (centre) with the two leaders in January

Akel leader Andros Kyprianou on Thursday accused President Nicos Anastasiades of lying about why he left talks in Switzerland late in 2016 and suggested he was to blame for the collapse of the latest round last summer.

Kyprianou made public the minutes of a national council meeting, which suggested Anastasiades had used him and Akel as an excuse to leave the negotiating table at the Swiss resort of Mont Pelerin in November 2016.

The Akel leader said he was forced to do so after Anastasiades “repeated a big lie” during Wednesday’s televised debate with Stavros Malas, his opponent in the second round of the presidential election.

“He said that he never used my name to leave (the first talks) Mont Pelerin one,” Kyprianou said. “I am making them public because Im forced to by Mr. Anastasiades and his repeated lies.”

The minutes were taken during a national council session on August 1.

Kyprianou tells the president that he lied when he said he had called him and asked him to return to Cyprus “because I had a problem at Akel.”

Anastasiades: “I said I had problems with Akel. Yes, I said that to ask for a postponement to come and brief the national council and consult with the Greek government.”

Kyprianou: “You said Andros called me and asked me to go back.”

And despite knowing from the first moment, Kyprianou said he never went public because his only concern was for the process to move forward and reach a solution.

“It is dangerous for a president to lie with such ease simply to defend himself,” Kyprianou said.

He went a step further accusing Anastasiades of causing the collapse of the talks in Mont Pelerin last summer.

The talks were attended by the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey.

“Mr. Anastasiades’ narrative that it was Mr. (Mevlut) Cavusoglu who ruined the negotiation. If that were the case, this should have been reflected in the report drafted by the UN Secretary-General,” Kyprianou said.

Kyprianou rejected suggestions, mainly from the government camp and ruling Disy, that the UN never assigned blame.

In his report, the UNSG said he had found that all the guarantor powers went to Mont Pelerin ready to cooperate to overcome disagreements and arrive at a deal, he said.

“If we think Mr. Cavusolgu was to blame exclusively for the collapse, why didn’t we tell the secretary-general that his report did not correspond to reality?” Kyprianou said.

“We remained silent, did not react, and accepted without protest what the Secretary-general recorded in his report.”

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said it was a selective leak but the administration was not prepared to go down the same path.

“We won’t do it because we want to be serious and responsible in the handling of the Cyprus problem,” he said.

The essence of the matter, he said, is “could the Cyprus problem have been solved at Mont Pelerin one but it couldn’t have been solved a week later at Mont Pelerin two? Who undertook the initiative for a conference on Cyprus in Geneva, which was followed by a new conference at Crans Montana?”

The spokesman suggested that Kyprianou was trying to mislead the people but the effort would fail.

“The Cypriot people know, understand, and will judge correctly,” he said.

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