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Cyprus

Parties call for National Council meeting for dinner briefing

Political parties on Tuesday called for a meeting of the National Council so they could be briefed on what transpired at the leaders’ dinner on Monday night even though they all said it appeared to go as expected.

Main opposition Akel, which is pro-solution, first called for a briefing before it could assess the meeting properly. “Of course we did not expect the dinner would lead to a resumption of negotiations,” said party spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.

“We expected that the two leaders would do what Mr Guterres has long declared. That is, the two leaders will have to convince him that they have the political will to resume negotiations as he suggests in his report after the collapse in Crans-Montana.”

Stefanou said that meant resuming from the point they left off and if both leaders were not aligned with the position of the UN chief “the negotiations will not re-start and the deadlock will continue with all the dangers attached to continuing the status quo”.

The hardline opposition parties all said they did not agree with the Guterres framework. They also asked for a briefing from the president.

Diko said its assessment based only on public statements would be “de facto, incomplete”.

The party condemned the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side had tried to put the gas issue back on the table ahead of any new talks, which negated any prospect of meaningful and productive dialogue.

The Guterres framework, it added, would lead to an interim agreement with gaps that involved the risk of later changes, and it included “positions that violate the unanimous decisions of the national council”.

“Such a bad solution will make Cyprus a Turkish protectorate,” the party said.

The Citizens Alliance said it was obvious the Turkish side had not budged from its positions. “This result was expected because nothing has emerged since the end of the Crans-Montana conference that could lead Ankara to change its policy on the Cyprus issue,” a statement from the party said.

“A new conference to resume talks where they stopped, as some suggest, will lead us with mathematical precision to new adventures. There is no doubt that we will find ourselves faced with the dilemma of either satisfying the extreme Turkish demands or face a new impasse.”

The Green Party said the absurdity of the Turkish side putting the energy issue on the table, as expected, just led the Cypriot people to rightly wonder what the point was of the whole dinner.

Socialist Edek and the Solidarity Movement both focused more on the promise to open two more crossings this summer, one at Dherynia and one at Lefka. Edek said the opening of Dherynia would mean unfair competition for Greek Cypriot farmers and small businesses in the area, and facilitate the movement of tourists to Famagusta in the north.

The Solidarity Movement echoed Edek on the crossings and said the outcome of the dinner was expected “since the Turkish Cypriot side, under the guidance of Ankara, insists on its demands.”

Only ruling DISY was positive. Party leader Averof Neophytou, speaking after a meeting with the Israeli ambassador with whom he discussed regional issues and bilateral ties, said the fact the leaders were in the same room was a positive.

“We could not have, and no one expected, a decision to restart the talks,” he said.

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