President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday he would not let the Greek Cypriot side take the blame for the impasse in the Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana last July.
Responding to ongoing criticism from main opposition Akel over his handling of the negotiations in Switzerland which failed at the last stretch, Anastasiades said this only led to boosting Turkish intransigence and support for the Turkish positions.
Akel leader Andros Kyprianou accused Anastasiades on Tuesday, following an interview Anastasiades had with Phileleftheros, of “working to cover his unpopular policies with contradictions, regressions inaccuracies, distortions and half truths”.
Anastasiades’ response came Wednesday as he was addressing the annual congress of public service union Pasydy in Nicosia where he said he would not accept blame for the impasse in Crans-Montana being put on the Greek Cypriot side.
“It was not the Greek Cypriots who were responsible because we rejected intervention rights. It was not the Greek Cypriot side that was responsible because it did not accept a military base and a permanent presence the Turkish army,” he added.
Anastasiades said he was saddened every day to see Turkish positions that hold the Greek Cypriot side responsible for the failure at Crans-Montana.
“I regret sincerely because I have to answer in harsh tones,” he said. It was bad enough to hear those voices coming from outside Cyprus but worse “when there are voices from the inside who support what is unfortunately claimed by the Turkish Cypriots as a result of their dependence on Turkey”.
Turkish Cypriots, he said, should eventually be weaned from this dependency. “We are ready to contribute in this direction but we do not accept that it is imposed on us that the majority should be turned into minority because that would supposedly be a fair solution. A fair solution will be when there is no sense of injustice on either side, but rather one of mutual respect,” Anastasiades said.
He said he was not going to back down and admit defeat. “When we talk about the national issue it is above all, about country and not party,” he said.
Anastasiades reiterated his readiness to return to the table on the basis of informal document presented by the then special advisor to the UN secretary-general, Espen Barth Eide on June 30, which was rejected by both sides and which he said was reworked by the Secretary-General Antonio Guturres on July 4.
However, Kyprianou said on Tuesday there was only one Guterres document. “There are not two. This document is dated June 30. The secretary-general says so himself in his report after Crans-Montana and Mr Anastasiades himself says so in his letter dated July 17, which he sent to the secretary-general where he refers to the June 30 document,” Kyprianou said.
“Today he is trying to pass the message that there is another document dated July 4. He does so to confuse society and justify his attitude.”
On Wednesday, Kyprianou said that following an invitation from Anastasiades, he would go to the presidential palace on Thursday to see all of the letters and documents related to the Guterres framework.
Kyprianou said the president had promised the political parties a month ago that he would send them all of the letters but in any case, he had now been invited to the palace to view them.
“We know some of these letters have been made public, so we know first and foremost that a document exists, that of June 30 as President Anastasiades says in his letters, but I do not know where he discovered a document dated July 4.”
Government Spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, said later in the day that any other political party wishing to see the letters and documents in question, is welcome to do so.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci responded to Anastasiades comments at Pasydy later on Wednesday saying the negative stance of Anastasiades to his proposal on April 30 to accept the Guterres framework before moving forward with negotiations was “concerning but not surprising” because Anastasiades was at the same point now that he was at in Crans-Montana.
Akinci said a month had passed without a positive response from Anastasiades. “Even though Mr Anastasiades has repeatedly said since Crans-Montana that he accepts the Guterres Framework, it was once again shown that the situation is not as such in reality.”
Akinci said it saddened him that “this important step which I have taken” remained without a response.
“Once again he [Anastasiades] rejects the concept of political equality and the active participation of the two parties in the [federal] administration, reiterating that he wants an arrangement where decisions will be taken by a simple majority,” Akinci said. “The Greek Cypriot leadership, despite saying the opposite, clearly indicates that it prefers to continue the status quo.”