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Akel rejects notion of Nato taking on guarantor role (updated)

As was expected, main opposition Akel said Tuesday it would never accept a solution to the Cyprus problem with Nato guarantees and troops on the island.

“Nato’s involvement in the solution puts Cyprus and its people before new adventures and dangers,” party spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said. “Akel, which is the main axis and the main force to achieve a solution that liberates and reunifies, will never accept a settlement with Nato guarantees and Nato presence in Cyprus. Those flirting with such an idea should keep this in mind.”

Akel’s reaction followed a comment by President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday that he had never excluded from discussion, the possibility of Nato as a guarantor of a settlement.

Asked whether any thought had been put in Nato guaranteeing a solution, the president said there are many parties who could do that.

“… there is the UN, the EU, there are many ways to safeguard the Republic of Cyprus,” he said, as long as the conditions to resume the talks were created first.

Asked if Nato was off the table, Anastasiades said: “I haven’t excluded anything from the discussion.”

Reunification talks in Switzerland in the summer 2017 collapsed ostensibly over the Turkish side’s insistence in preserving Turkey’s role as a guarantor power and keeping an army on the island post-solution.

Getting Nato involved as an organisation would probably be opposed by Russia as well.

Stephanou said it appeared that Anastasiades thinks Turkish guarantees can be replaced with the guarantees of Nato, “an aggressive coalition in which Turkey plays a very important role.”

“Those under the illusion that Nato can guarantee the solution can take a look at the role played in Greco-Turkish relations and how ‘safe’ Greece is,” he said.

The thought of replacing Turkey with Nato goes against the unanimous national council decision of full demilitarisation of a united Cyprus, Stephanou added.

Ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou said his party’s positions on the matter were well known.

“Our country is in Europe and its alignment is with the West and I would have no problem as Disy, or leader of the party, if I got rid of the Turkish guarantees and occupying troops and Cyprus being a Nato member itself and as a member too of the EU, not needing foreign guarantors and Turkish troops,” Neophytou said.

But at the same time, he added, he was a realist and knew that this was unacceptable to important forces in the country.

“I am a pragmatist and I don’t cherry-pick; it’s not what I want but what is possible.”

Diko chief Nicolas Papadopoulos said his party would never accept deviating from the UN parameters because it would put the Greek Cypriot side in an even worse position in the negotiations.

“Diko has rejected such a possibility and the suggestion will not be accepted by the (UN) Security Council and Russia will veto it,” Papadopoulos said.

He added that Turkey would not accept it either since it was not interested in having a Nato base in Cyprus but a Turkish one and the right to interfere using military force.

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