By George Psyllides
Former government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou voiced disagreement with the decision of two respected politicians to withdraw from the president’s negotiating team over disagreements with his handling of the Cyprus problem in recent months.
Papapetrou, who served under former president Glafcos Clerides, said he agreed with Akel’s Toumazos Tselepis and former attorney-general Alecos Markides on the Cyprus problem but opposed their decision to distance themselves from the team because of the president’s erratic approach.
Both men said they could not take part at a time when Nicos Anastasiades appeared to depart from the long-standing Greek Cypriot position of bizonal bicommunal federal solution.
Tselepis and Markides had refused to take part in meeting of the negotiating team on Monday, with the latter going as far as describing it as a publicity stunt by the president.
In an op-ed in daily Politis on Thursday, Papapetrou said they only ones benefited by the absences were those thinking of orchestrating a departure from the solution model, backtracking on a UNSG framework agreed last year, and rescind the convergences achieved during the negotiations.
“The absence of Tselepis and Markides enables the potential diversion and deprives our negotiating team of Akel’s status and the most important presence of Alecos Markides.
Papapetrou said the reasons given for staying away may be valid, but there are safeguards that could have been put in place.
First, they could set the line of patriotic realism and strongly oppose any bids leading to two states and second, departure from these positions would have allowed them to disagree and expose the goings-on.
“Now, with their absence, I am afraid Anastasiades will be free to act as he pleases, and our only hope would be him coming to his senses, something which does not appear possible.”