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Veteran politicians launching movement to promote bizonal federation

Former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides

By Jean Christou

A new cross-party peace initiative ‘Decision for Peace’ is launching this week that for the first time has senior political party members participating in a joint movement aimed at piling on the pressure for a bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF).

The new pro-solution movement, which will officially launch on Wednesday, will have such ‘heavyweights’ as former attorney-general Alecos Markides, who is also a former Cyprus-talks negotiator, former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, a Disy member, former Limassol mayor Andreas Christou, and former government minister Kikis Kazamias, both Akelites.

According to Theano Kalavana, one of the spokespeople for the new movement, senior members of ruling Disy, opposition left-wing Akel and centre-right Diko were on board.  Though Diko, which often takes a more hardline stance on the Cyprus issue is not being represented at ‘politician level’, a high-ranking member of the central committee was taking part.

Former government minister Kikis Kazamias

The members of the movement overall come from a wider range of parties, including socialist Edek, Kalavana said, but this was the first time such veteran politicians as Kasoulides and Markides would be involved in such a broad peace initiative. The initiative hopes to garner enough clout to steer Cyprus back on track towards a BBF.

“There are a lot of rumours going around and not a huge willingness [to keep pursuing a BBF] so we want to press this as much as we can,” said Kalavana.

Last year President Nicos Anastasiades appeared to be backing away from a BBF and talked about a decentralisation of powers under a federal government. The Turkish side has also repeatedly said that a solution needed to be found outside UN parameters following the collapse of the last round of Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana in July 2017.

Pro-solution Akel has been at odds with the government and ruling Disy since Crans-Montana, with the former accusing Anastasiades almost on a daily basis of steering the talks off course from the long-agreed basis of a BBF.

Kalavana said everyone involved in ‘Decision for Peace’ wanted to create a movement that would press home the fact that a BBF was the only option for Cyprus as a solution.

All of the veteran politicians involved in the new movement would keep their party roles and responsibilities, according to Kalavana but it was the first time that such a cross-party peace initiative at a high level was emerging on the Cyprus-problem scene.

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