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President holds ‘friendly’ meeting with Akel leader (updated)

President Anastasiades with Andros Kyprianou on Thursday (Christos Theodorides)

Akel was happy to support government policies it approved of, but would also state its disagreement when necessary, party leader Andros Kyprianou said on Thursday after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades.

The two met at the Presidential Palace at a time when Akel has stepped up its criticism of the government’s foreign policy, and its alleged failure to tackle corruption.

Government spokesman Kyriacos Kousios said the meeting “was held in a very friendly atmosphere and there was a positive and productive exchange of views”. He said the meeting was the first in a series of meetings Anastasiades planned to have with party leaders.

Anastasiades briefed Kyprianou about his telephone conversation with UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute on Wednesday as well as the resolution on the renewal of Unficyp’s mandate.

Kousios said the two men also discussed the government’s reform programme, and that the president “responded very positively” to Kyprianou’s suggestions that parties should be briefed in advance, in order to avoid major disagreements in parliament.

Kyprianou, said that his party had no problem agreeing with policies and back the government’s work. “Where we disagree however, we will voice our own positions,” he said after the meeting.

The Akel leader said, that among other things, they discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem reiterating his party’s concerns over the prolonged stalemate.

“This is of course also due to the fact that the elections in the occupied areas are taking place on April 26,” he said.He said that after the elections, depending on the results, the Greek Cypriot side must take initiatives for the resumption of the talks.

As regards the various reforms the government has been preparing, Kyprianou said that Anastasiades had asked for Akel’s cooperation and support for the bills before parliament.

“I made it clear that Akel does not position itself just to exercise opposition. We judge each bill based on its content,” he said.

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