Main opposition Akel on Monday called on President Nicos Anastasiades to realise he must not only claim he wants to continue talks on the Cyprus problem from where they left off but be ready to tackle pending issues instead of opening new ones.
Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said in a press conference in Famagusta that just days before the five-party conference, the prevailing conditions do not allow for optimism since the agreed solution basis is being questioned as never before.
Turkey’s and the Turkish Cypriot leader’s insistence on a two state solution raises serious obstacles to the efforts for freedom and reunification, Kyprianou said while the occupying force is becoming more and more provocative.
He said the Turkish side claims the Greek Cypriot side was not willing to return to the negotiating table after the talks in Crans-Montana in 2017 and that Anastasiades does not accept political equality. The Greek Cypriot side is also accused of not wanting share natural wealth with the Turkish Cypriots while the Turkish side uses every excuse to become more and more aggressive by creating serious problems in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and creating new fait accompli in Varosha, Kyprianou said.
He also accused Anastasiades of facilitating this behaviour with his “back-and-forths and wrong way of handling things” during the last round of talks “that started in Mont Pelérin and culminated in the Crans Montana conference.
“Nor has there been a substantial response to the UN secretary-general’s repeated calls for a resumption of talks from where they left off in the summer of 2017 with a view to turning the Guterres framework into a strategic understanding. Something that would finally put the negotiations on the path to solution.”
He said Anastasiades ignored Akel’s proposals on the Cyprus problem “which, if taken into account, could facilitate the resumption of negotiations and provide a perspective for a solution on the right basis.”
The fact that to date there has been no response from the president to Akel’s proposal and that he proceeded, he said, “with suggestions for grandiose confidence-building measures (CBMs) that have been tried in the past and failed miserably, adds to our concerns about the handlings that are being made.”
“It has been proven beyond any doubt that by reopening convergences, we are in fact opening the bag of Aeolus,” he added.
“If the President goes to the informal five-party, insisting on his current positions that create the strong impression that they reject political equality, then we will be led to a new shipwreck under his co-responsibility,” Kyprianou said.
He said Anastasiades must show readiness to submit bridging proposals only to outstanding issues of the Guterres Framework. He also called on the president to submit proposals on the issue of hydrocarbons that will ensure the interests of the Greek Cypriot side but also reassure the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.
“If he does, then either the way will be paved for the prospect of a solution or the Turkish side will be solely responsible for a new shipwreck,” the Akel leader said.
Kyprianou expressed concerns because Anastasiades, who invited political leaders to escort him in Geneva, has not made clear as yet what he wants or what he was planning on doing at the summit.
In response, the government defended Anastasiades’ stand on the Cyprus problem recalling that the talks at Crans-Montana faltered “because Turkey insisted on maintaining the intervention and guarantee rights in Cyprus, with a review clause of 15 years and not their termination”.
Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos also said it was also because Turkey insisted on the creation of a military base with permanent presence of Turkish troops, and on one positive vote by the Turkish Cypriots on all institutions, committees and agencies of the federal state. Koushos added that the Turkish side has never submitted any proposal on the remaining issues of the Guterres Framework and that is something Akel knew very well.
He also said Anastasiades, contrary to the Turkish side, submitted proposals on all points of the framework, which were at the time welcomed by the Akel leader, but the Turkish side never discussed them or responded on them.