It’s naïve for some to believe that the basis of the solution can change without problems

Revealing interview with the General Secretary of AKEL A.Kyprianou about the background and President’s lies to the National Council

4 November 2018, “Haravgi” newspaper

It is naive to think that the basis for the solution of the Cyprus problem can change without problems, the General Secretary of AKEL Andros Kyprianou said last Thursday in an interview on “Astra” Radio and on the occasion of the latest revelations made recently that the President of the Republic is discussing even a two-state solution with foreign circles, as well as in the public debate that has been taking place for weeks surrounding a loose decentralized federation.

He indicatively and poignantly stressed that decisions have been taken by the UN Security Council and, if the framework were to be changed, then another decision must be approved by the Security Council.

“I consider that at least certain countries will react in such a case. In our contacts with ambassadors of states that are permanent members of the UN Security Council, their position is that they will not accept a change in the basis of the Cyprus problem,” said A. Kyprianou. He particularly criticized the President of the Republic’s handlings on the Cyprus problem.

“When we are facing an opponent such as Turkey, we need to be extremely careful and avoid making mistakes. We must ensure that our handlings are the best possible. I regret to say, but over the past few years President Anastasiades has fallen into contradictions and regressions, which not only have not permitted us to move forward but, quite the opposite, have facilitated Turkey in fulfilling its sought objectives,” he underlined, adding characteristically that the President had started an unnecessary discussion surrounding decentralized federation.

“In relation to what is being said publicly, the President is saying he will promote decentralized federation in order to restrict Turkey’s ability to promote its goals. At the very same time this issue was opened, there are the convergences on issues relating to powers and competences of the central government, an issue that the UN Secretary General considers to be closed, while Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership also considers this chapter as closed. All of a sudden the President of the Republic opens this issue – to achieve what?”, Andros Kyprianou wondered, recalling that the Guterres framework would continue to be on the table, regardless of when the discussion about Anastasiades’ new ideas will be completed.

As the General Secretary of AKEL said, “if we manage to discuss this issue – namely decentralized federation – and arrive at a conclusion somewhere we then have to come back to the issues that the Guterres framework deals with, as they will not automatically leave the table, since they will be there. They will simply wait for this whole story about decentralized federation to come to an end in order to discuss these issues too.” Andros Kyprianou made it clear that the discussion on decentralized federation would not resolve the remaining issues, such as the issue relating to guarantees, territory, property or executive powers.

The General Secretary of AKEL was particularly critical both as regards the substance and the procedure, but also of the absence of any briefing and clarifications by President Anastasiades with regards his idea and reflections. “President Anastasiades raised this issue – about decentralized federation – to the Turkish Foreign Minister at the meeting in New York, and since the government spokesperson is wondering where did I know he had raised this issue with Cavusoglou and whether I have contacts with anyone, let me reply that I learned about it from President Anastasiades himself. The President told me about it at the National Council meeting and he was sincere. I wonder why the government spokesperson wants to pin shameful slanders on some people that they supposedly have suspicious connections. At the National Council, despite the fact that we pressured the President, both myself personally and the President of DIKO, Papadopoulos, he didn’t tell us what the content he attaches to it is about,” said A. Kyprianou. Instead, he said, the President was asking the political parties to give ideas and thoughts on how a decentralized federation could be.

In a state of confusion

In the interview the General Secretary of AKEL attributed to the government, but also to the President of DISY, a state of confusion. “What surprised me most was that when I asked questions and heard interventions from both the government spokesperson and the President of DISY, there was a confusion as to what they are seeking, as the powers and competences of the federal state and other institutions are one thing and the organs that will implement them something else,” said A. Kyprianou.

The General Secretary of AKEL also commented on Anastasiades’ statement that he explained to the Turkish Cypriot leader his vision of a decentralized federation during their recent meeting.

“On Saturday, I had a meeting with the leader of the Turkish Republican Party, Tufan Erhürman, and requested that he ask Akinci what Anastasiades meant and I was briefed that he did not say anything specific about organs and powers,” he characteristically said.

A maneuver with a time limit

  1. Kyprianou attributed to Nikos Anastasiades that he is attempting some kind of maneuver to gain time, expressing his discontent about the references made by the President at the National Council. “During the National Council meeting he told us something that concerned me. He told us that in his meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu he had raised the issue of a federal solution, but he clarified that they won’t find a consensus on this issue. He subsequently raised the issue of the solution of confederation or of two states. As the President told us, Çavuşoğlu told him that in Turkey they are not ready for a resumption of the dialogue before next May because of the local elections due to take place. I reminded the President of the Republic that the Turkish side had gone to Crans Montana in the midst of presidential elections which didn’t bother them. After a few days, Çavuşoğlu said in public that they were ready to attend negotiations, provided that Mr. Anastasiades clarifies what he wants. The Greek Cypriots, he said, do not want a resumption of talks before May. For two days I was putting questions to the government, given that they were telling us exactly the opposite from what we were hearing from the Turkish Foreign Minister. I suggested to them to say that Cavusoglou wasn’t telling the truth. However, they made no comment.”

Anastasiades’ intentions

The General Secretary of AKEL pointed out that a number of issues are revealing about the President of the Republic’s intentions with regards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

“Foreign diplomats and other personalities are wondering whether the Greek Cypriot side is ready to discuss a two-state solution or a confederation at the same time as we had the incident with the statement made by Panayiotis Savvides of the “Citizen’s Alliance” party. Both “Citizen’s Alliance” leader Mr. Lillikas, as well as DIKO, characterize the fact that the President is thinking about other solutions other than Bizonal, Bicommunal Federation as positive. These are messages that indicate what the President’s intentions are,” the AKEL General Secretary said, who warned about issues that, as he said, will be judged shortly. “A serious danger exists that Turkey will proceed to drilling within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus and our government is talking about a plan B. We wonder whether plan B is keeping a low profile? What did the President of the Republic say during the pre-election campaign about the existence of two separate EEZs? At the same time the US are exerting a lot of pressure. They will demand a drastic reduction or even the withdrawal of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus if there isn’t an ongoing peace process. Do we realize what this means and that we will not have anything between us and the Turkish troops?”

The General Secretary of AKEL also commented on what is being said about a possible meeting of his with the Turkish Foreign Minister. “I have been invited by a Turkish research centre to talk about the Cyprus problem and we are in contact with Turkey to meet with Mr. Çavuşoğlu.”

And a Turkish Cypriot on the European elections candidate list?

The General Secretary of AKEL also referred to his party’s plans for the European elections, expressing a reflection as to the inclusion of a Turkish Cypriot figure on the 2019 European elections candidate list.

As Andros Kyprianou noted, AKEL intends to include a personality from the Turkish Cypriot community in its candidate list for the European elections and that this is something that is the subject of debate with Turkish Cypriot political parties. “A desire has been expressed with some of them to include some personality and for them to support it. We will talk and explore the possibilities of having a Turkish Cypriot candidate very seriously. The candidate list will be ready by the end of January. However, there is a reservation from the Turkish Cypriot side about such a candidacy, as they consider that such a development is like conveying the message that the struggle for federation is forgotten.”

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