Intervention by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL, A.Kyprianou on RIK radio program,
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
I’ll focus on 2-3 things with regards the Cyprus problem and in particular on yesterday’s statements by DISY President Averof Neophytou. Let’s leave for the time being his invitation to meet, etc. In essence, are these statements and positions of DISY in general roughly yours too? Are they identical positions or is there a difference somewhere Mr. Kyprianou?
AK: It depends on what Mr. Neophytou means by what he says and also on how consistent he is with what he says because I have to say that it took him 3.5 years to say these things. We were expressing the same positions before Crans Montana. We insisted on them consistently all through this previous period, I mean before Crans Montana, but also afterwards. AKEL was stressing that if we do not realize that these are issues in which we must remain consistent to those that we have expressed in recent years, this would cause serious problems in the effort to resolve the Cyprus problem. I hope and wish that this time DISY’s approach will be consistent, that is to say that it will not be guided by any electoral expediencies and considerations once again.
Do you believe that A. Neophytou has changed his views on the Cyprus problem all this time? Let’s leave to one side what the government and the President may be saying.
AK: I don’t think so, I’m sure there was a difference. Let me remind you that when AKEL talked about political equality, when it stressed that these are issues on which we had reached an agreement on (in the negotiations) and that the President should not reopen them, DISY accused us of…“adopting Turkish positions”. It wasn’t so long ago when Anastasiades-DISY were issuing these accusations. It was only a few weeks ago…Now they themselves are saying the same positions as us. If only, I repeat, they show consistency to what they say today and continue to adhere to these positions.
As the five-party conference is imminent and perhaps a meaningful dialogue will commence, maybe the time has come – if you and DISY and who else wants to arrive at a result from this whole procedure – to meet and talk over things, to state that these are the positions, and that the two big parties will support these positions? Let’s leave the past to one side for a while so that we can move forward, based on what you say that Mr. Neophytou states or he himself obviously says are his timeless positions, nothing has changed…
AK: Dear Mrs. Sponda (journalist), AKEL continues to say what it has been saying in recent years. It doesn’t change its positions depending on what particular period we are in, whether we are in a pre-election period or not, whether we are close to witnessing developments on the Cyprus problem or whether we are far away from any such developments. AKEL has the same positions as AKEL adhered to before. We have always demonstrated the same readiness to meet with those who are interested in serving the national interest, regardless of the period that our country is going through.
However, we are tired of certain forces and circles people transforming themselves in the run-up to elections, achieving their election goals and subsequently embarking on an adventurist policy once again.
That is precisely why, I repeat, if anyone wants to talk to us honestly and with consistency, we are always ready to work to serve our country’s national interest. For AKEL, national interest means the liberation and reunification of the Republic of Cyprus. We are ready, therefore, whoever wants to meet us he/she knows where to find us. It is very easy to find AKEL and we do not need any statements made in public to convince AKEL that meetings between political parties help towards mutual understanding.
But as Mr. Neophytou had said yesterday and as he has been saying over the past few days after his meetings with foreign diplomats, are they statements, they are positions that are identical? I come back to that.
AK: Well, now it depends on what you mean by identical. These are positions that AKEL has been expressing for many years.
For Mr. Neophytou to say we should give political equality – because it is an issue on which you disagreed with the way the government was expressing itself – for Mr. Neophytou to say this, namely to give political equality to the Turkish Cypriots and to seek to take in exchange (on territory, withdrawal of troops, guarantees etc.), according to this logic as he had outlined it in relation to what Mr. Neophytou said before, is there a difference?
AK: Well, I repeat, you asked me a question. The question you are asking is very clear, you don’t need to put it to me several times. I will always answer in the same way. What you are saying was what was being discussed at Crans Montana and unfortunately, President Anastasiades did not have the courage to discuss them and go all the way to the very end.
The former Greek Foreign Minister Mr. Kotzias in an interview with state-owned Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (RIK) was the one who said that in fact on Thursday afternoon – which was the infamous working dinner when we had the collapse at Crans Montana – the Turkish side said it was ready to discuss the abolition of guarantees, the abolition of the unilateral right of intervention and a drastic reduction in troops, provided that the Greek Cypriot side would agree on the issues relating to political equality. And I’m not saying that if we had discussed them we would necessarily arrive at an agreement, I want to clarify that.
However, what I am saying is that we did not have the courage to discuss them. We welcome after 3.5 years Mr. Neophytou to this approach. And I repeat, I hope and wish that this approach is sincere and also relates to Mr. Anastasiades himself too. If this approach is indeed sincere and if they work towards this end, AKEL will assume its historical responsibility towards Cyprus and the Cypriot people. But we have every right to have reservations because the past has taught us that the Anastasiades-DISY government manage to transform themselves on the eve of elections, and by doing so they manage to deceive the Cypriot people and then they subsequently return to pursue the same things. I am not referring to Mr. Neophytou…
So, you’re not referring to Mr. Neophytou…
AK: I am not referring to Mr. Neophytou. I want to clarify that, I am referring to DISY party in general. If only he is sincere and I reiterate that AKEL will not shirk its responsibilities. If and provided that the President handles the Cypriot problem correctly, because he himself is responsible for the handling of the Cyprus problem, I do not hide from you that so far we have not been convinced that there is indeed a commitment on his part to the goal of reaching a solution within the agreed framework.
Furthermore, there is no intention to make it difficult for Turkey and force it to move from the unacceptable positions it is now formulating. The Turkish positions are unacceptable, they cannot under any circumstances be accepted. In order to force Turkey to move on its positions, the Anastasiades-DISY government needs to take certain specific actions that will expose Turkey. We are waiting to see whether the government, whether Mr. Anastasiades takes these actions, whether DISY would support such actions. I repeat, AKEL is ready to assume its historical responsibility, but AKEL can’t be mocked, time again.
What if the goal on the part of the president of DISY is for a dynamic to exist and develop from the two big parties in this direction?
AK: Well, we’ll see. I would have expected if Mr. Neophytou does have these intentions that you say he has, I expected him to pick up the phone and ask for a meeting. I didn’t expect him to ask for this in public because you understand that when these things are said publicly they cause reservations, in the sense that what interests you most is not your interlocutor, AKEL in this case, but instead the impression you will create among public opinion. We are ready, I will repeat, but we want sincerity and consistency.

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