Nicosia.- (CNA) — President of the Republic Demetris Christofias briefed fully the National Council on Friday on the course of the direct talks he is engaged in with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, aiming at a solution of the Cyprus problem.
According to a statement read out to reporters by Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, “during todayʼs session, President Christofias briefed in depth the members of the National Council on the course of the negotiations on the chapter of governance, and he submitted a document with his positions. He also informed them about the course of the negotiations on the chapter of properties”, he added.
Stephanou said the members of the National Council will give their positions on the document at the next Council meeting on March 10. The National Council is the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem and comprises the leaders of parliamentary parties.
Replying to a question, Stephanou stressed that the governmentʼs efforts aim at exerting pressure on the European Union to play a decisive role towards Turkey, in order for Ankara to meet the obligations deriving from its EU accession course and to cooperate for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem.
“I would like to remind you that, after the first meeting President Christofias had with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso last March, in which the role of the EU towards Turkey was discussed, Mr. Barroso went to Turkey and raised the issue before the Turkish Grand National Assembly”, Stephanou pointed out.
Asked about the need for a plan B on the Cyprus issue, Spokesman referred to President Christofiasʼ statements that at the current stage of the negotiations, the best plan is to proceed with the negotiations with positions that are fully in line with what has been discussed between the two communities, as regards the basis and the aim of the solution.
“Whether the position of the Turkish side is consistent with that basis or not, is a completely different issue. However, the solution we would like to find does not depend on the Turkish side position. It depends on our position and on the agreed basis, which has already been clarified”, he concluded.
On leaving the meeting, AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou acknowledged that the Turkish Cypriot sideʼs positions were not always within the framework of UN resolutions, but added that some progress had been made.
“There have been steps taken, we shouldnʼtʼ raze everything but it needs a lot of effort still,” he said.
DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades refused to be drawn into commenting on every stage of the negotiations, saying that the party would give its positions when the discussion of all chapters was over and things were clearer. No one knows yet whether the positions given by the other side are negotiating positions or final positions, he said.
Asked whether his party would continue to support the president on reunification talks, Anastassiades said when correct steps were taken on the big issues, the party would not simply attack just because it was the opposition party.
Leader of government partner DIKO, Marios Garoyian said after the meeting that the Turkish positions would lead to a confederation and had to change.
The head of EDEK, another government partner, Yiannakis Omirou said the Turkish position was to create two state entities, defined in international law as a confederation.
EVROKO party leader Demetris Syllouris echoed the view that talks were leading towards a confederation while Greens leader Georgios Perdikis said the situation did not inspire optimism. The environmentalist said the Greek Cypriot side needed to prepare a Plan B for 2009.
The National Council is the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem and comprises the leaders of parliamentary parties.