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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Historic meeting between right and left ]

Historic meeting between right and left

OPPOSITION right-wing DISY and left-wing ruling AKEL yesterday made history when the long-time ideological foes sat down to their first meeting in 33 years.

Party leaders Andros Kyprianou and Nicos Anastassiades were quick to make clear that nothing more should be read into the meeting, which was made up of representatives from both sides, and that it was not about putting pressure on anyone or sending out a message to coalition government parties.

The meeting, which had been scheduled before letters were leaked from coalition DIKO’s top brass calling for the party’s withdrawal from government, raised a number of eyebrows. Political analysts have long been calling for an alliance between the two parties after it has become increasingly clear that the government has the backing of DISY, not EDEK or DIKO, on its handling of the Cyprus problem.

AKEL’s Kyprianou visited DISY boss Anastassiades at the rightwing party’s offices on Pindarou Street where the pair sat down to a meeting lasting well over an hour.

Both leaders said the meeting had been fruitful and denied the existence of any anti-leftist or anti-DISY sentiments within their own parties.

Anastassiades said yesterday’s meeting was a good beginning following the many years since DISY’s foundation.

“A beginning that is being taken by AKEL and welcomed, a beginning that leads to getting past dogmatism or ‘anti’ sentiments. In others words the anticommunist syndromes, which I want to say have been expelled from the party, or the anti-DISY syndromes, which I want to believe Mr Kyprianou’s presence will have some basis in them being overcome,” he said.

Kyprianou said there were times AKEL might be more “intense” in the way it reacted to DISY’s political positions but that was only because it was an opposition party as compared to a coalition party, and denied any anti-DISY sentiments.

Anastassiades said both parties had shared a convergence of views, but they still had huge ideological differences which could not be bridged. Nevertheless what mattered most was putting country’s interests first and for talks to continue with all political parties to address issues that involved the national problem, he said.

“It is well known that before and after President [Demetris] Christofias’ election we had announced and repeated that we would support every initiative that would help get the Cyprus problem moving and gain international interest so that a solution based on principles acceptable by Greek Cypriots could be reached as soon as possible,” said Anastassiades.

He said DISY was open to dialogue on all major issues, including matters of internal governance.

Both Kyprianou and Anastassiades said the meeting had no intention of creating a rift in the government coalition, although the door was left open on both sides for a possible co-operation on the Cyprus problem.

The left-wing leader said the duo had enjoyed an “honest and fruitful dialogue” and denied insinuations made in the press that the meeting was an attempt to exert pressure on “others”.

Kyprianou said the two leaders had discussed a wide range of issues and exchanged opinions on various issues in today’s political life during a period that demanded unity to move forward and reach a solution.

Despite the parties’ ideological differences there was no need for them to maintain a sterile debate especially as far as the national issue was concerned, he said.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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