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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Chistofias calls for peace talks – with DIKO ]

Chistofias calls for peace talks – with DIKO

PRESIDENT DEMETRIS Christofias will meet with House President Marios Garoyian tomorrow in an effort to prop up deteriorating relations with coalition partner DIKO.

The government partner has thrown a volley of fire in the president’s direction over a number of issues, ranging from the highly vocal public criticism of Christofias’ handling of the Cyprus problem and the spat over semi-government organisation (SGO) appointments.

The DIKO leader will meet with his AKEL counterpart Andros Kyprianou today and Christofias tomorrow, on request of the president.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou yesterday confirmed that the government partnership was experiencing “problems”, noting that dialogue was the best way forward.

“When you have co-operation and problems arise, the best way to deal with that, as long as you have the will to continue that cooperation, and we do, is through dialogue,” said Stefanou.

Regarding the president’s reason for calling the meeting with Garoyian, the spokesman referred to the recent appointment of SGO board members.

A month ago, upset with the division of the spoils, DIKO pulled out all candidates for chairman and vice-chairman on the SGO boards, putting the coalition’s future into serious doubt.

“Keeping in mind how things have developed after the appointment of (SGO) board members, this dialogue is needed,” said Stefanou.

Even before the SGO spat, DIKO on the one hand played the proper partner and on the other repeatedly attacked the government’s stance on the direct talks, often taking the role of the opposition. The uneasy relationship was particularly unsound during the European Parliament election campaign but hit rock-bottom over the SGO affair.

More recently, both partners DIKO and EDEK have hit out at the president’s handling of the Cyprus problem, accusing him of failing to set the proper foundations before the start of talks, making too many concessions and agreeing to things without getting anything in return. Smaller parties Evroko and the Greens also joined in the chorus of complaints leading Christofias to explain the criticism as the expediency of “petty party politics”.

Garoyian yesterday clarified that he did not believe the president’s comments were a reference to him. The House President has taken on the role of a bridge between Christofias and the more vocal elements within his party.

“I always give my positions responsibly, with arguments, based on positions. I never hit below the belt, I never use the Cyprus problem for other purposes,” said Garoyian.

The DIKO leader also said he had no reason to doubt the honesty of the president.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest critics of the president, DIKO deputy president, Nicholas Papadopoulos, called on Christofias to stop interpreting every opposing view as a hostile act. As negotiator for the Greek Cypriot side, he is obliged to always keep his cool and respond to any political criticism with political arguments, said Papadopoulos.

The DIKO deputy questioned whether Christofias’ negotiating strategy has brought the desired results. He argued that the Greek Cypriot side has made all the concessions on the ‘governance’ chapter while Turkey refuses to negotiate on the key issues of property, settlers and guarantees.

“It is Turkey that enjoys the praise, while we are constantly on the defensive, and there is a real danger that Turkey will pass unscathed during the critical milestone of December,” said Papadopoulos.

The government’s “flexible” policy has led to Turkey being rewarded by the UN Secretary-General for its “excellent stance on the Cyprus problem” while the Greek Cypriots are threatened with UNFICYP’s withdrawal from Cyprus, he added.

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

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