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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ When the nays go marching in ]

When the nays go marching in

THE SOUND of the war drum has been beating ominously louder in recent weeks as those forces opposed to a solution in its current form prepare for battle over the island’s future.

The battle may never come. The odds are even as to whether the rickety wagon on which the talks rest can make it up the rugged mountain, dodging arrows and vertical drops at every turn.

Analogies aside, whether the two leaders ever make it to an agreed solution which goes to referenda is unknown, but if what the grapevine says is true, the ‘NO’ camp is not about to sit and wait to find out.

The last two weeks have seen numerous press reports, talking about a ‘new movement’ being formed to act as an obstacle to present efforts to end the division. The main culprits being singled out for the supposed Byzantine plot against President Demetris Christofias are Archbishop Chrysostomos, former foreign minister Georgios Lillikas, EDEK founder and honorary president Vassos Lyssarides, DIKO Vice-president Nicolas Papadopoulos and our very own Fourth Estate, the media.

It is no secret that the media is owned by people of wealth, many of whom have shown a fair measure of distaste towards the course of the talks.

Rumour has it Lillikas was included in a shadow cabinet being put together by former president Tassos Papadopoulos on losing the 2008 elections, which fizzled out on his death. The freelance politician who owes no allegiance to any party then went underground. Until recently, that is, when his name came up in at least four newspapers in the last two weeks, all alluding to secret talks and manoeuvres to set up a new movement, drawing from the so-called centrist parties, and aimed at preventing Christofias from reaching a solution.

Politis ran an article referring to the above ‘culprits’ as the ‘pentagon of rejectionists’. Citing a senior AKEL source, the paper claimed there was a coordinated effort to undermine Christofias, with Lyssarides preparing the ground for a new movement, which Lillikas would manage, with Papadopoulos as the front man. They didn’t say whether Chrysostomos would hang around to nurture the soul or provide the pocket. Either way, the movement’s alleged purpose is to prevent the current talks from leading to a negotiated settlement approved by the people, mirroring the well-orchestrated NO camp of 2004, which foreign diplomats now regularly refer to as the NEVER camp.

Outward evidence of these allegations may be found in the seemingly coordinated attacks against the talks and Christofias by the supposed partners in government. Papadopoulos went all out some weeks ago, launching personal salvos at Christofias, while EDEK came out more recently, clearly drawing its red lines. EDEK wants sanctions against Turkey in December and wants the president to do an about-turn in the talks, withdrawing his proposals for a rotating presidency, weighted voting and allowing 50,000 settlers to remain.

Despite the fact both EDEK and DIKO leaders, Yiannakis Omirou and Marios Garoyian have privately assured Christofias they were not about to leave government, the threat remains imminent.

Last Monday, Simerini had EDEK high-level officials wanting to bail out before DIKO did while Alithia claimed Garoyian was preparing to kick out two of the several insubordinates from the party who are calling for a withdrawal from the coalition government. If two go, more will follow. By Wednesday, Politis maintained the Archbishop had offered to knock some heads together to keep the upstarts from losing their place in his favoured party DIKO.

One AKEL source confirmed to the Sunday Mail that the ruling party was aware of the various machinations going on behind the scene. “This is happening, some we know specifically about, like Papadopoulos, Chrysostomos and Lillikas.”

The source said some EDEK members but not necessarily the leadership were also involved, getting together and having meetings to coordinate their efforts.

It’s not clear whether this is a move to prepare a NO campaign or a real effort to create a new ‘centrist’ party. “There are many who see this effort to be an obstacle to the talks as positive but don’t want to start a new party,” said the source.

A European diplomat warned that the pro-solution forces would be left lagging behind again come a second referendum, as they have allowed the NO camp to operate in a vacuum.

“By the time the YES camp get going, they’ll have already conceded too much ground. That was the received wisdom of the first Ireland Lisbon Treaty vote. The NO was up and running and by the time the YES camp got its act together, it was too late,” he said.







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



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