Our View: Hard-line parties should not attend National Council

EDEK might call itself a socialist party, but the truth is that it has always made more stock out of its nationalism and hard-line stance on the Cyprus problem than its supposedly socialist ideals. It was therefore no surprise that its newly-elected leader Marinos Sizpopoulos, on Sunday, pushed the party’s central committee to adopt the position against a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (BBF). There was no need for a vote, according to Sizopoulos, because central committee members ‘unanimously endorsed’ the contents of the speech he made on Sunday.The decision, which would be ratified by a party conference in the summer, was made a day before the date for the resumption of the talks was to be announced and more than 35 years after the two sides had agreed to work for a BBF. In those 35 years EDEK had consistently backed National Council decisions identifying this as the type of settlement the Greek Cypriot side sought. Now, under the guidance of Sizopoulos the party has discovered that BBF is ‘racist, undemocratic and against the rights of the Greek Cypriots’ and has rejected it outright. As an alternative, Sizopoulos has offered some empty rhetoric about an international conference and confronting Turkish expansionism that. There seems to be competition among the so-called ‘centre’ parties over which will take the hardest line on the Cyprus talks. A few weeks ago, the Alliance of Citizens, which is opposed to the resumption of the talks, presented a new strategy the objective of which was not a ‘solution’ but ‘liberation’; it was a round-about way of rejecting BBF. DIKO has yet to renounce BBF, but has expressed reservations about the resumption of the talks.When President Anastasiades calls a National Council meeting will the leaders of EDEK and the Alliance attend? Logically, they should not as their stated objective is completely different from that of the elected president and they would have nothing positive to contribute. If EDEK rejects BBF it could only make a negative contribution to a meeting that is discussing how to achieve this. The same applies to the Alliance, which is opposed to negotiations as a way of settling the problem – how can it advise the president about the negotiations when it is opposed to them? These parties would have a destructive role at National Council meetings. If they do not have the political honesty to stay away voluntarily Anastasiades should force them to make the choice, by declaring that leaders of parties that support the objectives of his government – BBF through talks – were welcome at the National Council meeting, while the rest were not. This would be consistent with what the government spokesman said a few days ago. He said there was a strong possibility of a settlement because Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci wanted the same thing. By this reasoning Anastasiades should not be listening to the advice of the leaders of EDEK, the Alliance and DIKO as they do not want the same thing. (Cyprus Mail, 12 May 2015)