Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has come under attack from two normally opposed political factions amid fears that he has gone off-message regarding the Cyprus negotiations. Main opposition AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou (on left) lashed out against Anastasiades after he met DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos.
Lately, Anastasiades reintroduced the idea of a “loose federation” as a possibility for a Cyprus settlement. His proposal for a decentralised federation is not new, he said, as it was included in a memo he submitted to the National Council in 2010. At the time he had expressed his concern that the centralisation of powers in a central state, instead of strengthening the entity “would multiply the risk of friction, impasse and paralysis, and would immediately threaten the functioning and viability of the state.”
Recently Anastasiades had a meeting in private with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. What was discussed has been kept private. But in principal, Turkey is not against the idea of a confederation or partition.
There have been comments in the Turkish Cypriot press that President Mustafa Akinci has been kept out of the loop in these discussions. Even though Akinci said that he was open-minded about the idea, he is fundamentally against any notion of confederation or partition. In an interview with CNN Turk, Akinci said that he was surprised by “a switch in the Greek Cypriot side’s official position”. He also said that he was not concerned by Anastasiades meeting with FM Cavusoglu and that he did not think that there would be any further meetings.
In the meanwhile, Anastasiades is facing criticism from two unlikely allies, who say that the loose federal model will lead to a confederacy and eventually, partition.
AKEL leader Kyprianou said that when Anastasiades spoke of a “loose federation”, he had told the Greek Cypriot National Council he had not yet decided what powers and responsibilities of the federal government would devolve to the constituent states.
“Does anyone really believe that the president is so irresponsible and so casual as to make a proposal to Cavusoglu without knowing what he meant when he submitted it, or does he have in mind what he wants to transfer [to the two constituents] but he does not tell us because he knows we will react?” Kyprianou asked.
“Where there is smoke there is fire and whatever Mr Anastasiades says, does not convince us that he has not addressed these particular issues”, he added.
Meanwhile, Anastasiades announced that UN Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute will be having meetings in Athens and Ankara on December 4 and 5 respectively and is then expected to return to Cyprus. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants the two leaders to agree on the terms of reference for renewed negotiations by the end of December “The terms of reference will be agreed on by all parties, and therefore it is not a matter of what each side would demand”, Anastasiades said.