Excerpts from the replies to journalists questions by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL A.Kyprianou
Cyprus News Agency’, AKEL press conference.
3rd December 2019, Nicosia
Asked how dangerous the situation with regards Turkish provocative actions and what measures must be taken to address them, Mr. Kyprianou said that “the most effective way to deal with Turkey’s provocation actions and aggression is to give it an incentive to cooperate for the solution of the bilateral problems it has with countries, such as of course the problem of the invasion and ongoing occupation in Cyprus, and on this precondition to become part of the discussions on the utilization of this natural wealth”.
Answering another journalist’s question, he made it clear that “AKEL never asked Mr. Anastasiades to proceed to make unacceptable concessions”. He urged everyone not to force him to make public the minutes of the National Council “and first and foremost Mr. Anastasiades himself, to state whether AKEL called on him to make unacceptable concessions.”
Asked if he believes there are forces within the Greek Cypriot side that don’t want a solution or want a solution outside of federation and what these forces are he said, according to numerous opinion polls conducted there is a percentage of around 15% -18% that wants a two-state solution. Asked if there are organized political groups or movements (supporting this solution), he said that “I don’t want to accuse anyone, let me just say this: when one argues that we must abandon the agreed framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem (namely bi-zonal, bi-communal federation) and that we should seek a unitary state solution, whether unintentionally or deliberately, I don’t know, where would this lead to? It leads to a two-state solution.”
Asked if AKEL has any proposals to address the attempts to create fait accompli in Famagusta, he replied that “there are no magic recipes. What we are proposing is very simple: the resumption of substantive negotiations. Only then will every argument put forward by Turkey be removed and it will have to either put an end to its actions or be exposed before the international community”, the General Secretary of AKEL said.
The General Secretary of AKEL also called the possible assumption of the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community by a politician who supports a two-state solution, as a “very negative development” that “I am very afraid will lead us to a prolonged deadlock with all that would entail for developments surrounding the Cyprus problem”.
Replying to a question on how he responds to allegations of AKEL engaging in nihilist opposition, Andros Kyprianou said that “the opposition policy we are pursuing is the result of the policy implemented by the Anastasiades-DISY government.” I wish, he said, that “a different policy would have been pursued aimed at serving the majority of society on domestic policy issues; that a different policy on the Cyprus problem would have been followed aimed at maximizing its chances of being solved.”
Asked about AKEL’s proposal to combat corruption, Mr. Kyprianou referred to the Report released by the World Bank noting that from 2013 to 2018 Cyprus tops the table as to the increase in corruption and interwoven interests across Europe. “We have been denounced by the World Bank, the European Commission, the European Parliament, even by the European People’s Party itself of which governing DISY party is affiliated to. We became front page news in the “Financial Times”, “Reuters” press agency, front page news in newspapers and other mass media outlets in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere. If we consider these things as not defamation from abroad, I wonder what defamation from abroad could be,” he said.
According to the General Secretary of AKEL, “we must address these issues decisively. But to combat them decisively, we must first admit that they actually exist. And the participation of the elite of Cypriot society in these kinds of interwoven interests must end.”
Asked what the next steps should be with regards the spy van scandal, Mr. Kyprianou said that “our demand is that the whole affair must be fully investigated”. There are, he said, “too many ongoing investigations. We haven’t forgotten. We have listed them all, we will demand to see their findings.” There is, he said, a pending report by the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS) on the laundromat, the accusation of money laundering on the part of the President’s law firm since August, for € 883m proven and possibly up to € 4.5bn. “So we have recorded all this and we will demand not only that we as political parties be informed, but also that the public is briefed on what the truth on these issues is,” he added.
“I will put myself at the disposal of the Party Congress”
Asked whether he himself will lead AKEL in the upcoming election processes, he made it clear that “first and foremost, no one is irreplaceable”. Furthermore, the General Secretary of AKEL said, “Let me make it clear that who the next General Secretary of AKEL will be is decided by the Central Committee of the Party, which will be elected by the next Congress. That’s how the rules and procedures in AKEL work, very democratically.”
Mr. Kyprianou went on to say that “lately I have reflected a lot on this particular issue, in the light of the statement I had made in the past. The Party Statues do not prohibit me from being a candidate at the Congress.” “The developments on the Cyprus problem are expected to evolve at the same period as the AKEL Congress,” he said, adding that “the Cyprus problem is in a precarious and critical situation.”
Domestically, he said, “we are confronted with the phenomena of corruption and interwoven interests, the turning of the state machine into a tool of DISY, with anti-social policies that have caused huge problems for the people.” “So having reflected on matters about all of this situation and having exchanged views with my closest comrades in Central Secretariat of the Central Committee, I have decided that I will put myself at the disposal of the Congress,” he said. He also stated that “It is the Party Congress that will decide, I won’t take the decision, neither will the current Secretariat of the C.C, nor anybody else. The decision will be taken by the Central Committee which will be elected by the next Congress.”
“We will seek to cooperate with those who share AKEL’s vision”
Called upon to explain what forces AKEL will cooperate with, A.Kyprianou said that AKEL will cooperate with all these forces who share the visions I have outlined. “This cooperation will evolve depending on the phase our country is going through. The priority right now is on the one hand to forge cooperation in order to put an end to a potentially unacceptable slide of the Cyprus problem towards the definitive partition of our country and at the same time to create the preconditions for a solution,” he said.
He went on to add, “The priority is also to reverse the anti-social policies that are being pursued and to promote such policies that could improve the lives of the many and not of the privileged few” To achieve this goal, we will cooperate both inside and outside the House of Representatives with all those who share these political approaches. Asked if this could evolve into a cooperation in view of Presidential elections, he noted, “We shall look at this opportunity when and provided we approach presidential elections. We are still very far away from doing that.”
Asked if anything has changed in relation to AKEL’s differences with the Democratic Party (DIKO) in relation to the Cyprus problem and the economy, he stated that “we have cooperated with DIKO many times in the House of Representatives to push forward specific proposals that we or other political parties have elaborated”.
“It is a fact that on critical and decisive matters they have chosen to take different positions. As I said before, we will seek to cooperate with those who share the vision I have outlined in my introductory speech to the press conference. All those who believe that we can cooperate on this basis are welcome to engage in a dialogue,” he said. “When you forge a cooperation you understand that you don’t assert the maximum of your positions. But on issues that are not important – and I want to be very clear so that I won’t be misunderstood that the Cyprus problem is extremely important as it concerns the very survival of our country and people – there is the possibility of a mutual consensus so that one can come to some sort of understandings.” he noted.
From there onwards, Andros Kyprianou added, “I didn’t talk about neither DIKO, nor about anyone else, I talked about all those forces that share this vision.”
Asked about the two gravest mistakes that have been committed on the economy, he referred to the closure of the Co-operative Banks and the haircut on bank deposits imposed in 2013. Furthermore, he recalled President Anastasiades’ pledge that he would not accept the haircut on bank deposits. “Apart from those mistakes I have mentioned, a policy is being pursued that has greatly widened the gap between the privileged few and everybody else,” he said.
In conclusion, the General Secretary of AKEL assured that AKEL will work with all its strength to address the major problems that are currently plaguing our country and people.
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