There was an admission that the decision to close checkpoints was political
Statements by the General Secretary of AKEL A.Kyprianou
5th March 2020, Cyprus News Agency (CNA)
There was an admission made at the meeting of the National Council that the decision to temporarily suspend the operation of four checkpoints was political, said the General Secretary of AKEL Andros Kyprianou, noting that he had asked a question without getting a specific answer as to when the checkpoints would open.
In his statements, in the midst of the National Council meeting, from which he departed due to another prior engagement, and in which he was replaced by AKEL Political Bureau member Toumazos Tsielepis, Mr. Kyprianou said that the argument put forward by the Government was that there were no persons to staff the four checkpoints.
A.Kyprianou added that the whole of the Republic of Cyprus could find 20-30 nurses and 20-30 additional police officers so that these checkpoints could function to exercise effective controls, so as the health of the population wouldn’t be affected.
Asked about the statement of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on the temporary closure of the checkpoints, AKEL’s General Secretary said he had not studied it yet. He said, however, that the reference that the operation of the checkpoints has led to a normalization of conditions is unacceptable and cannot be accepted.
“There is no normalised situation in Cyprus and this should be clear in everyone’s mind,” he said, while noting that we should be concerned that UNIFICYP is criticizing our side for the “unilateral action that the government has taken.”
Asked about the reactions to the questions tabled by the AKEL MEP’s with regards the temporary suspension of the operation of checkpoints, Mr. Kyprianou said that the AKEL MEP’s hadn’t denounced the Republic of Cyprus anywhere.
“Others did so in the past,” he said, pointing out that the MEPs tabled two specific questions.
The first question, A.Kyprianou said, asks whether what was decided by the Government is in line with the ‘Green Line’ Regulation and the second whether the European Commission was informed before the Government had taken its decision.
“I wonder why there has been this reaction. Is it because some fear that the replies might be negative for some? “, he added.
Mr. Kyprianou thanked the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and the Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou for briefing the National Council on the measures taken by the government to address the spread of the virus in Cyprus.
He also said that AKEL’s view is also that the Government should act proactively, take all the necessary measures and carry out all necessary controls at all points of entry, in order to ensure effective monitoring and limit the spread of the virus in Cyprus. We consider this as positive.
Where we have stated our disagreement, and I must say that we have not received convincing answers, is concerning the suspension in the operation of the four crossing points for an unspecified period of time. I have put this question but have not received a clear answer as to when the crossing pints will open, said Mr. Kyprianou.
Our view is that the Government should be held to account on a number of issues in relation to two issues. Firstly, for not having consulted the political parties. It is the government’s right to decide on this issue, but at least it should have consulted the political parties. It’s not right that at the same time as we are told on a daily basis that there must be unity on the internal front, the government ruling forces subsequently proceed unilaterally to take decisions. We also have strong reservations about whether there has been prior consultation with the EU, he noted.
Mr. Kyprianou stressed that the ‘Green Line’ Regulation had been decided by the EU itself and any modification of it needed the EU’s approval.
He said that the second thing AKEL criticized the government for was the fact that it implemented the measure without any scientific evidence to substantiate its measure.
I regret the fact that the President of the Republic has felt the need to say that there is scientific documentation. Today the admission was made at the National Council meeting that the experts had not proposed this measure, he pointed out.
As for the immigration issue, Mr. Kyprianou said that if we want to stop the refugee flows we must combat the root causes that give rise to them, namely “the ongoing wars – unfortunately with the participation of the EU as well – poverty and inequality on the planet which are issues that the EU must play a leading role in addressing.”
Referring to the Government, Mr. Kyprianou said that the Minister of Finance has stated that in recent years we have received more than 100 million Euros from the EU to address the migration flows, while we have been allocated 870 million for the Social Cohesion Fund.
The General Secretary of AKEL wondered where the millions of Euros have been channeled and why we don’t currently have the appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the refugees.
Mr. Kyprianou also said that since 2015 the EU has closed various routes and wondered what the government has done, given that it knew that the states in our region such as Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus would receive refugee flows. He also wondered what assistance had the government requested from the EU to establish the proper infrastructures, but also how these flows are handled.
The General Secretary of AKEL said that although legislation demands asylum applications to be processed within a period of six months, in Cyprus it takes three, even up to five years.
Mr. Kyprianou said that “unfortunately the Government has failed to foresee and take measures to ensure that the consequences for the Republic of Cyprus will be as few as possible”.
In our view, these issues must be dealt with in a humanitarian way, continued the AKEL General Secretary.
On the issue of Famagusta
On the issue of Famagusta, Mr. Kyprianou said Turkey’s actions were unacceptable and violated the agreement of Spyros Kyprianou with Rauf Denktash concluded in 1979, as well as Resolutions 550 and 789 of the United Nations Security Council.
A.Kyprianou said the aim of these actions is to further deepen the fait accompli and to serve Turkey’s goal for the definitive partition of the island.
“We must all react and urge the international community to intervene to stop this aggression by Turkey,” he underlined.
He said that AKEL has sent letters to the UN Secretary General, the permanent members of the UN Security Council and to all the institutions of the EU, calling on them to react to Turkey’s machinations.
The AKEL General Secretary added that “it is our firm belief that the only sure way to end Turkey’s aggressive actions in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and in the enclosed city of Famagusta is through the resumption of substantive negotiations that should be focused on reaching a speedy solution, for a solution that should be based on the relevant UN resolutions, the High-Level Agreements, international law and the principles on which the EU was founded.”
A.Kyprianou stressed that we are not ready to accept any solution.
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