By George Psyllides
THE GOVERNMENT on Monday challenged those who have ciriticised President Nicos Anastasiades’ policy on the Cyprus problem to come up with proposals which would yield better results.
In a written statement, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos described the criticism as unfounded.
“And the question to the opposition is: what did they do when in government to apply policies that would either allow a solution of the Cyprus problem based on their own approach,” or bring Turkey to book before the international community.
“It is high time they recommend specific policies to reverse the negative state of affairs they blame on Anastasiades instead of simply engaging in cheap criticism,” the spokesman said.
Anastasiades has drawn heavy flak from the opposition following the publication of a UN report with negative elements for the government.
The UN Secretary-General’s report on the operations of UNFICYP angered Nicosia last week, mainly over its failure to take a stance on violations of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by Turkey, and a reference on Turkish Cypriot isolation – a subject that has not come up for several years.
Turkey’s actions inside the EEZ prompted Anastasiades to pull out of reunification talks in October.
Anastasiades said the report was an indirect way of forcing a change in policy – i.e. to return to the negotiating table irrespective of the violations of Cyprus’ sovereign rights by Turkey, and discuss joint exploitation and joint decision-making of the island’s natural resources.
“So that Turkish Cypriots become partners in the Republic’s natural wealth and also have the right to choose plan B (partition),” the president said. “Some people took for granted that because I supported the Annan plan I would accept any solution.”
The spokesman said the president avoided responding to the unfounded criticism so as not to worsen the political climate.
However, he could not ignore the fact that parties spent their days criticising the president instead of turning to Turkey’s illegal actions.
Papadopoulos wondered why Cypriots accused third countries of being indifferent to Turkey’s illegal actions and put pressure on “our side when, unfortunately, the opposition essentially vindicated the third parties’ reactions towards Cyprus through its daily statements.”
Main opposition AKEL has suggested that the negative reaction was a result of a hardline policy followed by Anastasiades to please other opposition parties.
However, the leader of one of them, DIKO’s Nicolas Papadopoulos urged Anastasiades to withdraw a joint communiqué agreed with the Turkish Cypriot side in February last year and his statement last week, which effectively put natural gas on the table.