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Updated: 10 weeks 6 days ago

Parties pounce on president’s view of why talks failed

Mon, 2017-08-07 19:03

President Nicos Anastasiades’ interview in a Sunday newspaper in which he said the two sides were close to reaching a settlement deal in Switzerland but this was scuppered by Turkey’s insistence on the permanent presence of 1,800 Turkish soldiers on the island, was criticised across the political spectrum on Monday.

To Diko, his comments were a confirmation of the “dangerous manner” he negotiated the Cyprus problem, while Akel, which had supported the talks, said the international community did not view their failure in the same way Anastasiades did, namely that it was all Turkey’s fault.

The government rejected the criticism, suggesting it served party and election expediencies.

In his interview with Politis, Anastasiades said he was considering writing a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asking for confirmation of statements made by special adviser Espen Barth Eide that Turkey had agreed to the termination of the guarantees from the first day of a settlement.

Eide’s comments after the collapse of the talks early in July, was challenged by Anastasiades and Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias, both of whom branded the UN official a liar.

Eide blamed the collapse of the talks on a “collective failure,” while Anastasiades maintained that Turkey’s intransigence was 100 per cent to blame.

Eide said the termination of guarantees was on the cards and also rejected government claims that Guterres had misunderstood the content of a private conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about Ankara’s willingness to ditch the guarantees from the first day of a settlement.

Anastasiades said in the interview that he was ready to return to the negotiating table “if what Mr Cavusoglu implied was true, that what Mr Eide is saying is the reality, that Turkey that is, would agree to the termination of the guarantees from day one, […], for the reduction of the Turkish troops and agree to a minimum number, and timeframe for their departure.”

He also denied charges that he was against the arrival of the prime ministers of the three guarantors – Greece, Turkey, the UK – in Crans-Montana.

“We never refused, on the contrary, we agreed with the UNSG for a brief statement to be issued, that would provide for the termination of the guarantees and the abolition of intervention rights to facilitate the arrival of the prime ministers,” he said.

The Greek Prime Minister was ready to travel to Crans-Montana as long as “our positions were satisfied and Mr Cavusoglu made clear that he meant (what he said) as to the first day of the solution”.

“I want to make clear that that was also the suggestion of the UNSG.”

But Tsipras could not travel to Crans-Montana, Anastasiades said, because neither the two other PMs would go unless an agreement was reached regarding Turkey’s intentions concerning the first day of a settlement.

“The position of all three was clear,” he said. Tsipras, he said, had spoken with both his Turkish and British counterparts.

He also said that the stumbling block on the abolition of the Treaty of Guarantee, was not on the refusal of the Greek Cypriot side to agree to the presence on the island of a Greek and of a Turkish contingent of 950 and 650 men respectively.

“I will have to reveal that the Turks wanted a military base and permanent presence of a contingent of between 1,800 and 2,000 soldiers,” Anastasiades said.

Cavusoglu, he said, had even proposed to Kotzias for Greece to do the same, since the UK already had bases on the island, but the Greek minister declined.

The president said he remained committed to the goal of liberation and reunification of the country which could be achieved through his proposals.

He refuted claims that he made “unacceptable concessions”, arguing that he made compromises “that could allow us to co-exist safely, as long as we are not pawns of third parties or serve the interests of third parties”.

In its statements on Monday, Diko accused the president of accepting rotating presidency, an unspecified number of troops for an unspecified time, granting veto power to Turkish Cypriots, and the first say to the illegal users of Greek Cypriot properties in the north.

“With his insistence on his submissive policy he allowed the inclusion of all those unacceptable concessions in the UNSG framework, trapping the Greek Cypriot side in a dangerous text,” the party said.

In its criticism, main opposition Akel said Turkey was implementing a plan B, deepening partition and occupation but the administration had no response.

“It is clear that we have nothing with which to counter Turkey’s plans so far,” he said. “Initiatives are needed to reverse the worrisome image on the international stage; to counter Turkey’s plans.”

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said parties spend their days commenting and criticising the president but their critique was not only based on false facts but was also contradictory.

Targeting Diko and parties supporting its chairman for the presidency, the spokesman challenged them to give details of their “supposed new strategy” and what form of solution they wanted to achieve.

Turning to Akel, he challenged the party to take a stance on Turkey’s position on security and guarantees, which were the reason for the collapse of the talks.


The post Parties pounce on president’s view of why talks failed appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

England win to secure series victory over South Africa

Mon, 2017-08-07 19:00

Spinner Moeen Ali crowned his excellent series by taking five wickets as England beat South Africa by 177 runs in the fourth test on Monday to secure a 3-1 series victory.

South Africa, needing 380 to win, were bowled out for 202 on the fourth day with Man of the Series Moeen taking 5 wickets for 69 runs and James Anderson claiming 3 for 16.

The only real resistance came from Hashim Amla (83) and skipper Faf du Plessis (61), who put on a 123-run fourth-wicket partnership.

But three quick wickets from Moeen put an end to any thoughts of a miracle and ensured England their first home series win over South Africa since 1998.

Moeen, who scored an unbeaten 75 in England’s second innings, became the first player to score 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a four-match test series.

“What a series he has had,” said England all-rounder Ben Stokes. “He has come on leaps and bounds as a cricketer and this series has really defined him as a player for us.”

It was always going to be a testing time for the tourists’ top order. Stuart Broad struck in the fourth over with a beautiful delivery that straightened off the seam and clipped Dean Elgar’s edge, to the delight of Jonny Bairstow, who grabbed the catch.

Heino Kuhn then edged Anderson to Cook at slip and on the final ball before lunch Temba Bavuma was given out caught behind, after review, from the bowling of Toby Roland-Jones.

There was no meek surrender though, Amla and du Plessis batting with skill and focus in a partnership that threatened to at least make contest of the test.

But spinner Moeen made the breakthrough, half an hour before tea, with a sharply turning delivery catching Amla leg before on the back foot, and he was dismissed following a successful review.

Ali then dealt with Quinton de Kock, driving out of the rough and edging to Alastair Cook in the slips, and picked up the wicket of Theunis de Bruyn, caught by Stokes.

The spinner then picked up two more wickets as England made short order of the tail after tea.

“The way we have played as a unit, especially in these last two games has been brilliant,” said England skipper Joe Root, who had enjoyed success in his first series in charge.

The post England win to secure series victory over South Africa appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Tandem app in deal to take over Harrods Bank

Mon, 2017-08-07 18:52
Deal gives financial services group banking licence after failed Chinese investment