Neophytou-Akinci discuss Cyprus issue at unofficial dinner
DISY party president, Averof Neophytou met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Thursday evening, as Cyprus talks continue to remain stagnant, Simerini newspaper reported on Friday.
Simerini learnt that Neophytou and Akinci met during a dinner hosted by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.
The dinner was hosted by the heads of the CCCI Feidias Pileides and the Turkish Cypriot chamber Fikri Toros.
According to Simerini’s information, the dinner was not officially announced and information from the political party could only confirm that the dinner occurred.
NEOPHYTOU VERIFIES MEETING
On Friday, Neophytou verified the meeting in statements made to the state radio.
He added that the dinner was not “a secret”.
The DISY party leader added that he discussed the Cyprus problem with Akinci, as well as economic, political, and business issues.
In a statement in Greek on Twitter, Neophytou said: “The fact of the matter is, if we want a whole country, we must discuss with each other and not only talk about each other.”
Το ζητούμενο, αν θέλουμε πατρίδα ολόκληρη, είναι να συνομιλούμε ο ένας με τον άλλο κ όχι μόνο να μιλούμε ο ένας για τον άλλο #CyprusProblem— Averof Neofytou (@AverofCY) March 17, 2017
In a statement issued on Friday, DISY said that the party’s position is that there needs to be a dialogue to achieve a settlement on the Cyprus problem and end the Turkish occupation of the island.
Regarding the dinner, DISY said that Neophytou was invited by the heads of CCCI and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber, and he accepted.
“The content of this private initiative was to generally attempt to restore the climate of understanding and intention to restart the dialogue,” the announcement said.
The party said that the main topic of conversation was the Cyprus problem, and that the meeting was “unofficial and friendly.”
“Such meetings are enforced and the party President scheduled, schedules, and will continue to have such contact, which can aid in bettering the climate of understanding,” the party said.
However, the meeting has drawn the criticism of other political parties.
Symmachia Politon has said in an announcement: “As Symmachia Politon, we believe that it have been good of Mr Neophytou to inform the political leadership or the National Council, if President Anastasiades invited him to comment on what was said at the dinner, what his estimations were, and what the Turkish Cypriot side’s intentions are after the dinner.”
The spokesperson of the Solidarity Movement has called on President Anastasiades to explain whether or not he gave his permission for Neophytou to meet with Akinci.
“The secret diplomacy of the President of DISY is not new. He is completely familiar with secret contacts with various officials from Organisations and embassies in Nicosia, and he has simply repeated this, by meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader,” Solidarity Movement spokesperson Yiannis Selinopoulos said.
The Green party has said in an announcement said Neophytou must explain the meeting.
In their statement the party questioned: “Since when is the head of DISY able to replace President Anastasiades?”
The Green party added that before Akinci’s meeting with Neophytou, the Turkish Cypriot leader mentioned the parliament would “correct its mistake” (in relation to passing the amendment to refer to ‘enosis’ in schools).
“The Neophytou-Akinci ‘secret dinner’ confirms the impression that DISY and the President are ready to give everything to the Turkish people to restart talks,” the statement said.