Old grudges die hard

IT SEEMS old grudges die hard in Cyprus politics, as DIKO vice president Nicos Pittokopitis yesterday accused AKEL of collaborating with DISY to oust former President Spyros Kyprianou over 20 years ago.

Denying AKEL accusations of mudslinging, the former Paphos deputy asked whether it was mudslinging to say that the left-wing party’s political office had “co-operated” with right-wing DISY to force early parliamentary elections in 1985.
Pittokopitis was referring to reports in Haravghi newspaper which accused him of mudslinging, an allegation he rejected.

Referring to the so-called 1985 collaboration, DIKO’s vice president said the parliamentary elections had been called so that the new Parliament could revise the constitution and force Kyprianou, a DIKO president, to step down and abandon his insistence on setting pre-conditions ahead of Cyprus problem talks.

Thanks to the collaboration, two-thirds of the new Parliament’s seats were held by DISY and AKEL. Knowing the Turkish Cypriot side would never agree to pre-conditions, the two parties wanted Kyprianou to abandon this stipulation so that talks could go ahead.
In an effort to drive home his point that the two parties had “collaborated” and not simply agreed on one point, at one specific period in both their political histories, Pittokopitis told reporters of an announcement dated August 24, 1984, which was issued by AKEL’s political office. The DIKO vice president said this announcement effectively crushed AKEL members’ claim that any co-operation between AKEL and DISY had been between the left-wing party’s parliamentary group and not with the approval of any body.
“Just as then it so happened that AKEL agreed with DISY on then UN Secretary-general [Javier] Perez de Cuellar’s guidelines, they happened to agree during the period of the referendum,” he said, referring to events of 2004 when AKEL’s political office decided to accept the Annan plan 10 votes to four.

Pittokopitis also called on Christofias to say whether or not during meetings in Strasbourg, immediately after the referendum, he had tried to encourage proposals to promote the Annan plan with some changes. According to DIKO’s vice head, Christofias had set a timeframe of one month whereby he proposed that all parties, including President Tassos Papadopoulos, submit what changes they wanted to accept the Annan plan.

Pittokopitis then asked Christofias to what extent the AKEL leader had called Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Talat to a meeting in Birkenstock to discuss possible changes so that the plan could be accepted by the people.

The DIKO vice chairman added that AKEL, like DISY, favoured a return to the Annan plan but with small, “cosmetic” changes.

He concluded that although neither he nor DIKO wanted any sort of conflict with AKEL and its members, he could not keep quiet while “lies” were being told.