Monday, September 23th 2019 8PM °C nicosia
24-06-2019 09:24 | Read 326 times

Government - Akıncı rift

PRESIDENT and government were at loggerheads this week over a ministerial announcement that work was being launched to pave the way for reopening the abandoned Gazimağusa suburb of Maraş (Varosha), and news of a “dinner date” between the deputy prime minister and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.

Government - Akıncı rift


Chief Reporter

Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay revealed the government was starting “inventory work” with a view to gradually re-opening the fenced area, abandoned since 1974 to unspecified “civilian life”.

Prime Minister Ersin Tatar went a step further by telling reporters the “ghost town” would become “a Las Vegas” again.

However Dr Özersay appeared to backtrack yesterday, commenting: “There is confusion. We have not decided to ‘open’ Maraş. The Council of Ministers' decision is to conduct inventory work.”

He bemoaned “unnecessary political debate”, adding that “we need to move quickly and have a lot of work to do”.

His comments came after President Mustafa Akıncı yesterday used a press conference to blast a “communication disconnect” over the issues, and to warn the government to “think very carefully”.

Commenting on the Maraş plan, he told reporters: “I have said on many occasions . . . that Maraş should be opened to Greek Cypriots and there should joint ventures in return for international direct flights to be allowed to Ercan airport, which is an important issue [but] UN resolutions have to be evaluated very carefully.

“And leaving aside the UN, it is wrong to oust the TRNC president and make such statements.”

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