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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-12-30

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, December 30, 1997

Diko decision in the spotlight

DIKO's decision to back Akel favourite George Iacovou for the February presidentials was the main subject matter for most of the dailies yesterday.

To Tharros ran a front-page story, billed as an "exposť", saying the right-wing party was completely controlled by its leader, Spyros Kyprianou.

The paper, which usually backs the government, claimed all decisions within the party - such as the one to back Iacovou - were made solely by Kyprianou. The majority of party executive committee members were under their leader's thumb, unable to disagree with him on anything, To Tharros stated.

The paper went on to list the executive committee members "known" to be opposed to an alliance with left-wing Akel to back Iacovou, but who remained silent. It praised Diko members, such as vice-chairman and former Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, who had openly expressed their scepticism about Iacovou as "shinning exceptions".

Diko's decision to back Iacovou killed off any chances of the party resurrecting its alliance with Disy which got President Clerides, who is seeking re-election, into office in 1993.

Alithia, another pro-government daily, carried on in the same vein.

The paper said Kyprianou was compromising his principles in backing Iacovou, as he did not see eye-to-eye with the former Foreign Minister on the Cyprus problem. It carried photographs on its front page of 12 Diko big-wigs it said had already made it clear they were not happy with the decision to back Iacovou.

Alithia went on to claim that Kyprianou's constant changes of mind about whom to back for the elections, and Clerides's handling of the national issue were both prompting Diko party supporters "to vote as their consciences dictated."

Agon stated Diko were guilty of "abandoning" their long-held insistence on agreement on foreign policy as a prerequisite for any political alliance. The paper said Kyprianou had resigned his own Cyprus problem principles in favour of those of Iacovou in a desperate bid to form an electoral pact with Akel.

On a different note, Simerini claimed the Turkish side was now prepared to provide information on the burial sites of only 200 Greek Cypriot missing persons. Quoting no sources, the paper lambasted the Turkish side for allegedly failing to keep to their part of the breakthrough humanitarian agreement struck between president Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash earlier this year. The two sides agreed to exchange information on all missing persons from both sides, but the Turks were now only prepared to inform the government about a fraction of the 1, 619 Greek Cypriot missing, the paper said.

Simerini claimed the Turkish side was attempting to "sabotage" the agreement by forcing continuous postponements of the information hand-over date - originally set for mid-September.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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