New Leaders' Meeting Set for August 23 - UN
Intensified talks between President Christofias and Dervis Eroglu are set to resume on August 23rd, said a UN spokesman.
The last meeting was cancelled amid Christofias' political woes after coalition partner DIKO left its partnership with AKEL and the government was reshuffled.
The government split after DIKO ministers resigned on the basis that economic austerity measures have been delayed too long. In addition, DIKO President Marios Garoyian said that the coalition broke up because there are significant differences with the president over Cyprus reunification talks. DIKO demanded that the president withdraw a proposal for a rotating presidency and citizenship for 50,000 Turkish settlers.
A public outcry over the deadly explosion at the Mari naval base has cut deeply into the president's support. In the latest development, a secret government document revealed that Christofias promised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he would not give seized weapons to any countries other than Syria or Iran. The weapons were kept in unsafe conditions at Evangelos Florakis naval base for over two years, and blew up on July 11th, killing 13 and injuring 62.
The current circumstances have thrown the future of reunification talks into doubt. The president's credibility is in tatters and protests against him are continuing into their fifth week.
As things stand today, opposition parties control Parliament and most of their members disagree with the president's positions on reunification. Ruling party AKEL appears to the only group which supports the president, but their influence has waned considerably and would not be enough to get general approval for a reunification plan based on Christofias' negotiations.
Intensified talks began shortly after the accident with the aim of completing a reunification plan and submitting it to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon by October.