Presidential Veto For House's Partnership for Peace Plan
President Demetris Christofias will veto today's parliamentary decision to apply for membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace programme, said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.
Ruling communist party AKEL is adamantly against the House's decision, saying it is unconsitutional and violates the principle of separation of powers.
AKEL's position is that it is enough for Cyprus to participate in the EU's defence mechanisms, and the president is committed to a demilitarised island stemming from a fair, viable and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem, said the spokesman.
But opposition MP Christos Pourgourides (DISY) said that the President's veto decision is a "provocation to Parliament" and questioned why he would use a presidential veto - a mechanism that has not been used since the 1960s.
All political parties except for AKEL joined today's parliamentary debate aimed at forcing the president to allow Cyprus to apply to Partnership for Peace. The controversy comes ahead of parliamentary elections in May, and is aimed at "isolating the president," said the spokesman.
The EU and NATO cooperate closely on security issues but because of the stalemate over Cyprus, Turkey objects to giving the government access to classified information from NATO via the EU. This means that Cyprus does not participate fully in the EU's common European and Security Defense Policy (ESDP) and is blocked from joint NATO-EU meetings.
Unless Cyprus joins the Partnership for Peace programme, Turkey will continue to resist sharing information - at the same time, it is possible that as a NATO member, Turkey would veto Cyprus' application, said Nicosia University analyst George Kentas.
NATO's Partnership for Peace programme touches on virtually every field of NATO activity, including defence-related work, defence reform, defence policy and planning, civil-military relations, education and training, military-to-military cooperation and exercises, civil emergency planning and disaster-response, and cooperation on science and environmental issues.