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Govt Spokesman Slams Church Leader's Interview

stefanou slams chrysostomouGovernment spokesman Stefanos Stefanou has criticised Archbishop Chrysostomos II for saying that Cypriot politicians are responsible for Cyprus' division and that Cyprus 'tricked the EU' when it joined the bloc in 2004.

The Archbishop's comments (on Greek TV) are a rehash of Turkey's 'unacceptable position that the EU wrongly accepted Cyprus accession,' said Stefanou.

"In this interview the Archbishop reiterates that only the Church offered a positive role, as opposed to political parties and politicians," he said.

"The responsibility for the tragedy experienced by Cyprus does not lie with the Junta and EOKA B? Not with foreign powers which conspired against Cyprus? Not with Turkey which invaded in 1974 and since then has violated every principle of law?" said Stefanou.

If responsibility lies with the politicians, then it must also lie with Cyprus' first president, Archbishop Makarios, who also headed the church, said Stefanou.

Chrysostomos' comments do not promote unity on the home front and are untrue, said the spokesman.

The relationship between the current government and the church has been fraught with arguments and tensions over income tax payments and accusations that the church is interfering with politics. And Chrysostomos, never one to keep his opinion quiet, has roundly condemned President Christofias' approach to Cyprus reunification talks. In late 2009, the archbishop accused Christofias of preparing a reunification plan that would be worse than the Annan Plan, sparking off yet another war of words between the two institutions.


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