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Op-Ed by AHI President Published in the National Herald
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
April 21, 2004—No.30 (202) 785-8430

OP-ED BY AHI PRESIDENT PUBLISHED IN THE NATIONAL HERALD

WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI President Gene Rossides appeared in The National Herald on April 17-18, 2004, page 11.

President Papadopoulos’ "Resounding NO" to the Annan Plan

by Gene Rossides

In an historic televised speech to the people of Cyprus, President Tassos Papadopoulos set forth clearly and cogently the reasons why a "resounding NO" vote on the Annan Plan was in the best interests "of the people of Cyprus as a whole, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots."

It was a brilliant exposition of the serious flaws in the Annan Plan as to functionality and viability.

He stressed that the Greek Cypriot proposals "were fully documented and were within the parameters of the Annan plan and did not take away rights that the Annan plan provided to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots."

The Greek Cypriot proposals covered the functionality of their proposals—the executive, legislative and judicial branches, the Central Bank, common monetary and fiscal policy, regaining of property, the territorial issue, settlers, missing persons, the Karpass and others.

President Papadopoulos stated that: "It is with pain that I conclude that even with the most flexible and lenient judgment, the final Annan plan does not satisfy the minimum aims we have set. Our most substantial proposals were not accepted."

He stated: "In contrast, the Turkish side submitted eleven demands which affect negatively the interests of the Greek Cypriots and which have all been adopted in the final Annan plan."

President Papadopoulos stated that in the fifth and final Annan plan:

  • "The Turkish Cypriot entity is recognized as a "legal constituent state."

  • "The invasion and occupation are written off."

  • The 18% Turkish Cypriot minority gains "equal participation in the administration of the new Federal State, with the status of equal ‘co-presidents’ and . . . equal participation . . . in the Council, the European Commission and all the special Committees and Institutions of the European Union."

  • "Turkey’s pursuit to control and dominate Cyprus has been fully met. In essence, all settlers remain . . . and the danger of a permanent mass settling of Cyprus by Turkey is visible."

  • "The Greek Cypriots shall be called upon to pay the largest part of compensation" for properties.

  • "The implementation of the relevant provisions entails unbearable economic effects for the Greek Cypriots, while the whole structure of the Plan would lead, if not to the collapse of the Cyprus economy, surely to a serious crisis and adverse repercussions on the Greek Cypriots’ standard of living that we have built with so many sacrifices."

  • "The Annan plan does not abolish the de facto division, but on the contrary, legalizes and deepens it."

  • "The goal of unifying our country and its people is not achieved."

  • "I am not satisfied . . . by the decrease in the number of displaced persons who will return. I am not satisfied by the qualitative and quantitative decrease of property rights for the legal property owners in the occupied areas. These constitute more adverse provisions than those included in the Annan Plan Three or Four."

  • "I have long ago said that any solution which will be found under the shadow of the faits accomplish of the invasion and the presence of 35,000 Turkish troops in Cyprus could not be fair and just."

  • "Without functionality, without an effective procedure to break deadlocks in a regime where decisions have to be taken on the basis of equality, i.e., fifty-fifty, each side has the opportunity and the possibility to create deadlocks and lead the administrative functions of the state to paralysis." (Emphasis added.)

  • "My concerns focus on the uncertainty about the new Cyprus that would emerge from the Annan Plan. Whether it would be for the new state to be established and function. Whether it would be able to play its proper role in the European Union as a constructive member and not as an annoying partner. Whether the new regime, on account of the deadlocks in decision taking, can have a role and a say in the United Nations and other international fora." (Emphasis added.)

Remarks to Turkish Cypriots

President Papadopoulos remarks to the Turkish Cypriot community in his speech were the words of a statesman. He said in part:

"My stance emanates from my sincere conviction that the respect of their dignity and their rights, the granting of even more rights so that they may feel greater security, the recognition of their equality, their equal progress and prosperity are fundamental prerequisites for peace and normality in Cyprus.

We are always ready for the transformation of the present state to a federation that would be ruled by democratic principles and full respect for human rights.

A guarantee for the sincerity of these orientations is our integration into the political system and principles of law of the European Union. This guarantee covers with credibility Turkish Cypriot and Turkey’s security needs."

After reading President Papadopoulos’ speech, I realized that the Annan Plan is even worse for the Greek and Turkish Cypriots than I had originally thought. As presently written:

  • it is a political and economic disaster for the 80% Greek Cypriot majority

  • it continues the second class citizenship for the Turkish Cypriots because it does not call for the removal of all the settlers and Turkish troops;

  • it fails to provide for immediate demilitarization of Cyprus;

  • it rewards Turkish aggression and punishes the Greek Cypriot victims.

A NO vote and May 1, 2004

A "resounding NO" vote by the Greek Cypriots on April 24, 2004 will be a very positive development for the Republic of Cyprus because on May 1, 2004, Cyprus becomes a full and voting member of the EU. It will usher into Cyprus a new era and a new negotiating climate and situation.

Cyprus has survived the Turkish invasion of 1974 and occupation of 37% of its territory by standing for principle and pursuing the rule of law to counter Turkish aggression.

The new post-May 1 era will see a continuation of the struggle for a reunited Cyprus based on the rule of law and democratic principles. It will be a war of words and ideas for liberty, democracy, for unity of the people of Cyprus and for what is right.

Annan Plan not in U.S., UN or EU interests

As I have written before, the Annan Plan is not in the best interests of the U.S. for many reasons:

  • it is not functional;

  • it perpetuates ethnic divisions;

  • it rewards Turkey’s aggression and punishes the Greek Cypriot victims;

  • it applies a double standard on the rule of law to Turkey which also breeds anti-Americanism, not just in the region but throughout the world;

  • it harms American owners of property in the occupied areas;

  • it is a terrible precedent for building democratic institutions in Turkey, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Read President Papadopoulos’ speech

I urge the media in all its elements, editorial writers, columnists, reporters, to read President Papadopoulos’ speech. See http://www.cna.org.cy/newse/for the full text.

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For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or at vivian@ahiworld.org. For general information on AHI, see our Web site at www.ahiworld.org.