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British former envoy says no viable alternative to Annan plan
2005-02-09 12:12:29

Larnaca, Feb 9 (CNA) -- British former envoy for Cyprus Lord David Hannay said he does not see any viable alternative to a Cyprus settlement other than the Annan plan, noting that ''the choice is between the Annan Plan with some adjustments or no settlement at all.''

''I hope that nobody on either side of the island would opt for no settlement at all,'' he said, adding that it would be better if, in case new referenda took place, the two sides in Cyprus were already committed to the plan put before them.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a conference on the Cyprus question organised by Wilton Park, on behalf of the British Foreign Office, Lord Hannay also said that ''a further set back or deadlock will be very damaging for all concerned.''

''I think it will be better in the future if what will go to the referendums are plans or proposals the two administrations are already committed to,'' Lord Hannay noted.

Replying to questions he said he had seen no viable alternative to the Annan plan and he did not believe that there is some magic solution waiting out there.

''I do not believe that there is a viable alternative to the Annan plan in its broad terms. I know perfectly well that the people in the south of the island rejected the fifth version of the Annan plan that was put before them. But if there is no other version of the Annan plan and if I am correct that there is no viable alternative for a settlement then the choice is between the Annan Plan with some adjustments or no settlement at all. I hope that nobody on either side of the island would opt for no settlement at all,'' he added.

Lord Hannay noted that ''the Annan Plan is the result of the negotiations that have gone on for decades, it is basically a combination of the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements, the set of ideas of 1990 and the outcome of four years of negotiations,'' he said.

He noted that in his speech at the conference he suggested a number of criteria that should be applied, adding that some provisions of the Annan plan might prove to be out of date by the time a settlement became imminent.

Asked if the last version of the Annan plan can be adjusted, Lord Hannay replied affirmatively.

''It can, particularly if people show good will and some flexibility and not try to make absolutely fundamental root and branch attacks on the basic plan, which was built up frankly by Cypriots, not by foreigners,'' he added.

Lord Hannay said the Annan plan ''was made by hundreds and hundreds of hours of discussion between the UN special representatives, secretary generals, and people like President Vassiliou, President Clerides, President Papadopoulos and Mr. Denktash and so on.''

To a comment that the UN plan produced a great amount of insecurity among the Greek Cypriots, Lord Hannay said ''the problem for security in this island for a long time has been that measures required to give security to one side make the other side feel insecure, hence the Annan plan was an attempt to meet the security concerns of both sides and at the same time not do so at the cost of bringing insecurity to either of them.''

''There may be adjustments to be made in this area,'' he said, adding, ''I myself would be very skeptical as to whether there could be any fundamental adjustments. I think the structure that was laid down in 1960 is what it is and I do not think myself that it would be changed very much.''

Asked if he is going to get involved in any way in new negotiations, Lord Hannay said, ''I do not foresee myself becoming involved in any way whatsoever other than an invited speaker for conferences like this.''

''I think that the contribution that I was able to make was as much as I could make in that period and I am not at all convinced that a further involvement by me would be a particularly desirable thing,'' he said.

Invited to say how he sees the possibility of the EU helping in the procedure of starting negotiations, Lord Hannay said he did not think that the EU could become a mediator or facilitator for Cyprus.

''It is not possible for the EU to mediate between one of its members, Cyprus, and a third country, Turkey, even if that country is negotiating for accession. We saw the impossibility of that in the crisis between Spain and Morocco. The EU and its institutions cannot be impartial between a third country and a member,'' he said.

''So I do not see the EU being able to take over in that way. I cannot imagine that any third country like Turkey would accept the EU in that role. The EU has already played an enormous involved part in these negotiations, the input Mr. Verheugen made was extremely important and I am sure they will continue to do so in a helpful and imaginative way,'' he added.

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