UN SG's statement not objective, Cyprus President says
Nicosia, Feb 11 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's statement on Cyprus was not objective, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here Friday, adding that he intends to request clarifications from Annan as to whether the UN chief will launch a new initiative on Cyprus.
The Cypriot President's comments came in the wake of Annan's statement yesterday in London, urging Papadopoulos ''to really put his views on paper the changes he would want to have,'' on the Annan settlement plan, indicating ''it would be helpful for anyone who is going to begin discussions or resumption of talks.''.
''We must study very seriously the full text of the Annan statement. From a first assessment I consider that the Secretary-General's statements are not objective. I don't think it is objective on the one hand to refer to statements and declarations made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and on the other to ask our side to submit proposals and suggestions on paper,'' Papadopoulos said.
Noting that neither Erdogan has submitted proposals for changes on the Annan plan, the Cypriot President said ''I have not heard Annan to ask the Turkish side to do the same.''
President Papadopoulos said that the second issue that needs to be examined is the purpose of submitting proposals for changes on the plan and what would the Secretary General do after receiving these proposals.
He wondered whether Annan intends to undertake a new initiative on Cyprus and if this was the case what kind of initiative, adding that he believes that ''we must spare ourselves from the syndrome of arbitration and engage in substantive talks.''
''We cannot fail for a second time because that would be catastrophic for all and thus the need for substantive alterations to the Annan plan must be accepted'', the Cypriot President underlined.
Respodning to a question if the letter he sent to the UN chief on 6 June 2004 inluded the Greek Cypriot side's suggested changes on the Annan plan, Papadopoulos said that teh contents of that letter were known since it was sent to heads of state explaining the Greek Cypriot concerns and which in our view were the points bothering the Greek Cypriots that led them to vote against the Annan plan with such overwhelming majority.
''Therefore, whoever wants to learn which are the concerns that must be addressed in order to allow the Cypriot people to accept a peace plan based on the various proposals that have been submitted, can turn to this document,'' Papadopoulos said, adding that whoever says ''we do not know what it is you want'' has no excuse.
Asked if he intends to ask clarifications from Annan regarding yesterday's statements in London, Papadopoulos said ''we will examine what Annan exactly stated''.
''I believe it would not be right to reach conclusions only through press reports without having explanations from Annan himself on what he intends to do and what he means and especially if he accepts the principle that the plan requires substantive changes'', the Cypriot President noted.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.