Cyprus President wants new UN initiative for Cyprus settlement
Nicosia, Mar 21 (CNA) - The Greek Cypriot side wants the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to take a new initiative to solve the Cyprus problem but no through mediation, timeframes and the preconditions of the past, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said today.
Speaking to a delegation of students and professors from the Athens University School of Philosophy that visited him today at the Presidential Palace, in the context of the annual educational visit to Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said ''the aim of many deliberations and contacts we have will all those who have a say in the matter and with the UN Secretariat, is to determine whether once again the UN Secretary General will use preventative mediation or not,'' noting that this was ''a very critical point and we want to clarify it.''
President Papadopoulos said the new development was that, when the Greek Cypriot side gives in writing and in detail the changes it wants to a UN settlement plan, then the UN Secretary General will decide if in this manner ''we are proving our political will for a settlement.''
This means that he will have the right alone, as a mediator, to judge and decide if what we are asking for is reasonable, if it provides the basis for the resumption of his initiative and if there can be common ground between the two sides,'' the President added.
''We will not accept another mediating role of the UN Secretary General,'' he said, adding that ''the national issues, the matters of a people can be solved neither through the mediation of a foreigner nor even with preventative mediation.''
The President said ''we cannot accept pressing timeframes for a Cyprus settlement,'' such as October 3rd, when Turkey is set to start accession negotiations with the EU.
He added that the Greek Cypriot side wants a new UN initiative, which would ''satisfy some preconditions that from past experience are unproductive and not the best procedure.''
The President pointed that the Greek Cypriot community, in rejecting the Annan plan at a referendum last year, did not reject a settlement but the specific plan, which did not address Greek Cypriot concerns.
''We remain faithful to a bizonal, bicommunal federation solution. This is the solution we are seeking with all the diplomatic means we have at our disposal,'' he said.
President Papadopoulos said he could not predict the developments but noted that it did not take much to understand that time would make finding a settlement even more difficult.
He expressed certainty that the dangers of not accepting the Annan plan were not as great as those of signing the plan, which would mean ''the automatic abolishment of the Republic of Cyprus.''
''The fact remains that the Republic of Cyprus and the decision-making procedures would not exist 24 hours after the referendum,'' he pointed out, adding that in the case of a violation of what had been agreed, the Republic of Cyprus would not be able to turn to any institution for assistance.
President Papadopoulos dismissed allegations that the Greek Cypriot community rejected the plan because it had been misled or did not know what it was called on to vote for, noting that Cypriot Hellenism has an excellent level of education, is very politicised and can judge whether a settlement plan was viable or not, held dangers or not.
The President said it was not difficult for the Turkish Cypriot community to accept the Annan plan, because Turkey got everything it asked for, including the right to intervene and maintain its army on the island.
''We will continue to struggle for the reunification of our homeland,'' President Papadopoulos said, adding that the Annan plan ''perpetuated the divisionary tendencies in the society, the economy, the geographical area and the institutions of Cyprus.''
He pointed out that ''we have no other course but to seek a peaceful settlement through negotiations,'' aiming at ''a true bizonal, bicommunal federation.''
Referring to relations between Greece and Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said the Cypriot government maintains ''excellent relations with every Greek government,'' noting that ''all actions and practices are in full harmony and agreement.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. In April 2004, separate simultaneous referenda were held on the Annan plan, which the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriot community rejected, and the Turkish Cypriot community accepted.