Cyprus President: UN plan served foreign interests, was not balanced
Nicosia, Apr 10 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has told Greek and Turkish Cypriot young people that he is seeking a political settlement that would stand the test of time and serve the interests of the island's two communities.
In an open dialogue with young people from both communities, he stressed that a UN-proposed solution plan (the Annan plan) was not ''uniquely balanced'', as some had claimed, and served the interests of Turkey and Britain.
''I do not believe that the Annan plan could work or be viable. We want a solution that can last and serve the two communities,'' he said, pointing out that ''unfortunately the primary objective of certain provisions of the plan was to serve foreign interests, Turkey's and Britain's.''
He said the plan, rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriots, was not balanced, ''least of all uniquely balanced''.
''We are seeking to introduce, through an agreement, such changes that would render it viable and workable, changes that would help the plan work without necessarily doing away with rights of the Turkish Cypriots,'' Papadopoulos told an audience of some 80 young persons from both communities who questioned him on a variety of topics after he had inaugurated a Youth Centre in Nicosia.
Responding to questions about the anticolonial struggle in the mid 1950s, he said the ''EOKA struggle was not anti-turk, it was a liberation struggle against colonialism.''
''The Turkish Cypriots were not a target during the EOKA struggle. On the contrary, there were strict instructions not to hurt any Turkish Cypriot,'' he said.
Asked to comment on recent critical remarks by Turkish Cypriot politician Mehmet Ali Talat about his policies, Papadopoulos said he had never commented on Talat's statements and had never used terms to characterize them.
''Those who believe in a solution through negotiations, if they want to be convincing that they are sincere in their objectives, have to be very careful in the words and characterizations they use about those they want to live with,'' he pointed out.
In his speech inaugurating the Youth Centre, Papadopoulos said the government actively supports a comprehensive policy for the young generation, on the basis of a dialogue with those concerned.
''Nothing that concerns the young people will be decided without their participation,'' he said in his speech, as he announced plans of another two youth centers in Pafos and Limassol.