NEWS

Obstacles that blocked agreement

In his statement announcing the failure of the reunification talks, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan outlined how Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash responded to his request that they submit his plan to «separate, simultaneous referenda on March 30 in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.» «Mr Papadopoulos answered that he was prepared to do so, as long as the people knew what they are being asked to vote on. To that end, he wished to be sure that the gaps regarding federal legislation, as well as constituent state constitutions, would be filled. He underlined the importance of Greece and Turkey agreeing and committing to the security provisions in the plan. Furthermore, considerably more time was needed than was available for a proper public campaign on the referendum to be carried out. These conditions need to be fulfilled before a referendum can take place. He said he was prepared not to reopen its substantive provisions if the other side was prepared to do likewise,» Annan said in his statement. «Mr Denktash answered that he was not prepared to agree to put the plan to referendum. He said he had fundamental objections to the plan on basic points. He believed that further negotiations were only likely to be successful if they began from a new starting point and if the parties agreed on basic principles. He added that Turkey was in any case not in a position to sign the statement requested of the guarantors because this first required the authorization of Parliament,» Annan said.