NEWS

Concerns that draft favors Turkish side

Cyprus’s National Council met late into last night to discuss UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposals. Sources said that the Greek-Cypriot delegation felt Annan’s revisions were mostly in favor of the Turkish side. Among the sticking points for Greek Cypriots are that the Senate (with 24 senators from each group) will preserve the ethnic divide. It will be further reinforced by the reduction to 18 percent of Greek-Cypriot refugees allowed to go back home to the Turkish-occupied north (from 21 percent). A ceiling of 5 percent of the population for Greek and Turkish citizens in the Greek and Turkish sectors, respectively, will be lifted after 19 years. Greek Cypriots wanted this to be permanent to prevent Turkish immigrants from swamping the Turkish-Cypriot side. The number of settlers allowed to stay in northern Cyprus remains at 45,000. The two presidents will have to write to the European Court of Human Rights to say that compensation for the loss of access to property will now burden the Cypriot federation and not Turkey. Turkish Cypriots will hold on to 29 percent of the island and territory to be returned to Greek Cypriots will be under Turkish-Cypriot administration, with Turkish forces gradually withdrawing over three-and-a-half years. Turkish forces will be cut from 35,000 to 6,000 in 2011, 3,000 in 2018, and 650 Turks and 950 Greeks after Turkey joins the EU. Derogations from EU law on property will be scrapped when Turkish Cypriots have a per capita income 85 percent that of Greek Cypriots (from the current 30 percent). The nine-member presidency is also not believed to be viable.