Thorns on the path toward reunification

The basic concerns of the Greek Cypriots (and Greece) in Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan were spelled out in the four-page letter President Tassos Papadopoulos gave Annan yesterday. The Turkish-Cypriot delegation had its own proposals on these issues. Greek Cypriots refuse to accept permanent exemptions from EU law. Sources said Annan might be thinking of a time limit of 20 years. The Turkish Cypriots want permanent exemptions enshrined in EU primary law. Annan’s fourth draft called for the exemptions until Turkish Cypriots achieved per capita income of 85 percent of Greek Cypriots (from the current 30 percent). Annan’s plan calls for 45,000 Turkish settlers to remain on the island, without taking into account family members. The Greek Cypriots say this will imply a total of more than 80,000 settlers staying. The Turkish Cypriots want the 45,000 to be raised to 60,000. Greek Cypriots want to raise to 21 percent Annan’s proposal of a return of 18 percent of Greek-Cypriot refugees to their homes. The Turkish Cypriots want this reduced to 16 percent of the population of the Turkish-Cypriot component state. The Greek side disagrees with the proposal for a military presence of 950 Greeks and 650 Turks after 2018, following a gradual reduction. Turkey currently has 35,000 troops on the island and wants to keep a military presence even after its eventual accession to the EU. Greek Cypriots want the European Court of Human Rights to proceed with 45,000 claims for compensation by Greek Cypriots against Turkey for the loss of the use of their property after the 1974 invasion.

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