NEWS

Sympathy shifts to Turks’ side

President Tassos Papadopoulos, who urged his people to vote «no» in Saturday’s referendum, says he will continue to work toward Cyprus’s reunification. But international reaction to the result of the referendum suggests this will be a difficult battle. The European Commission said it «deeply regrets that the Greek-Cypriot community did not approve the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, but it respects the democratic decision of the people.» It said that it wanted to «warmly congratulate» the Turkish Cypriots. The US State Department said: «We are disappointed that a majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the settlement plan… (This) is a setback to the hopes of those on the island who voted for the settlement and to the international community.» UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special envoy for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, said Annan would give careful thought to the implications of the result. He said he would be closing his office in Nicosia in coming weeks. Annan «voiced hope that the Greek-Cypriot electorate may ‘arrive at a different view in the fullness of time, after a profound and sober assessment of today’s decision,’» the UN said. «He regrets that the Turkish Cypriots will not equally enjoy the benefits of EU membership… but he hopes that ways will be found to ease the plight in which the people find themselves through no fault of their own.»