NEWS

Cypriots want a second go

Just over half the Greek Cypriots would back a new referendum on the United Nations-drafted reunification plan, provided they were given sufficient guarantees that the complex deal would be implemented and their security ensured, according to a poll made public yesterday. Meanwhile, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos was hospitalized after fainting during a funeral service in Nicosia yesterday. The telephone survey of 800 Greek Cypriots, conducted by RAI Consultants on behalf of the Politis newspaper and published yesterday, found that 51 percent of respondents wanted a new referendum based on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan. But they linked this with sufficient guarantees that the provisions in the deal would actually be implemented, and that Greek-Cypriot concerns over security would be addressed. Some 20 percent said the Annan plan should be renegotiated, while 29 percent called for new talks from scratch. UN officials have ruled out a new reunification plan, or modifications to the current one. Some 76 percent of the Greek-Cypriot electorate rejected the UN peace blueprint in an April 24 referendum on both sides of the Green Line – which in the Turkish-occupied north resulted in 65 percent approval for the plan. Papadopoulos, who came under intense international pressure to back the UN plan, and then, when he opposed it, was subject to heavy criticism, fainted in church yesterday during the funeral of a Cyprus church official. Officials said the president was in good condition and that a series of medical tests conducted after the incident had failed to reveal any health problems. Costas Zambartas, head of the Nicosia hospital’s cardiology department, attributed the faint to fatigue and heat in the crowded church.