NEWS

Annan report on Cyprus awaited

Three days ahead of Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos’s scheduled meeting with Kofi Annan in New York, a report yesterday said the United Nations secretary-general is due to voice hopes that the Cypriot government will revise its negative approach to his blueprint for the island’s reunification. A resounding majority of the Greek-Cypriot population rejected the Annan plan in a referendum on April 24, just as Turkish-Cypriots resoundingly backed the deal, which provided for a weak central government that would foot most of the cost of compensation to Cypriots who lost land and property during the 1974 Turkish invasion. Papadopoulos had advised his people to vote against the plan. A report yesterday by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) from New York said Annan, in his forthcoming report on Cyprus, is to voice hope that the Greek Cypriots will change their minds. Annan is still working on the final draft, but it is unclear when his report will be submitted to the UN Security Council. According to the CyBC, this is expected to happen before Annan’s meeting with Papadopoulos on Thursday – their first since the April plebiscite. The report is expected to personally blame the Cypriot president for the outcome of the vote, while at the same time expressing respect for the will of the Greek Cypriots as expressed in the referendum. However, sources say Annan will reiterate that he has no intention, at this point, of undertaking a new initiative to resolve the Cyprus issue. Meanwhile, yesterday Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chryssostomidis said it would be legally impossible for the European Union – which has approved a 259-million-euro financial aid package to the Turkish Cypriots – to agree to the opening of harbors and airports in the Turkish-occupied north, and to engage in direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots. Cyprus entered the EU on May 1.