NEWS

Cypriot chief blamed for plan’s failure

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan lays the blame for the Greek-Cypriot rejection of his reunification plan on President Tassos Papadopoulos in his report to the Security Council that will be made public today. Details of the report were leaked yesterday, before today’s meeting between Annan and Papadopoulos. Annan leaves a window open for a second shot at the plan but he stresses «the plan remains the only foreseeable basis which the Cypriots have to achieve a settlement.» He adds, «While the plan is legally null and void in the aftermath of the referendum, its acceptance by the Turkish-Cypriot electorate means that the shape of any final settlement to reunify Cyprus would appear to be set.» Annan focuses on the speech Papadopoulos gave calling on his people to vote «no» in the April 24 referendum. «Among other things, the speech challenged the wisdom of ‘doing away with our internationally recognized state exactly at the very moment it strengthens its political weight, with its accession to the European Union.’ I was surprised… at his interpretation of the plan, since the plan is designed to allow each side to maintain its position on how the new state of affairs would come into being,» Annan says. «I do not believe the speech accurately reflected the contents of the plan on a range of issues. Nor do I accept the argument in the speech, repeated thereafter, that when the plan was finalized, Turkey’s concerns were satisfied and Greek-Cypriot concerns largely ignored. It might have been possible to accommodate other Greek-Cypriot concerns had the Greek-Cypriot side been more willing to engage in give-and-take at Buergenstock and before, and to prioritize its objectives.» Annan notes that «a solution obviously requires more than a comprehensive and carefully balanced peace plan, it also needs bold and determined political leadership on both sides in the island, as well as in Greece and Turkey, all in place at the same time, ready to negotiate with determination and to convince their people of the need to compromise.» He adds, «I do not see any basis for resuming my good offices as long as this standoff remains.»