NEWS

Cypriots reply to UN

Cyprus has prepared a letter in which it will present the Greek Cypriots’ side of the story when Security Council members begin discussing the report presented last week by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday. He added that Nicosia was also trying to inform members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which will be meeting in Istanbul next week, about the Greek Cypriots’ desire for their island’s reunification. Turkey hopes that the conference will upgrade the Turkish Cypriots’ observer status at the OIC to that of a state. Regarding Annan’s report, Chrysostomides said his government will point out there is no mention of previous negotiations nor the part Turkey had played over the past 30 years. This, he added, would help Security Council members have a more objective view of Annan’s report. Nicosia has been trying to deflect international criticism over Greek Cypriots’ rejection of the UN reunification plan in the April 24 referendum, saying that it wants an end to division but that the Annan plan was not good enough. President Tassos Papadopoulos met with Annan in New York last week. Annan’s special envoy on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, said Papadopoulos had not indicated how the impasse would end. «Mr Papadopoulos had no opinions whatsoever regarding the future, as to how efforts at reunification could move ahead,» de Soto told the Cypriot newspaper Politis yesterday. He added that since before the referendum, the Greek Cypriots had not made clear what they wanted. «What was lacking until the last minute, and, to be precise, continues to be lacking, is a desire by the Greek-Cypriot side to clarify what concerns it most. We have no indication with regard to the Greek-Cypriot side. This did not happen during the negotiations and it has not happened till today that we speak,» de Soto said. AKEL, the largest Greek-Cypriot party, said yesterday it had prepared a proposal for a solution but did not provide details. Meanwhile, the EU’s enlargement commissioner, Guenter Verheugen, said on Saturday the Cyprus issue would not weigh on the Commission’s report in October on whether the EU should start accession talks with Ankara. «Turkey has demonstrated the will to find a solution on the basis of the UN peace plan. That counts,» he told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.