Cyprus chief widens rift with the UN

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has angrily dismissed the conclusions of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report to the Security Council and accused him of breaking international law, widening the unprecedented rift between the Greek Cypriots and the world body whose blueprint for their island’s reunification they rejected in a referendum in April. In a letter dated June 7, and which was given to the news media yesterday, President Tassos Papadopoulos urged Annan to consider the dangerous precedent that would be set by his call on Security Council members to deal with the leadership of the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state on a bilateral and international level. The Cypriot president also criticized Annan’s special envoy for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto. «I urge your Excellency to seriously consider the direct implications of the suggestion» that Security Council members «cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots,» the Cyprus News Agency quoted Papadopoulos’s letter as saying. «This suggestion lies clearly outside the secretary-general’s good office’s mission, and is in direct contravention of the Security Council resolutions and international law,» The Associated Press quoted Papadopoulos as writing. He added, «There have been serious inaccuracies as well as wrong assumptions in your report.» Papadopoulos criticized «a flawed negotiating method» and added that Annan’s assumption that Greek Cypriots had rejected reunification was «unfounded and insulting.» Papadopoulos claimed the «allegation» that he never presented proposals on security to Council members was «totally inaccurate and offensive,» saying that on March 15 his side had submitted a lengthy paper. «Either your Excellency, advised by Mr de Soto, did not give serious consideration to our positions on such a crucial issue or Mr de Soto did not bother to read our paper with due care and attention,» Papadopoulos wrote. De Soto reiterated that the Greek Cypriots had not said what they wanted from the UN plan.