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Media Watch 2005

22 July 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Charlie Charalambous
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 22 July 2005.
Weston slammed for blaming Greek Cypriots
"NICOSIA yesterday hit back at former US envoy Tom Weston for blaming Greek Cypriots over the failure of a Cyprus settlement saying he was a key player in ensuring the Annan Plan met Ankara’s every demand.

NICOSIA yesterday hit back at former US envoy Tom Weston for blaming Greek Cypriots over the failure of a Cyprus settlement saying he was a key player in ensuring the Annan Plan met Ankara’s every demand.

"Mr Weston was one of the architects of the plan and made every effort to satisfy the Turkish side to secure their consent for the plan without taking into account the need to gain a positive response from the Greek Cypriot side," said Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides.

"During the last day at Burgenstock a lot of issues were gifted to the Turkish side and because of that the plan can not be considered a balanced one," he added, saying the criticism was unjust.

Foreign Minister George Iacovou gave a more blunt interpretation of Weston’s perceived view of the Cyporus problem.

"Mr Weston used up a lot of important time putting together the Annan Plan and the fact it wasn’t accepted has disappointed him. Other than that, Mr Weston is a private citizen and a retired diplomat and I have no further comment to make."

In an undiplomatic broadside, Weston chided the Greek Cypriots for demanding too much from the Annan Plan and argued they were the real obstacles to peace.

In an interview with Turkish TV station NTV, Weston said the Greek Cypriots demand from the Annan Plan "goes against the nature of the plan."

Not possible

"I’m in a position to know that it’s not possible for negotiations to succeed with these demands...the Greek Cypriot side is the reason why there is no Cyprus solution," the ex-US envoy told NTV.

He said the Annan Plan was the best way of solving the Cyprus problem and it was "not the fault" of Turkish Cypriots that the island remained divided. Weston also championed an end to the north’s "economic isolation" and welcomed the recent visit of US congressmen via occupied Tymbou.

The government was also criticised for putting down "preconditions" before any new peace negotiations could get underway. The former US diplomat said such preconditions were tantamount to changes to the Annan Plan which could not be accepted before negotiations start.

President Papadopoulos was also targeted for criticism.

"At the beginning he had no objections but changed his stance after the campaign against the Annan Plan started."

The tirade against Greek Cypriots came at time when Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades was trying to win over friends and influence people in Washington.

During talks with US assistant secretary of state for European affairs Dan Fried, the Disy leader urged the US to use its influence on UN chief Kofi Annan to appoint a Cyprus envoy.

He also said there was a need to improve Cyprus-US relations and need for Washington to understand the sensitivities of Greek Cypriots.

Anastassiades was assured that Washington had not changed its position on Cyprus and had no intention of recognising the occupation regime."