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Media Watch 2005

04 March 2005
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Myria Antoniadou
Comment: The following editorial appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 4 March 2005.
Tassos: mediator tried to impose ’easiest solution’ on us

PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday criticised those involved in the Cyprus peace talks for “following the seemingly easy and most convenient recipe”

He said that “in the face of divergent views, [foreign mediators] proposed a solution by cutting differences in the middle.” The President was speaking at a conference on federalism organised by the Belgian governments, in Brussels.

Papadopoulos did not name names but referred to “those assigned with the historical and heavy task of finding and proposing a balanced and functional compromise in the light of opposing aims and policies.”

“But as the bible teaches us,” he concluded his speech, “the solution found by wise King Solomon of cutting the baby in two, is definitely not the right or best solution. Certainly not for the ‘baby’.”

Former UN Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto was in the audience and is today expected to reply – also indirectly – during his address to the three-day conference celebrating 175 years of Belgian independence and 25 of federation.

Papadopoulos elaborated on three provisions in the Annan plan he believed would not facilitate the establishment of a federal state.

The first was the proposed federal Constitutional Court, which would take executive and legislative decisions if the federal executive or the federal legislature could not agree. He described its decision-making procedures ineffective and deadlock-resolving machinery damaging.

“To add insult to injury,” he said, “foreign judges were included in the Court, while at the same time this organ would already be overly politicised by its executive and legislative interventions.”

The President’s second argument was that the Annan plan ignored the principle that “no state can be considered unified unless it has a unified fiscal and monetary economy and an integrated economy, assured by freedom of movement of persons, capital and goods.”

He said this would make the government unviable and the federation unjust.

His third point was on displaced people and property, what he described as a core issue “inadequately” dealt with by the UN plan, making it unacceptable to the majority:
“In situations where a federal settlement follows war or civil war and there has been population displacement and settlement of new persons, benefits enjoyed by current occupiers of property, owned by displaced persons or by refugees, must be balanced against the rights of persons who have been expelled or fled.”

Papadopoulos strongly rejected criticism he is against a federal solution. He said he was the first to submit written proposals for a bi-zonal, bicommunal federal solution, at the 1977 inter-communal talks, and remains committed.

Papadopoulos said several times that “goodwill and good faith are essential for a viable federation.”"