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Media Watch 2004

01 October 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Annie Charalambous
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 1 October 2004.
Plan a recipe for disaster, says president
"There is no country in the world that has more than one monetary policy..."

PRESIDENT Papadopoulos told New York’s BusinessWeek magazine the Annan plan was a recipe for disaster, creating a power vacuum that would lead to policy deadlock.

"Where you would expect to find the center of power is a vacuum. It contains no effective methods for preventing policy deadlocks," he told BusinessWeek editors, who asked him to explain why he recommended that Greek Cypriots reject the UN plan for reunification.

"Many provisions are a recipe for continuous deadlock. Everything is decided on a 50-50 basis, although the population is 82% Greek and 18% Turkish," he added.

Papadopoulos, who sat down with the editors on September 24, stressed that the plan provided for separate institutions, giving as an example the monetary policy.

"There is no country in the world that has more than one monetary policy. But the Annan plan said that there should be a central bank branch on the Turkish side of the island with the power to supervise banks on that side," he said.

"Let’s say on our side, we would want to have a policy of austerity, to cut the budget deficit to comply with the EU provisions. The Turkish side would want have lots of ivestments so they could raise their standard of living. That requires government borrowing," he added.

But, he underlined, 90% of the guarantees for these loans would have to come from the Greek Cypriots.

Papadopoulos also said decisions would be taken by majority approval.

"But in the Annan plan, it required that each decision be approved by one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot," he added.

Asked what the Cyprus government does now, Papadopoulos said:

"Now, we identify some of the points and try to convince people that some of the provisions aren’t workable. It’s not a question of fair or unfair. We must make it more workable".

Asked if security was his main objection, the President said:

"Not for me, but it is for many. Lots of people are concerned about security. That’s natural when your country has been invaded and occupied for 30 years by a very strong nation that is very important to the West, particularly Americans."

He had a prompt reply on what the Government’s next step will be vis-a-vis the Cyprus situation.

"Now, we identify some of the points and try to convince people that some of the provisions aren’t workable. It’s not a question of fair or unfair. We must make it more workable," he said.

On Turkey’s wish to join the European Union and whether that plays to the Cyprus Republic’s advantage, the President said:

"You cannot be in the EU and not recognise another member state. The whole idea of the EU is to coordinate member states. Turkey can’t be there and say ‘I don’t recognise Cyprus’. Now, Turkey doesn’t allow Cypriot ships to enter Turkish ports. That’s a violation of international law and freedom of shipping. So, they will have to do these things."

But he was quick to warn them that they should not think that unless Turkey satisfied the Government’s demands, Cyprus would veto their membership.

"I don’t know what we will do by that time, but the veto is for the big guys," he added.

Asked whether warmed up relations between Greece and Turkey help Cyprus, he replied: "Good relations help us. If there is conflict, that hatred overflows to Cyprus".

His last words, however, were on the positive side.

"We want unification negotiations to remain in the UN. We voted against this particular plan - we did not vote against a solution. We are still committed to a federal solution," he said."