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Media Watch 2004

25 June 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following leader article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 25 June 2004.
Council of Europe faults Annan Plan
"...the adoption by the Assembly of a resolution, despite fierce Turkish opposition, which urged the Turkish government to cooperate with UN agencies for the return of displaced persons or refugees... "ethnic cleansing must be condemned wherever it takes place"... Annan not only condones the ethnic cleansing conducted by Turkey against the Greek Cypriot population of north Cyprus but goes as far as to ignore Security Council resolutions which specifically demand the return of these Cypriot refugees by ruling out the exercise of such a fundamental human right."

THE Annan Plan for the reunification of Cyprus was faulted on two separate occasions during this week’s current session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The first was the adoption by the Assembly of a resolution, despite fierce Turkish opposition, which urged the Turkish government to cooperate with UN agencies for the return of displaced persons or refugees.

"This must be done in safety and dignity," declared the resolution.

The second occasion came when Terry Davies, the new Secretary-General of the CoE, stressed that "ethnic cleansing must be condemned wherever it takes place."

Davies’s view and the Assembly vote urging Turkey to facilitate the refugees’ return are in glaring contrast with the approach adopted by Annan in his controversial plan.

Annan not only condones the ethnic cleansing conducted by Turkey against the Greek Cypriot population of north Cyprus but goes as far as to ignore Security Council resolutions which specifically demand the return of these Cypriot refugees by ruling out the exercise of such a fundamental human right.

These two developments must be seized by the Cyprus government to be used as very effective ammunition against all those staunch supporters of the Annan Plan as fair and balanced, and, what is more, as the one and only plan for the reunification of the island.

The issue of the human rights of the refugees is but one of the many completely unacceptable provisions of the plan that the Greek Cypriots justifiably rejected so overwhelmingly.

President Papadopoulos and all the political parties, including those that voted 'yes in the referendum on the Plan, must unite in the major campaign that needs to be pursued relentlessly to convince foreign supporters of the plan that it’s rejection by
the Greek Cypriots was fully justified.

It needs to be stressed at the same time that the criticism of the Annan Plan, like that by the CoE this week, make it abundantly clear that its rejection by the Greek Cypriots had nothing to do with the deplorable claims, even by leading Greek Cypriot politicians, that the 'no' vote was the result of police intimidation and misrepresentation by President Papadopoulos.

Root of isolation
The United States and Britain, the staunchest backers of the Annan Plan for their own strategic interests, close their eyes to its glaring flaws. They try to justify their unjustifiable stand by doing their utmost to glorify the plan's acceptance by the Turkish Cypriots in a vain effort to give it a veneer of respectability.

The current effort to end the isolation of the illegal breakaway state in the Turkish occupied north is part of this effort to lend respectability and an aura of legality to the "reality" resulting from the ethnic cleansing conducted by Turkey which is accepted as irreversible by the notorious Annan Plan.

It is a shame that Britain, a guarantor of Cyprus's independence and of the Treaty of Establishment of the Cyprus state, is playing such a major role in the effort to impose the Annan Plan as the only one, for no other reason than to placate Turkey and, of course, to serve its own geopolitical interests.

This week’s decision by British Foreign Minister Jack Straw to emulate his American counterpart Colin Powell and have a formal meeting in London with the Prime Minister of the illegal Turkish Cypriot state is part and parcel of the joint UK-US policy.

If they were really interested in ending the isolation of the occupied north, maintained as a result of Security Council resolutions and judgements of the European Court, they should have pressured Turkey a long time ago to withdraw its occupation troops, as demanded by the Security Council.

If they are really that anxious to end the isolation of the occupied north why don’t they do something about removing its cause, even now?

It’s never too late."