09 June 2004
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Tassos lashes out at UN
"PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos has accused UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan of exceeding his good offices mission and contravening international law... Papadopoulos said that throughout the negotiations process Greek Cypriot concerns had been ignored to a great extent while Turkey, but not the Turkish Cypriots had achieved their goal, which he listed in detail focusing on the Treaty of Guarantee as a priority..."
PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos has accused UN Secretary-general Kofi
Annan of exceeding his good offices mission and contravening
international law by calling on the Security Council to open bilateral
relations with the Turkish Cypriots in his report on Cyprus last week.
In a strongly-worded seven-page letter to Annan, which was
circulated as an official document at the Security Council in New York
last night, Papadopoulos heavily criticises Annan’s report, plus UN
Special envoy Alvaro de Soto and his team for acting as “judge and jury”
in a process they themselves presided over ostensibly as “honest
The Council was meeting last night to discuss the renewal of
UNFICYP and Annan’s recommendation that the force be reviewed in three
months in the light of developments. A resolution is expected on Friday.
De Soto addressed the opening of the meeting where he repeated the
UN’s view that another opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem had been
missed, and gave a run down on Annan’s report.
Papadopoulos’ letter is designed not only to answer Annan’s
criticism of the Greek Cypriot side and its ‘no’ in April’s referendum
to his reunification plan, but as a means to stave off a British and
American-backed Security Council resolution adopting Annan’s suggestion
that members “give a strong lead to all states to cooperate both
bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary
restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish
Cypriots and impeding their development, not for the purpose of
affording recognition or assisting secession but as a positive
contribution to the goal of reunification.”
Such a resolution would give the US and Britain the leeway they
want to open the ports and airports in the north of the island,
something both governments have expressed a desire to do.
“We can not accept the suggestion… this suggestion lies clearly
outside the Secretary-general’s good offices mission and is in direct
contravention to the SC resolutions and international law,”
Papadopoulos’ letter said adding that any such move would negatively
affect any possibility for reunification.
He said it would undoubtedly lead to “the upgrading of and
creeping or overt recognition of this secessionist entity.
“In this respect, any moves or initiatives, aiming at first sight
to the economic development of Turkish Cypriots, but with evidently
hidden political extensions, create nothing more than a disincentive for
a solution and promote the permanent division of the island,” the
“Various methods elaborated by certain circles for the direct
opening of ports and airports in the occupied part of Cyprus, as a mean
of facilitating the direct trade with these ''Areas'' of Cyprus, serve
exactly this purpose,” he added describing them as “outrageous”.
“Not only all these efforts fail to respect legality, but also
more importantly the end result is that they violate the very norms from
which they try to derive their legal validity.”
Commenting on the report in general, Papadopoulos said that
throughout the negotiations process Greek Cypriot concerns had been
ignored to a great extent while Turkey, but not the Turkish Cypriots had
achieved their goal, which he listed in detail focusing on the Treaty
of Guarantee as a priority.
”Mr de Soto refused to discuss the issue and Your Excellency also
did not contemplate this possibility,” Papadopoulos said.
”This flawed negotiating method, which resulted in a ten-month
delay in the resumption of the talks, has proved inadequate and
counterproductive. We bear witness to the results of such a method, not
only in the case of Cyprus, but also in other regional conflicts,
leading, at best, to short lived arrangements incapable of bringing
about stable and lasting solutions.”
Papadopoulos said the report was also full of “serious
inaccuracies” and “wrong assumptions”. “The most serious of them is the
erroneous interpretation of the choice of the Greek Cypriot community at
the referendum of April 24, namely that by the disapproval of this
specific Plan Greek Cypriots have voted against the reunification of
their country,” he said. “Such a claim is unfounded and insulting.”
“I am compelled to reject the notion that the Plan submitted on 31
March 2004 constitutes the one and only, unique, blueprint of a
bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Does anybody today claim that the
previous versions of the Plan, which were similarly presented as unique
opportunities for the achievement of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation,
were not so?”
He also said that the section of the report outlining the
improvements of the sides “bears an uncanny resemblance to a well-known
document of a permanent Security Council Member, widely circulated at
the time of the Burgenstock phase of negotiations, which strangely
enough even follows the same sequence for the improvements gained by
He added that the Greek Cypriots had every right to wonder “how
the United Nations, the very guardian of international law, could adopt
proposals inspired by the Turkish side”, which limit the sovereignty
exercised by one of its Member States.
“In addition, we maintain serious doubts on whether the final Plan
is compatible with the acquis communautaire. The (European) Commission
simply examined Annan I, not subsequent versions. Thus, it would be
interesting to know what the legal and jurisdictional organs of the EU
have to say on the final Annan Plan,” Papadopoulos said.
De Soto, commenting on the letter yesterday said: “It goes without
saying that given that it is a rather lengthy letter, we have not had
time to study it. Obviously, we stand ready to respond to questions that
members of the Council might have in that regard either here and now or
in another form.”"