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Media Watch 2004

09 June 2004
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 09 June 2004.
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 brokers”.

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 President said.
“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 both sides”.

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.”"