Media Watch 2004
30 April 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Annan must follow his own advice
"...Secretary-General of the United Nations appears so abysmally ignorant about this basic tenet of the Cyprus problem, or of the dreams, the feelings and the perfectly legal demand of the Greek Cypriot population... and is forced to depend too much on the advice of intermediaries like Messrs Hannay and Weston, whose objective is not the upholding of UN principles and respect for human rights and international law, but the defence of their national interests... what is right is not the cumbersome plan whose basis is the circumvention of the basic Security Council resolutions calling for an end to the Turkish occupation and the return of the refugees."
Kofi Annan’s latest remarks on Cyprus indicate more clearly than ever
that he has yet to grasp the most fundamental aspect of the Cyprus
In his comments on Monday on the rejection of his lopsided and
controversial plan by the Greek Cypriots in Saturday’s referendum, he
had the temerity to argue that he hoped that “after they (the Greek
Cypriots) have had a chance to think, they will reach the conclusion
that reunification is to the best interest of the Cypriots, and they may
pick up what is left and see where to go in the future.’’
For a man who has been so actively involved in the Cyprus problem,
to the point that the UN reunification plan bears his name, it is
astounding that he feels that the Greek Cypriots are against
It is the Greek Cypriots, more than anyone, who have been hoping,
praying and working all these years for a just settlement based on the
UN Security Council resolutions that demand the reunification of Cyprus
as a single state, the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and settlers,
and above all the return of the refugees, something that is not possible
Proclaimed a saint
Kofi Annan would have been proclaimed a saint by Greek Cypriots if
his plan had been based on the implementation of these Security Council
resolutions instead of his pretence that they do not exist.
All those powers accusing the Greek Cypriots of voting No because
they are allegedly opposed to the reunification of the island ignore the
fact that the Greek Cypriots have been living with one dream all these
years since the 1974 invasion and the consequent ethnic cleansing of the
Greek Cypriot population of the Turkish-occupied north.
This dream has been summed up by the simple slogan “I don’t
forget’’ - three words that express the wish of every Greek Cypriot to
regain the lost homesteads and ancestral homes in the occupied north,
where hundreds of generations of their forebears had been living for
thousands of years.
This continuity is proved by the Greek names of the Greek Cypriot
towns and villages.
These have remained unchanged since the days of Homer, who
mentioned some of them, until the contemporary savage, and illegal,
Turkish move in the wake of the invasion to rechristen them with new
names, using Turkish words, like “new so and so,’’ in a desperate
attempt to wipe out the historical continuity linking these communities
with their inherited culture and ancient traditions!
One may well ask, how dare Annan insult the Greek Cypriots by
insinuating that they do not realise that the reunification of Cyprus is
good for all the people of the island.
It was even more astounding and insulting that the UN
Secretary-General went on to declare condescendingly that “they’’ - the
Greek Cypriots that is - “may wish to pick up what is left and see where
we go from here.’’
The Greek Cyriots have had a very steady sense of direction all
these years, and a road map based on the signs put up by the Security
Council resolutions that point the way to the return of the refugees to
their homes and properties in the north.
It is hardly surpising, however, that the Honourable
Secretary-General of the United Nations appears so abysmally ignorant
about this basic tenet of the Cyprus problem, or of the dreams, the
feelings and the perfectly legal demand of the Greek Cypriot population,
since his own Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, made the
monumental booboo during a press conference on the last day of the
ill-fated Cyprus conference in Switzerland, by saying that there are no
refugees in Cyprus.
At least de Soto had the courage, and the honesty, to apologise for
this mistake in his last press conference in Nicosia last Saturday,
after the referendum results.
One redeeming factor for Annan’s booboo may be that he is a
terribly busy man. With so many international crises on his plate, he
may not be fully informed about the true situation in Cyprus, and is
forced to depend too much on the advice of intermediaries like Messrs
Hannay and Weston, whose objective is not the upholding of UN principles
and respect for human rights and international law, but the defence of
their national interests.
The main preoccupation of these intermediaries is to satisfy their
close friend and ally, Turkey, the aggressor and convicted violator of
international law and human rights in Cyprus, and not a just and lasting
settlement based on respect for UN principles, human rights and the
judgements of the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe.
We have appealed to Kofi Annan to do what is right in the case of
Cyprus, and what is right is not the cumbersome plan whose basis is the
circumvention of the basic Security Council resolutions calling for an
end to the Turkish occupation and the return of the refugees.
We hope, and pray, that he may yet consider our appeal, and after
thinking about the reasons for the overwhelming rejection of his plan by
the Greek Cypriots, he may follow his own advice so that he, himself
“may pick up what is left and see where to go in the future.’’
Where to go
When it comes to determining “where to go’’ Annan and the other
officials dealing with Cyprus need to adopt a more even-handed approach.
They must take into consideration that both the Greek and Turkish
Cypriots have deep worries and concerns, particularly about their
security in the future.
While the Turkish Cypriot security concerns are covered in the
Annan Plan through the continuing presence in Cyprus of thousands of
Turkish troops for nearly 20 years, and eventually by the 650 that will
remain in perpetuity, the even stronger Greek Cypriot fears and security
worries are dismissed.
This approach was stressed by President Papadopoulos, when he
talked to the foreign press corps on the island on Sunday.
He pointed out that “the basic concerns of the Greek Cypriot side,
within the spirit of the plan, have been disregarded.’’
He added that everybody involved in the talks “was anxious to
ensure a ‘yes’ vote by the Turkish Cyoriot community,’’ ignoring the
fact that the Greek Cypriots also needed to be convinced to vote ‘yes’,
with the result that the legitimate concerns of both sides were
The plan ignores the fact that it is the Greek Cypriots who were
ethnically cleansed from the north by the Attila hordes and that the
continuing presence of Turkish troops on the island to allay Turkish
Cypriot security worries, without taking into consideration the fears of
the Greek Cypriots, is simply inexcusable.
This slanted approach of Annan was even more strongly stressed when
in addressing Mehmet Ali Talat during the opening of the Burgenstock
talks, he referred to the need to ensure respect for “the dignity’’ and
the “security’’ of the Turkish Cypriots.
Apparently it never occurred to him that the Greek Cypriots also
have “dignity’’ and “security’’ concerns, as he avoided saying so when
he directly addressed Tassos Papadopoulos across the table a minute