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Media Watch 2003

11 September 2003
Source: Haravgi
Comment: The following article appeared in Haravgi of Nicosia on 11 September 2003.
Is George Papandreou “Rejecting”?

First, it was the exclusive interview published last Sunday in the newspaper Haravgi, in which he pointed that “the Annan plan should be reconsidered thus the solution that would be reached to be actually viable, operational and compatible to the European principles and the acquis”. Yesterday, it was the repetition of those statements from Sweden about “the necessary alterations that should take place in the Annan plan”. George Papandreou in three days managed to make clear that the Annan plan should be altered. It should become operational and viable, in order to be the basis for the solution of the Cyprus issue. Here in Cyprus, when a politician make such hints, those bold and faithful devotees of the unconditional consent of Cypriots to any solution would describe him as a rejecting person.

They use arguments against him such as “Turkish Cypriots accept the plan as it is” or “Tassos Papadopoulos has consented to it in The Hague” which are certainly lies. Immediately, they start a disgraceful campaign to stain his reputation and label his supporters, as if the majority of the people disagree with his view. But, all polls have shown that 70% and more support the alterations in the Annan plan, since they detect the risk involved in an unconditional consent.

Now, the Foreign Minister of Greece states straight out that the plan should be altered in order to become viable. Is Mr. Papandreou, who the faithful supporters of “as it is» have been repeatedly attempted to “claim for themselves”, “rejecting”? Or, has he realized what is widely accepted here in Cyprus? Meaning, that it is true that in The Hague the President consented not to open substantial aspects of the Annan plan, even though the other side acted accordingly (raising at the same time the known provisions in consultation with the Greek government and the rest of the political leadership), but many have change since The Hague. Cyprus has secured its accession to the EU and gradually started to assimilate the new European structure, while the opening of the barricades proved that the two communities could live together. In particular, the latest development rendered a series of aspects in the Annan plan completely useless, since they have been based on the divisive reasoning of Mr. Denktash that the two communities could not live together. Thus, the fact that Mr. Papandreou pointed and pointed again the need to alter constructively the Annan plan is nothing but unnatural. This is the natural course of the events, completely compatible with the new facts. Even the leadership of the party Democratic Rally (DISY) claims that the Annan plan should be altered, although we are not familiar if they actually mean it, while the President of the party admitted that in Copenhagen he was ready to consent to the plan as it was then! Is the leadership of DISY rejecting? Or do they finally understand that it is not wise to keep on accepting the plan as it is, even in camouflaged ways? The DISY honorary president did not say whether he would consent to the plan in its present form, but I think that this matter is not important now.

As for the Turkish Cypriot leadership, they have the right not to be interested in altering the plan or to seek for alterations that would serve the military interests of Turkey. But, the Greek and our political leadership have also the right to request alterations provided that the interests of Cyprus demand so. Unless, some people believe that our interests should be dictated by what the other side considers as worthwhile and reasonable. Or, by what negotiators have to say…"