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The Annan Plan and the Greek Cypriot “NO”: False Reasons and Claims

 

Greek Cypriot Claim no.1: “The UN Plan was not well balanced.”

Truth: 

 “The Security Council,
4. Gives its full support to the Secretary-General’s carefully balanced plan….” (UN Security Council resolution no. 1475(2003))

 “The plan is complex and delicately balanced. Inevitably, as in any negotiation, it is a compromise.” (Report of the UN Secretary-General to the UN Security Council, 16 April 2004)

 “The Annan Plan offers all Cypriots --for the first time -- a concrete, balanced and comprehensive proposal for the settlement of the Cyprus issue.” (Open letter of Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, 21 April 2004)

 “This plan is fair. It is designed to work.” (UNSG Annan’s speech delivered in Burgenstock on 31 March 2004)

 “The plan is inevitably a compromise. It does not meet all the demands of each side. But the Secretary-General believes it is a fair and balanced plan.” (UNSG’s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Mr. de Soto’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 2 April 2004)

 “Together with a broad cross-section of the international community, the Secretary-General remains convinced that the settlement plan put to the two sides in today’s referenda represents a fair, viable and carefully balanced compromise.” (UN Secretary-General’s statement as read by his Special Advisor on Cyprus Mr. Alvaro de Soto, 24 April 2004)

 “The Secretary General remains convinced that the plan submitted represents a fair, viable and carefully balanced compromise - one that meets the minimum requirements of all concerned.” (UN Under-Secretary General Mr. Prendergast’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 28 April 2004)

 

Greek Cypriot Claim no.2: “The Turkish demands have been satisfied, almost in toto, in the revised Annan Plan, while very important concerns of the Greek Cypriot side have been disregarded.”  “This process has failed in addressing the legitimate concerns, needs and interests of both sides”

 Truth:

 “…Contrary to claims made during the campaign, changes were made to meet, to the extent possible, core concerns of both sides, and these changes were within the parameters of the plan.” (UN Under-Secretary General Prendergast’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 28 April 2004)

 “Former Chief Prosector (and member of the Greek Cypriot negotiation delegation) Mr. Markides stated that in the fifth (and final) version of the Annan Plan 8 amendments in favor of, and 3 against the Greek Cypriot side were made. (The favorable changes were in the areas of human rights; Greek Cypriot residency rights in the Turkish Cypriot State; freedom of movement; ratification of the settlement agreement by the Turkish Parliament prior to its entry into force; better transitional periods; strengthened role of the UN in the territories subject to adjustment; better provisions for the Central Bank and economic viability; and increase of property claims)” (Greek Cypriot daily Fileleftheros, 4 April 2004)

 “In this revised text, the Secretary-General sought to address the key concerns that had been expressed by the two sides in the negotiations, while maintaining the overall balance of the plan.” (UNSG’s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Mr. de Soto’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 2 April 2004)

 “This plan is inevitably a compromise. It does not satisfy everyone’s demands. But I believe it meets the core interests, and addresses the key concerns, of people on both sides.” (UNSG Annan’s speech delivered in Burgenstock on 31 March 2004)

 “Over the last few years, Kofi Annan and his team have built on earlier efforts and worked tirelessly to bring about a comprehensive settlement package that meets the key interests of the two sides…” (UK Deputy Foreign Minister Baroness Symons’s statement at the House of Lords on 28 April 2004)

 “The settlement that the Secretary-General finalized on March 31st outlined an equitable compromise in which no party receives everything it seeks, but which satisfies the fundamental requirements of all parties” (Statement of White House Spokesman Mr. Mcclellan, 21 April 2004)

 “The Secretary General applauds the Turkish Cypriots, who approved the plan notwithstanding the significant sacrifices that it entailed for many of them.” (UN Under-Secretary General Prendergast’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 28 April 2004)

 “The only thing we did (during the negotiations) was to provide a 200-page document; and when we were asked to submit our priorities (for amendments), we did so at the last minute. In spite of this, many of our demands have been satisfied…” (Interview given by Mr.Klerides, former Greek Cypriot leader, to Greek daily Fileleftheros, 18 April 2004)

Greek Cypriot Claim no.3: “Greek Cypriots did not consent to a Plan which contains provisions inserted, without the agreement of both sides…”  “There are many aspects of the Annan Plan, for which I am not satisfied by the compromises that have been imposed, without a prior negotiation and by fully overlooking our own well documented demands”
Truth:
 “In finalizing this document, I have been in close consultation with the two parties in Cyprus, and with Greece and Turkey who have lent their collaboration to the concentrated effort that has just been complete” (UNSG Annan’s letter of 31 March 2004, addressed to the parties)

 “Even though finalized by me at the invitation of the parties, the Plan’s core concepts and key trade-offs, as well as the bulk of the many texts included, are largely the work of Cypriots.” (Report of the UN Secretary-General to the UN Security Council, 16 April 2004)

 “…the process, from this point onwards, moved to the third phase,…in which the text would be finalized by the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General wished to do so in the closest collaboration with al concerned --hence the consultations with the parties over the next 48 hours in the run-up to the presentation of a final text on 31 March”. (UNSG’s Special Advisor on Cyprus, Mr. de Soto’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 2 April 2004)

 “The European Parliament,
Points out that the final settlement plan has been negotiated  between the two sides on the island of Cyprus with the involvement of Greece and Turkey and has been finalized under the authority of the UN Security Council by the UNSG Kofi Annan;” (European Parliament resolution on Cyprus 21 April 2004)

 “Parts of the plan were put together by the United Nations. But all of its key concepts emerged out of four years of negotiation among your leaders. And most of its 9,000 pages were drafted by hundreds of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Their extraordinary efforts produced one of the most comprehensive peace plans in the history of the United Nations.” (Secretary-General’s video message, 21 April 2004)

 “The Plan, which will be put to…referendum this coming Saturday, has been prepared over years throughout the patient efforts of the UN and both Cypriot communities.” (Open letter from Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe 21 April 2004)

 “…the parties agreed, on 13 February, to resume negotiations on the basis of the plan…To that end they committed themselves (to a 3-phase approach)…As a final resort, in the event of a continuing and persistent deadlock, the parties invited me to use my discretion to finalize the text to be submitted to separate and simultaneous referenda…” (Report of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, 16 April 2004, S/2004/302)

 “I am asking each guarantor power (Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom) to confirm to me and each other in writing, no later than 7 April 2004, that they agree to the Foundation Agreement being submitted to separate simultaneous referenda.../ During April, the Secretary-General received from the guarantors the commitments required of them to authorize the submission of the plan to referenda…” (UNSG Annan’s letter dated 31 March 2004, to all the relevant parties  / Briefing by Deputy Under-Secretary-General Mr. Prendergast to the Security Council on 28 April 2004)

Greek Cypriot Claim no.4:  “In the run up to the referendum, there was a lively public debate conducted in calm and civilized manner with full respect to freedom of opinion and of expression and the right to freedom of information in the media and elsewhere.” 

 Truth:

 “…We do think that there was a lot of manipulation by the Greek Cypriot leaders in the run-up to the election; that the outcome was regrettable but not surprising, given those actions. I think the Europeans as well have made clear -- statements by External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, European Parliamentary President Pat Cox, Enlargement Commissioner Verheugen -- that they have strong concerns in that regard as well.
 Question:  What was the manipulation that you alluded to?
 Mr. Boucher: There were restrictions on the press, decision by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation's board of directors that limited full coverage of foreigners' statements on the U.N. settlement and on Saturday's referendum. A statistical study of pre-referendum media environment indicates anti-settlement advocates, including the president himself, received almost twice as much airtime as pro- settlement advocates. I think we noted that even the European commissioner, the enlargement commissioner was not allowed on the air; struck us as particularly odd.
 There were also a lot of reports that the Ministry of Education dismissed children from school early on the 21st and 27th -- and 22nd so that they could go to anti-settlement events. Teachers were instructed to encourage their students to vote no. And students were provided with no banners and t-shirts by their teachers. Some were even bussed to specific locations. So, given those kind of purposeful policies, we're not surprised that numerous reports of physical intimidation and threats were made by Greek Cypriots campaigning for a no vote, especially a death threat directed at an 18-year-old schoolboy who favoured the settlement. We especially regret that not one Greek Cypriot official spoke out at the time against numerous shameful incidents that took place before the referenda.” (Spokesman of the US State Department Richard Boucher’s  encounter with the press on 26 April 2004)
 “Now is not the time to go into details about what information was or was not made available to the people during the referendum campaigns, or to elaborate on unfounded concerns generated about job security for public servants in the proposed new structures, or to comment on the issue of access to the media by international figures from the United Nations and the European Union who were ready to explain the plan and the commitments of the international community. However, concerns on these points were directly raised by Mr. De Soto with Mr. Papadopoulos. Members of the Council will be aware that they have also been raised in other fora. …In light of the above, the result of the referendum by the Greek Cypriot electorate, one which had been strongly encouraged by Mr. Papadopoulos, raises serious questions.” (UN Under-Secretary General Prendergast’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 28 April 2004)

 “…For months on end, I have done everything I could in good faith to make it possible for Greek Cypriots to accept this plan. This is a country that will be joining the EU soon. The least we could expect is a fair and balanced information campaign. Never before in the history of the Commission has a member of the European Commission been accused of interference in the internal affairs of a Member State. I call on Papadopoulos to guarantee the freedom of the media. I regret that the many Greek Cypriot statements have lacked the words, peace, understanding and co-existence. All these terms have been absent.” (EU Enlargement Commissioner Verheugen’s statement to the European Parliament, 21 April 2004)

 Speaking exclusively to European Voice, George Vassillou, the ex-President (of Cyprus), who sealed Cyprus’ entry into the EU as the chief negotiator in 2001, accused the country’s rulers of “blatant violation of democratic and human rights.” (“Greek Cypriot leaders accused of muzzling ‘Yes’ campaigners”, by David Cronin, European Voice)

Greek Cypriot Claim no.5: “The Annan Plan does not abolish the de facto division but on the contrary, legalizes and deepens it.”  “…the economic viability of the Plan is doubtful and its functional weaknesses endanger the smooth and effective participation of Cyprus in the European Union…there are more adverse provisions in the final Plan regarding qualitative and quantitative regime on property rights…”  “Freedom of movement and residence are restricted…and the fundamental human rights of Greek Cypriots to return to their stolen homes will be abrogated forever.”
 Truth:
 “…The plan envisages one independent and sovereign state, the United Cyprus Republic. That State is based on the parameters agreed between the parties since the 1970s --a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal structure, based on the political equality of the two communities. The plan prohibits partition or secession, domination by one side, or union with any other country. The plan ends the status quo. It ends the division of the country. It would allow a reunited Cyprus to speak with one voice internationally, particularly in the European Union. The plan fully respects individual human rights including the rights of those of you who were forced to leave your homes.” (Secretary-General’s video message, 21 April 2004)

 “The revised plan has a property scheme that is simpler, fairer and more certain. It has a more workable system of government. It has better safeguards for the constituent states. It has transitional arrangements that I am confident can and will work. And it has been improved from the financial and economic point of view.” (UNSG Annan’s speech delivered in Burgenstock on 31 March 2004)

 “If the settlement is approved in the referenda next month, Cyprus would reunify, in time to accede to the European Union. After only a short interval, freedom of movement would prevail, without border-like checkpoints. A new state of affairs would emerge, far better designed than the one of 1960 to manage relations between the two communities. A substantial number of Greek Cypriots would be able to return to the homes they left behind thirty years ago, and to do so under Greek Cypriot administration. Others would receive full and effective compensation. Cypriots from both sides could return to their homes in the area administered by the other Constituent State.This plan is fair. It is designed to work. And I believe it provides Cypriots with a secure framework for a common future.” (UNSG Annan’s speech delivered in Burgenstock on 31 March 2004)

 “We have worked closely with the European Union, the World Bank and the IMF to make a number of changes, to ensure that the plan is economically and financially sound.” (Secretary-General’s video message, 21 April 2004)

 “The UN Secretary General's comprehensive settlement proposals would have enabled a large number of Greek and Turkish Cypriots the right to return to their former homes. Furthermore, every dispossessed owner was entitled to a guaranteed proportion of all their former property under a regime designed to deliver material benefits to all. (Excerpt from the answers of British Deputy Foreign Minister MacShane, House of Commons,  17 May 2004)

Greek Cypriot Claim no.6: “It seems that to us that we were required (in the referendum) to take part in violating international law and UN resolutions”  “…President Papadopoulos has made abundantly clear that the Greek Cypriot side has been willing to negotiate on the basis of the Annan Plan in order to find a functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem within the parameters of the relevant Security Council resolutions and in full respect of the UN purposes and principles…”

 Truth:

 “The ‘Comprehensive Settlement of  the Cyprus Problem’, which was drawn up taking full consideration of relevant United Nations resolutions and treaties…provides for a new state of affairs that is in full accordance with the (Security) Council’s vision of a settlement.” (Report of the UN Secretary-General to the UN Security Council, 16 April 2004)

 “Together with a broad cross-section of the international community, the Secretary-General remains convinced that the settlement plan…conforms with the long-agreed parameters for a solution, and with the Security Council’s vision for a settlement…” (UN Secretary-General’s statement as read by his Special Advisor on Cyprus Mr. Alvaro de Soto,  24 April 2004)

 “The Plan conforms with the long-agreed parameters for a solution and with the Security Council’s vision for a settlement.” (UN Under-Secretary General Prendergast’s briefing to the UN Security Council on 28 April 2004)

 “The Secretary General’s plan is a fair, viable, and carefully balanced compromise that conforms with the long-agreed to parameters of a settlement and with the Security Council’s vision for a settlement.” (Statement made on behalf of the United States by the Alternate US Representative to UN Ambassador Stuart Holliday, on the situation on Cyprus, at the Security Council stakeout,  29 April 2004)

… and the real reason why the Greek Cypriots were guided to a “NO” vote:

 As explained by Mr. Papadopoulos, Greek Cypriot leader, in his televised address to Greek Cypriot voters before the referenda, on 7 April 2004:

“If the sovereign people reject the Plan by their vote, the Republic of Cyprus will become a full and equal member of the European Union. We would have achieved the strategic goal we have jointly set, i.e. to upgrade and shield politically the Republic of Cyprus.

The view that this would be the final initiative for the solution of the Cyprus problem constitutes dogmatism and ignorance of the rules of international policy.

Turkey’s accession course will also continue and therefore Ankara would continue to be under continuous monitoring concerning the adoption of the European acquis. International interest for normalisation and peace in our region will continue to exist. 

Shall we do away with our internationally recognised state exactly at the very moment it strengthens its political weight with its accession to the European Union?

I call upon you to reject the Annan Plan. I call upon you to say a resounding ‘NO’ on 24 April.”