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Media Watch 2004

29 October 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 29 October 2004.
'Unacceptable interference' Papadopoulos blasts US over 'yes' vote funding
"I consider this amounts to a violation of Article 2.7 of the UN Charter which forbids this international organisation to intervene in the internal political developments of its member states."

PRESIDENT Papadopoulos accused the United States yesterday of "unacceptable interference" in the internal affairs of Cyprus through the funding of local groups backing the controversial Annan Plan.

"I believe that it is an unacceptable interference in our internal affairs for foreign organisations to provide funds, not in order to support philanthropic and other social welfare objectives, but to support one or another political position in Cyprus," the President said.

He was commenting on the revelations made in an official US report evaluating the results of US financial aid to Cyprus distributed through two UN agencies, the UN Development Program and UNOPS – the UN Office for Project Services (see pages 4-5 for full report on the Evaluation Report).

The President pointed out that US aid worth $13m had been distributed in recent years through UNOPS for social, communal and rapprochement purposes with the approval of a committee that consisted of government as well as Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives.

"But from 2003 onward, possibly since 2002, UNOPS either with instructions from the US, or on its own, decided to utilise part of this amount by itself, outside the framework of the joint committee, without informing the committee.''

He added that "despite our repeated protests it refused to provide the committee with a catalogue of where these funds were allocated, both in the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot communities."

US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher also refused to name any of the people who received such funding when pressed to do so during his daily briefing on Wednesday.

The President said that it was a result of the earlier refusal by UNOPS that he wrote to Alvaro de Soto, the Special UN Mediator on Cyprus, "to protest that foreign funds could not be used to promote political interests in Cyprus. De Soto replied that 'we give this money because we feel this promotes rapprochement activities."

Papadopoulos rejected this view however.
"I consider this amounts to a violation of Article 2.7 of the UN Charter which forbids this international organisation to intervene in the internal political developments of its member states," he said.

"I repeat, funding programmes of social welfare is one thing, and funding political positions is another. It has since been revealed, not by us, but by many others, that money has indeed been given to organisations, and persons, some earlier and others recently approved. Indeed, for this funding to be provided, there was a questionnaire and one of the questions was: "Are you for the Annan Plan? Intensely? Moderately or Not?''

No secret
Papadopoulos said all this information was in the official US Evaluation Report.

He added that it was no secret that there have been other "sources of funding for the promotion of internal political positions. But those receiving such funding should have revealed where the money came from, he said.

Asked if whether this was not an issue of moral order, the President replied: "Let those who received the money judge. They know. I would not consider that it would be difficult for them to say: `'Yes, these are my views on the Annan Plan, incidentally, I have asked for and received financial aid for the promotion of these positions.''"