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Media Watch 2004

17 February 2004
Source: Politis
Comment: The following article appeared in Politis of Nicosia on 17 February 2004.
What President Papadopoulos requests from Kofi Annan
"The aim of the President of the Republic is to negotiate the issue of the settlers from scratch..."

Strategy of changes in four points of the Annan plan

In detail, the argumentation to be put forward by Nicosia at the first meeting on Thursday

The President of the Republic focuses the attention to merely four points of the Annan plan so as to achieve substantial improvements in view of the beginning (Thursday, February 19th) of the intensive talks on the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

A high-ranking governmental source disclosed to Politis that the functional changes sought by the Greek Cypriot side in the Annan plan were limited to the administrative and legislative power of the federal state that would be established by the conclusive agreement. At the same time, Tassos Papadopoulos and his advisors will be negotiating decisively on the issue of settlers and they would demand the taking of decisions at the negotiations table regarding the economic cost of the solution.

At the thriller talks in New York, the President of the Republic, following a joint decision with the Greek Premier, Costas Simitis, submitted to Kofi Annan a letter-document with the following specific improvements in the settlement plan.

Administrative power
The Greek Cypriot side considers non-functional the existence of a Presiding Council with 6 members (4 Greek Cypriots and 2 Turkish Cypriots) for the joint state. It recommends the establishment of a Cabinet with President, Vice-President and 9 Ministers. The president will be Greek Cypriot, the Vice-President will be Turkish Cypriot and the proportion regarding the Ministers will be 6-3.

Legislative power
The Greek Cypriot side requests the establishment of a First Instance Court similar to the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The court will have 9 members (3 Greek Cypriots, 3 Turkish Cypriots and 3 alien judges), will have the right to rule and its establishment is not provided for by the Annan plan. The plan of the UN Secretary General provides for a Supreme Court with a similar structure. The Greek Cypriot side proposes that the Supreme Court should operate on a secondary level.

The aim of the President of the Republic is to negotiate the issue of the settlers from scratch. In his letter to the UN Secretary General he does not clarify the number of settlers whose stay would be acceptable by the Greek Cypriots side aiming at limiting this number to the minimum. It should be reminded that the UNO considers that based on the Annan plan the largest part of the settlers will remain in Cyprus after the solution.

Economic cost of the solution
The Annan plan does not deal satisfactorily with the cost of the solution. The Greek Cypriot side will seek that the special technical committee, which was decided to be set up in New York, will conclude in time to a specific study so that decisions will be made prior to the signing of the agreement and the referenda. According to our information, a EU expert will be part of the committee in question – the EU together with the USA will initiate the realization of the conference for the finding of donours willing to support financially the solution of the Cyprus issue.

Next Thursday, the two sides are to have their first meeting – following The Hague – with the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto at the old airport in Nicosia. In view of their opening meeting, the reservations are evident. A high-ranking source stated to Politis that the first day would be indicative of the real intentions of both the UN Secretary General and Turkey. The exact framework of the talks will be determined. The time limits are tight so all aspects of the plan are more likely not to be discussed. In all probability, the two sides will choose to negotiate on the points that they seek to alter. On Thursday, issues of scheduling are to be discussed. In other words, how intensive the talks will be, whether they will be conducted in the morning or in the afternoon and other similar issues. Finally, the establishment of the technical committees that will undertake the completion of the necessary statutes for the new state will be decided."