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Media Watch 2003

05 September 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou and Gokhan Tezgor
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 5 September 2003.
Opposition parties in the north unite to oust Denktash

THE three main opposition parties in the north yesterday signed a joing election protocol in which they said they would oust Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as Cyprus negotiator and strive for a solution before May 2004.

The protocol was signed by Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) leader Mustafa Akinci, and Ali Erel, leader of the newly-formed Solution and EU Party (SEUP), ahead of legislative elections expected in December.

The three parties said their primary objective was the establishment of a united Cyprus within the framework of the Annan plan and that in the event of an election victory, they were undertaking to form a coalition govenrment with the support and confidence of the Turkish Cypriot people.

“The three parties as a first step soon after the elections will terminate the duties of President Denktash as negotiator and will appoint a new team of negotiators with the confidence of the majority in the assembly,” a joint statement said yesterday.
“The three parties will achieve an agreement on the basis of the Annan plan by May 2004 and put it to a referendum,” it added.

They also said they would strongly oppose any efforts by pro status quo parties and the anti-EU forces in Turkey to interfere in the elections in December and pledged to work together to achieve their goals.

“The peace forces, will, in order to achieve their goals, act in solidarity and co-operation, united in force and action and will refrain from doing anything which may harm each other and will together resist attacks hampering the peace and EU process,” they said.

“If we win, the first thing we will do is to change the negotiator,” Erel told the Cyprus Mail.

“We have a very short period of time, the government itself will not be formed most likely until the beginning of January.”
He added there was a very tight deadline to reach a solution before the island joins the EU in May accession of the island, especially with the need to hold a referendum on a solution.

“That means we will have to finish negotiations and finalise the settlement by the end of March. It leaves us only three months,” said Erel.

“The Annan plan is going to be the basis of a settlement,” he added.
Small changes to the plan can be made, according to Erel, “but the overall balance of the plan cannot be disturbed, the general framework, the general idea of the Annan plan is going to be kept.”

The Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’ is expected to set a date for the elections later this month after it reconvened on Monday after its summer recess."