NEW YORK.- The Pancyprian Association of America in a strong statement issued on February 27, calls for rejection of the Annan plan. The organization held a general meeting last Monday and on Wednesday, Pancyprian and PSEKA President, Philip Christopher, along with Panicos Papanicolaou, President of the Cyprus Federation of America; Nicos Mouyiaris, Executive Vice President of the Pancyprian, World SAE President Andrew Athens and Coordinated Effort of Hellenes president, Andrew Manatos, privately discussed the significant concerns of the Hellenic-American community about the Annan plan, with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman.
Participants told Greek News that they were disappointed by the US stand and stated clealy to him that without significant changes, they will not accept the Annan plan and the community will work for its defeat in the referendum.
In the Pancyprian statement it is stated that during the past 30 years, the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, members and friends of the Pancyprian Association spared neither time, effort or money in assisting the struggle of the Cypriot people for freedom and justice.
“Although the Cyprus Government accepted the “Annan Plan” as a basis for negotiation, we feel compelled as American citizens, who value the ideals of freedom, justice and democracy, to express our deep concern about certain provisions of the U.N. Plan if included in the final agreement would make it unjust, undemocratic and dysfunctional.
We therefore appeal to the U.N. Secretary General, U.S. Government, E.U. Commission, as well as the Governments of Cyprus and Greece to amend those provisions in such a way as to allow a reunified Cyprus Republic to be a true functioning democracy within the European Union”.
STATEMENT OF THE PANCYPRIAN ASSOCIATION
Cyprus is currently going through an extremely difficult period, as the two communities on the island are engaged in UN-sponsored talks on the basis of the plan submitted by the UN Secretary General for the reunification of Cyprus.
As American citizens who value the ideals of freedom, justice and democracy, we have worked hard since 1974 to end the forcible division of the Republic of Cyprus imposed by Turkey on the basis of those same values.
It is in that context that we extend our wholehearted support to the people and the government of Cyprus as they proceed with those negotiations that will be decisive for the future of their country. At the same time and for the same reasons, we feel compelled to express, at this stage of the process, our deep concern about certain provisions of the UN Plan that, if included in the final agreement, could make it unjust, undemocratic, difficult to implement and in the final analysis dysfunctional. This will have detrimental consequences for all the people of Cyprus and for the reunified state which will struggle to function smoothly as a member of the European Union.
We therefore appeal to the UN Secretary General, to the U.S. Government, to the EU Commission as well as to the governments of Cyprus and Greece to amend those provisions in such a way as to allow a reunified Cyprus to be a true functioning democracy within the EU.
We recognize that any agreement reached may not be a fair one and will certainly not fulfill all the wishes of the majority of the population, but the best possible accord under the circumstances should be secured. There are, however, certain minimum standards that the agreement must meet for it is to be embraced by the vast majority of the population of Cyprus which will be called upon to legitimize it through their vote on April 21, 2004. As a matter of principle, the agreement must not appear to legitimize in any way the results of Turkey’s military aggression against Cyprus. No UN agreement should reward international aggression.
The reunified Cyprus ought to be controlled by Cypriot and governed by a constitution and system of laws compatible with the UN Charter, the EU basic law and universally recognized standards of democracy. The agreement must first and foremost address the fundamental interests and concerns of the people of Cyprus and the state of Cyprus, not those of Ankara or any other capital.
We are deeply concerned that the UN Plan in its current form contains provisions that do not meet the above criteria and cannot lead to a workable and viable solution in Cyprus but only to more problems. A basic underlying flaw of the Annan Plan is that if focuses too much on communal rights equating a community of 18% of the total population with a community of 80% of the total population. This flaw distorts in a detrimental way the democratic structure of the reunified state. It also violates, through severe and unacceptable restrictions, basic individual rights that are fundamental to a functioning modern democracy and form an indispensable pillar of both the USA and the EU system of democratic governance.
The current UN Plan is also heavy on permanent separatist provisions that will inevitably lead to the erection of legal, political, economic and psychological barriers and walls of division, between the two communities. The final agreement should, instead, aim to be rich on minimizing restrictions of movement, settlement and ownership throughout Cyprus. It should have a fundamentally integrative, rather than separatist philosophical bias, reflected in all its provisions. The goal should be to reunite Cyprus into an integrated, functioning whole democracy. In its present form, the proposed framework will inevitably lead to the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus, and the creation of an amorphous dysfunctional entity that restricts fundamental rights of its citizens. As such, it will fall apart with disastrous consequences. Although the need of transitional periods and interim security arrangements for the implementation of all the agreement is recognized, there is no reason to make the first too long, and the second permanent.
Concerning the security arrangements, there is no need for troops from Turkey or Greece to be on the island. As an interim measure such forces can be an integral part of a UN/EU multinational force under the mandate and command of the UN Security Council. The 1960 system of guarantees and alliance failed the people of Cyprus in a tragic way, as all three guarantor powers, at one time or another, ignored the true interests of Cyprus and focused on promoting their own at the expense of Cyprus. This should not be repeated. A demilitarized Cyprus, within the EU, does not need anachronistic military systems to guarantee its independence. Such schemes will only breed suspicion, foreign interference and possibly renewed conflict in Cyprus. The legitimate concerns (security, human rights, etc) of the Turkish Cypriot community, as well as those of the Greek Cypriot community, can be adequately safeguarded in a genuine democratic federation within the European Union.
To his credit, the UN Secretary General brought the parties together to negotiate a final agreement based on a detailed proposal. But this commendable achievement should not be undermined, as we fear it is, by a dogmatic devotion to unrealistic timetables which aim not to facilitate a workable agreement for the benefit of Cyprus, but to an arrangement to facilitate Turkey’s European aspirations. This is wrong!
The Turkish side waste more than a year away from the negotiations, insulting the Secretary General and rejecting his proposals as “diabolical”, “a crime against humanity” and an assortment of other labels. Now, faced with deadlines on its EU aspirations, Turkey has recruited the US government to help Ankara out of its dilemma by pressing the people of Cyprus, but mostly the Greek Cypriots, to hastily conclude an agreement on that very blueprint that Turkey rejected last year, and which needs serious adjustments if is to be viable. The pressure ought to be on Turkey to withdraw its troops and settlers from Cyprus and not on the Greek Cypriots to accommodate Turkey’s wishes by a certain date.
We, here in the U.S. have been trying for decades to help end the division of Cyprus. And we certainly welcome the renewed interest of the U.S. government to help bring it about. But having reached this critical juncture, where now all parties recognize the benefits of reunification, special and serious attention must be given to the contents of the final agreement. It should not be a “closing” of the Cyprus problem at any cost. Long after international envoys forget about Cyprus, its people will have to live with the agreement they help to fashion and with its consequences. And it is incumbent upon all leaders involved, and especially the UN Secretary General, to ensure that those consequences will not be detrimental to Cyprus and its people.
The Secretary General and those who help author his plan for Cyprus, have a heavy responsibility to come up with a fair and workable final agreement based on the rule of law and sound democratic principles. It should not be their mission to fashion an incomprehensible, unimplementable and dysfunctional blueprint to “close” the Cyprus problem. Their mandate should be to genuinely solve the problem.
It will be a new tragedy for Cyprus if having arrived at this point, on the verge of joining the EU, an unrealistic agreement is forced on its people. An agreement that could generate serious problems for years to come.
We therefore call upon all leaders and parties involved, to consider very seriously the concerns we have raised and help construct an agreement that will judged as fair, just, functional and viable by universally acceptable criteria.
Only then call they ask the people of Cyprus, with a clear conscience, to embrace the agreement, legitimize it through their vote and implement it with determination. Only then it can be workable. We believe that as things stand now that prospect remains distant.
As American citizens we must insist that our government helps direct the UN negotiations in a way that guarantees for the people of Cyprus the ideals and values that guide our own democracy. We must not favor or promote double standards or derogations that violate our fundamental principles for the sake of expediency.
The people of Cyprus have suffered too much, for too long, as a result of such a cynical approach in the past. We owe them and they deserve, a genuine democratic solution guided by the rule of law. Let us not miss this opportunity to help them secure it for generations to come.