NICOSIA.- GreekNews, ANA, CNA
The left wing AKEL party called on the United Nations and the international community to postpone for a few months the separate referenda scheduled for April 24 in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the Annan plan of March 31 for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.
The central committee of AKEL, which studied the U.N. plan in a two-day special session, said the postponement was necessary “in order to provide the possibility for objective presentation of the plan to the Cypriot people and for negotiations aiming at filling the gaps existing in the plan”, so that its approval by the large majority of Greek and Turkish Cypriots can be made possible.
The party, which is the largest in the 56-seat parliament in Cyprus and is a senior partner in the Cyprus government, warned that in the opposite case, it “will be obliged to not support approval of the Annan plan in the referendum” of April 24.
The proposal approved by the central committee is to be presented to an all-Cyprus party conference convened for April 14, which will take the party’s final decision on the Annan plan in view of the referendum.
In shaping its stand, the central committee, as noted in the written proposal released this afternoon by AKEL’s general secretary Demetris Christofias, took into consideration, inter alia, “the feelings of insecurity shared by the majority of our Greek Cypriot compatriots, whether these emanate from the long presence of the (Turkish) occupation forces and the de facto partition, or are cultivated by certain circles.”
“AKEL calls on the United Nations and the international community to proceed with the postponement of the referenda for a few months, so that the possibility is provided for the objective presentation of the (Annan) plan to the people and for negotiation… and the filling of existing gaps in the plan so as to allow its approval by the large majority of the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”
“In the opposite case, AKEL will be obliged not to support the approval of the Annan plan in the referendum,” it warned.
“The central committee of AKEL calls on our Turkish Cypriot compatriots to show understanding towards the concerns and scepticism of Greek Cypriots, to continue to trust AKEL and to continue the common struggle for reuniting our homeland,” it concluded.
The social democratic EDEK party, also a partner in the Cyprus government, decided to vote against the Annan plan on April 24.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, referring to referenda to take place in Cyprus on April 24 on the Annan plan for a solution to the issue of Cyprus, said in an interview with the Sunday newspaper ”Ethnos tis Kyriakis” that ”it is important that we leave the people of Cyprus to express their judgement without talk of danger and coercive dilemmas.”
Valinakis conceded that a ”no” vote on the part of the Greek Cypriots will cause a stir, but did not disclose the position the Greek government will be ultimately taking. He said the Greek government will announce its decision at the suitable time with a feeling of responsibility and after considering all factors.
”It goes without saying that we will support the decision to be taken by the Greek Cypriots because, first of all, it concerns them directly and because it will be the result of mature and tormenting thought,” Valinakis added.
Former main opposition PASOK party secretary Costas Laliotis, in an interview with a private radio station on Friday, expressed support for a ”no” vote on the Annan plan on the issue of Cyprus when Greek and Turkish Cypriots will have to decide, in separate referenda to take place on April 24, on whether or not to accept the plan.
Laliotis also confirmed his contacting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and expressing his support and solidarity to him.
The former PASOK secretary characterized the address made to the nation by President Papadopoulos earlier this week ”sensational”, adding that ”we must express ourselves and decide freely and far from movement and partisan references.”
World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Andrew A. Athens characterised the events that took place in Washington D.C., when Hellenes from around the country met with US President George W. Bush, ”a benchmark in the history of the Omogheneia in America.”
”I congratulate Mr. Spanos for the successful efforts he concentrated in accomplishing this remarkable goal,” Athens also said, who was an active participant at the dinner and the following day’s meeting with the president along with Andy Manatos, president of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) and Phil Christopher, president of the Cypriot group PSEKA.