By Harry Theofanous
I very well remember the two terrible acts (the brief coup against the president of Cyprus which failed and the Turkish invasion that still continues) committed against the Republic of Cyprus in July and August of 1974. Acts that have been condemned by the International Community. A series of UN resolutions were adopted condemning the aggressors, including the reinforcement of a UN peace keeping force, which is still present. The U.N. also requested the Secretary General’s good offices to assist the two sides in finding a solution that will reunify Cyprus, based on UN resolutions.
General Assembly Res. 3212 adapted with 117 votes in favor including Turkey, none against and no abstentions, calls upon all states to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and to refrain from all acts and interventions directed against it; .Also Urges the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, and the cessation of all foreign interference in its affairs;
Annan’s plan, in my opinion and I hope I am wrong, it dissolves the Republic of Cyprus which is a full member State of the UN and makes Cyprus again a protectorate of the two States that where the cause of the Cyprus tragedy of 1963 and 1974. The United Nations Resolutions and the United States embargo of arms to Turkey, have been consistent in declaring the Turkish occupation or as some others call it “the Turkish intervention” of Cyprus illegal, and call upon the speedy and total withdrawal of all foreign armed forces from Cyprus..
Thanks to the ability of the leaders and the Cypriot people, a Country with over 8000 yrs of history and culture, the Republic of Cyprus passed all needed conditions to join the European Union. As a result the European Union on Dec.13 2002 accepted the membership of the Republic of Cyprus at the Copenhagen EU accession negotiations meeting. Cyprus signed the agreement in May 2003 and in May of 2004 will be a full member of the EU.
The situation in Cyprus at the present time has a “different dynamic” that is related to the EU. It is important that the solution guarantees the respect of Human Rights and basic freedoms for all the legal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and especially the exercise in the whole of Cypriot territory the rights to property, movement and settlement. Such a solution is prescribed in the relevant UN Resolutions, and the EU requirements.
I express my very strong reservations about the functionality of the Annan plan as it presently stands, but more importantly, I feel that it violates the very resolutions that the United Nations has passed since 1964, as well as a number of international conventions. Consequently, I feel that this plan needs to be reworked in compliance with the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention and the UN resolutions on Cyprus.
I know the Turkish Cypriot compatriots. I was born and lived in Kyrenia, before immigrating to America. My past experience with the Turkish Cypriots makes me believe that the two communities can live in peace as in the past, side by side, and together form a great democratic State. All Cypriots, Greeks-Turks-Armenians- Maronites- Latins are freedom loving, hard workers, religious, family oriented and proud of their background culture and customs. United States of America, my new country, is a country also made up of many different ethnic and religious communities, and it’s this multicultural idea that made this nation so strong. A country that has one sovereignty one citizenship one national identity and one Leader that is voted by a system that represents all the citizens, who have and exercise their right to vote.
***Harry Theofanus is Human Rights Advocate and a former President of the Cyprus Federation of America. He lives in Palm Harbor Florida USA