Burgenstock, Switzerland – The new Annan plan for Cyprus will be a text of over 1.000 pages, including the constitutions of the two constituent states as well as the federal laws, UN sources told CNA. The same sources said that the UN would most probably submit the new revised plan to the two sides on Monday. Last-ditch talks on reunifying Cyprus went into their fourth day on Saturday, with little sign of any movement between the Greek and Turkish sides.
“I can’t say that this second phase has advanced to substantive negotiations. There has been an exchange of the positions of the two sides … but there has been no indication of change in Turkish intransigence,” said Yiannakis Omirou, who leads the Greek Cypriot Socialist Party.
A Turkish official blamed the Greek side, saying his negotiators were still working their way through a 44-page set of demands for amendments to the United Nations reunification plan.
“It is impossible to start the give-and-take process with such a document,” he said, adding that the Turkish proposal was less than three pages long.
The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey are expected to join the talks on Sunday or Monday, along with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The talks cannot go on beyond Wednesday.
European Union leaders said on Friday they were ready to ”accommodate” the outcome of the UN-led negotiations on a plan for reunification, provided it complied with EU principles – an important move since the current plan would need a change to basic EU law.
But the talks still face many obstacles, and officials from the four sides – Turkey, Greece and the two Cypriot communities – have yet to meet formally, although they have dined together. UN envoy Alvaro de Soto has instead depended on shuttle diplomacy, travelling regularly along the snowy roads between hotels in the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.
The biggest problem is whether 180,000 Greek Cypriots who fled or were forced from their homes in the north following the 1974 occupation will be allowed to go back. The Turkish side wants only a limited return.
The UN has proposed a compromise that would see 100,000 people allowed to go back, but that is still a problem because in the European Union, people have the right to live and own property wherever they like – especially within their own country.
If the negotiators do not agree on the plan by March 31, Annan will finish it himself. Either way, the proposal will go to separate referenda in each of the communities on April 20. If either side rejects it, Cyprus will not be reunited by the time it joins the EU on May 1, and EU laws will only apply to the Greek Cypriot part of the island.
The UN hosted on Saturday a lunch for members of the delegations participating at the enlarged talks held here under their auspices with a view to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem by May 1st. The lunch which lasted for two hours was attended on the part of the UN by Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast and UN Secretary General’s special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro De Soto.
The Greek side was represented by Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, the Turkish side by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyial, the Greek Cypriot side by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and former Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot side by Mehmet Ali Talat and Serdar Denktash.
Asked by CNA, Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, said the lunch was a “helpful social occasion” and that as it was natural the Cyprus issue was discussed.
HIGH LEVEL ON MONDAY
As regards UN Secretary General who arrived here on Saturday, Dujarric said that he was going to spend the first day being briefed by De Soto and his team.
The Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis is expected in Burgenstock Sunday evening and Turkey’s Premier Tayyip Erdogan is set to arrive on Monday.
Annan’s spokesman Fred Eckard said on Friday that the Secretary General had asked that all concerned be in a position to make final commitments at Burgenstock.
”He will be personally involved in the effort as it draws to an end”, the spokesman added.
European Union Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen arrives here Monday with a team of experts to offer assistance to the UN effort for a Cyprus solution, in the framework of the EU decision to accommodate the terms of a settlement, as Cyprus prepares to join the Union on May 1st, EU sources told CNA.
”What we want is the parties to agree. It’s up to the parties to agree to a settlement. Verheugen will offer assistance so that the agreement remains in the framework of the acquis communautaire and respects the principles on which the EU is founded,” the sources said.
Responding to questions on the issue of permanent derogations the Turkish side is seeking, the same sources said that it was up to the parties to agree, adding that ”our parameters are well known by all the parties.”
Asked when Verheugen will be leaving Burgenstock, they said ”when it’s over.”
The US was monitoring the ongoing UN-led talks on Cyprus and Secretary of State Colin Powell was prepared to get personally involved as necessary, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has said.
”There is very active involvement by the United States, in the person of Ambassador Tom Weston and Ambassador Klosson on site,” Boucher said responding to questions.
”Secretary Powell has followed the issue. He has made clear, as the President’s made clear, that he is prepared to be personally involved, as appropriate and necessary,” he added. He noted that at this stage in the talks, the action has moved to Switzerland and people are working very hard out there.
”We’ll see where they get to. We’re following it very closely,” Boucher said.