ATHENS.- Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday refused to make a concrete to the Greek Cypriot, over the Annan peace plan for Cyprus, hours after a meeting of Greece’s top political leadership. Although he stressed that the plan is more positive than negative, he stressed that in any case, “Greece will be, unshakeable as always, by its (Cyprus’) side, regardless of the referendum’s result”.
GreekNews has written last week that Karamanlis would not support “Yes”.
Karamanlis underlined that he is announcing his decisions with respect to the Republic of Cyprus, its government and its citizens, before weighing in more on the positive aspects of the plan.
“There are positive and negative points in the plan. We cannot allow the injustices to affect us in the long run. I believe that we can exploit the positive (elements) within the framework of the EU dynamics, which will take the edge off the plan’s difficult points,” Karamanlis said in a closely watched address.
Moreover, the newly elected Greek premier (March 7), said that the positive elements are greater than the negative ones when judged within the European Union prism.
In case a “yes” vote is recorded in the April 24 referenda, Karamanlis – the nephew and namesake of Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis – said Athens will stand by the new and unified state, while noting that the prospects for a Cyprus solution cannot be lost if a “no” vote wins the day. “Efforts must continue to bridge the gape between the two communities,” he said in nationally televised statements.
The Greek premier also sent a message to Turkish leadership, citing his determination to improve Greek-Turkish relations, bilateral friendship and trust. Along those lines, he said Athens will aid Turkey’s every effort to converge with the Union’s acquis communautaire.
Finally, he warned against any efforts to pressure or influence the Cypriot people’s choice ahead of the referenda.
PASOK leader accuses government of negligence and defeatism: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking after the meeting between political party leaders on the issue of Cyprus on Thursday, accused the government once again of ”negligence and of creating a climate of defeatism,” adding that the party leaders should have also held talks before the negotiations in Lucerne.
Papandreou called for an active policy until the referenda are held in Cyprus on April 24 and for initiatives to be undertaken towards the European Union to secure the guarantees also requested by the Cypriot Leftist party AKEL, while also backing the claim for a postponement of the referenda and urging the government to take relevant initiatives.
The PASOK leader referred to his efforts for Cyprus when he was foreign minister and promised to stand by the Cypriots whatever the outcome of the referendum may be.
Papandreou considers outcome of party leaders’ meeting vindication: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou considers the outcome of Thursday’s meeting of political party leaders a vindication for himself personally and for his party regarding the policy applied on the issue of Cyprus during the past years and for his option to openly declare support for the Annan plan for Cyprus.
Associates of the PASOK leader mentioned that vindication concerned the position of the government and of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology in favor of the Annan plan, enabling the creation of a big majority in the Greek political world, believing that this was the result of the stance observed by Papandreou and the party.
Papandreou, according to his associates, was very critical during the discussion, criticizing both the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, while stressing that ”we lost advantages” in Lucerne and after it and in the meantime the voices of refusal and of leveling prevailed.
Papandreou also disagreed with Karamanlis in connection with the doctrine of ”Cyprus decides and Greece supports”, stressing that this does not mean that Greece looks on without undertaking any initiative.
Satisfaction over the outcome of the party leaders’ meeting was also obvious in statements made by Papandreou himself, who said the ”wider consensus” and the ”strong majority of political forces in favor of a positive approach to the plan of Kofi Annan” resulted ”from our clear position.”
Communist Party leader rejects Annan Cyprus plan: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga opposed the possibility of the Annan plan for Cyprus being adopted during Thursday’s meeting of political party leaders.
”Our best solidarity for the people of Cyprus is with a ‘no’ to the Annan plan. We support a ‘no’ because the Annan plan does not create a bicommunal and bizonal federation but, on the contrary, it creates an international protectorate in the path of oil towards the Middle East which, in our view, is worse than that of Kosovo and Bosnia,” she said during a press conference following the meeting of political leaders.
Papariga said Cyprus, as envisaged by the Annan plan, will be a ”non-state”, adding that ”it will be split three ways between the two established states and the British bases which are consolidated and supported, turning in this way into an unsinkable aircraft carrier which the United States can also use.”
”Such a state did not even exist during the colonial era,” she said and wondered ”whether Turkey needed a price for the operation of an independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq and whether Cyprus, and the Aegean afterwards, will constitute something in exchange for such a development.”
Papariga said all who are saying that the Annan plan serves a rapprochement between the two communities are not telling the truth and pointed out that the best rapprochement will take place on the basis of the two communities’ common opposition to the plan and on the basis of common social and class interests.
”This peculiar state being created, with the two separate sovereignties and without there being appropriate hierarchy in decision-making, where every state will be stronger than the central administration and will have a separate economy will precisely be consolidated and make rapprochement difficult,” she noted.
”A ‘no’ will have its difficulties, but it will not bind anyone’s hands. It will create conditions for real pressure for different negotiating. A ‘yes’ will bring one before faits accomplis and will bind one’s hands,” Papariga added.
SYN leader supports postponement of Cyprus referenda on Annan plan: Coalition of the Radical Left (SYN) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Thursday promoted the proposal of Cyprus’ left-wing AKEL party for a postponement of simultaneous and separate referenda in Cyprus, slated for April 24, when the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities are called on to accept or not UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s fifth and final plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
In a press conference following the morning meeting between Greece’s political party leaders on the Cyprus issue, Constantopoulos stood in favor of the postponement of the referenda so that there may be further briefing, improvement, correction and the filling in of gaps in the Annan Plan. However, in the event that this is not feasible, he suggested support of the plan.
According to Constantopoulos, the 5th Annan Plan contained positive and negative elements as well as dangers, but at the same time also forecasts which can develop ”a positive momentum for a solution to the Cyprus issue.”
The positive elements, he said, include the reunification of the island, a decrease of the transitional period and the European framework. The negative elements are the shortcomings on security issues, the staying of the settlers, the presence of foreign troops and the consolidation of the guarantor powers and the composition of the Supreme Court.
”The assessment is taking place at the level of an invasion, of a military defeat and 30 years of occupation,” Constantopoulos clarified, comparing the present situation to ”a prolonged de facto partition.”
On the prospects of the 5th plan, he said that ”despite the problems, the dangers and the reservations, it could promote the prospect of reunification and the promotion of a bicommunal, bizonal federation.”
”It is not the Plan which consolidates and deepens the partition, but the prolongation of the situation,” the SYN leader claimed, replying indirectly to extracts of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos’ address to the nation on April 7.
Constantopoulos called for the postponement of the referenda for a few months to enable the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to find common ground.
”The issue which AKEL raises is not procedural. We ask of the Greek government to take all the initiatives to enable the crucial request for a postponement to become a reality and the Cypriot government should also raise it,” he said.
Summing up, Constantopoulos said: ”The ‘no’ by one or both communities means a non-solution. If the issue is the existence of two separate states, or of a Greek state with a Turkish minority, this is another strategic and political framework and I’m afraid that we are slipping into another framework than that of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.”
Greek leadership concludes closed-door meeting on Annan peace plan for Cyprus: Greece’s political leaders concluded a closed-door meeting on Thursday afternoon focusing squarely on the Cyprus issue, in light of two separate referenda for the two communities on the island republic on April 24.
The meeting was chaired by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, and convened after a request by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The other Parliament-represented party leaders in attendance were main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Nikos Constantopoulos. Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis also participated in the session.
A brief press release issued by the presidency shortly after the meeting concluded, at roughly 3 p.m. (local time), merely cited the topics of discussion – the referenda, the Annan peace plan itself as well as political developments following a “yes” or “no” vote on the island republic – while adding that political leaders outlined their positions.
Finally, the press release stressed that party leaders will announce their parties’ positions individually.