The Annan Plan: Is it a just and viable settlement?”:
'The Annan Plan: is it a just and viable settlement?' was organised by Lobby
for Cyprus with the support of the Cypriot Students' organisation ISXIS on 18
March 2004. The seminar was given by Professor
Vangelis Coufoudakis, distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Indiana
University, US and Rector at Intercollege in Nicosia, Cyprus; and by Dr
Clearchos Kyriakides, Lecturer in Law at the University of
Hertfordshire and solicitor.
Professor Coufoudakis opened his presentation by emphasizing that the Cyprus problem is in its most critical phase ever and that at the moment we are in a situation similar to that of 1959. In a few days, he said, the Republic of Cyprus that was created in 1960 may become ‘Annanistan’.
Mr Coufoudakis stated that he does not belong to any political party. He
indicated that his approach towards the Annan Plan is not a very positive one,
as he always supported the need for the survival of the Republic of Cyprus; the
need for a peaceful, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus issue based on
the UN Security Council Resolutions, the acquis communautaire and the decisions
of the European Court of Human Rights on Cyprus. Thus, he does not support the
procedures of 13 February in New York and the Secretary General’s binding
Professor Coufoudakis based his opposition to the Annan Plan on two grounds: procedural and substantive.
Substantive problems with the Annan Plan
The Annan Plan and the EU
The Treaty of accession signed in Athens on 16 April 2003, refers to the
Republic of Cyprus as established by the 1960 Agreements. Professor Coufoudakis
gave emphasis to the fact that after 1 May, Cyprus will be in the strongest
negotiating position since 1974. Cyprus should NOT use the EU as a weapon
against Turkey. After 43 years of independence, he said, we may be witnessing
the demise of the Republic of Cyprus. This is the result of the Greek Cypriot
policy of concessions. Since 1974, the Turkish government and Denktash
continually change the basis for the talks. But no Cyprus government demanded
talks from a zero basis in order not to be accused of being intransigent. This
policy of Greek Cypriot concessions has brought us to the discussion of
‘realities’ created in Cyprus after 1974. Professor Coufoudakis very
characteristically called this policy of concessions the 'salamisation' of the
Cyprus conflict. You have a salami, he said, and you keep slicing away year
after year after year and now only the last part (oura) of the salami has been
left and that is the Republic of Cyprus and under the Annan Plan they try to
take that away as well.
Cyprus, under the Annan Plan, does not fit the EU model. The reality of the Plan is that it creates a subordinate, dependant and disfunctional confederation with external guarantor powers and second class citizens in the EU of the 21st century. Cyprus on 1 May will become a member of the EU with or without a solution, thus Cypriots should not be afraid to say ‘NO’ to the Plan and they must not listen to the threats of the ‘possible consequences’ of a non-Annan Plan solution. Professor Coufoudakis concluded his speech saying that Cyprus may be small but it is a proud country and we have to work for the unity and the survival of the Republic of Cyprus and Cypriot Hellenism.
Dr Clearchos Kyriakides, who spoke after Prof Coufoudakis, said that in the forthcoming referendum on the Annan Plan the people of Cyprus are facing a stark choice. They can vote ‘yes’ to the Plan thereby complying with the wishes of external factors to legitimise the illegitimate. Alternatively, they can vote ‘no’ and pay political penalties for doing so. He briefly mentioned the history of the Cyprus question since 1960 until today comparing the rush of the London Conference in February 1959 with the rush of the negotiations nowadays and the procedures and consequences of 1960 Agreements with the procedures and possible consequences of the Annan Plan. President Papadopoulos faces a stark choice as did Archbishop Makarios in February 1959. The Archbishop Makarios on 19 February 1959 signed the agreements. This is a great lesson not just for politicians but also for citizens about the risks involved in putting your signature to any documents before you have fully considered its context, before you have time to assess there implications and before you have time to take expert legal advice.
Dr Kyriakides referred to Security Council resolution 541 of 1983 which confirms the purported Turkish unilateral declaration for independence as incompatible to the 1960 Agreements and therefore invalid. He also referred to the High level agreements of 1977 signed by Archbishop Makarios which introduced the idea of bizonal and bicommunal federation consisting of two equal communities. The Annan Plan represents those ideas though as a confederation. The Annan Plan proposes to establish a new state of affairs. Some features of this new state of affairs are new and some other are old as they included in the 1960 agreements.
By analysing the main constitutional provisions of the Annan Plan, Dr Kyriakides concluded that in other countries (eg US, UK and Turkey) minority ethnic groups do not have any of the rights, powers and vetoes which are accorded to the Turkish Cypriots under the Annan Plan. Can that be fair if the Cyprus Republic is to be a democracy?
Dr Kyriakides, in the final part of his lecture analysed the provisions of Annan Plan as regards demilitarisation, security and guarantees. The Annan Plan provides a unique form of demilitarisation. Under the Plan, Cyprus is going to be demilitarised, subject to the provisions of the three 1960 Treaties.
Dr Kyriakides concluded saying that the historic dilemma facing the people of Cyprus is this: any vote in favour of the Annan Plan will constitute a human blunder of a historic proportion. But any vote against may result in the formulation of another plan which may be even harder to justify. If history teaches us anything, it is this: if you find yourself approaching a trap, it is advisable to stop walking.
At the end of the seminar, the audience asked key questions which were answered by the two speakers.