Defeated 2004 Annan Plan Haunts Cyprus Unity Talks

Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades waves to protesters as he arrives in a car at Ledras Palace, inside the U.N buffer zone, for a dinner with the Turkish Cypriot leader and the U.N special envoy in the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Sunday, April 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA – The vexing arguments that led to Cypriots rejecting the so-called Annan Plan in 2004 to reunify the island have resurfaced again as new talks between rival leaders have resumed.

The plan was named after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and was backed by the minority Turkish-Cypriots but overwhelmingly nixed by Cypriots, dealing an almost fatal blow to hopes among some to bring together the island split by an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.

The Citizens’ Alliance said that Greek Cypriots should not sell out the country, reminding that 76 percent of Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan 13 years earlier and as the group said President Nicos Anastasiades is betraying Cypriots by working for a compromise with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

The party, which was founded after the referendum, called on people to remain firm. “We will never consent to our signing for the abolition of our state, the Republic of Cyprus. We will not accept a self-imposed restriction of human rights and the abolition of our democratic freedoms,” a statement said. “Let us not forget that motherlands are not for sale,” it said, according to the Cyprus Mail.

The centrist DIKO party said defeat of the Annan Plan was act of dignity, determination, courage and responsibility. They were the ruling party at the time and their leader and former President, Tassos Papadopoulos, strongly urged people to reject it.

The plan, the party said, would have abolished the Republic of Cyprus in return for vague promises from Turkey and would have sacrificed the future of Cypriot Hellenism. DIKO said current negotiations were along the along the same lines.

“Unfortunately, the policy implemented since 2008 by the governments of Christofias and Anastasiades did not respect the decision of the Greek Cypriots to reject the proposal,” the party declared, adding that provisions now under discussion were worse than those of the Annan plan.

“We will fight so that, on the next anniversary of the Annan plan, the people will be assured and confident that those who rule it will do so according to their will,” it said.

The Green Party argued along similar lines. While Turkey is as intransigent as ever, “the Cypriot leadership chose the way of concessions and the continuation of the ‘good child’ policy,” the party said.