Cyprus president writes to world leaders on peace talks

08:21, January 21, 2010      

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Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has written to five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the heads of EU member-states, briefing them on the latest developments in negotiations with Turkish Cypriot side.

In his letter made public by the Press and Information Office Wednesday, Christofias said the Greek Cypriot side rejects the proposals recently put forward by Turkish Cypriot community as they "contravene the agreed basis and the sensitive balances which have been shaped during decades of negotiations" for a settlement. "It is not possible to expect the Greek Cypriot side to accept positions which are beyond the balances and in fact to such a degree", said President Christofias, also the Greek Cypriot leader.

The letter was sent on January 11, the day Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat started a three-day round of intensified talks.

They are expected to embark on a second round of talks next Monday.

The Turkish Cypriot proposals were tabled a few days before the intensified round of talks began. The Greek Cypriots said they were actually brought by Talat from Ankara after talks with the Turkish government.

Christofias said in his letter that even if the Greek Cypriot side were to accept the Turkish Cypriot proposals, "it is certain that they would be rejected in a new referendum, disastrous for the prospects of a mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus problem."

He was alluding to the separate referenda held in April 2004 on a plan formulated by then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which was rejected by 76 percent of Greek Cypriots as being one-sided in favor of the Turkish Cypriots.

Christofias said the Turkish Cypriot proposals are not only outside the agreed framework for a Cyprus solution but also go well beyond the provisions of the rejected Annan plan.

He cited many examples, such as:

The Annan Plan provided for rotational presidency on a 2:1 ratio, despite the population ratio being 4:1. The Turkish Cypriots insist on a 3:2 ratio.

The Annan Plan provided for 6:3 ratio for the Council of Ministers. The Turkish Cypriot side insists on a 7:5 ratio.

The Annan plan provided that any past act shall be recognised as valid provided, inter alia, that it is not inconsistent with international law. The Turkish Cypriot side does not accept this.

Despite of the Turkish Cypriot proposals, Christofias said in his letter, the Greek Cypriot side is committed to the aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement.

However, he said, it must be based on the UN Security Council resolutions, the values and principles of the EU as well as on the agreed framework for a single, federal, bizonal, bicommunal state.. .that would safeguard the human rights and freedoms of all Cypriots.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers.

After years of stalemate, the leaders of the two rival communities restarted in September 2008 comprehensive talks aimed at reunifying the eastern Mediterranean island. But the two sides have made no breakthrough so far.

Source: Xinhua
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