American Hellenic Institute


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Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel published in The National Herald
January 7, 2004—No. 1 (202) 785-8430


By Gene Rossides

The Annan Plan submitted in the fall of 2002 by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for negotiations for the settlement of the Cyprus problem is a more complicated version of the 1959-1960 London-Zurich agreements imposed on the Greek Cypriots by the British during the Cold War.

As currently written the Annan Plan is undemocratic and unworkable and needs serious changes in the interests of the U.S. as well as those of Cyprus, the UN and the European Union (EU). It also violates key UN resolutions and the EU’s democratic norms andacquis communautaire.

As I am informed, the British had the primary influence in drafting the proposal, with U.S. acquiescence. The Annan Plan perpetuates the undemocratic features and ethnic divisions of the London-Zurich agreements. The Cold War is over yet the British continue their policy of setting one ethnic group off against another.

The Annan Plan is harmful to U.S. efforts to build democratic institutions in Iraq.

The U.S. should in its own best interests be the champion of democratic norms throughout the world, not obvious undemocratic constitutions like the one proposed.

The U.S. should support changes in the Annan Plan to make it democratic, viable and just.

The Annan Plan brings no credit to the UN. It would foster division and strife. Secretary-General Annan himself should seek changes in the plan in the interests of the UN to have a democratic and viable plan.

The proposal is undemocratic.

The parliamentary system under the Annan Plan creates a minority veto for the 18% Turkish Cypriot minority. The following key legislative matters among others would be subject to the Turkish Cypriot veto:

  1. Adoption of laws concerning taxation, citizenship and immigration;
  2. Approval of the budget; and
  3. Election of the Presidential Council.

This arrangement is clearly undemocratic, a recipe for stalemate and harmful to all Cypriots.

The minority veto is also present in the Presidential Council which exercises the executive power of the component state. Political paralysis in the exercise of executive power will be the result of this arrangement.

The Annan Plan vetoes exceed the minority vetoes of the London-Zurich 1959-1960 agreements, which vetoes led to the breakdown of the Cyprus constitution. A minority veto is undemocratic and repugnant to core U.S. values.

Is the U.S. prepared to propose the Annan Plan’s minority veto provisions for the 20 percent Kurdish minority of 15 million in Turkey? Is Turkey prepared to give its Kurdish minority rights it seeks for the Turkish Cypriots? What about the Arab minority in Israel, Turks in Bulgaria, Albanians in FYROM, Greeks in Albania and minorities in Africa, Asia and North and South America?

The U.S. position in support of the British maneuvered Annan Plan is, frankly, an embarrassment to our foreign policy. Rather than supporting undemocratic norms, the U.S. should promote with consistency and vigor the democratic policy espoused for Cyprus by Vice President George H.W. Bush on July 6, 1988:

"We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights.

"The proposal is unworkable.

It is useful to recall that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research called the 1959-1960 London-Zurich agreements dysfunctional. It accurately predicted the problem areas. The Annan Plan is even more complicated and creates conditions for continuous squabbling, disagreements and deadlock.

The proposal violates key UN resolutions.

The proposal violates on its face important UN resolutions which guarantee the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus.

The proposal subverts property rights.

One of the most pernicious effects of the illegal Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus is that the rightful owners of real property there continue to be excluded from their property by the Turkish military. The Annan Plan proposes a highly complicated, ambiguous and uncertain regime for resolving property issues and is based on the principle that real property owners can ultimately be forced to give up their property rights which would violate the European Convention on Human Rights and international law.

The proposal fails to fully demilitarize Cyprus.

There is no need for Turkish or Greek soldiers to remain in Cyprus. The U.S. should insist on full demilitarization now.

The proposal does not provide for the return to Turkey of the 100,000 illegal Turkish settlers in the occupied area.

Central to a proper solution is the return of the 100,000 illegal Turkish settlers to Turkey.

The proposed territorial adjustment is clearly unfair.

The two proposed maps—A 28.6 percent and B 28.5 percent reward Turkey, the aggressor and penalize the Greek Cypriots, the victims. The Turkish Cypriots comprise 18 percent of the population and have title to about 14 percent of the land. A map proposal should provide for no more than 18 percent under Turkish Cypriot administration.

The U.S. should seek changes in the Annan Plan to reflect U.S. values and interests.

The Cold War has been over for more than a decade. Turkey’s March 1, 2003 "no" vote against helping the U.S. did occur and we should not forget it! And Turkey’s attempt to extract more billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, a veto on U.S. Iraqi Kurdish policy and access to Iraqi oil also occurred. As one senior administration official said, Turkey’s actions are "extortion in the name of alliance."

The U.S. aided and abetted Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974 and its renewed aggression on August 14-16, 1974 through the actions of then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger by his unlawful conduct in refusing to halt immediately arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law.

The U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Ambassador Tom Weston, should be seeking changes in the Annan Plan to make it democratic, workable and just. The U.S. bears the major responsibility for Turkey’s aggression and should now be willing to stand up and hold Turkey accountable for its aggression by calling:

  1. for Turkey’s armed forces and settlers to leave Cyprus now;
  2. for Turkey to pay damages for all the destruction and loss of life she caused;
  3. for Turkey to pay to all property owner’s the losses they have suffered from Turkey’s occupation of their property since 1974 as Turkey was forced by the Council of Europe to pay Titina Loizidou under threat of expulsion; and
  4. for Turkey to pay for the costs of resettlement of the Greek Cypriot refugees.

The State Department’s support of the Annan Plan is an embarrassment and contrary to the policy enunciated by President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Helsinki on September 9, 1990 when they condemned Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Kuwait and declared "that aggression cannot and will not pay." Their joint statement reads in part:

"We are united in the belief that Iraq’s aggression must not be tolerated. No peaceful international order is possible if larger states can devour their smaller neighbors.

* * *

We call upon the entire world community to adhere to the sanctions mandated by the United Nations.

* * *

We are determined to see this aggression end... We must demonstrate beyond any doubt that aggression cannot and will not pay."

If Turkey refuses to cooperate the U.S. should seek UN sanctions.

Also the U.S. must not ignore the wisdom of the Eisenhower Doctrine, articulated by President Eisenhower on October 31, 1956, when he stopped the illegal invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel.

" There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends."

Call and write the President, the Secretary of State, your Senators and your Representatives and urge them to support changes in the Annan Plan to make it conform to democratic norms in the interests of the U.S. You can make a difference.

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at