Accessibility links

Referendum Results Makes Cyprus Partition 'Permanent,' says Turkey - 2004-04-25


There's been swift international criticism of the rejection by Greek Cypriot voters of a U.N. plan to reunify their island nation. At the same, the international community has praised Turkish Cypriots for giving the plan a ringing endorsement.

There is talk of victory, of future peace efforts, but even more talk of missed opportunities, after three-fourths of Greek Cypriot voters said "no" to a U.N. brokered plan to reunite the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus.

In a televised address late Saturday, Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said he was pleased with the vote, but he also pledged renewed efforts to some day reunite Cyprus.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose reunification plan the Greek Cypriots rejected, said they had missed a unique opportunity.

And, in a late evening news conference Saturday, the special U.N. mediator for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto announced he is shutting down his office and spoke of regret.

"A unique and historic chance to resolve the Cyprus problem has been missed," he said. "The secretary-general intends to give careful thought to the implications of Saturday's results. Meanwhile Cyprus will remain divided and militarized as it accedes to the European Union and the benefits of a settlement will not be realized."

The United States also spoke of missed opportunities, regret and disappointment, as did the European Union.

The U.N. plan called for Greek and Turkish Cypriot states within a loose federation. It called for the removal of almost all Turkish troops now based in the northern Turkish Cypriot enclave and outlined a settlement of outstanding land and property issues sparked by ethnic partition 30 years ago.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, following a Greek Cypriot coup that was backed by Athens and aimed at uniting Cyprus with mainland Greece. Partition of the island followed.

Turkish reaction to Saturday's Greek Cypriot rejection of the U.N. plan was quick and blunt. Ankara said the island's partition now becomes permanent.

Turkish Cypriots celebrated their own endorsement of the U.N. plan and they've received much praise from the international community for their stance. Despite rejecting the U.N. plan, the Greek Cypriot government will take Cyprus into the EU May 1. Turkish Cypriots will be left out. But, the international community is talking of providing aid and perhaps lifting a long-standing embargo against the Turkish Cypriot enclave.

XS
SM
MD
LG