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Cyprus Peace Plan Could Be the Last

U.N. chief Kofi Annan says both sides win, but Greek and Turkish Cypriots are less certain.

March 30, 2004|From Associated Press

FUERIGEN, Switzerland — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan revealed his latest -- and probably final -- plan Monday for the reunification of Cyprus, promising a "win-win" deal.

The Greek delegation immediately expressed reservations. Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat was cautious, saying it was too early to express an opinion.

The 220-page document -- accompanied by 9,000 pages of annexes -- was handed to the parties at a ceremony in the mountain resort of Buergenstock.

"There is a sense of destiny today ..." Annan told negotiators. "I believe this is a win-win proposal."

The United Nations did not reveal details, but negotiators laid out the main points.

The Annan plan envisages a federation of two states -- one Greek and the other Turkish -- with a loose central government.

Theodoros Roussopoulos, a spokesman for the Greek foreign minister, said, "From the first reading, we can say that there are some clear concerns."

Kypros Chrysostomides, spokesman for the Greek Cypriot government, said, "Some of the points are satisfactory, but some of the basic points for our side are not." He said the Greek Cypriots would continue trying to get the plan amended.

Officials at the talks said the plan ensured that the northern region would continue to be run by Turkish Cypriots even when Greek Cypriots return.

It also reduces the number of Greek Cypriot refugees allowed to return and settle in the north to 18% of the Turkish Cypriot state's population, compared with 21% in a previous proposal.

The island has been split into the Greek Cypriot-controlled south and the occupied north since Turkey invaded in 1974 in the wake of a short-lived coup by supporters of union with Greece. The breakaway state is recognized only by Turkey, which maintains 40,000 troops there.

Turkish troops would be able to stay on the island indefinitely, in line with Turkish demands. The number would gradually be decreased to 650 after Turkey joins the European Union.

Annan told the parties to study the document and to come back to him today with their views. Negotiators have until Wednesday to agree on the plan. If they don't, Annan will finalize it himself. It will be put to the two Cypriot communities in referendums on April 20.

If either side rejects the plan, only the Greek Cypriots will join the EU on May 1.

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