Interview by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the un ambassador andreas mavroyiannis to Aktina TV
May 30, 2004
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Ambassador Mavroyiannis it is a great
pleasure to have you on our program. The
decision of the Greek Cypriots to reject the UN Secretary Generalís proposed
plan during the April 24th twin referenda in
Ambassador, you participated in the recent negotiations both at the UN Headquarters and in Burgenstock, can you give us some clarification?
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Of course, I would like first to thank you too for inviting me on the program. Itís an honor and pleasure to be with you.
I must tell you that I have a
completely different view on this issue. I think that one can be disappointed
but one cannot be surprised. I think the rejection of the plan by the Greek
Cypriot community was an expected outcome. As far as the stance of President
Papadopoulos is concerned, I think that he has been very clear through the whole
process, that unless we improve the plan to make it acceptable for the Greek
Cypriot community, at least the way he was seeing those improvements, he would
not be in a position to support it. In this respect, I have to tell you that
In February we had the meetings
Let me also say a word about what
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Speaking about what we have in front
of us, what the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots had in front of them,
Mr. de Soto complained that on the Turkish Cypriot side they held year long
seminars, there was a booklet that was distributed, about 30 pages, explaining
the plan, while on the Greek Cypriot side, Mr. de Soto alleged that there was no
discussion about the plan until the very last moment. Would you like to give us
some clarification on that as well? Why the Greek Cypriot side after the 2003
talks, the previous plan was in a way similar to the final plan, I mean you made
some changes to the final plan but the plan from the year 2003 I believe from
February was in a way the basis of this final plan, why wasnít it discussed in
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Let me tell you that nothing is more far
from reality than this assertion. Very honestly, there has never been in
What you mentioned about the
leaflet or the paper, the same paper was circulated in
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Now when we raised the question about the security concerns of the Greek Cypriot side, Mr. de Soto told us that if the Greek Cypriot side was truly unhappy with the guarantees of implementation and compliance there was nothing to prevent them from going directly to the Security Council as they have done on other issues and no such effort was made and as far as what Mr. Christofias requested, Mr. de Soto also informed us that the Security Council was asked to strengthen the draft resolution, however, the request was prefaced by reiterating the Greek Cypriot position that the Council should take no action at all before the referenda took place. I would like you to elaborate on this.
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: You know, I have to tell you that I donít
feel very comfortable because once again I have to say that what Mr.
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): In fact he did say that the authors of the draft resolution lifted from the plan and gave it to the Security Council and I am glad that you are giving us some clarification as far as the Greek Cypriot sideís position and that you did in fact request additional guarantees and you did go to the Security council requesting those guarantees. Now as far as the concern of the Greek Cypriots that this plan as you know the Greek American Community by a large percentage did not support the Annan Plan and one of their concerns was and still is that in preparing this plan the UN Secretary General did not take into consideration past resolutions calling for the demilitarization of Cyprus, the return of the refugees all of that. We raised this question with Mr. de Soto again and he told us that this plan is part of the negotiating process that started back in 1977 when Archbishop Makarios and Mr. Denktash had decided to work on a bizonal bicommunal federation which means sharing power, sharing everything and all of that and he said based on this idea and throughout the negotiation process all these years this was the final outcome and I wanted to just explain to us this particular issue and this particular complaint of the Greek Cypriots that this plan does not take into consideration past UN Resolutions. One more thing I want to add is that Mr. de Soto said the Plan does not try to put blame on either side cause there were problems on both sides in the sixties and then in the 1974 so I just wanted your reaction and your comments on this.
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: It is true that in 1977, in the aftermath
of the invasion of
In addition to that, I believe that, and it is very clear throughout the years, if this process moved forward itís thanks to the efforts of the Greek Cypriot side which has always been the weak side. It was the side that had to make a lot of sacrifices and a lot of sacrifices we have made and we stick to them but there are some limits. At the end of the day as I said before we have to judge the final result and we have to say whether this result is a viable one and whether it meets your minimum requirements and if it improves not necessarily the day after but in the middle and the long run, whether it improves the situation for the country, whether it creates a better future for the people.
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Mr. Ambassador, why in your opinion this federal government would not work? Although there were agreements that there would be sharing of power and all of that?
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Power sharing was not into question. The problem as far as functioning in the European Union is concerned was mainly about three areas. The first one is decision making at the federal level. We think the framework of the constitution as it was proposed in the plan was very difficult. It was impossible to have a decision without having votes from both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. In the plan there is a very complex deadlock resolving mechanism which would have created, in the framework of the European Union, many difficulties in having timely decisions and important decisions. This is the first element.
The second element has to do with
representation in European Union Institutions. Because of the complex structure
of the settlement there were many questions as to how and who would represent
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM):Yes but all these problems would have occurred in the event that the Turkish Cypriot side did not agree, donít you think that some good faith should be taken into consideration that you are not going to have the Turkish Cypriot side always creating problems and that they are ready to work with the...
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: No. This is our hope for the future. The conditions right now were not met and I have to tell you that throughout the negotiating process the main difficulty we found in dealing with the Turkish Cypriots and in discussing the structures of the new state of affairs was that they were not willing to think in terms of federal government. They were always thinking in terms of their own constituent state, and they were doing their best in order to defend this constituent state against the federal structures. They were considering the federal structures, as their enemies so it was almost impossible to make them understand that federal structures are for everybody, they are not Greek Cypriots. Second problem is that, and I am not blaming the Turkish Cypriots, they have also as far as European Union matters are concerned, the fear of the unknown. They have no experience at all with the EU, they donít understand, they donít have a real perception on how things work in the EU and because of the disparities between the two sides, economic and other disparities, there is a genuine fear on our side that, at least for the first year, we are going to be faced with a very difficult situation where the Turkish Cypriot side in order to defend what they consider the interests of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state would block the operation of the federation. For instance if they wanted more money, they would block the decisions in order to get the money.
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): A couple of more points Mr.
Ambassador. Thereís been much talk that
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Yes. I have to tell you that I donít like
this approach because at the end of the day as a British author mentioned two
weeks ago this plan amounted to an old fashioned horse trade
and when you are talking about the future of the country itís not good to see
things like that but it is true that there was a paper with eleven points
presented by Mr. Ziyal on March the 27th to Mr. de Soto and the
negotiating team of the United Nations and a couple of days later this paper was
leaked by the Turks themselves in order to show exactly that they got all what
they wanted. Maybe they did that for internal reasons again because Mr. Erdogan
wanted to show to the military that the plan is good for
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Well did the Greek Cypriot side get
more things because
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: I have to recognize that there were some improvements for the Greek Cypriot side as well but not sufficient improvements that would counterbalance what the Turks got and I am not judging this only from this point of view but as I was saying before not sufficient improvements to make us feel that we were in a position to go along with the plan.
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Mr. de Soto made it very clear to us
that the United Nations and the UN Secretary General is not willing to
renegotiate this plan and they are not willing to go back to the Turkish
Cypriots and Turkey again and tell them well and
I quote again ďthe Greeks did not like the plan; letís renegotiateĒ. So
Mr. Papadopoulos keeps talking about reviving the plan and I donít believe
that this plan will be revived or be renegotiated. How would you react to that
and how does the
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Let me start by the last point and tell you that we understand and appreciate the human feelings, bitterness, disappointment, emotions in people that were involved in the negotiating process for years. Of course they feel disappointment. But from there to say that because of those human feelings we are going to change the policy of the United Nations is another thing. And I donít thing that the United Nations should behave in such a way. The United Nations is an institution trying to solve a problem and there is no other way around other than to continue trying.
Therefore, we understand that we might be short of ideas or short of ways forward now, for we need some reflection time. Letís reflect but we cannot just say because we are disappointed we are going to criticize the bad Greeks and we are going to reward the good Turks and that is all. This is not a responsible way of dealing with issues. Yes, we have some difficulties with a lot of countries and people that felt disappointed because they wanted to get rid of the problem but at the end of the day I think one has to respect the democratic expression for the will of the people and weíll have to take it from there. There was a provision in the plan that if it is not carried at the referenda it would become null and void. We do not say that the plan is necessarily null and void but what we say very clearly and very frankly is that there is no question for us that we are going to have second thoughts to take this same plan as it stands now. Therefore if this plan is not subject to changes the plan is dead. In order for this plan to live again it must be changed Ė the plan requires substantive changes in order to become acceptable to the Greek Cypriots.
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Well there is a suggestion from Mr.
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: I think that you know that any settlement, any plan by definition is a compromise and we knew this from the beginning and before that. You have to make a lot of sacrifices and I believe that throughout the years we have gone out of our way in order to meet the concerns of the other side. Therefore to start from scratch, there are no magical ideas and magical ways for dealing with things. If we can come up with something completely new that can meet our expectation and our requirements why not? But I donít see this happening, and I have to tell you very clearly that when you have a plan in front of you like the Annan Plan, I mean the various versions of the plan, you know you donít say I love it, you cannot love a compromise. What you say, and President Papadopoulos stated this very clearly, I accept this plan because this is the one I have in front of me and because I know that if it is withdrawn I am not going to have a better one on the table. I accept it as a basis for negotiation and I am trying to negotiate on the basis of this plan in order to make it acceptable in order to have my minimum concerns and requirements met. There are no magical solutions. We would love to have magical solutions, there are not.
But I have to add that now there
is a new factor. The new factor is the accession of
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): And one final point Mr. Ambassador and I thank you for taking all this time I know you are very busy. How would the Cyprus government react if letís say in the upcoming days months the United Sates who has stated that they would like to offer some support to the Turkish Cypriot side start moving product through the occupied areas and then we see letís say flights going into the Turkish Cypriot side through the illegal airports or ports? How would you react to that? What are you doing to prevent that from happening?
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: We are doing whatever we can to confine this debate concerning the so called easing of isolation of the Turkish Cypriots community within the framework of legality and I have to tell you that sometimes we question the motives of all those countries that are trying today to talk about the poor Turkish Cypriots and the need to end their isolation.
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): They are not that poor compared to other poor countries.
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Yes, of course and this isolation is mainly
the result of the refusal of their leadership to abide by the rules and
regulations established not only by the Government of Cyprus but also by the
agreement between Cyprus and the EU and this position was very very clearly
upheld by the court of Justice of
the European Community. And there are also United Nations and Security Council
resolutions and there is international law. So there is a very clear framework.
Within the framework of legality we can do a lot of things and we are the first
that were trying to do things for the Turkish Cypriot community because we want
them to catch up economically and we want them to be on board with us in the
accession to the EU. At the same time I believe that if the
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): And as we conclude any final thoughts I know the President is coming to town very soon and he will be meeting with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and of course with the Greek American and the Greek Cypriot American leadership, is there anything that you can tell about this upcoming meeting with Mr. Annan?
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Yes, the President is coming to the
Elena Maroulleti (Aktina FM): Well Mr. Ambassador thank you so much for taking all this time to talk to us thank you Sir.
Ambassador Mavroyiannis: Thank you very much.
* * * * *