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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
What is the UN's Cyprus plan?
United Nations-sponsored talks to try to reunify the Mediterranean island of Cyprus have resulted in a "compromise" plan.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan admits it does not meet all the demands of both the majority Greek Cypriot and minority Turkish Cypriot communities, but he hopes it meets the key issues.

It is now over to the people, who will vote in a referendum on 24 April ahead of Cyprus joining the European Union on 1 May.

If both sides say yes, a united Cyprus joins the EU. If either side rejects the plan the EU rules and benefits will not apply to the northern Turkish side.

International officials had said this was the best chance of a settlement in the 30 years that Cyprus has been divided.

In his efforts to broker a deal, Mr Annan took on the balancing act of revising the UN plan which both sides had rejected.

Issues of territory and demilitarisation had been old sticking points. The island was divided in 1974 by a Turkish invasion of the north, itself prompted by a Greek Cypriot coup.

The breakaway north is only recognised by Turkey.


The plan to be put to a referendum envisages a federation of two states - one Greek and the other Turkish - with a loose central government, on the Swiss model.

It allows fewer refugees to return to the Turkish north, which has angered the Greek Cypriots, and specifies that Turkey will be allowed to maintain a military presence on the island indefinitely.

The 9,000-page document presented to the negotiators at a formal ceremony on the shores of Lake Lucerne earlier on Monday contained several revisions to the original plan:

  • A reduction in the number of Greek Cypriot refugees allowed to return to northern Cyprus from 21% to 18% of the Turkish Cypriot population
  • Restrictions on property rights for Greek Cypriots in the north until the region approaches the living standards of the south
  • Twenty-four seats for Turkish Cypriots in the 48-seat Senate, with the possibility of Greek Cypriots representing northern Cyprus removed
  • No insistence on the withdrawal of all Turkish troops before Turkey joins the EU.

Already, Greek Cypriots have expressed opposition to the reduced numbers of refugees who will be allowed to return to their own homes in the north and the continued presence of Turkish troops in the north.

There are 180,000 Greek Cypriots who would like to return to old homes in the north.

But the UN plan proposes a reduction in the size of Turkish Cypriot territory by 7% to 29% of Cyprus.

New flag

There have been some concessions to troop withdrawal - the plan says the number of Greek and Turkish troops on the island should be reduced to a maximum of 6,000 by 2011 and 3,000 by 2018.

After 18 years, or when Turkey joins the EU, the maximum number will be reduced to 950 Greek troops and 650 Turkish troops, figures that will be subject to review every three years "with the objective of total withdrawal".

Other details in the plan include:

  • The reunified island will be called the United Cyprus Republic, with a new flag and a new national anthem
  • The republic will be headed by co-presidents until 13 June 2004, when elections will be held
  • The president and vice president will be a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, reversing their roles regularly during the first term of the presidential council. The vice president will accompany the president to meetings of the European Council
  • People who are forced to move from their homes or cannot get their properties back will be compensated or given a new home. A commission will be established to settle disputes.

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