22 April, 2004
WASHINGTON 22/04/2004 (ANA - T. Ellis)
In his regular press briefing on Wednesday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that ''on April 24 the people of Cyprus will make the momentous -- momentous decision of whether to accept a settlement plan presented by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.''
''This is an historic moment in which for the first time in decades the Cypriot people control their own political destiny. Secretary-General Annan has blended his wisdom as a great statesman with Cypriot, Greek and Turkish insights arising from years of negotiations to formulate a settlement plan that is fair and balanced.
''The Annan plan offers a hopeful vision of a peaceful and prosperous future for all Cypriots as citizens of a unified state in the form of a bizonal, bicommunal federation that honors the traditions of its diverse citizens while forging a common future with the European Union. The settlement that the Secretary-General finalized on March 31st outlined an equitable compromise in which no party receives everything it seeks, but which satisfies the fundamental requirements of all parties.
"The plan foresees the return of over 120,000 Greek Cypriot refugees to their former properties, the reduction of tens of thousands of foreign troops to several hundred, and the enshrinement of human rights and democratic freedoms in a new state with workable governing institutions. These historic achievements are now within reach.
"Should the Cypriot people accept the Annan plan on April 24th, they will not stand alone. The United States and its partners in the European Union have already pledged more than $800 million to ensure implementation of the settlement. More support will be forthcoming. The friends of Cyprus around the world are thus extending heartfelt encouragement for the people of Cyprus to make the decision of a lifetime on April 24th in favor of peace, prosperity and unity with the European and transatlantic families.''
Source: Athens News Agency