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Sixteenth anniversary of Annan plan rejection

A woman sits next to a No sign in the lead up to the 2004 referendum

Friday marks the 16th anniversary of the referendum in which Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected a UN blueprint for the reunification of the island.

Across the divide, in a separate referendum, Turkish Cypriots approved the blueprint, known as the Annan plan after its broker, the then UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

The Annan plan was the only comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem put to a public vote.

On April 24, 2004 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots rejected the plan while 65 per cent Turkish Cypriots voted in favour.

President Tassos Papadopoulos had opposed the plan and had urged people to reject it during a tearful live televised broadcast.

Papadopoulos said that rather than leading to reunification, the plan “makes its (current) partition permanent.”

“After judging all the facts and with a full realisation of the historic moment we live through and my heavy responsibility, I am sincerely sorry that I cannot sign acceptance of the Annan plan,” Papadopoulos said. “I have received an internationally recognised state; I will not deliver a community without a say internationally and in search of a guardian.”

The plan was a last-ditch attempt to reunify the island before it joined the EU in May 2004.

Though initially appearing prepared to back the plan, government partners Akel eventually sided with Papadopoulos. Disy, led by Nicos Anastasiades supported the plan.

Following the rejection, Cyprus joined the EU on May 1 a divided island with the EU aquis suspended in the areas not under the government control.

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