April 29, 2004, Thursday
Muted celebration as Cyprus joins E.U.
Despite a programme of events that should last 48 hours, weekend
accession celebrations in Cyprus are expected to be a muted affair as
a divided island joins the European Union on Saturday.
The main party will be held at Eleftheria Square, barely 400 metres
from the dividing Green Line that would have been abolished if the
Greek Cypriots had not rejected the United Nations peace plan in a
referendum vote last Saturday.
Had they accepted the reunification plan, as did a majority of the
Turkish Cypriots living in the north, then Nicosia would have rid
itself of the reputation as the last divided capital of the world.
Instead, some 20,000 are expected to gather in the large square where
only a week ago two major campaigns were held in favour of and
The crowd is still expected to include a large number of Turkish
Cypriots, but they seem to have lost faith in the Greek Cypriots.
Musical concerts and shows including Greek, Turkish, Armenian,
Maronite and Asian dances will demonstrate the multicultural web of
island society, culminating with a performance by Cypriot-born Anna
Vishy on Friday night.
The midnight fireworks that will be clearly seen from both parts of
the divided city, will be preceded by an expectedly sombre speech by
President Tasos Papadopoulos, who twice urged his people to reject
the U.N. backed unification plan in televised addresses a fortnight
ago. dpa mdp jm