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Media Watch 2003

06 June 2003
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Andreas Hadjipapas
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 6 June 2003.
Lack of mobility causes concern

“WE have not given up on Cyprus,” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said this week, but some Greek Cypriot politicians are concerned over the prolonged absence of any new move to restart the Cyprus peace process.

Right-wing Opposition Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades noted yesterday that Lord Hannay had resigned as Britain’s Cyprus envoy, while UN envoy Alvaro de Soto had given up his mission and said the lack of mobility in the search for a Cyprus settlement could lead to “gradual indifference and total stagnation.”

In such an event, the present de facto division would be further cemented, he warned. The Opposition have been calling on the Papadopoulos government to undertake new initiatives in order to keep the Cyprus issue in the international limelight all the time.

American Ambassador Michael Klosson said yesterday the US remained “actively engaged” in the search for a Cyprus solution and announced that the State Department’s Cyprus coordinator, Thomas Weston, will be visiting the region next week “to project US support for a settlement.”

Socialist Kisos, a junior partner in the government, yesterday suggested that the European Union should get “more actively involved” in efforts to resolve the island’s division.

Future summit

It hinted that Cyprus might be discussed at a future EU summit so that a set of principles be laid down to govern a solution which should be fully in line with the acquis communitaure.

Caling for a “European solution” to the island’s problem, Kisos said the dismantling of the dividing wall would come about only through a just settlement enshrining a set of rules, principles and values in force in Europe.

Kisos said the easing of travel restrictions was a “ploy” by the Denktash regime to create a picture of normalisation of the situation and so divert world attention from the real problem. The occupation did not loosen up, the party warned.

The government view was that the Turks were now in a corner and were resorting to provocative actions in the Aegean and at Strovilia in order to create tensions.

President Tassos Papadopoulos, who attended the EU-Russia summit in St Petersburg at the weekend, said he briefed other world leaders of the situation, stressing that the present deadlock was due to Turkey’s insistence on the creation of two states. “We explained that this could not be an acceptable solution”, he said.

But he avoided giving the impression that Cyprus was going through a crisis that had to be handled by the EU, he added.

More steps

Turkey’s foreign minister Abdullah Gul claiming that the Turkish side had “demonstrated its will” througth the partial lifting of a travel ban, said he was sure there were “more steps to be taken” on Cyprus.

Calling for the lifting of the embargo imposed by the EU, he said “If this happens, Turkey and the Turkish side will definitely take other steps. These could lead to other reciprocal steps by both sides, and in the end we might see that not much remained and we could settle them through negotiations.”

He made no mention of the UN plan presented to the sides earlier this year, which Turkish Cyprot leader Rauf Denktash has rejected. The U N, the U S and Britain are adamant that any new peace talks must be based on the Annan plan, as it offers a “unique basis” for a comprehensive settlement. 

In a report to the Security Council on Unficyp’s operations, Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed the greater freedom of movement but said the recent developments were “not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement.”

But he said he would not embark on any new initiative “until both parties show genuine will--political will, to make progress and to resolve the conflict.”"