At a recent conference in Washington, US Undersecretary at the State Department, Nicholas Burns, stated that the US wanted to be part of an effort to renew the talks aimed at getting the stalled talks on Cyprus back on track.
‘We cannot turn a blind eye to the destruction of churches or other religious sites in some countries, as we see it happening in the northern part of Cyprus’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
He said that the US should be in the centre of this effort along with the UK. Similar sentiments have been expressed in recent weeks by the Foreign Office Minister for Europe Geoff Hoon, and by Lord Hannay the former UK special representative to Cyprus. Indeed if the Turkish media are to be believed, Tony Blair has even offered to be a special mediator for resolution of the Cyprus issue. Given the partisan behaviour of his wife in representing the Orams it is hard to see how Mr Blair could be deemed impartial, but it is equally hard to see what Greek Cypriots stand to gain from continued UK and US involvement in Cyprus.
After all, was it not the UK and the US who were the main architects and supporters of the Annan Plan, something condemned as a crime against humanity by many international lawyers and academics? How often have either of these countries supported the principles of the right to return of the 200,000 refugees, or condemned Turkey for the 1974 invasion and occupation or the cultural destruction that has since followed? How many times have the US and the UK pressured the Republic of Cyprus into holding back from arming itself against continued Turkish aggression? So why exactly should Greek Cypriots embrace continued involvement from these countries?
Contrast this behaviour with that of France for example, which has recently signed a defence pact with the Republic of Cyprus. Or that of Italy and Germany, where recently, both Italian Prime Minster Romano Prodi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have roundly condemned the cultural destruction of the rich Christian heritage in the occupied area. We also welcome the statements of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission,
who echoed their comments saying that EU principles and values provide for respect of freedom, justice, peace and solidarity. When have the leaders of the UK or the US ever made such statements?
Perhaps the recent statements from Burns, Hoon and Hannay are an expression of their concern at them possibly losing their influence in Cyprus. Indeed in recent months the Republic of Cyprus has strengthened its links with India, China and Russia. All three countries have publicly stated that no solution can be achieved unless it respects the countless UN resolutions on Cyprus and respects human rights and international law. Again it is hard to remember similar pronouncements from the US and the UK.
There is no reason in principle why the US and the UK should be excluded from further involvement in attempts to resolve the Cyprus issue but a change of approach is needed. It’s time to get back to basics and to understand that Cyprus can only be reunited when the 3Rs are implemented:
Removal of all Turkish troops
Repatriation of all colonists
Return of all refugees to their homes