NEWS

Iraq war ‘could be catastrophic’

I believe, like most sane people, that war should be avoided if at all possible. Sometimes, however, that turns out not to be possible. We still hope that war in Iraq will be avoided, but if it is not – well, we’ll all have to deal with the results of that. Results that could be catastrophic. In case of military action against Iraq, the EU will inevitably face large refugee flows. Is there specific planning for this eventuality? What will be the impact for Greece? Do you feel the international organizations, such as the UN, are being bypassed? It is very hard to predict what might happen. There are so many possible scenarios. Initially, it is the immediate region that will be affected, as was the case in 1991, when around 2 million people were displaced to the border areas with Iran and Turkey. Those 2 million people did not come on to the EU countries – at least not initially, although of course some of them have since lost hope in their home country and later started to trickle through to Western Europe. As with the Afghans, as time went on, the trickle turned into a stream and Iraqis are currently the single largest group of asylum-seekers arriving in Europe. A lot depends on how long a conflict – if there is a conflict – lasts and how destructive it is, and then what comes next. Greece would most likely be one of the countries Iraqis pass through – but not many have been stopping here, for a variety of reasons, including the very low recognition rate. Compromises required on both sides in Cyprus Regarding the UN plan for Cyprus, what steps should be taken on both sides? Is the proposed solution really viable? Of course it’s viable. Is it likely that after all these years that the secretary-general and his Special Representative for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, would come up with something unviable? The Cyprus problem has gone on for so long, and people find it hard to compromise. The proposed solution is based on compromises by both sides.