NEWS

Everyone must show signs of willingness for Cyprus solution

Britain is waiting to see what signals Greek and Turkish Cypriots send over the next few months of their willingness to restart negotiations in order to achieve a permanent settlement in Cyprus, the new British Ambassador to Athens Simon Gass told Kathimerini last week. «We must not forget that this is going to require good will and flexibility on all sides,» said the ambassador, «and therefore I don’t point purely at President Papadopoulos in terms of wanting to hear from his side about the intentions of the government of Cyprus. We need to hear from all of the parties about their intentions.» Gass did not want to comment on the visit of the US trade delegation to the northern part of Cyprus, but remarked that «the European Union committed itself to ending the isolation of Turkish Cypriots. That was a decision of the European Union as a whole.» Gass is familiar with Greece from an earlier posting here as second secretary and first secretary from 1984 to 1987, when he learned fluent Greek. The first thing that struck him on his return to Greece, said Gass, «is that Greece is clearly a country that is now at the heart of the European Union. When I first came here in 1984 Greece had only been a member of the European Community for three years (and) there were all sorts of different influences within Greece, some of them historical, some of them political, which perhaps made Greece face in different directions in terms of its outlook in foreign policy.» Now, he said, «the thought process of Greeks is very much attuned to a European thought process.»