Athens is silent

Much has been said over recent months about the need to ensure that any Cyprus settlement is viable and compatible with the acquis communautaires but none of this has materialized, while the Annan plan has been revised for the worse. Newly-elected Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will meet Thursday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Athens but they will most likely reiterate that everything depends on the will of Ankara and Turk-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. However, Denktash and the Turkish government do hold an opinion on the UN plan and have clearly expressed it in public. Papadopoulos was sworn-in on Friday and so cannot be held accountable for policies to date. Nor can one blame the policies of the Cypriot governments that followed the Turkish invasion and occupation when Greece proved that it was unable or unwilling to play the role of guarantor power. If Cyprus is prepared to accept any version of the UN plan, it is because Greek Cypriots and their leaders rightly deem that the EU can better guarantee their security than Greece. It would be surprising for Papadopoulos, 10 days after his election, to reject the plan and, in any case, he has said that any decision should come after consultation with other political leaders in the National Council. But in reality he won’t have to express his view on the UN plan, as the proposed solution abolishes his post as well as that of Denktash who have both been asked to agree to holding separate referendums on March 30. Annan has bypassed both leaders and has called on both communities to provide a solution – while all of this is accepted hands down because of the prospect of EU entry. It would be a disaster should an inviable solution be reached and should EU expansion be put off – something that cannot be ruled out, especially when the time comes for the French Parliament to ratify enlargement.

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