Cautious optimism

Sticking to his initial decision to avoid adopting an «interventionist stance» in favor or against UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan for a Cyprus solution, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday succeeded in striking a balance between the two diametrically opposed stands in ongoing Cyprus negotiations, making it indirectly – but indisputably – clear that he is inclined toward voting «yes,» while also playing down the consequences of a «no» vote. «The prospect of a solution to the problem will not be lost, eventualities will not be exhausted on April 24,» Karamanlis said. «This will mark the beginning of a new phase aimed at reunifying Cyprus.» Giving credence to the traditional line followed by Greek foreign policy on Cyprus – that of standing by decisions taken in Nicosia – the prime minister emphasized many times that Greece would respect whichever decision Greek Cypriots arrive at, stressing however his rejection of scaremongering about the consequences of a «no» vote and fears that there will not be any other opportunities for a solution. Karamanlis remarked that Annan’s proposal had «positive aspects but also difficult ones» and made it clear that, as regards Cyprus’s future within the European Union, the positive aspects of the United Nations’ latest proposal far outweigh the disadvantages.

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