OPINION

Reassessing Cyprus

Athens and Nicosia are currently reassessing Greece’s position ahead of fresh negotiations aimed at solving the Cyprus problem based on the plan prepared by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But it would be naive to suppose that the Turkish side is going to simply support Annan’s proposal. Any fresh talks will be regarded as an opportunity for it to make new maximalist demands. This is exactly what the Turkish side is going to do and the result will be a solution based on Annan’s blueprint with a few minor amendments. Annan has said he will only launch a new round of negotiations if it appears that there is a possibility for the two sides to reach an agreement. However, because the fundamental starting point of each party is unlikely to change, a time frame will once again be imposed on any new attempt to reach a solution. Many commentators in Athens and Nicosia believe that Greece could adopt the same approach to Cyprus as to the Aegean, that is, an unswerving strategy, at least until Turkey joins the European Union. But the crisis in the Aegean has not hindered a date for the start to Turkey’s EU accession talks, and though everyone would welcome a solution to the problem, there is no external pressure. On the other hand, Turkey, the USA and the EU states are all impatient for a solution to the Cyprus problem…