Systematic effort

The intensive negotiations between Greek-Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are the most systematic effort to find a solution since the Vassileiou-Denktash talks in 1992. This time, however, there is more than US willingness to resolve the dispute. Above all, there is haste by the EU which does not wish to inherit the problem and is for this reason trying to forge a solution ahead of the island’s accession. The recent remarks by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer were a hint that accession should not be taken for granted so long as the political dispute remains unresolved. Our major partners do not wish to violate their Helsinki commitments because, on the one hand, it would be unethical to do so and because, on the other hand, doing so would encourage Turkish intransigence… Hence, they are putting pressure on Turkey by saying that if it torpedoes the negotiations, Cyprus will enter the EU and Ankara will be placed in an awkward position. Pressure is also being put on Nicosia with the suggestion that if it does not make concessions, Cyprus’s EU membership will be reconsidered. For this reason, Clerides has to display as much flexibility as possible in order to prevent the Europeans from blaming him for any potential logjam in negotiations… Above all, however, he has to categorically reject any settlement that will prevent Cyprus’s accession to the EU. Athens university doctors, on strike since last May over a government ultimatum demanding that they choose between working for state or private hospitals, return to work today but only in their teaching role, after a decision by the Athens Academic Medical Staff union which is taking legal action against cases of doctors being barred from the Alexandra and Hippocrateio state hospitals. The union will meet again in the first week of February to decide whether Athens doctors will resume strike action. Meanwhile, university doctors in Thessaloniki and Patras are to continue their strike until January 24 and doctors in Ioaninna are also not working.

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