OPINION

Greece and Cyprus unite in one voice

The Cyprus issue has entered an extremely crucial phase. In October, the European Union is expected to make an assessment of Turkey’s progress in meeting Brussels’s demands for candidates. The government in Ankara must prove that it has respected the agreements that it signed and that it has taken all the necessary steps to become a full and equal member of the bloc. One of these steps is implementing the customs union with the 10 new members of the bloc, including the Republic of Cyprus. At this point, it’s clear that the Athens-Nicosia front must be solid. There is a need for absolute cooperation between Athens and Nicosia, for mutual responsibility and substantial preparation. Both Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos are aware of this need and yesterday they declared that cooperation between the two states is «full, continuous and completely coordinated.» The climate of wholehearted cooperation, confirmed by both Karamanlis and Papadopoulos, is necessary not only for moral reasons but also, more importantly, for practical purposes. At the time of the EU summit in October, the Greek side must appear with one voice or the interests of both countries will be damaged. Unfortunately, too many opportunities to reach a decent settlement on the Cyprus issue have been wasted in the past. There is no room for division and disagreement about strategy. Greece and Cyprus must forge a single, united front to deal with Turkey’s claims in October. As a result, any attempts to cause cracks in the common front built by Karamanlis and Papadopoulos – no matter the origin or purpose – will be extremely harmful and must be prevented.