A viable plan for Cyprus
The political elites in Nicosia and Athens are aware that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposal for settling the Cyprus dispute is expected to disappoint the Greek Cypriots and, perhaps, cause a rift between the two capitals. Cypriot Attorney-General Alecos Markides has sketched out the situation which Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will confront. The solution, he told Eleftherotypia daily on Tuesday, will «involve a big compromise» and «what we get after the settlement should not be compared with the pre-1974 order on Cyprus but with the current one.» Markides’s remarks said it all. Any solution – should one be reached – will resemble what Turkey now refers to as «current realities.» What is worse, Nicosia and Athens will have to make their decisions quickly and under pressure from the United States, Great Britain and the European Union. In a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou last Monday, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Marc Grossman made clear what Washington expects of the Greek administration. There will be no just solution in line with Greek demands over the last 28 years. It remains to be seen whether Annan’s plan will foresee a solution that will promise a viable solution for a Cyprus inside the EU. We should not expect any «readjustment» of the precedent set by the 1974 Turkish invasion, but instead the consolidation of the status quo established by the military campaign. A rejection of the UN plan by Nicosia and Athens will change the parameters regarding the island’s EU membership. A decision to discuss such a proposal will, most likely, spark many domestic problems for Simitis and Clerides despite any calls for a public display of solidarity.