OPINION

Hope for the future

The UN plan for the reunification of Cyprus offers a glimpse of hope for progress after 28 years of a stagnant – and traumatic – state of affairs in which the Greek-Cypriot part of the island creatively forged ahead while the breakaway state remained mired in backwardness. Although the proposed model for reunification is narrow and uneven, it could still incorporate the island into the drive for European integration and the developments which are taking place in the broader region. In a history of «lost opportunities» like the Cyprus issue, the acceptance of the UN proposal as a basis for negotiations is the only way to overcome the current de facto partition and, at the same time, achieve a solution which will pave the way for Turkey’s EU course. This is a course on which the United States has insisted and which will hopefully bring Ankara closer to the principles of international law and consequently, to the solutions that that law foresees for Greece’s disputes with Turkey. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan does not, of course, comply with previous Security Council resolutions, it does not mandate full compliance with the EU’s acquis communautaire, and it does not undo the precedent set by the Turkish occupation. But whoever expected to achieve these via diplomatic means? And who can foresee anything but a prolongation – if not a consolidation – of the existing de facto partition if the plan fails? The view expressed herein that the UN proposal is a positive starting point for talks, however, is not based on the notion that there is no alternative solution. It is rather grounded in the conviction that the momentum of European integration – in which Cyprus will participate after its accession – can iron out many of the problems that the Annan plan leaves unresolved and compensate for any divergence from the acquis communautaire. It is the growing harmonization of the plan with European values and principles which must constitute the principal target of the Greek-Cypriot side during the ensuing negotiations. Accepting the plan as a basis for negotiations and making painstaking efforts to bring its provisions in line with European ideals seems to be the only realistic and hopeful position on Cyprus and Greece today.