More than six years since the accession of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU, the process for island’s reunification seems to have stalled.
The International Community seems to have washed it’s hands of Cyprus, without taking any new initiative for a solution, after the rejection of the notorious “Annan Plan” in 2004.
However, the present static situation eternalises the island’s division and the presence of the Turkish armed forces in the occupied north. That has to be changed.
Both Greece and Cyprus have to shape a new strategy, based on the New York and Lucerne experiences, pressing the UN to undertake a new initiative for negotiations.
That new strategy must have four fundamental priorities:
1. The EU factor
The accession of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU was indeed of great historical and political importance.
However, the membership itself cannot reunify the island.
But it creates the political context within which the European constitutional principles could be incorporated in a possible plan for solution. From their side, the Turkish Cypriots (must) have the opportunity to benefit from these principles, as long as they recognise the Republic of Cyprus as their representative in international relations.
That has it’s own significance – the Turkish Cypriot citizens must be ensured that their future is within the common EU family and not in a non-recognised protectorate of Turkey (the “TRNC”).
2. An International Issue
The nature of the Cyprus Issue is that it consists an international case of military invasion and violent partition.
It is not a bilateral issue between Greece and Turkey.
In any case, it is in the interest of Athens and Nicosia to keep the negotiations within the United Nations framework, in order to guarantee that any solution will incorporate the meaning of the UN Security Council Resolutions which vindicate the Greek positions (e.g. Refugees, missing Greek Cypriots, properties etc).
3. Construction of good-will spirit
The recent meritorious efforts of President Dimitris Christofias to create trustworthy relations with the Turkish Cypriot side consist a positive stance.
Both the two communities have to make some steps which could invigorate their co-operation, like the symbolic removal of the Ledra Street barricade in April 2008.
From it’s side, the Turkish Cypriot leadership has to take some, maybe dolorous but generous, decisions: It should stop the illegal selling of Greek Cypriot properties to foreigners, cancelling any exchange that has been done until now.
Furthermore, a significant step would be the permission for the reconstruction of the city of Famagusta and it’s transfer to the administration of the United Nations, thus complying with the Resolution 550 of UN Security Council of 1984.
4. A New Plan is needed
Any possible UN initiative for solution must avoid the profound constitutional deficiencies of the 2004 ‘Annan Plan’.
A new reunification Plan must take into serious account the Greek Cypriot concerns and, at the same time, it has to assure that there are all the needed, constitutional and legal, guarantees for the uneventful political function of a Federal bizonal bicommunal Cypriot state.
Greece and Cyprus must work together, pressing the United Nations and their EU partners to undertake new initiatives.
Action is what is needed, as long as the international community cannot stay impassive in front of Nicosia’s 35 year-old ‘Berlin Wall’.
Having the International Law with their side and with a strong commitment to the aim of the island’s reunification, Athens and Nicosia must be ready to take part in a new round of tough negotiations under the sponsorship of the UN.
That will be in favour of our national interests – the common interests of Greece and Cyprus.
Nicolas Mottas, studied in London and Paris, graduating with a Bachelor in Political Science from the University of Westminster and holds a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from the Diplomatic Academy of London. Since 2007, he collaborates with the Greek newspaper Macedonia as a freelance international news editor.