The Greek Cypriot administration has clearly defined its unwil-lingness for a new start to negotiations based on the Annan plan.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s 2006 request for the Greek side to make a written submission of their proposals on alterations to the plan has still not been met.
In addition, Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos declared his unwillingness to negotiate at the start of the talks, referring to “un-reasonable” time restrictions and the submission of a plan that had not previously been agreed upon. It is apparent that before the presidential elections, which will take place in February 2008, real progress toward a resolution should not be expected from the Greek Cypriot side.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Mr. Papadopoulos’ policy will be abandoned if he is not re-elected or his presidential term reaches an end. The Greek Cypriot administration will carry on with general policy on the Cyprus issue, as has been unanimously agreed in the Greek National Council, consisting of all Greek political parties.
Greeks hold the advantage when one takes into consideration Turkey’s difficult negotiations with the EU. Submission of unacceptable proposals to the Turkish side by the Greek Cypriots has become common practice. It is probable that the Greek Cypriots will simply end the negotiations, claiming irreconcilability with the Turkish side. The other possibility is that they will exert international pressure on Turkey by starting negotiations only with the intent to prolong them indefinitely to cause further obstacles in Turkey’s EU accession process.
Calling Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat for talks on Sept. 5 is merely a show to influence Greek Cypriot voters in the coming presidential elections. Unless the international community takes measures to ease the embargos on Turkish Cypriots and calls for equal political treatment for them, there will be no reason for the Greek Cy-priot administration to continue seeking a solution.
One factor that will affect the progress of the Cyprus problem will be the actions of Greece. With a change in the cabinet of the New De-mocracy Party (NDK) government in February 2006, Greece became observably more active on the Cyprus problem, appointing Dora Ba-koyannis as foreign minister. In fact Bakoyannis stated immediately after her appointment that the Cyprus problem would be given priority among foreign affairs issues. Her comments during her visits to Greek Cyprus pointed out what line Greek Cyprus and Greece will take on the Cyprus issue and in Turkey’s EU accession talks as well. Bakoyannis’ first statement addressed the Annan plan; she asserted that it became null and void with the “no” vote of the Greeks and cannot be placed on the table again.
The views of the Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot people, and their support or opposition to their administration’s policy, will be instrumental in shaping future progress on the Cyprus problem. Concerning the morale of Turkish Cypriots, the hope and enthusiasm ignited by the opening of the borders on April 23, 2003, were extinguished by the disappointment of the referendum of April 24, 2004.
Lack of fulfillment of the promises to lift the embargos has created distrust of the EU by the Turkish Cypriots. While their economic conditions are improving, they are still faced with the looming uncer-tainty of their future, still hanging in political limbo, exacerbated by their misgivings regarding the EU. In the meantime Greek Cypriots are quickly moving away from the idea of living together with Turkish Cyp-riots, as was recently revealed in polls held in Greek Cyprus.