There are prospects that a new attempt may soon be made to reach a settlement between the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus.
There are prospects that a new attempt may soon be made to reach a settlement between the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus. The United Nations Secretary General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, was optimistic about the outlook after his recent visits to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey; and the chances for a settlement are improved by the fact that in the past few months the leaders of all three countries have strengthened their positions at home.
SYNOPSIS: Dr Waldheim met the Cypriot President, Spyros Kyprianou, last month and told him that the Turkish government would shortly have new proposals to make about Cyprus. Inter-communal talks have been suspended for nearly a year, and Dr. Waldheim will decide when to restart them. In the meantime, he brought Mr Kyprianou and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, together for the first time over lunch.
In Athens, Dr. Waldheim found the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Constantine Karamanlis, somewhat sceptical about the Turkish initiative. The Greek government has suggested that Turkey's object is to get the United States to lift the arms embargo imposed after Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974.
The Secretary General had begun his tour in Turkey itself, There, the new Prime Minister, Mr. Bulent Ecevit, outlined his ideas for a settlement, with a map of how Cyprus might be divided into a federated state.
All three national leaders have recently consolidated their positions at home. Mr. Karamanlis lost seats in the general election last November, but he wanted to get the elections behind him before starting new negotiations over Cyprus.
Mr Ecevit returned to office for the third time last month, after the previous coalition government had been defeated in Parliament. The Greeks tend to mistrust him as the man who sent the Turkish troops into Cyprus. As a gesture of reassurance he has just withdrawn 500 of them; but about 29,000 are still there. Mr. Ecevit heads the largest single party in the Turkish National Assembly, and with independent support should not be dependent on an unstable coalition.
Mr. Kyprianou became caretaker President of Cyprus after the death of Archbishop Makarios last August. He would have faced an election this month, but was unopposed, and declared elected for a full five-year term.
Varosha, a new suburb of Famagusta, was once a popular tourist resort. The Turks have left it deserted, and the Greek Cypriots want it back. They have yet to see on which side of the dividing line it falls of Mr. Ecevit's map.
The refugees are the human problem behind the map-drawing. Some of the 200,000 Greek Cypriots who left the north when the Turks came have made new lives for themselves in the south. But many are still living in camps.
The demonstrators who greeted Dyer. Waldheim in Nicosia wanted to know what had happened to 2,000 Greek Cypriots unaccounted for since the Turkish invasion. They are almost containly dead. Refugees still living in the camps have little prospect of returning to their former homes. All the discussions on the island's future envisage separation of the Greek and Turkish communities.