INTRODUCTION Talks on the future of Cyprus will open in the Austrian city of Vienna on the 31st of March under the chairmanship of United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim.
INTRODUCTION Talks on the future of Cyprus will open in the Austrian city of Vienna on the 31st of March under the chairmanship of United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. The island is divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and there are hopes that the Vienna talks may lead to the creation of a federated state. On Friday (25 March), celebrations were held in the Greek Cypriot part of the island to mark the Greek Independence Day.
SYNOPSIS: The Greek-Cypriot leader, Arch-bishop Makarios, attended the celebrations in Nicosia. The Archbishop was originally opposed to the idea of a federation in Cyprus and demanded the withdrawal of the Turkish occupying forces in the north of the island. But now the Greek-Cypriots are reported to be taking a map to Vienna showing the area they are ready to leave in Turkish-Cypriot control.
The decision to accept Turkish presence on the island will not be welcomed by some Greek-Cypriots. The Turkish community form only 18 per cent of the population but occupy 36 per cent of the island's most fertile land.
The celebrations in Nicosia included a parade of local community groups and war veterans. It contrasted with the independence parade in the Greek capital, Athens, where the country's military strength was on show. Thousands of Athenians lined the streets to cheer soldiers taking part. Relations between Greece and Turkey have been strained over the Cyprus issue and both countries have built up their military activity along their mutual border. Turkish naval and air manoeuvres took place in the eastern Aegean Sea on the day of the independence celebrations in Greece. Turkish forces occupied the north of Cyprus in August 1974, claiming that Greece had backed a coup and planned to take control of the island. Talks between the two Cypriot communities were broken off in February 1976. There are hopes that the renewed discussions in Vienna may lead to peaceful settlement.