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The Search for a solution

How can we solve it? (keep it civilized)

Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:57 am

EUITurkey: picking up the pieces

The general view around the EU was that the Turks had over-reacted to
the Luxembourg European Council but that they needed to be helped out
of the hole into which they had thrown themselves. There was some
awareness that thc text of the conclusions of 1,uxembourg had been rather
provocative, and a continuing feeling of guilt, everywhere except in
Athens, that the EU had not been able to honour its commitment to
provide financial aid under the 1995 Customs Union Agreement. All were
only too well aware that there would be no progress in solving the Cyprus
problem as long as Turkey was so deeply disenchanted with the interna-
tional community.

'l'he first priority, for Britain as the EU presidency in particular, was
to see whether Turkey could be persuaded to change its position and
attend the first summit meeting of the European Conference which was
being planned for early March, before the accession negotiations began.
So, having conferred with Hans van den Broek, the EU commissioner
responsible for enlargement and for relations with Turkey, on 2 1 January,
I set off the next day for Ankara. Getting to see the 'Turkish prime min-
ister would not have been easy at the best of times but, armed with a
message from Tony Blair and my new title as the prime minister's per-
sonal envoy for Turkey (the EU presidency part of that title being not too
much emphasized for the moment), it was achieved after much bureau-
cratic struggle. Some flavour of the general atnlosphere can be drawn
from the ruling of Turkish protocol that, since I was travelling as the
prime minister's personal representative, it would not be appropriate for
me to see the foreign minister or anyone in the foreign ministry. One
sometimes needed to remind oneself that one was visiting the capital of a
NATO ally, representing the European country most favourable to
Turkey's European aspirations, and was not going to Moscow at the
height of the Cold War.


In the event the discussion with Yilmaz was calm and thoughtful. He
was a great deal less taciturn than he had been in Downing Street in
December. He explained with dignity why Turkey had been so angered
by the Luxembourg conclusions. I had decided before the meeting that I
would try to avoid getting from him a direct answer about attendance at
the European Conference in London in March, since this was almost
certain to be negative. Instead I set out the case for attending a meeting
that would include all the other candidate countries, that would discuss a
wide range of pan-European issues of common interest and at which
Tony Blair personally very much hoped he would be present. I said we
hoped he would think carefully about all this. I would return for his
definitive answer in a few weeks. He agreed to reflect, without however
giving even the slightest hint that hs response might be positive. I-Ie
continued to speak with great bitterness about the way Turkey's EU
candidature was being handled. I said that much depended on Turkey
itself. It was clear that, as of that moment, Turkey did not fulfil the Co-
penhagen criteria and that there was therefore no early prospect of
opening accession negotiations. But Turkey's friends in the EU, of whom
Britain was among the closest, wanted to work in cooperation with Tur-
key to help her meet the criteria. I added that my own personal
experience of Britain's first two, unsuccessful, efforts to join the European
Community was that the only people who were happy if the applicant
reacted angrily were the people who did not want the applicant to join in
the first place. What was needed was perseverance and determination. On
Cyprus I concentrated on the desirability of Denktash responding posi-
tively if we could get a worthwhile offer out of the Greek Cypriots of
involvement in the accession negotiations, which we believed we would
do, and on the case for resuming the UN-led process for a comprehensive
settlement. Yilmaz lapsed into something close to his London taciturnity
on a subject he clearly did not enjoy discussing.

When I returned to Ankara in mid-February, the answer about atten-
dance at the European Conference was indeed negative, but it was a polite
'no' and not any longer an angry one. It was agreed that neither side
would either criticize or extol Turkey's absence from the meeting, which
would be treated as purely temporary. And that was how it was handled.
Neither the Conference itself nor the opening of accession negotiations
with Cyprus shortly afterwards led to any further deterioration of Tur-
key's relationship with the EU. And some time later, when relations had
much improved, Turkey slipped quietly into the meetings of the Euro-


pean Conference. In reality it had always been something of a forlorn
hope trying to get Turkey to come to London in March. Not only were
the wounds of Luxembourg too deep and too fresh to have healed, but the
Turks in any case suspected that the European Conference was that
alternative destination to which many Europeans who did not want
Turkey in the Union were trying to direct them and which they were
determined to reject. This was one of those tasks that EU presidencies
have to take on, like it or not.

We were thus still left with the need to find a way to get Turkey and
the EU working together again. The next opportunity for that was the
regular six-monthly meeting of the EUITurkey Association Council
which was due to take place in May and which, if successful, could pro-
vide a basis for the Cardiff European Council in June to move on from
Luxembourg. Together with the Commission we were beginning to think
of ways in which the technical preparatory work to subsequent accession
negotiations could be speeded up and intensified, thus giving Turkey an
incentive to introduce the domestic reforms that would be required if she
was to meet the Copenhagen criteria. And we were also thinking of ways
of working around the roadblock over the customs union funds by con-
centrating on completely separate pre-accession aid funds which could be
put to the same uses. Unfortunately, despite a major effort to put the May
Association Council to good use, including a visit to Ankara by the for-
eign secretary Robin Cook as president of the Council, the Turks in the
end declined to come to a Council meeting. Ismail Cem, at that stage a
relatively new foreign minister, would have liked to have attended, but he
was bludgeoned into submission by his senior officials, in front of the
somewhat startled gaze of the visiting British team. As so often, the
establishment in Ankara, that 'deep state' about which so much has been
written, was determinedly looking at a half empty glass, not a half full
one. It was not to be the last such occasion. So we had to do the best we
could at the Cardiff European Council without the springboard of a
successful Association Council, and in the face of a pretty negative Greek
attitude, which remained committed to making life as difficult as possible
for the Turkish candidature. A few small steps forwards were registered
but it was not until 1999 that real progress on Turkey's relationship with
the EU began to be made.


EUICyprus: a joint approach?
The other task handed to the British EU presidency at Luxembourg of
working up arrangements for joint Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot
involvement in the accession negotiations due to start at the end of March
was very nearly as poisoned a chalice as the one relating to the European
Conference. The Greek Cypriots had made lots of positive noises about
such involvement. But they had all so far been short on specificity and
long on various 'red lines' that must not be crossed. From the Greek
Cypriot point of view, while the desirability of Turkish Cypriot involve-
ment was evident, the modalities were sure to touch on some of the issues
most sensitive to them -the legitimacy, or rather lack of it, of the Turkish
Cypriot state, their own right to aspire to EU membership whether or not
the Turkish Cypriots went along, and the need to avoid Cyprus's applica-
tion in any way being treated differently from that of the other applicants.
Nevertheless they knew that the European Union had meant what it said
at ~,uxembourg, and its members, especially those wary of migrating the
Cyprus problem into the Union, would not be at all content if the offer
they were being asked to make turned out to be couched in terms which
the Turlush Cypriots would be bound to refuse. The Turkish Cypriots,
on the other hand, were being offered an opportunity that their deeply
Ikro-sceptical leadership hardly recognized as being one at all and which
involved, in their eyes, many heavy sacrifices in subordinating themselves
to the Greek Cypriots and legiti~nizing their EU application.
As soon as the Greek Cypriot presidential elections were over I went
to the island at the end of February and then returned there again a week
later with van den Broek as part of a presidency/Commission duo. On
neither occasion were the Greek Cypriots prepared to reveal their hand in
detail, and there was little doubt they were having some difficulty in
deciding how far to go. From the European side we concentrated on a
number of key issues. Press leaks had suggested that the Greek Cypriots
might opt for a system under which the 'Turkish Cypriots to be involved
in the accession negotiations would be drawn from some non-
governmental organization in the north such as the Turkish Cypriot
Chamber of Commerce, or that the Greek Cypriots would seek some say
in the choice to avoid having people who represented Denktash directly.
We made it clear that neither of these approaches would be viable nor
would be seen as the sort of non-prejudicial offer for which the Europeans
were looking. Unpalatable though it might be to the Greek Cypriots, the
choice of whom to appoint must be left to the Turkish Cypriots them-

selves, which of course meant that Denktash would have the final say. We
also emphasized the need to demonstrate in the terms of the offer that the
Turkish Cypriots were not simply being asked to join a Greek Cypriot
bandwagon over whose direction they had no control, but that provision
was being made for the eventualities that would certainly arise in the
negotiations, when Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot interests would
not be identical and when special arrangements would need to be made
for the north of the island, whether to take account of the huge gap in
economic development between the north and the south or of the fears in
the north that they would, immediately after accession, be flooded with
Greek Cypriot investment and Greek Cypriot property owners and
developers. Again these points produced more pensive looks than positive
reactions. But they clearly registered.

As to the north, Denktash refused to have any contact with either
myself or van den Broek, sheltering behind the supposed Turkish deci-
sion to that effect -by then looking a little skimpy, as I had twice seen the
Turkish prime minister -and we were limited in our contacts with the
Turkish Cypriots to opposition politicians and businessmen whose hopes
were pinned on involvement in the EU accession negotiations but whose
influence on decision taking in the north was at that stage close to zero.
Van den Broek was able, however, in a bi-communal press conference to
set out clearly the advantages of participation in the accession negotia-

The next stage was to bring the Greek Cypriots to a decision point on
the offer they would be ready to make and to ensure that Denktash re-
sponded to it. To try to avoid a predictably knee-jerk reaction to anything
coming directly to him from the Greek Cypriots it was decided that any
Greek Cypriot offer would be made to the EU presidency and, if the EU
considered it was a fair and viable one, would be passed on by them to the
Turkish Cypriots. Robin Cook invited Clerides and Denktash to London
for separate talks on the issue. Clerides accepted the invitation but Denk-
tash promptly declined, which meant that we would have to rely on
communications with him through diplomatic channels. Clerides saw
Blair on 11 March and Cook on 12 March and at the latter meeting pro-
duced the offer. This did indeed leave it entirely up to the Turkish
Cypriots themselves to choose their representatives in the negotiating
team, and it hinted that, where a common position could not be agreed
between the two parts of the Cypriot negotiating team, the issue in ques-
tion would be dealt with at a later stage in the negotiations. In our view

and that of the Commission this was indeed a valid offer, which, though it
was unliltely to be accepted as such by the Turkish Cypriots, provided
them with some very clear opportunities for improvement if, for example,
they were to respond with detailed questions on how the arrangements
would actually work in practice. That was the view of the other EU
members when they were consulted. In addition we had been offered by
Clerides a very clear statement that agreeing to these arrangements in no
sense prejudiced the position of either side in any settlement negotiations
nor committed the Turkish Cypriots to accepting terms for EU member-
ship that might emerge frorn the accession negotiations.

Perhaps of even greater value, Clerides authorized us to convey on his
behalf to Denktash his readiness, in the event of Turkish Cypriots being
nominated to the negotiating team and of agreement being reached on the
modalities of the joint negotiating team, to discuss with the EU Commis-
sion steps to make possible the resumption of preferential trade to the EU
from the northern part of Cyprus and to facilitate the disbursement of EU
funds there. This offer to contemplate finding a way round the European
Court of Justice ruling that had brought direct preferential trade between
the Turkish Cypriots and the EU to an end (always called, incorrectly,
the 'embargo') and to find ways of committing EU aid to the north ad-
dressed two of the most important grievances that Denktash raised
against the EU. All this we conveyed to Denktash, who rejected it out of
hand. He had in fact already done so in press statements even before the
details of what the Greek Cypriots were prepared to offer were known -a
classic case of preemptive diplomacy, but not one likely to convince
European Union member states that he was trying very hard to reach
common ground. A week later a Greek Cypriot delegation opened the
negotiations for their accession to the European Union.

Even at the time it was evident that the Turl&h Cypriots and their
Turkish backers, who seemed to have no qualms about the line they wcrc
taking, were making an egregious error and missing an important oppor-
tunity. The sighs of relief on the Greek Cypriot side that the offer was not
taken up should have convinced them of that if nothing else did. Elad the
Turkish Cypriots taken up the offer, or at least explored it in detail, they
would have greatly complicated the earlier stages of the accession nego-
tiations, and there would have been a lot of pressure frorn the European
side to clarify the details in ways that made it earier for the Turkish
Cypriots to accept,. In the longer run they would have increased their
leverage over the terms of accession being negotiated, and they would


have ensured that, if and when settlement negotiations did get under way,
European pressure to reach agreement would have been deployed even-
handedly on both sides. And if EU trade and aid had been resumed with
the north that would have begun to narrow the massive prosperity gap
between the two parts of the island and given both a stake in moving on to
the full membership of a reunited island. All these advantages were
sacrificed for what? For the ability to go on saying that the Greek Cypriot
application was illegal and that the only basis on which the Turkish
Cypriots would come to the table with the EU was if they were recog-
nized as an independent state in their own right allowed to negotiate their
own terms of accession. Neither of these were cards likely to take many

Holbrooke's throw

Richard Holbrooke had not played a particularly active role in the months
following his appointment as President Clinton's Special Representative
for Cyprus. He had stood well back from the Troutbeck and Glion talks,
clearly believing that they would get nowhere. He had weighed in in EU
capitals in support of getting a better deal for Turkey at the Luxembourg
Summit. And he was inclined, following his experience in Bosnia and
over the Imia crisis between Greece and Turkey in early 1996, to take a
critical view of EU policy and to sympathize with Turkey's predicament.
He had begun with some hopes of using an existing bi-communal busi-
ness forum which brought together not only Greek and Turkish Cypriots
but also some leading Turkish and Greek businessmen to build up mo-
mentum for a settlement and had put considerable effort into organizing
meetings in Brussels in November 1997 (and later in Istanbul in Decem-
ber 1998). But the results of this Track 2 activity had been disappointing,
in good measure because of the reluctance of some of the leading Turkish
Cypriot businessmen to take any line that differed from that of Denktash
and because experience showed that neither Turkish nor Greek busi-
nessmen had much influence on their respective governments' Cyprus
policies. So he had been compelled to recognize that this route did not
offer an alternative, nor even much of a supplement, to the more classical
approach of negotiations between the two leaders.

It was to that classical approach that he now turned in May 1998 when
he visited the island, accompanied by the State Department's energetic
and able Special Cyprus Coordinator, Tom Miller, who was effectively
his deputy. There was no evidence of elaborate preparation nor, not to


my surprise, of any advance consultation with the UN or with any of the
other players. The objective appeared to be to crack the main procedural
stumbling blocks to a resumption of the settlement negotiations and to
Turkish Cypriot involvement in the EU accession negotiations. It was to
be a quick and short effort, with all substantive negotiation being left to a
later stage. Holbrooke did manage to get Clerides and Denktash together
and he put a major effort, including much high-pressure contact with
Ankara and, to a lesser extent, with Athens, into getting them to agree,
but he could not get them to agree to anything of substance. He seems
even to have flirted with the concept of 'acknowledgement' by the Greek
Cypriots of the Turkish Cypriots' separate status. But even that did not
move Denktash. And although Holbrooke in his press conference before
leaving the island took a carefully even-handed approach, within days of
his return to the United States he made it clear publicly that the main
obstacle to his making any progress had been Denktash, who, he said, had
wanted the main fruits of the negotiation to be delivered to him in ad-
vance without ever sitting down at the negotiating table. 'The Turkish
Cypriot side took a series of positions which amounted to making as
preconditions for negotiations things which the negotiation was supposed
to be about. Well that effectively freezes negotiations. You can't negotiate
if the preconditions for a negotiation are the outcome itself.'
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:57 am

This episode really marked the end of Holbrooke's active personal
involvement in the Cyprus problem, although he remained Presidential
Special Representative for another year, during which time he was much
more involved in the Kosovo crisis and also in the Congressional manoeu-
vring required to get confirmation of his appointment as the United
States' UN ambassador. It also marked the end of attempts to kick-start
the negotiation by getting Clerides and Denktash together to agree on the
way ahead. From now on a more laborious and painstaking approach was
adopted. I set out the case for negotiations on the core substantive issues
without any preconditions about status in a speech I gave to the Turkish
Cypriot Chamber of Commerce in July. Reaction from Denktash (who
was still refusing to see me) was a good deal more muted than I had
expected, which convinced me even more firmly that this was the way we
would have to proceed. In the same speech I set out to dissipate some of
the myths about EU membership that had been put about by Denktash
and those Turkish Cypriots who were arguing that Cyprus must be kept
out of the EU until Turkey itself was accepted and ready to join and by
those Greek Cypriots who wanted to make the EU seem as unattractive as

Ui\i?li\C:li. LIMI'I A'I ION 91

possible in the north. There was no incompatibility between continuation
of the Treaty of Guarantee and joining the EU; nor would EU member-
ship destroy the very close links between Turkey and north Cyprus even
if the latter was in the EU and the former had not yet joined; nor would
EU legislation simply be imposed on the north irrespective of the prob-
lems that might cause, the EU having a long tradition of finding
imaginative solutions to such problems. Having cleared the speech in
advance with van den Broek I felt on firm ground, and so indeed it was to
prove in later years when the UN and the EU worked closely together to
find just such imaginative solutions.

Denktash's muted reaction to this speech in no way, however, indi-
cated that he was going to make the path towards negotiations without
preconditions an easy one. At the end of August he launched a new
initiative for a lasting solution in Cyprus, described wishfully as 'a final
effort'. This initiative abandoned the hard-won Turkish Cypriot demand
of the previous three decades for a federated Cyprus to replace the 1960
unitary, bi-communal state, and opted instead for a confederation, pro-

1. A special relationship between Turkey and the 'TRNC' on the basis of
agreements to be concluded.
2. A similar special relationship between Greece and the Greek Cypriot
administration on the basis of symmetrical agreements to be concluded.
3. Establishment of a Cyprus Confederation between the 'TRNC' and the
GCA (Greek Cypriot Administration).
4. The 1960 Guarantee System shall continue.
5. The Cyprus Confederation may, if parties agree, pursue a policy of ac-
cession to the EU, a special relationship will provide Turkey with the full
rights and obligations of an EU member with regard to thc Cyprus Con-
Quite apart from the fact that the new proposal could by no stretch of the
imagination be fitted into the framework specified by the UN Security
Council, it was clearly not going to be negotiable for a number of other
reasons. It had more than a whiff of the partition policies of earlier years.
Its basic objective was not so much the finer points of distinction between
federations and confederations -the 1992 Set of Ideas had been named a
federation but in reality it included a number of confederal concepts -but
rather to achieve from the outset Denktash's basic demand that the
TRNC as such be recognized as a sovereign and equal state. The only
new point with some positive implications was the fifth one, which regis-


tered the first occasion when the Turkish Cypriots (and by implication
the Turks) accepted the possibility that north Cyprus might be part of the
EU before Turkey was. And while the initiative as such was dead on
arrival, the Turks were later to regret allowing Denktash to nail his (and
their) colours to the confederation mast, thus greatly complicating the
conduct of the settlement negotiations when they eventually got under

The missiles diverted
By the autumn of 1998 the question of the S300 missiles was again be-
coming acute and it was clear that their deployment to the island could
not be much longer fudged or delayed. For one thing the missiles them-
selves were ready for shipment and the Russians were agitating for
payment; for another, Clerides had been re-elected in February on a
platform of commitment to deployment, and his coalition partners, led by
Vasos Lyssarides, had made it clear that they would only remain in the
government if the missiles were deployed. The press was contributing to
a noticeable increase in tension, with speculation in the Turkish press that
action, even the use of force, might be taken to prevent their delivery
from Russia. The pressure on Clerides from the US, the UK and the
other Europeans to cancel or suspend deployment mounted steadily and
began to have some effect. Clerides began to try out half-and-half ap-
proaches. Perhaps the missiles could be shipped to Cyprus but kept in
hangars and not deployed. It was pointed out that this would not help
much and would create a situation whereby any subsequent decision to
deploy during a time of crisis would risk being seen by the Turks as a
clear step towards actual hostilities. In addition to messages from the US
president and the UK prime minister, Wolfgang Schiissel, the Austrian
foreign minister, weighed in in his capacity as president of the EU Coun-
cil. He explained very frankly that the EU and its member states would
simply not understand it if Clerides proceeded with deployment when
accession negotiations were under way and efforts were being made to
achieve a Cyprus settlement before accession. The implications of this last
message were very clear and they were not missed either in Nicosia or in
At this stage the Greek government reached a clear conclusion that
they did not want to run the risk of a full-scale Greek-Turkish confron-
tation, which could well occur if deployment of the missiles went ahead.
They began to discuss with the Greek Cypriots the possibility of divert-

ing the missiles to Crete and possibly replacing them with shorter-range
missiles already in the Greek inventory. This alternative plan rapidly took
shape during December 1998. While the Turks continued to grumble a
good deal, it became clear that the switch to Crete (which was considera-
bly further from the Turkish mainland than Cyprus and put Turkish
airbases out of range) and the fact that the missiles would no longer be
under Greek Cypriot control, made a substantial difference and that
diversion in this way would in fact mark the end of the crisis. There
remained serious political problems for Clerides whose U-turn had pro-
voked outrage in the press and the resignation of several ministers.
Clerides let it be known at this stage that it was essential for him to be
able to say that diversion of the missiles had been decided in order to give
a new opportunity for negotiations for a settlement. In response to this
appeal the US president and the British prime minister issued statements
committing themselves to a 'major, sustained effort towards securing a
just, comprehensive and lasting settlement in Cyprus' and to give 'com-
plete and wholehearted backing to this effort'. In this way the scene was
set for 1999. But everything remained to be done. And there was as yet no
Turkish or Turkish Cypriot commitment to this objective.

1999: Getting the Show
on the Road Again

'ith the diversion of the S300 missiles to Crete and a slow thaw
beginning in the EU/Turkey relationship, the strength of some
of the extraneous factors impeding a Cyprus settlement nego-
tiation was beginning to abate. But the barometer was certainly not set
fair. For one thing the mood in Cyprus itself remained distinctly sour. On
the Greek Cypriot side there was considerable bitterness over the whole
missile episode, seen as yet another occasion when Cyprus was manoeu-
vred around like a pawn by external forces over which it had no control.
The possibility that acquiring the missiles could have been an expensive
mistake, providing not increased security but instead more tension and
risk, was hardly contemplated by anyone on any part of the political
spectrum. On the other side of the island Denktash continued his boycott
of any contact with the EU. So, when I visited the island in late January
for an annual Heads of Mission conference with the British ambassadors
from Ankara and Athens and the British high commissioner in Nicosia, I
ran into a steady drizzle of Cypriot negativism. Arriving at Larnaca
Airport I met by chance the Greek deputy foreign minister, Kranidiotis,
on his way out. He warned me that Clerides was feeling bruised and that
he himself had just been given an extremely rough ride by the Greek
Cypriot press, an unusual occurrence for a Greek minister and one of
Cypriot origin. This warning was soon borne out when a passing answer I
gave the press about the possible relevance of the Swiss constitution to
arrangements for a reunited Cyprus was blown up out of all proportion
and led to Clerides refusing to see me, as had earlier been agreed. The
same day Denktash declined to pay any attention to the fact that I no
longer (with the end of the Austrian EU presidency and the advent of the
German one) had any EU function, and also refused to see me. So any
idea that carrying out the prime minister's and President Clinton's recent


commitments to launch a new drive for a settlement -the same drive that
Clerides had begged for when diverting the SiOOs -would be simple or
easy was rapidly dissipated.

The question of how to proceed with these commitments had in fact
already been discussed between the UK, the Americans and the UN.
Miller, who by now was effectively in charge of day-to-day Cyprus policy
in Washington, had come to London early in January, as had Dame Ann
Hercus, the New Zealander who was running the UNFICYP operation
on the island. We and the Americans were clear that we would have to
give a lead in the next phase. It was evident that the Cypriots would not
do so. There was no sign of help from the two motherlands, and the UN
seemed bereft of ideas and unwilling to put in a real effort until they
could see that the door was at least partly ajar. We were equally clear that
failure to follow up on the US/UK commitments was a poor option in the
medium and longer term. The Greek Cypriot feeling of alienation would
increase, as would the risk of further destabilizing arms purchases. And
the steady progress of Cyprus's EU accession negotiations brought closer
a possible confrontation with Turkey over accession by a divided island.
We also agreed that this time we should be aiming not simply at a
CleridesIDenktash one-off meeting with an uncertain follow-up, but
rather at a structured process that would involve the two sides, under UN
aegis, becoming involved in serious negotiations on the core issues. Miller
floated the idea of using the annual G8 Summit, due in June, as a launch
pad for such a process and from then on the US and the UK, as two of the
participants, began to work systematically to achieve that.

Three earthquakes: a transformation of Greek-Turkish relations

The first of the three 1999 earthquakes was not of the seismic variety,
although the latter two were. Nor did any of them have much to do with
Cyprus, although their indirect impact on the Cyprus problem was con-

The first earthquake occurred in February when Abdullah Ocalan, the
fugitive leader of the Kurdish PKK terrorist movement was, following his
capture in Kenya and return to Turkey, found to have been being shel-
tered in the Greek embassy in Nairobi and to have travelled on the
passport of a Greek Cypriot journalist. This led, not unnaturally, to a
major diplomatic row between Greece and Turkey and then to the resig-
nation of Greek foreign minister Pangalos and a number of the other
Greek ministers concerned and finally to Pangalos's replacement as


foreign minister by George Papandreou, the son of Andreas Papandreou,
Sirnitis's predecessor as prime minister. The policy implications of Pa-
pandreou's appointment were not immediately apparent. The turbulence
caused in Greek-Turkish relations by the Ocalan affair took some time to
subside. But by the spring, at least a change of style was becoming visible.
In place of the exchanges of angry rhetoric by press communique', which
had characterized relations between Greece and 'Turkey for a number of
years, Papandreou and his Turkish opposite number, Ismail Cem, began
to pick up the telephone to each other and to reduce the scratchiness in
the relationship. Then, by the summer, they began to give thought to
ways of talking about some of the less sensitive bilateral topics -tourism,
trade, investment and culture. It gradually became clear that Papandreou
had a different strategic view of Greece's relationship with Turkey from
that of his predecessor and that this view was to some extent shared by
Cem. For Papandreou, bad relations with Turkey damaged Greece,
necessitating a high rate of defence spending and sacrificing many com-
mercial and economic opportunities in Turkey's large and rapidly
growing market. Moreover he saw that the alienation of Turkey from the
EU was contrary to Greece's interest, since it was liable in the long run to
destabilize Turkey and leave Greece with an erratic, unpredictable but
still powerful neighbour.

At this point nature took a hand. In August a massive earthquake
struck a heavily populated region of Turkey on the Sea of Marmara.
There was considerable loss of life and huge material damage with which
the Turkish government's emergency services were ill equipped to deal.
Papandreou immediately helped to organize a high-profile Greek re-
sponse in the form of emergency aid and relief teams, which in turn
triggered a major outpouring of popular sentiment in both countries,
contrasting sharply with the habitually chauvinistic tone of media com-
ment about each other. In September a much smaller earthquake
occurred on the outskirts of Athens, and Turkey reciprocated. The out-
come, in political terms, of all this was to enable the two ministers and
their respective governments to pursue a policy of rapprochement, to-
wards which they had already been edging cautiously, with much more
confidence and with less likelihood that it would be derailed by a nation-
alist backlash on either or both sides as had so often occurred in the past.
Not only were they able to negotiate a number of agreements and under-
standings on some of the less sensitive aspects of their mutual relations,
but Greek policy towards Turkey in Brussels began to change. The

provision of EU financial assistance for dealing with the consequences of
the earthquake went ahead with no difficulty and it became clear that
there would no longer be problems about Greece agreeing to the EU
providing substantial sums of money to programmes designed to promote
Turkey's EU candidature.

So, while the vexed issue of the EU's unimplemented financial com-
mitment to Turkey at the time the Customs Union Agreement was
concluded was never in fact resolved, having become inextricably linked
in Greek domestic politics with the issue of possible Turkish claims to
various uninhabited roclcs and islets off the Aegean coast of Turkey, it
gradually ceased to signify more than a formal grievance, as substantial
EU fi~mlcial co~nmitments began to be made in the context of helping
Turkey prepare for EU acccssion. Indeed Greece's whole attitude to-
wards Turkey's candidature was transformed. From being the member
state tlm had invariably thrown grit into any discussion of the subject
and thus provided an excuse for other member states to shelter behind,
Greece became one of the foremost protagonists within the EU of even-
tual Turkish membership.

None of this directly related to Cyprus but it did have important
implications for the handling of the Cyprus problem. Few issues were as
difficult to discuss in each of the capitals concerned as the inter-
relationship between three crucial inter-locking issues -the Greek-Turk-
ish relationship, the Cyprus problem and the EUITurkey and EUICyprus
accession prospects -but none was more important to understand. The
word 'linkage' was taboo in each capital, although for entirely different
reasons. In Ankara it was unacceptable because it implied that Turkish
Cypriot vital interests and those of Turkey in Cyprus might be sacrificed
on the altar of Turkey's EU candidature and of better relations with
Greece; in Athens it implied that Greece was weakening in the national
cause of supporting the Greek Cypriots and might be allowing Cyprus's
EU candidature to become dependent on other factors; with the Greek
Cypriots it implied that the Cyprus problem might be left unresolved
while Greece and Turkey made up and Turkey moved towards the
European Union; with the Turkish Cypriots it implied that they might
lose control of Turkey's Cyprus policy and be sacrificed as a pawn in
wider negotiations. Those sensitivities meant that the one thing everyone
agreed about, as did the main external players, was that it made no sense
at all to aim for a single, grand negotiation designed to find solutions to all
three sets of issues at thc same time -an approach k~lown as 'one ball of


wax', so called, it was said, by IIenry IGssinger who had once flirted with
the idea. But that negative consensus did not in any way dispose of the
fact that the issues genuinely were inter-related and that they impacted on
each other, either positively or negatively. So on the diplomatic circuit it
was readily agreed not to use the word 'linkage', but also to recognize that
these inter-relationships were real and needed to be understood and
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:58 am

The immediate consequences of the Greek-Turkish rapprochement
for the Cyprus problem were entirely positive but they were modest. The
positive implications for the EUITurkey relationship meant that that key
part of any Cyprus equation began to look more promising and thus
motivate the Turks to think a little more positively about Cyprus. But the
effects should not be exaggerated and their limits were already visible.
The Turks seemed no more willing than they had ever been to discuss
Cyprus directly with the Greeks, and numerous attempts by Papandreou
to get into a serious discussion of the core Cyprus issues with Cem were
fended off. The Greeks on their side were soon brought up against the
reality that too rapid progress on bilateral issues would put strain on their
important relationship with the Greek Cypriots and give rise to criticism
that Cyprus was being forgotten. And both Greeks and Turks were well
aware that decisions important to both of them were likely to be taken at
the meeting of the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999 and
that the balance there between progress in the EU's relationships with
Cyprus and with Turkey would raise sensitive issues and could easily go
wrong, with damaging implications also for their bilateral rapprochement.

Laying the foundations for a negotiation: the G8 Summit

The tactical approach for which the US and Britain had opted, of starting
with the G8 Summit scheduled for June in Bonn, proved to be the right
one. The preparations of G8 Sunmits by the personal representatives of
their heads of state and government (known as 'Sherpas') were much
more discreet and therefore less exposed to frenzied lobbying by the
parties and their motherlands than any negotiation of a resolution at the
Security Council in New York could ever be. None of the G8 participants
had an axe to grind over Cyprus, with the possible exception of Russia,
which habitually took a straight Greek Cypriot brief for any UN discus-
sions. But on this occasion, perhaps because their usual 'Cyprus' experts
were less directly involved, there was not too much difficulty over reach-
ing an agreed text. The objectives that the Americans and the British


Laying the foundations for a negotiation: Security Council
Resolution 1250

The G8 text achieved precisely the objectives that had been set for it. But
in itself it was insufficient, since none of the parties had accepted it and
the G8 had no decision-making authority. The need for this led us within
ten days to the Security Council in New York where one of the bi-annual
renewals of the mandate of the UN's peacekeeping force in Cyprus
(UNFICYP) was due to take place before the end of June. The negotia-
tions there were inevitably less straightforward than those in the G8. The
Greek Cypriots in particular were deeply unhappy about the wording of
the G8 text and its avoidance of the precise parameters of previous UN
documents. And the Turks and Turkish Cypriots, who might have been
expected to welcome the quite unusual degree of flexibility in the G8 text,
instead, as usual, concentrated on the parts they did not like, in particular
the reference to no preconditions and the time factor introduced for the
first time of a report back to the Summit meeting of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe which Turkey would be chairing in
November in Istanbul. A further, New York, complication was the prac-
tice which had grown up over the years of mixing up in the same
resolution elements relating to the UN secretary-general's Good Offices
Mission to negotiate a comprehensive settlement and those more properly
belonging to the renewal of the peacekeeping mission. Any such confu-
sion on this occasion would inevitably lead to a loss of the flexibility in
the G8 text and a complication in the secretary-general's task of thereafter
getting the parties to the negotiating table. After a lengthy diplomatic
tussle of a classical kind in New York, the G8 text, and in particular its
four clear guidelines for the future negotiations, was preserved intact and
relatively uncluttered in Security Council Resolution 1250. In parallel the
preamble of the renewal of the peacekeeping mandate in Security Council
Resolution 1251 was expanded to accommodate much of the subject
matter from earlier Security Council resolutions. The text of Security
Council Resolution 1250, which was adopted unanimously, was as fol-

The Security Council,

Reaffirming all its earlier resolutions on Cyprus, particularly resolution
1218 (1998) of 22 December 1998,


9. Also requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council in-
formed of progress towards the implementation of this resolution and to
submit a report to the Council by 1 December 1999;
10. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
This resolution remained from beginning to end the basis for the negotia-
tions over the next three and a half years. The secretary-general and his
special adviser reported from time to time orally to the Security Council
and received from it, through carefully crafted declarations to the press,
the support and encouragement that they needed to proceed with the
negotiations. But at no stage did Kofi Annan report in writing to the
Council until after the breakdown of the negotiations in March 2003, and
there was therefore no requirement for a new resolution on the Good
Offices Mission which might have superseded, or muddied the clarity of,
Resolution 1250. Despite one or two fraught moments it also proved
possible to keep the negotiations entirely separate from the unavoidable
bi-annual negotiations on resolutions to prolong the mandate of

Laying the foundations for a negotiation: changes in the network
As progress began laboriously to be made towards a resumption of nego-
tiations, it became steadily clearer that the main UN negotiator could not
be, as Cordovez was, based in Ecuador, and only infrequently visiting
New York and the region. It was inevitably going to become a full-time
job. Nor could it be done by a single diplomatic troubleshooter, without
any back-up beyond one desk officer in the UN Secretariat. So, in the late
spring of 1999, Annan asked Cordovez to step down and began what
turned out to be a rather lengthy search for a replacement. His first choice
was Ann Hercus who had been in charge of the UNFICYP operations on
the island for more than a year and had proved herself energetic and
competent in that post and, of course, had thereby acquired a good deal of
knowledge of the subject matter and the main players. Her appointment
caused no problems with Clerides and Denktash. But within a couple of
weeks of taking over she resigned for personal, family reasons. Annan's
next candidate was Jan Egeland, a Norwegian with considerable experi-
ence of international negotiation as part of the team that had worked on
the Oslo Arab-Israel peace process and who had also participated in
Holbrooke's Track 2 activities, trying to bring together Greek Cypriot
and Turkish Cypriot businessmen. Whether because of this last involve-
ment -Denktash was deeply irritated by Track 2 meetings, which he saw


as a challenge to his own iron grip on the Turkish Cypriot negotiating
position -or simply because Egeland was a European, albeit one from a
country which was not a member of the European Union, Denktash
vetoed the new appointment. In what was to prove a third time very
lucky indeed, Annan chose Alvaro de Soto, a Peruvian diplomat and
former close adviser to UN secretaries-general Pe'rez de Cue'llar and
Boutros-Ghali and currently assistant secretary-general in the UN's
Department of Political Affairs. This appointment caused no problem to
the parties.

Although de Soto had only been very slightly involved with Cyprus in
his previous UN Secretariat posts, he did, inevitably, know a good deal
about a task that had been on the UN's plate for almost longer than any
other. Moreover, as the main negotiator in the El Salvador peace process,
he had acquired experience in multi-faceted and complexly multicultural
settlement negotiations, which, for all the many differences between El
Salvador and Cyprus, was to stand him in good stead during the next few
years. Among his many qualities, imperturbability and precision were

With the arrival of de Soto on the scene in the autumn of 1999 a num-
ber of aspects of the negotiating pattern changed for the better. Annan
had told me at the time he appointed de Soto that he was aware of the
need for the UN to cooperate as closely as possible with the US and the
UK in the forthcoming negotiations, recognizing the weakness of the
UN's earlier approach at Troutbeck and Glion, but he also asked most
particularly that we respect the UN's independence and impartiality and
that we accept at every stage that the UN was in the lead. I replied that,
as far as the UK was concerned, I could give him an absolute commitment
on these points; that was exactly how we saw any negotiation with a
chance of success developing. He and de Soto could count on our full
support and could be sure we would not pursue a national agenda or take
solo initiatives.

As soon as de Soto had picked up the threads, he began to assemble a
small but effective negotiating team, with an experienced and competent
legal adviser, Didier Pfirter, on secondment from the Swiss foreign min-
istry, a young Australian, Robert Dann, as his jack of all trades, and
experts on property issues and peacekeeping. Thus, as the negotiations
wore on, de Soto had a competent in-house capacity to work on every
aspect of the core issues, from map making to constitution drafting. If
there was one gap, it was in EU expertise but that proved remediable

thanks to the increasing cooperation with the EU Commission. It was also
possible to come to a much clearer understanding of the respective roles
on the one hand of the UN and on the other of the US, the UK and other
European partners. Up till then every discussion with the UN had been
bedevilled by UN requests for others, the US in particular, to do what
was described as the 'heavy lifting' in Ankara, it being suggested that in
the past this had been lacking and that the UN had been left high and
dry. The US and UK response had been that in order to do heavy lifting,
one had to have something to lift, and that required the UN to put to-
gether the main elements of a settlement which we and others could then
try to get all concerned, including Turkey, to accept. Without these
elements there would be no leverage. In any case, the clear public com-
mitment of Clinton and Blair showed that our two governments did
intend to put their backs into it.

In parallel with the changes in the UN team, there was a complete
change also in the US team. Holbrooke's appointment as the United
States' UN ambassador having finally received Senate confirmation, he
bowed out. And Miller left to become US ambassador to Bosnia and
Herzegovina in Sarajevo. In their places were appointed Ambassador
Alfred Moses as the President's Special Representative and Ambassador
Thomas Weston as Special Cyprus Coordinator. Moses had worked as a
legal counsel in the White House in previous Democrat administrations
and, more recently, had been ambassador to Romania. What he lacked in
Cyprus expertise, he made up for in forcefulness and determination, and
he worked effectively full time, although that was not his remit. Weston
brought a wealth of diplomatic experience and in particular a knowledge
of the European Union and how it worked, a commodity not always in
ready supply in the State Department. With the installation of this team
died any question of there being a separate US track to the negotiations.
Although it took the regional players, particularly the Turks, a long time
to grasp and to accept that point, it did immeasurably strengthen the
UN's negotiating hand.

Also the role of the EU in any Cyprus settlement negotiations began
to come into much sharper focus. There too there had been significant
changes in personnel. Javier Solana had been appointed to the newly
created post of IIigh Representative for the Common Foreign and Secu-
rity Policy, and, as a former secretary-general of NATO, he arrived with
considerable knowledge of Greek-Turkish relations. At the EU Commis-
sion, following the resignation of the Santer Commission and the

installation of Romano Prodi, Gunther Verheugen, formerly the German
minister for Europe, took over responsibility for the enlargement negotia-
tions. He was well aware from the outset that among the difficult political
obstacles to the successful conclusion of those negotiations, the Cyprus
problem, with all its inter-relationships with other problems, was going to
be one of the trickiest to handle. It had always been difficult, and it re-
mained so, to distinguish between, on the one hand, the European Union
as a major diplomatic player in what was after all an issue with substantial
foreign policy implications on its doorstep in the Eastern Mediterranean
region, and, on the other, the European Union which both Cyprus, re-
united or not, and Turkey were seeking to join and with which the whole
paraphernalia of accession negotiations was either under way or in pros-
pect. And yet it was important to distinguish these two roles. Back in
1996, the former was predominant but not particularly effective; as time
passed the second role became the predominant one. At every stage it was
essential to ensure that the two roles were played in harmony and did not
cut across each other. Given the proclivity of international organizations,
or even of different parts of the same international organization, to get at
cross purposes and indulge in turf fighting, it was little short of the mi-
raculous, and greatly to the credit of all concerned, that that did not occur
over Cyprus.

The European Union's role as a diplomatic player was significant but
not easy to articulate. This was not just because of the usual dichotomy
between the as yet nascent Common Foreign and Security Policy and the
policies of the principal member states, although that did play a relatively
modest part. For member states such as France and Cernuny, their
relationship with Turkey and their distinctly ambivalent attitude towards
its possible accession to the EU were of infinitely greater importance than
any Cyprus considerations; for them Cyprus was essentially a side-show
and they were not prepared to allow the Cyprus tail to wag the
EUITurkey dog. For the UK, Cyprus itself mattered a good deal both for
historical reasons and the continuing presence of the Sovereign Base
Areas in the island; we did not have the same hang-ups about Turkish
membership, indeed firmly supported it.

But beyond these differences of emphasis and interest between mem-
ber states, there was a more pervasive problem. With Greece as a member
state, the EU could not either be, or be seen to be, impartial and even-
handed on an issue that involved a fundamental conflict of interests
between Greece and Turkey. So, hard as it tried to give the UN strong



diplomatic support in the settlement negotiations, the effect was always
less impressive than one would have hoped. The European Union's other
role, as potential bride of all the main regional players in an economic and
political union, moved from the extremely theoretical to the highly prac-
tical and operational as both sets of negotiations -those for EU accession
and those for a Cyprus settlement -gradually came to a head. With
Denktash interested only in using the EU as a surrogate for his sover-
eignty and status objectives and insisting therefore that any negotiation of
Turkish Cypriot terms of accession could only be conducted separately
with him as if the TRNC was an independent European state, it became
clear that there was no classical way of handling the various problems
posed for northern Cyprus by EU accession. And it also became clear that
while some of these problems, such as the very considerable gap in terms
of prosperity and economic development between the north and south of
the island, could be handled through existing EU instruments and poli-
cies, the same could not be said for some of the issues at the heart of the
settlement negotiations, where solutions could only be reconcilable with
the acquis communautaire if considerable imagination and flexibility were
displayed, involving possibly even some derogations, that is to say de-
partures, from those sacred texts. For the EU to play this second role
effectively, the very closest cooperation between the Commission and the
UN would be required, and it was towards achieving this that de Soto
and Verheugen and their staff, with my own pretty active encourage-
ment, now began to set themselves.

Squaring the circle of settlement negotiations

With the G8 text, and its endorsement in Resolution 1250, the founda-
tions for a settlement negotiation were well laid, but the consent of all the
parties was still not achieved. The Greek government was supportive, and
the Greek Cypriots were likely to agree, although they were sure to look
at any terms of reference put forward by Annan with a beady eye, given
their qualms about the amount of flexibility built in to the Security
Council resolution. Denktash could be expected to be difficult, to try to
advance his own recognition agenda and also to try to avoid the UN
getting too expansive a mandate and playing too proactive a role in any
negotiations that ensued. But in the last resort and despite his very strong
influence over those who took decisions on Cyprus policy in Ankara, he
was not a free agent. The decision would be taken in Ankara, and the new
Turkish government of Bulent Ecevit was playing hard to catch, indeed


did not very much want to be caught. 'This government, which had
emerged from the general election at the beginning of the year, was
somewhat less precarious than the ones that had preceded it and had a
substantial majority in parliament. However, it was a coalition of three
parties that had little in common and its sole raison d'stre was to keep out
the Islamic parties who had been briefly let into government by Ciller.
Ecevit's party, the DSP, which had done unexpectedly well in the elec-
tions following the kudos derived from the capture of Ocalan, was a left-
wing nationalist party, a combination not often found elsewhere in
Europe, with a leader who believed the Cyprus problem had been settled
by him in 1974 with the Turkish military operation, but with a foreign
minister in Ismail Cem who was a liberal internationalist. The second
biggest party, the MHP, was a new ultra-nationalist party which was
certainly not going to allow itself to be out-flanked on the right over
Cyprus. The third coalition party, Yilmaz's ANAP, had emerged much
weakened from the elections, so its policy of giving absolute priority to
EU membership was not strongly represented in the counsels of govern-
ment. It was this somewhat unpromising combination, as far as Cyprus
was concerned, that the US set about turning around.

The first move by the US was to invite Ecevit on an official visit to
Washington, a rite of passage that meant as much, if not more, to an
incoming Turkish prime minister as it did to his other European col-
leagues. While the talks in Washington in late September were by no
means all about Cyprus, Clinton made it very clear that the US wanted
settlement negotiations to begin, and, when he got a predictably negative
reaction, that he was not prepared to take no for an answer. In the weeks
following the visit to Washington, the US made much use of Clinton's
possible attendance at the approaching OSCE Summit in Istanbul in
November and the possibility, to which the Turks attached the greatest
importance, of a bilateral visit to Turkey by Clinton immediately before
it. The Americans let it be understood that both depended to a consider-
able extent on the Turks agreeing beforehand to terms of reference for
UN-led Cyprus negotiations. The US president, it was said, would not
want to be rejected again over Cyprus and it was surely not in Turkey's
interest that any talks in November should be dominated by unresolved
issues on Cyprus.

Gradually the pressure began to work and by the end of October there
were signs of a many-sided negotiation on those terms of reference getting
under way. The denouement, which could hardly have taken place under


more confused circumstances, was reached just as the US president
boarded his plane for the bilateral visit to Turkey and the subsequent
OSCE Summit. Annan was on an official visit to Japan -in Tokyo and
Kyoto -while de Soto was in New York. Moses was in Washington.
Clerides and Kasoulides were in South Africa for the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting, divided between Durban and George
(the weekend retreat of heads of government). The British prime minister
and foreign secretary were also in South Africa for the same purpose and
were in frequent touch there with the Greek Cypriots. Denktash was in
Cyprus, but most of the contacts with him passed through the Turkish
government. I was in London. All communication was by telephone over
open lines; the difference in time zones of the various participants did not
make life any easier. The outcome, announced late on 13 November, was
a statement by Annan:

I have spoken to President Clerides and he has agrccd to start proximity
talks in New York on 3 December in order to prepare the ground for
meaningful negotiations leading to a cornprehensivc settlement of thc Cy-
prus Problem. I have also spoken to Mr Denktash who has also agreed and
I will welcome the partics to New York on 3 December.

This somewhat meagre result, following a bit of traditional scrapping
between the UN, Denktash and Clerides over the way the two Cypriot
leaders were referred to (under UN practice the two leaders were nor-
mally referred to as the leaders of their two communities, not as president
or not president), became the basis for the talks that followed.

The Greek Cypriots had taken a good deal of persuading to accept this
text, which was not at all what they would have chosen, and its reception
in their domestic press was stormy. I was invited at short notice to Zu-
rich, where Clerides and Kasoulides were stopping on their way from the
Commonwealth Ileads of Govcrnrnent Meeting in South Africa to the
OSCE Summit in Istanbul, and found them decidedly nervous. I did my
best to reassure them that, for all its inadequacies, the text was a lot better
than nothing. None of the participants, Annan in particular, intended to
allow the talks to focus exclusively on procedure, nor did they intend to
let Denktash use it simply to advance his own agenda. The talks would be
about the core issues for a settlement.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:59 am

In reality Denktash and the Turks had gained a number of procedural
points, none of wkich were of great value as time went on. They had
refused to allow any mention of Resolution 1250 with its four guidelines

and a proactive role for the secretary-general, but nothing they could do
could prevent Annan operating on that basis, as he was bound to do.
They had declined to permit face-to-face talks since Clerides would not
agree to deal with Denktash as president of the TRNC and they had
therefore insisted that the talks should be in a proximity format. In the
event it was by no means clear that this was to their advantage, since
Iknktash was a forceful advocate of his own position and lost the oppor-
tunity to address anyone other than Annan and de Soto. The distinction
between talks to 'prepare the ground' for a subsequent phase of 'mean-
ingful negotiations' could have been more serious. It was part of
Denktash's unvarying tactical approach to ensure that there was always at
least one further decision-making process which he could veto between
the present time and the moment when he (and the Turks) would have to
say yes or no to the substance of a settlement. In practice the distinction
proved impossible to sustain and ceased to be of any practical significance.
But the least that could be said was that while the Turks had persuaded
Denktash to come to the water, he and they were as yet showing no signs
of wanting to drink it.

The other shoe drops: EUITurkey

The Turkish general election and the subsequent formation of a coalition
government with a large majority in the National Assembly might not
have done much for the prospects of a Cyprus settlement, but it trans-
formed the relationship with the EU. The new government was firmly
committed to pursuing 'Turkey's EU application -Ecevit's DSP and
Yilmaz's ANAP enthusiastically so, Bahceli's MHP much less so. Within
days of Ecevit taking over as the head of the new government he had
written formally to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in his capacity as
president of the European Council asking the EU to take forward Tur-
key's application and making it clear that 'l'urkey accepted that accession
negotiations could not actually start until they had been deemed to have
fulfilled the political dimensions of the Copenhagen criteria. This was an
important clarification. Up till then successive Turkish governments had
either maintained that they already met the Copenhagen criteria (which
was evidently not the case) or that the criteria could be met during the no
doubt lengthy accession negotiations (which the EU was never going to
concede, having long before decided that they were a precondition for the
major step of opening accession negotiations, which necessarily required
the country being able to fulfil the basic political requirements for mem-


bership) or that they were just a discriminatory sham, an excuse to enable
the EU to say no to Turkey. The Ecevit/Schroeder letter meant the two
parties were at last on the same wavelength and at least implied that the
new Turkish government was ready to introduce domestic legislation to
bring Turkey into confornlity with the Copenhagen criteria. The letter,
arriving as it did just before the Cologne European Council, did not,
however, immediately unlock the door; the Greek government, which had
not yet completed the reassessment of its attitude towards Turkey's EU
application which followed Papandreou's taking over as foreign mimster,
asked for more time to consider and this was agreed. But, as earthquake
diplomacy kicked in and Greek-Turkish relations improved markedly, it
became clear that important decisions about Turkey's EU application
would be made at the Helsinlu European Council in December and that
Greece would not be the main obstacle to their being taken.

There did, however, remain one specifically Greek (or rather Greek
and Greek Cypriot) problem in the run-up to Helsinki, which was made
more acute by the progress being made in parallel to get Cyprus settle-
ment negotiations under way again. This was the need, as the Greeks and
Greek Cypriots saw it, to temper any EU support for Annan's efforts
with a clear statement that a Cyprus political settlement was not an
absolute precondition for Cyprus joining the EU. While the other mem-
ber states had no intention of allowing Denktash and the Turks to
frustrate Cyprus's EU application by filibustering the settlement talks,
they equally did not want to give the Greek Cypriots carte blanche in
their accession negotiations and had an extremely strong preference for a
reunited rather than a divided Cyprus joining. 'The conundru~n of how to
capture these different priorities in a few short sentences preoccupied the
member states right up to and at the I-Ielsinki meeting, with much hyper-
active Greek diplomacy and the peddling by them of a number of
unacceptable formulae. In the end the formula agreed on 10 December
was as follows:

9(a) The European Council welcomes the launch of the talks aiming at a
comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus Problem on 3 December in New
York and expresses its strong support for the UN Secretary-General's ef-
forts to bring the process to a successful conclusion.

(b) The European Council underlincc that a political settlement will fa-
cilitatc the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. If no settlement
has been reached by the conlpletion of the accession negotiations, the

Council's decision on accession will 11c made without the above being a
prccondition. In this the Council will takc account of all relevant factors.

This masterpiece of constructive ambiguity was regarded by the Turks
and Turkish Cypriots as giving the Greek Cypriots far too clear a com-
mitment over accession, and indeed the initial Greek Cypriot reaction was
one of euphoria, but for the Greek Cypriots the sting in the tail (the last
sentence was always referred to as 'the Helsinki tail' in the frequent
denunciations by the Greek Cypriot press) was all too obvious.

As to the handling of the Turkish application itself, this too gave rise
to plenty of feverish intra-EU negotiation, not least because of the need to
move away from the offending conclusions of the 1997 Luxembourg
European Council without actually saying so. But no major issues of
principle were at stake, because the position being set out, admittedly
much more clearly and precisely than ever before, had been the EU's
position all along. The crucial decision to open accession negotiations
with Turkey was evidently still several years away. To be ungenerous to
Turkey at this stage, when the Helsinki Council was opting for a big-bang
enlargement, with ten candidates including Cyprus heading for accession
in the first wave and with only Bulgaria and Romania left over for a later
date, would have precipitated a major and unnecessary row with Turkey.
So in the end the following text was agreed without too much contro-

The European Council reaffirms the inclusive nature of the accession pro-
cess, which now comprises 13 candidatc states within a single framework.
The candidate states are participating in the accession process on an equal
footing. They must share the values and objectives of the European Union
as set out in the Treaties. In this rcspcct the European Council stresses the
principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the UN
Charter and urges candidate states to make every effort to resolve any out-
standing border disputes and other relating issues. Failing this they should
within a reasonable time bring the dispute to the International Court of
Justice. 'I'he European Council will review the situation relating to any
outstanding disputes, in particular concerning the repercussions on the
accession process and in order to promote their settlement through the
ICJ, at the latest by the end of 2004. Moreover, the European Council re-
calls that compliance with the political criteria laid down at the
Copenhagen European Council is a prerequisite for the opening of acces-
sion negotiations and that compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria is
thc basis for accession to the Union.


The European Council welcomes recent positive developments in Turkey
as noted in the Commission's progress report, as well as its intention to
continue its reforms towards complying with the Copenhagen criteria.
Turkey is a candidate State destined to join the Union on the basis of the
same criteria as applied to the other candidate States. Building on the ex-
isting European strategy, Turkey, like other candidate States, will benefit
from a pre-accession strategy to stimulate and support its reforms. This
will include enhanced political dialogue, with emphasis on progressing
towards fulfilling the political criteria for accession with particular refer-
ence to the issue of human rights, as well as on the issues referred to in
paragraphs 4 and 9(a). Turkey will also have the opportunity to partici-
pate in Community programmes and agencies and in meetings between
candidate States and the Union in the context of the accession process. An
accession partnership will be drawn up on the basis of previous European
Council conclusions while containing priorities on which accession prepa-
rations must concentrate in the light of the political and economic criteria
and the obligations of a Member State, combined with a national pro-
gramme for the adoption of the acquis. Appropriate monitoring
mechanisms will be established. With a view to intensifying the harmoni-
sation of Turkey's legislation and practice with the acquis, the
Commission is invited to prepare a process of analytical examination of
the acquis. The European Council asks the Commission to present a sin-
gle framework for coordinating all sources of EU financial assistance for


I -his was immediately transmitted to Ankara in the hope that Ecevit
would come to Helsinki, along with the other leaders of the candidate
countries, thus showing that it was no longer 12 + 1 but 13 candidates
whose applications were being processed.

Experience should have warned that nothing could be taken for
granted in Ankara, and the first reaction was indeed somewhere between
hesitant and hostile. Particular exception was taken to the references to
the Greek-Turkish disputes in the Aegean and to the UN negotiations for
a Cyprus settlement, neither of which were in fact cast in the terms of
conditions for making progress on Turkey's EU application. Rather than
conducting a long-distance dialogue of the deaf, the European Council
sent a mission composed of Solana and representatives of the presidency
and the Commission overnight to Ankara, armed with an explanatory
letter from the Finnish prime minister in his capacity as president of the
European Council which read as follows:

Mr Prime Minister.

Today, the European Union has set out on a new course in its relations
with the Republic of Turkey. I am very pleased to inform you officially of
our unanimous decision to confer Turkey the status of candidate State, on
the same footing as any other candidate.

When, in the European Council, we discussed the draft conclusions an-
nexed to this letter, I said, without being challenged, that in 312 of the
conclusions there was no new criteria added to those of Copenhagen and
that the reference to $4 and 9a was not in relation to the critcria for acces-
sion but only to the political dialogue. The accession partnership will be
drawn up on the basis of today's Council decisions.

In 34 the date of 2004 is not a deadline for the settlemcnt of disputes
through the ICJ but the date at which the European Council will review
the situation relating to any outstanding dispute.

Regarding Cyprus, a political settlement remains the aim of the EU. Con-
cerning the accession of Cyprus, all relevant factors will be taken into
account when the Council takes thc decision.

In the light of this, I invite you with the other candidate States to our
working lunch in IHelsinki tomorrow.

Paavo Lipponen

The mission and the message did the trick, and for once the Turks de-
cided the glass was half full and not half empty. There was subsequently
a considerable row with the Greeks when it transpired that Lipponen's
explanatory letter had not been cleared with any of his colleagues in the
European Council. But, although the letter somewhat weakened the force
of the Council conclusions, it in no sense contradicted them. So the
matter was smoothed over.

The New York side-show: the first round of proximity talks

The first round of proximity talks took place in New York from 2 to 14
December. For the most part they could well have been described as
'waiting for Helsinki'. Clerides and Denktash and their large entourages
took turns to see Annan and to say not very much, and certainly nothing
new, about their attitudes towards the core issues and (in Denktash's case)
their own agenda. It was tacitly understood that the outcome of Helsinki
would crucially affect the continuation of the Cyprus proximity talks.


Indeed Denktash managed to fire off a belligerent public salvo in the brief
period when it looked as if the Turks were going to take issue with the
I-Ielsinki outcome, but, thereafter, when it became clear that they would
treat it as acceptable and welcome, he was persuaded to fall into sullen
silence. Clerides, after threatening to attend the candidate countries'
session in IIelsinki the day after the European Council meeting, which
would have been remarkably provocative towards Denktash who, of
course, was not invited, was persuaded not to go and to send his foreign
minister instead. So, as the delegations left New York, there was, after
more than a two-year gap, a show on the road, albeit a show that had not
yet left the start line.

European Security and Defence Policy: a wild card

The European Council meeting in Helsinki took another set of decisions,
ostensibly not directly concerned with either Turkey or Cyprus but in
the event fraught with implications for them and with tricky complica-
tions arising from those other relationships. The members of the
European Union decided that by the end of 2003 they would acquire the
capability to put into the field a force of up to 60,000 men able to be
deployed for peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions (the so-called
'Petersberg' tasks) should NATO as such not wish to be involved. The
most immediate complications arose from the need for the European
Union both to define the position in the European Security and Defence
Policy (ESDP) of European countries not yet members but already
applicants for membership and also to work out with NATO the precise
EU/NATO inter-relationship of the new ESDP machinery they had
decided to create. The first of these tasks necessarily involved defining
Turkey's relationship with ESDP in the period of indefinite length while
it was still not a member of the European Union. The second gave 'Tur-
key, as a member of NATO, a veto over EUNATO arrangements
(known as the 'Berlin-plus' arrangements) and in particular over giving
the EU assured access to NATO machinery in the event of NATO not
deciding to mount an operation and the EU deciding to do so. Beyond
these complications with Turkey lurked some equally tricky ones with
respect to Cyprus, a candidate for membership of the EU and, as such,
another country whose relationship with ESDP needed to be clarified.

The Turks were unhappy about the ESDP decision, not because they
were opposed to the policy -if they had been a member of the European
Union they would almost certainly have supported it -but because it


upset the delicate balance in their relationship with European security
and defence developments which had been established some years earlier
through their Associate Membership of the Western European Union (a
body that was institutionally totally separate from the EU), which effec-
tively gave them the status of member in all but name. The Helsinki
decisions implied the demise of the Western European Union and its
replacement by the European Union's new Security and Defence Policy,
and the Turks knew, although they were unwilling to admit it, that they
could not simply become a member of the European Union in all but
name. So they were determined to use their veto in NATO to get an ad
hoc set of arrangements governing their relationship with and participa-
tion in ESDP of an extremely elaborate and advanced kind. In the course
of the long and tortuous negotiations over this, which lasted three years
(and were only finally settled at the time of the Copenhagen European
Council in December 2002), the Turks not only tried the patience of their
European partners extremely hard, but they managed, probably inadver-
tently, to turn a problem between the EU and Turkey into a problem also
between Greece and Turkey, with the Greeks taking strong exception to
some of the elaborate consultative and cooperative procedures designed to
meet Turkish requirements.

If the Turks were unhappy about ESDP in general, they were even
more unhappy about the thought of Cyprus (divided) becoming a mem-
ber of it, as it would if and when it joined the European Union. In the
event of a Cyprus settlement preceding EU membership there was
probably not much of a problem, since Turkish Cyprus would be in the
European Union with a degree of control over Cypriot foreign and secu-
rity policy, and in any case the reunited Cyprus was to be demilitarized of
local Cypriot forces, leaving Cyprus in a position analogous to that of
Iceland in NATO. But could one rely on things turning out that way?
Obviously not. And if they did not, the prospect of a militarily ambitious
southern Cyprus participating in ESDP was one that disturbed the Turks
deeply. These concerns were complicated by the Greek Cypriots them-
selves (and to some extent the Greeks too) at every turn treating ESDP as
if it involved a commitment to the territorial defence of its members
(which it did not, most of them being members of NATO which already
provided that guarantee, and 'Petersberg' tasks having nothing to do with
the defence of EU member states), and also by the Greek Cypriots ig-
noring the urging of EU members to make any declarations of practical
and operational support for ESDP solely in the hypothesis of a demilita-


rized Cyprus, that is to say one following a settlement and admission to
the E:U of a reunited island. l'he Turkish solution to all this, that Cyprus,
even as an EU member, should simply be excluded from ISSIIP, was not
negotiable, given the nature of the European Union's institutional struc-
tures and Greek and Greek Cypriot views. The idea that a country which
was going to be in the European Union (Cyprus) should be excluded from
ESDP, while a country that was not necessarily even going to be a mem-
ber (Turkey) should be given a privileged position within ESDP, did not
make a lot of political sense.

The one thing that all concerned with this imbroglio were agreed
about was that there was nothing to be gained and much to be lost by
allowing these ESDP complications and their resolution to be linked in
any formal way with the various other negotiations going on -Cyprus's
accession to the EU, the UN's efforts to get a Cyprus settlement, Tur-
key's relationship to the EU. And so, kept apart they were, from
beginning to end, although the inter-relationships between them un-
doubtedly weighed on the minds of all the participants, usually in a
negative and unhelpful way.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:59 am

2000: Proximity, Equality,

he first round of proximity talks took place at the end of 1999, but
as has been recorded in the previous chapter, barely got to grips
with the subject matter, all eyes being turned on Helsinki and on
the Turlush government's reaction to what happened there. The next
round of proximity talks took place in Geneva from 30 January to 8
February. There was then a long gap, necessitated by presidential elec-
tions in the north of Cyprus and by Clerides's need for surgery. The next
round, broken in two to allow Denktash to celebrate the anniversary of
the 1974 hostilities, again took place in Geneva from 4 to 12 July and from
23 July to 4 August. There was another round in New York from 10 to 26
September. And the last round of the year, and, as it turned out, the last
round at all, of proximity talks took place in Geneva from 3 1 October to
10 November.

The proximity format of these talks, on which the Turks and Turkish
Cypriots had insisted and from which they refused to budge, was ex-
tremely cumbersome. Kofi Annan, who was present for part of each
round but not for their entirety, or de Soto saw Clerides and Denktash
and their negotiating teams on most days for separate working sessions.
The UN declined at this stage to pass on to the one what the other was
saying, which at least hampered the normal Cypriot practice of concen-
trating on vigorous, intemperate critiques of the position of the other side
and avoiding to the greatest extent possible any development of its own
negotiating position. In order in part to counter this tendency Annan had
requested the sides to respect a news blackout on what was being said at
the talks. Both sides honoured this request more in the breach than the
observance, and an assiduous reading of the more extreme positions
reflected in each other's press provided plenty of raw material for tradi-
tional jousting.



In between the formal sessions de Soto fitted in as many private
meetings with the two leaders as he could manage, with the aim of getting
a better understanding of their bottom-line positions. In addition both
Greece and Turkey were represented by delegations, led respectively by
Alecos Sandhis and Korkmaz Haktanir who during the course of 2000
became their countries' ambassadors to London but continued their roles
as representatives to the Cyprus negotiations. These two delegations
naturally spent much time in conclave with the Greek and Turkish Cyp-
riots. Beyond that there was what could be called the penumbra of the
talks: the Cypriot party political leaders on each side, the Greek Cypriots
meeting almost daily as the National Council, the Turkish Cypriots less
systematically organized and more clearly discriminated between those
who supported Denktash and those who did not. The US and UK dele-
gations who met with de Soto on a daily basis compared notes and
concerted the contacts they were having with the other players: a number
of other special representatives, including increasingly often some officials
from the EU Commission, and the press, frustrated by the lack of news
and of progress and ever ready to give credence and currency to any
rumour that either side or the Cypriot politicians accompanying them
might choose to plant on them. There was much socializing but, and this
was both striking and sad, I am not aware of one single contact, however
discreet or innocent, across the Greek-Turkish, Greek Cypriot-Turkish
Cypriot divide. I did manage to bring the Turkish Cypriots and Turks
into fairly systematic contact with the Commission in the person of
Leopold Maurer, the Austrian who was leading the Cyprus accession
negotiations at the official level. But an attempt to get the Cyprus foreign
minister, Kasoulides, who was not part of the official negotiating team,
together with Haktanir, who was not either, foundered on the latter's
unwillingness even to sit down at a lunch-table with an official represen-
tative of a country that Turkey did not recognize.

The early rounds of proximity talks
The December 1999,the January-February and the first half of July 2000
sessions of proximity talks fitted into a similar pattern: the UN listened,
questioned and prompted, but did not put forward any suggestions, let
alone any proposals. They did their best to cover the four main core
issues -governance, security, territorial adjustment and property -as
fully as possible, with varying success, and to avoid the flow of the talks
being side-tracked on to other less tangible and less manageable subjects


such as status and sovereignty. Not altogether surprisingly, given that the
press reporting reflected, on the Greek Cypriot side, the view that noth-
ing had changed, that no real negotiation was going on and that Denktash
was operating outside the scope of Security Council resolutions, and on
the Turkish Cypriot side an impression of adamantine determination to
defend Denktash's confederation proposals of 1998 and to re-establish as
preconditions for any real negotiation his basic requirements on status
and sovereignty, neither side was prepared to reveal many of its cards
during these early rounds. These preliminaries were necessary, as they
always are at the beginning of any long and complex negotiation, if only
to enable each side to empty their pockets of their carefully constructed
opening positions, but they were not very fruitful.

Clerides was not particularly forthcoming during this period. He did
not see anything useful coming out of such a laborious process, and
continued himself to favour face-to-face talks designed to enable the main
substantive trade-offs to be identified and deals on them to be struck. FIe
was being criticized at home and in the National Council for having
agreed to talks on such a flexible and imprecise basis. He was worried lest
the UN should give ground to Denktash on some aspect of the status and
sovereignty issues that would call in question his government's title to
represent the Republic of Cyprus as constituted in 1960 and its right to
join the European Union. Nevertheless, despite those rather negative
constraints, he set out an approach that indicated a willingness to negoti-
ate with reasonable flexibility on all aspects of the core issues. On
territory he made it clear that there would have to be a substantial ad-
justment to the benefit of the Greek Cypriots (as Boutros-Ghali had
proposed in 1992 when he had tabled a map which would have reduced
the Turlush Cypriot controlled zone from the current 37 per cent of the
island to 28.2 per cent). But he was careful not to make any specific terri-
torial claims, thus leaving the details for negotiation at a later stage and
thus also avoiding staking out a position from which he would find it
difficult to resile if he crossed one of the other side's red lines. And he
began to hint that his attitude on the return of property would be materi-
ally affected by the scale of the territorial adjustment.

On security issues he plugged his own, by now fairly old, proposals
for the total demilitarization of the new Cyprus, i.e. the removal of all
Turkish and Greek troops as well as the disbanding of all Greek Cypriot
and Turkish Cypriot ones. But he indicated that if those proposals were
not negotiable with Turkey, he would be prepared to contemplate not


only the continuation of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee with its unilateral
right of intervention in the last resort for each of the guarantor powers
(Greece, Turkey and the UK) but also some modest (numbers not speci-
fied) continuing Turkish troop presence on the island. In that context he
placed great emphasis on an international troop presence, on which he
had shifted away from his early flirtation with the idea of a NATO force
(the Kosovo war in 1999 having made NATO a dirty word in Cyprus,
and in particular with the communist party (AKEL), whose support for
any settlement was essential) or even an EU one -neither of which were
even remotely negotiable with Turkey -back towards a reshaped UN
force, which, coincidentally, was likely to be less objectionable to Turkey.
As to governance, it was clear that, without actually saying so, he could
live with the approach in the 1992 Set of Ideas: a federal government with
a relatively limited range of powers and no residual powers, everything
else remaining with the two zones, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot,
over which the two communities would exercise full autonomy. He was
unwilling to go too far into sensitive details such as a rotating presidency
and the extent of the right of veto of one community over the other until
he got intc actual negotiation with Denktash. Clerides's views on prop-
erty were not spelled out in detail, being to some extent linked to
territory, but in no circumstances would he accept an outcome such as
that Denktash was putting forward under which all claims would be
settled by compensation and no Greek Cypriot would have a right to
return to the north.

Denktash was, if anything, even less forthcoming, the even less being
because he did not even hint at any possible flexibility beyond his stated
position. As usual with Denktash what you saw was what you got. He
said flatly that he was not prepared to talk about a specific territorial
adjustment until the very end of the negotiation, a position it would have
been easier to sympathize with if one had been sure that he would ever
admit that that criterion had been met (he did not in fact do so by the
time the negotiations broke down). Meanwhile he was prepared to talk
about criteria for determining such an adjustment, but, when tabled, these
turned out to be fully capable of producing a zero adjustment. On secu-
rity he simply said that Turkey would have to be satisfied, and it was not
for him to talk about the specifics. His views on governance were set out
extensively but exclusively on the basis of a confederation. And when he
tabled the worked-out version of his thinking on this it basically
amounted to two separate states linked by little more than a permanent

diplomatic conference in which each side had a veto on any decision of
substance or procedure. He insisted that all property claims must be
settled by compensation and that no Greek Cypriots (or Turkish Cypriots
for that matter) should have the right of return. When it was pointed out
that, during the 1992 negotiations he had been prepared to contemplate a
limited right of return, known in the jargon as the 'fishing net' approach,
he simply said that that was then and this was now.

Denktash also focused heavily on other issues: status and sovereignty
and the EU. He insisted that whatever the outcome of the negotiations,
this must include the recognition of the sovereignty of the TRNC, sug-
gesting disingenuously that it might be only for half an hour before the
signature of the agreement (thus effectively at that point extinguishing the
claim of the Greek Cypriots to represent the Republic of Cyprus) and that
sovereignty belonged to the two founding states of the new Cyprus, being
partially allocated by them to whatever unified institutions they estab-
lished. On the European Union he appeared to be reneging even on his
proposals of 1998, because he no longer spoke of the possibility of the
north of Cyprus entering with the south and ahead of Turkey but rather
of what was described as the 'synchronization' of the accession of Turkey
and of the north of Cyprus, although it has to be admitted that the practi-
cal implications of that Greek-rooted word were often left a little obscure.

The least that could be said of these early exchanges was that they
revealed two mutually incompatible positions on many points, including
some that had appeared close to agreement or provisionally settled in
1992. And they demonstrated rather clearly that the two parties were not
likely, spontaneously, to develop positions that were compatible or at least
negotiable. By mid-July, therefore, it was obvious that the UN would
have to begin to reveal some thinking of its own if the talks were to move

A presidential election

The proximity talks were suspended after the February round to allow
for the quinquennial presidential elections in the north, due at the end of
April. Denktash stood for what was effectively a sixth five-year term as
president (the first two occasions pre-dated the unilateral declaration of
independence of the TIINC). His principal opponent, as at the previous
election in 1995, was Dervish Eroglu, the leader of the largest party in the
Assembly (the UBP) and prime minister. Denktash won 43.7 per cent of
the votes in the first round (slightly better in fact than in 1995 when he

had only won 40.4 per cent in the first round, followed by 62.5 per cent in
the second), and on this occasion there was no second round, as Eroglu
withdrew under strong pressure from the Turkish government. Denktash
was therefore elected unopposed. As in previous presidential elections the
votes of the centre-left parties, which were generally more favourable to a
settlement than either Denktash or Eroglu, were split, as both party
leaders, Mustafa Akinci (TKP) and Mehmet Ali 'I'alat (CTP),stood in the
first round and were eliminated; moreover one of the centre-left doveish
parties (TKP) was still cohabiting uneasily with Eroglu's hawkish UUP in
a coalition government.

The outcome of the election thus gave no indication of the rise in
dissatisfaction with Denkt;uhls leadership, provoked by the prolonged
econon~ic crisis in the north which began with Turkey's own economic
woes and the IMF bail-out in 2001, peaked with his conduct of the settle-
ment talks in 2002 and was reflected in the mass demonstrations at the
end of that year. If there was a fault-line at all visible at this stage, it was
in attitudes towards accession to the European Union. Opinion polls
showed overwhelming support among Turkish Cypriots for EU acces-
sion, accompanied, quite reasonably, by the view that this needed to be
preceded by a settlement of the Cyprus problem. Denktash's vigorously
Euro-sceptical views were thus out of line with the majority of his conl-
patriots (and with those of most mainland Turks too) but with settlement
talks at an early stage and the end of Cyprus's EU accession negotiations
not yet in sight, these differences remained masked, and Denktash was
able to keep anger focused on the EU for ever accepting an application
from a divided Cyprus, let alone agreeing that a divided island could one
day join, as it had done at Helsinki.

The UN speaks up
The view that it was time for the UN to break its silence in the negotia-
tions and to try to nudge things forward was shared in equal measure by
the UN negotiators, including the secretary-general, by the US and the
UK. Our daily tripartite meetings with de Soto had shown that no real
progress was being made. None of us had picked up any signals that
either party or their motherlands were contemplating initiatives that
might move things along. As to the content of any UN initiative, there
was no serious disagreement about that either. It was desirable to set out a
framework for the future and to avoid recognizing the distinction, beloved
by Denktash who wah ever on the look out for an opportunity to filibus-


ter, between preparation and negotiation proper. That framework was as
follows: an effort should be made to set aside for the moment the argu-
ment over federation v. confederation, given that the idea of a limited
number of centrally exercised powers, with the rest exercised by the two
zones or states, was more or less common ground and, for this purpose,
the terms 'common state' and 'component states' were coined. Some
satisfaction should be given to each side on points of great significance for
them: political equality and non-domination for the Turkish Cypriots; for
the Greek Cypriots indissolubility of the common state, an international
force with a UN mandate, a property settlement based on an appropriate
combination of restitution, exchange and compensation. Some issues were
fudged for the meantime. The link between the territorial adjustment and
the property settlement was hinted at. The only issue that gave any
difficulty was that of property. Denktash was, even by his own standards,
remarkably tough on this subject, saying that he would reject any solution
based on any element of return to the north by Greek Cypriots; every-
thing had to be done by compensation. But we concluded that a
document that went down that road, or appeared to contemplate doing so,
would be both unnegotiable with the Greek Cypriots and indefensible
because it would be a legitimization of ethnic cleansing and would fly in
the face of the jurisprudence emerging from the European Court of
Human Rights. So on 12 July de Soto set out what he called his 'Prelimi-
nary Thoughts' to each of the parties and asked them to respond when
they returned later in the month:

1. As we are about to break until 24 July, I would like to share with you
some preliminary thoughts on the way ahead. It is difficult to draw a bal-
ance sheet of a process which has not yet entered the negotiating phase as
such, and that is not my purpose today. Nor has the time come for sub-
mitting proposals, let alone comprehensive proposals. I am intentionally
refraining from covering the entire spectrum at this time. One step at a
time. I first wish to obtain reactions to these preliminary thoughts, which
contain a mixture of procedure, assumptions, emerging trends, and pend-
ing issues.
2. I am not asking for approval or concurrence with what I am about to
say. My purpose is to elicit your comments, not now, but when you re-
turn from the break.
3. General points:


pushing it in a form that would be quite unworkable meant that it would
never be accepted by the other side. But that did not mean that there
could not be elements of a confederal nature (as well as some of a federal
nature) in any constitution for a new Cyprus, as in fact had been the case
in Boutros-Ghali's 1992 Set of Ideas. Cem had looked pensive and said no

One set of issues that were certainly not put to one side by de Soto's 12
July 'Preliminary Thoughts' was Denktash's obsessive preoccupation
with status and sovereignty. He continued to harp on these at every
meeting he had with Annan and de Soto (and indeed with the rest of us),
virt~mlly to the exclusion of everything else. This began to worry de Soto,
who was concerned that it might bring the whole negotiation to a halt.
And it propelled Moses, the US Special Representative, into an attempt to
cobble together some formula that could be agreed by both sides and free
up the possibility of getting to grips with the core issues. I was less wor-
ried by Denktash's antics and a good deal more concerned that the cure
might prove worse than the disease. I pointed out that Denktash was in
fact in the process of destroying the 'no preconditions' precept of Security
Council Resolution 1250 and, if we were to attempt to broker some
agreement on status and sovereignty, we would be conniving in that.
Once this precept was destroyed, there would be no end to Denktash's
preconditions and no end either to the negotiations. Nevertheless Moses
struggled on through a series of lengthy meetings with Denktash and
Haktanir. He was given a very dusty answer by Clerides when he
broached the subject with him, and I noted myself that Clerides was
deeply unsettled by these signs that the Americans wanted to draw him
into a negotiation on ground on to which he was unwilling to venture.
'Towards the end of the session, in early August, Moses concluded that
there was no chance of getting Clerides and Denktash to agree on a for-
mula; Denktash invariably asked for too much, and Clerides was unhappy
about doing anything at all.
When we took stock at the end of the session, I suggested we had
broadly two choices. We could struggle on as things were, with Denktash
concentrating heavily on status and sovereignty and reluctant to engage
on anything else. Or we could try to park at least the trickiest parts of
these issues for the duration of the negotiations. To do that we would
need to stop trying to get the two sides actually to agree to any formula,

since that was clearly not going to fly; rather we should contemplate a
unilateral but formal statement by the secretary-general which would not
be binding on either party. But for that statement to have a positive rather
than a negative effect it would need to be extremely carefully drafted, and
it would, above all, need to avoid offering Denktash anything up front but
rather be based on what would be obtainable by him in the context of his
acceptance of a comprehensive agreement. De Soto and Moses agreed
with this analysis and opted firmly for the second alternative. De Soto
said he would now work up a formula and clear it with the secretary-
general for his use with Clerides and Denktash on the opening day of the
next session of negotiations in New York on 12 September. He was
adamant that there must be no pre-negotiation of the formula with either
side if we were to avoid it being torn to pieces by the two of them. This
was agreed. De Soto was as good as his word and produced an extremely
carefully crafted form of words with which neither Moses nor I had any
problems. And we passed to the UN the undertaking of our two govern-
ments to back Annan if he decided to go ahead on this basis. The text that
Annan read out to Clerides and Denktash on 12 September was short and
went as follows:

The Grcek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties have been participating,
since December 1999, in proximity talks to prepare the ground for mean-
ingful negotiations leading to a comprehcnsive settlemcnt. I believe the
time has now come to move ahead.

In the course of thcse talks I have ascertained that the parties share a
common desire to bring about, through negotiations in which each repre-
sents its side -and no-one else -as the political equal of the other, a
comprehensive settlement enshrining a new partnership on which to build
a better future in peace, security and prosperity on a united island.

In this spirit, and with the purpose of expediting negotiations in good faith
and without preconditions on all issues before them, I have concluded that
the equal status of the parties must and should be recognised explicitly in
the comprehensive settlemcnt which will embody the detailed negotia-
tions required to translate this concept into clear and practical provisions.

Although brief, this formula contained some important elements. In its
first paragraph it clearly indicated the secretary-general's intention to
finesse the distinction between talks and negotiations and to do so without
seeking explicit agreement and thereby giving either side a veto. In the
second it stated more clearly than ever before that, witliin the negotiations


each side only represented itself and was politically equal with the other;
but it did not, as Denktash would have liked, say that those principles
applied also outside the negotiations. It did, however, refer to 'a new
partnership', which were sacred words in the Denktash lexicon and
represented about the limit of what an intensely concerned Clerides could
contemplate. Finally, in the third paragraph, it made clear Annan's view
that the equal status of the parties would need to be recognized explicitly
in any comprehensive settlement, and that that settlement would need to
embody the results of detailed negotiations that would have to translate
equal status into clear and practical provisions at some point in the future.
The statement was silent on the issue of sovereignty.

It had been clear from the outset that this statement would send out
considerable shock waves, and indeed it did. It had also been clear that the
Creek Cypriots would not much like it, even though it did not in fact
cross any of their red lines on recognition or sovereignty. But the iron law
of Cyprus negotiations was that any move that might help or please your
opponent must necessarily be to your detriment, and this statement
certainly qualified under that criterion. What really upset the Greek
Cypriots, however, was that the statement had been prepared and deliv-
ered without their having the slightest inkling of it and thus without their
having any opportunity to influence it. Clerides's immediate reaction was
sulphurous and he retired to the Waldorf Astoria where he remained
holed up for the next three days refusing to attend any further meetings
with Annan and receiving much bad advice from most of the members of
the National Council, with the notable exception of his immediate prede-
cessor as president, George Vassiliou, to the effect that he should either
seek the withdrawal of Annan's statement or himself withdraw from the
negotiations. Meanwhile on the other side Denktash was not helping by
putting out public interpretations of Annan's statement that went far
beyond what was justified by the text. This provoked a firm rebuke from
the secretary-general's press spokesman on 13 September to the effect
that the statement was Annan's own, that he was therefore the only
source of interpretation of it, and that interpretations of it by others did
not have any validity. Denktash's reaction to Annan's statement was, by
his standards, reasonably positive but disobliging, putting the emphasis
on its insufficiency rather than its merits. The Turkish reaction was a
good deal more positive.

The brunt of persuading Clerides that the situation was less bad than
he thought or feared fell on Papandreou, who, along with other EU

foreign ministers, was by now in New York for the annual ministerial
session of the UN General Assembly. He rose to the challenge without
hesitation, despite being subjected to a pretty vitriolic press campaign
from the Greek and Greek Cypriot press who were egging each other on
to heights of hyperbolic excess. Other EU foreign ministers played their
part too, pointing out to Clerides that they saw nothing untoward in
Annan's statement and that a decision to leave the talks would be very
badly received by the EU. But more than mere persuasion was needed. In
the end the device of getting the UN to deny on the record some of the
wilder interpretations being put on the statement did the trick. On 14
September de Soto issued a statement which was quickly called 'the
Three Noes' and which read as follows:

Earlier today Mr Alvaro de Soto, the Secrctary-General's Special Adviser
on Cyprus, was askcd three questions by a correspondent, in connection
with the statement that the Secretary-General read to Mr Clerides and hlr
Denktash when he met them on 12 September 2000:

1,'Does the Secretary-General's statement imply recognition of the
'TRNC' ?

2. Does the Secretary-General's statement imply a step in the direction of
the recognition of the 'TRNC'?
3. Does the Secretary-General's statement imply 'derecognition' of the
Republic of Cyprus?
To each question Mr de Soto replied 'no'.

Denktash grumbled a bit and said that much of the value of Annan's
original statement had been removed, a judgement that said more about
his real agenda than about his ability as a trained lawyer to construe the
text. Clerides returned to the daily meetings with Annan, which contin-
ued until 26 September. And, although the Greek Cypriot National
Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution in October denouncing
Annan's statement, Clerides never conveyed this to the UN (although
Denktash tried to interpret it as a formal rejection). And when Annan
repeated the 12 September statement word for word as part of a much
longer one that he made to the two sides at the November session in
Geneva, Clerides did not turn a hair or utter a word of dissent.

Had this piece of brinkmanship by the UN been worthwhile? I would
say it was. It set out very clearly for the first time some points that were
of great significance to the Turks and Turkish Cypriots and which they
had every right to have clarified. For those in Ankara who needed a signal


that their interests were not going to be overlooked or brushed aside, this
was exactly that. But for those there who refused to contemplate any
outcome that was not totally consistent with all their demands, it was also
a signal that a serious negotiation was now under way which would
require difficult decisions and compromises. On the Greek Cypriot side,
for all the ferocity of the storm while it blew, there were no lasting nega-
tive consequences. And the Greek government had shown that it was a
good as its word in its commitment to supporting the secretary-general's
effort to get a settlement.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:00 am

The UN's next step
Annan had left his interlocutors in no doubt during the latest New York
round of talks in September that he wanted the following round in Ge-
neva in November to get to grips with the core issues and that he saw a
role for himself in helping that process along. Indeed his 12 September
statement, which had been the focus of much of the activity in New York,
had clearly stated the need to move on. While the EU accession negotia-
tions with Cyprus had not yet reached a critical stage, the Greek Cypriots
and the Commission were by now ticking off the various technical prob-
lems and there was little, if any, doubt that the crucial decisions on
enlargement in general would be taken within the next two years. Indeed
Cyprus was always in the first or second place among the ten accession
countries in satisfying the EU that it met or would meet the various
demands made of it -'closing chapters' in EU parlance. Given the past
record for procrastination by the Cypriot parties, that was no excessive
amount of time to bring the settlement negotiations to a head, rather the
contrary. A whole year had been by now devoted to clearing the approach
route. Ths same message was conveyed in New York by ministers and
officials from the US, and from the UK and other EU countries, and it
was conveyed as much to the Turks and the Greeks as to the two Cypriot
The Greek Cypriots (and the Greeks) were on the whole responsive to
this message. They wanted to move on to a serious negotiation on the
core issues, and their main preoccupation, which became an obsession
during the weeks between the New York and Geneva sessions, was
whether the UN would take a further step to handle Denktash's status
and sovereignty concerns. Denktash wanted nothing less, and spoke at
length about the inadequacy of the 12 September statement. But it was
made very clear to him that that statement was not going to be extended


or amplified, and that, if he pressed for changes in it, not only would he
not get any, but the statement itself would then be contested by the other
side and become worthless. This point seemed to have registered at least
with the Turks. In other respects their position remained totally obscure.
In what was to become an all too familiar pattern when an important
stage in the negotiations was about to be reached, Ankara was gripped by
policy paralysis. Some understood full well that if progress was ever to be
made towards a settlement, the secretary-general would have to give a
lead and explore the possibilities for compromise, and they were consid-
erably encouraged by the 12 September statement which had met a
number of points of great importance to Turkey.

But others were fearful of any initiative by Annan, convinced (cor-
rectly) that it would not embrace Denktash's completely unnegotiable
positions, and would compel them to examine compromises that would be
difficult to accept. This second school was also deeply attached to a
highly restrictive view of the UN secretary-general's scope for independ-
ent thought and action; they argued that in a Good Offices Mission, such
as this one undoubtedly was, the secretary-general had no right to ad-
vance suggestions or ideas of his own without first getting the explicit
authority and agreement of the parties to the dispute. This highly aca-
demic, and effectively rather absurd, concept, which would have given
Denktash (and Clerides for that matter) a veto over anything Annan said,
had no serious basis in law or in practice. It clearly made sense for the
secretary-general to feel his way forward carefully and try to ensure that
any ideas he floated did not arouse fundamental objections from the
parties. But giving the parties a veto on what he said would largely re-
move the point of having the secretary-general involved in the first place.
This was not how previous secretaries-general (Pe'rez de Cue'llar and
Boutros-Ghali) had handled the Cyprus problem, nor was it how they
had worked in any number of other disputes in which they had been
constructively engaged. Nor was it a view that had been expressed by the
Security Council in its handling of the Cyprus problem; rather the oppo-
site had been the case, with the Security Council urging the secretary-
general to be active and imaginative. All ths was explained to any Turk
or Turkish Cypriot who was ready to hear, but it did not affect Denk-
tash's own attitude. So Ankara's views at this point remained largely
obscure, limited to rather general and vague concerns that the UN should
not try to push Denktash too far and that they should not make any
formal proposals.


It was against this background that de Soto consulted Moses and me in
mid-October. On some points we were clear. The 12 September state-
ment must be left as it was, unamended and unembellished. It had
contained all that it was necessary to say on status at this stage, and it was
the absolute maximum weight that the Greek Cypriot bridge would bear
until substantive progress was made on the core issues. We were agreed
too that the distinction between preparation and negotiation must be
bypassed. There was no disagreement also that it would be premature at
this stage for the secretary-general to come forward with formal proposals
or a complete plan or blueprint. This pointed towards some fleshing out
of de Soto's 'ideas' put forward in July, aimed at moving the talks into a
substantive negotiating phase. There were some differences of emphasis
over the degree of urgency and the degree of specificity to be aimed at.
Moses, who was only too conscious of the impending US presidential
election, the ending of President Clinton's mandate, whatever the out-
come, and of the possibility of the traditional hiatus in US foreign policy
that follows the arrival of a new incumbent in the White House, favoured
pressing ahead as far and as fast as possible in November. I was slightly
more cautious, and de Soto considerably more so. As usual we left the
tactical judgements and decisions to Annan and de Soto.

In parallel with this meeting I visited Brussels and talked things
through with both Enlargement Commissioner Verheugen and EU
Foreign Policy High Representative Solana and their teams, making sure
that they were fully in the picture about the way the UN was planning to
proceed. About the EUJCyprus accession negotiations there was not a
great deal to be said except to urge the Commission to begin thinking
actively about the implications for the terms of accession of a reunited
Cyprus if a settlement of the sort beginning to be discernible in the UN's
thinking were to come about. This Verheugen readily agreed to do. And
he also agreed to keep in check attempts by Greek Cypriot hardliners to
use the acquis communautaire to rule out certain types of solution in the
settlement talks which would certainly be needed if there was to be an
agreement. He was by now fully aware of the rather odd anomaly that
was taking shape by which a number of specific EU matters would need
to be settled in the talks on the Cyprus problem and that therefore these
would need to be discussed in detail in advance between him and de Soto,
so as to enable him to keep the EU member states on board in due course.

The main active subject in Brussels, however, was, yet again,
EUJTurkey. The EU's commitment to Turkey at the Helsinki European

Council to enter into an Accession Partnership, which would provide a
framework and funds to prepare for Turkish membership, was coming to
fruition, with the Commission due to make formal proposals to the Coun-
cil early in November and the Council to reach agreement with Turkey
by the end of the year. The Accession Partnership document would need
to make some reference to Cyprus, since the Helsinki European Council
conclusions, on which it was based, did so. But it was essential to avoid
any formal linkage between progress on EUJTurkey and progress in the
UN settlement process and to stick to the clarification contained in the
Finnish prime minister's (as president of the EU's Council) letter to
Ecevit that all the EU was asking in respect of Cyprus was that it should
be part of an 'enhanced political dialogue' over mutual support for An-
nan's efforts.

There was a further complication: the timing of the Commission's
Accession Partnership proposals, in juxtaposition with Annan's next
session with Clerides and Denktash in Geneva. This was awkward and all
too likely in any case to arouse suspicion in Ankara that the two issues
were being deliberately linked. But neither the Commission's proposals
nor Annan's next session could be delayed without conveying precisely
that impression. So we had to live with it. What made things far worse
was that the Greek Social Affairs Commissioner, Anna Diamantopoulou,
provoked a major and extremely well-publicized row in the Commission
over the wording of the proposed Accession Partnership, trying to bounce
through an explicit linkage with Cyprus. By the time this was all sorted
out in the Council and the Accession Partnership agreed with Turkey in
early 2001 in terms precisely consistent with the Helsinki conclusions, the
damage had been done. In the view of many in Ankara there had been a
whiff of blackmail in the air and that greatly helped the rejectionists.

The session of proximity talks in Geneva from 31 October to 10
November was not an easy one. The after-shocks of the 12 September
statement were still being felt by the Greek Cypriots, and Clerides in
particular was in a highly nervous, febrile mood. It was well known that
when Annan arrived towards the end of the session he would have im-
portant things to say on the future of the negotiations. The day before
Annan's arrival, Moses and I were separately summoned. I had never seen
Clerides in such a state, his people clearly horrified by what he was saying
and threatening to do. He told me that if Annan went further than he had
done in September on status and sovereignty, he would leave the talks,
return to Cyprus and hold a referendum on his decision to walk out.


While I was certainly not in a position to say what Annan would or would
not say the next day, I told him that I thought his fears exaggerated. I
could not believe that walking out of the talks would be well received in
EU capitals. This provoked a familiar Clerides diatribe to the effect that if
he had to choose between accepting a bad settlement and losing the
chance to join the EU he would have no hesitation in rejecting the former
and reconciling himself to the latter. Overnight I arranged for a calming
message from Robin Cook. In the event Annan's statement did not (and
had never been intended to) touch the neuralgic point. And another storm
blew over, with Clerides leaving Geneva and making it clear that he was
prepared to work within the framework put forward by Annan, even
though it contained word for word (in paragraphs 4 and 9) the 12 Sep-
tember statement that had caused so much trouble two months earlier.

Annan's identical statement to Clerides and Denktash on 8 November
was a good deal longer and contained rather more detail than de Soto's
'Preliminary Thoughts' of 12 July, but in substance it did not depart
significantly from the earlier presentation. Once again, and this was made
clear in a brief press statement by the secretary-general, what was being
put forward were not proposals, nor any formal document (it was explic-
itly stated that what Annan had said was only being handed over in
writing to ensure that they had an accurate record of his oral remarks),
that decisions would be taken by the two sides and not the UN, that he
was not seeking Clerides's and Denktash's agreement but wanted them to
reflect on what he had said and respond to de Soto, who would be visiting
the region for that purpose, and finally that he would look forward to
continuing the dialogue in January 2001. The text of what Annan said
was as follows:

1. I am very glad to join you and wish to thank you for accepting my in-
vitation to continue and intensify efforts to achieve a comprehensive
settlement. I was gratified that, in Ncw York, we saw the first signs of the
real engagement and I understand that this has continued hcrc in Geneva.
I rcalize, of course, that there is a long way to go.
2. Since we are now seriously engaged in the substance, I wish to make a
number of observations. Further to my statement of 12 September, I want
to give you my thoughts, first about procedure, and then about some sub-
stantive aspects of a possible comprehcnsive settlement, in the hope of
hcilitating negotiations. However, I wish to make clear that, as with Mr
dc Soto's 'Preliminary Thoughts' of 12 July, and the subsequent idcas we
havc offered, I am not at this stage putting forward a proposal, nor am I


submissions, and your participation in shaping the negotiating text will be
hampcrcd. I ask you to engage with us fully in this way so as to enable us
to advance on all issues simultancously.

8. On substance, as you know, we have intentionally avoided labels in
these talks so as to concentrate on the underlying issues. I would like to
give you a general outline of elements I believe should be a part of a com-
prehensive settlement. Again, I am not seeking your agreement on them at
this time. Rather, I wish to indicate what 1 believe the parties ought rea-
sonably to accept as a fair and viable compromise. I will now describe the
elements -which, I emphasize, are not an exhaustive list.
9. The comprchcnsivc settlement should enshrine a new partnership on
which to build a better future in peace, security and prosperity on a
united island. l'hc equal status of the partics in a united Cyprus must and
should be recognized explicitly in the comprehensive scttlcmcnt, which
will embody the results of the detailed negotiations required to translate
this concept into clear and practical provisions.
10. Cyprus should have a single international legal personality. Whatever
is eventually agreed regarding the status of the two 'componcnt states',
there should be onc sovereign, indissoluble 'common' state. I mean that
neither side could separate from the 'common state' that emerges from
these negotiations, nor try to unite all or part of the island with Greece or
Turkey. Nor should either side be able to dominate the 'common state' or
the other 'componcnt state'. There should be a single citizenship. Human
rights and fundamental freedoms should be guaranteed.
11. The 'common state' should have what we are calling, for now, a
'common government', with a 'basic law' prescribing powers exercised by
lcgislativc, cxccutive, and judicial branchcs. The 'common government'
should be able to function efficiently in the modern world. This includes
being able to take decisions in international bodies of which the 'common
state' is a member. In the operation of the 'common government', the po-
litical equality of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should be
rcspcctcd. Political equality, whilst not requiring numerical equality, must
involve effective participation of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in
the 'common government', and protection of their fundamental interests.
12. There should bc what we have called, for now, two 'component states'
-Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot -each with its own 'basic law'. The
'component states' should be largely self-governing, it being understood
that they must not contravene the 'basic law' of the 'common state'. They

would have power ovcr all matters other than the essential competencies
and functions that will be listed in the comprehensive settlement as being
the responsibility of the 'common state'. Neither 'conlponent state' would
be able to interfere in the governance of the other. It might be possible for
the 'component states' to confer additional internal citizenship rights on
persons who possess Cypriot citizenship.

13. I take it that a comprehensive settlement would commit Cyprus to EU
membership. At the same time, I would hope that the EU would be pre-
pared to address special and legitimate concerns in regard to accession. In
this context, it is clearly important that the provisions of the comprehcn-
sive settlement should not represent an obstacle to such membership nor
need to be renegotiated when the terms of accession are established.
14. Concerning property, we must recognize that there are considerations
of international law to which we must give weight. 'The solution must
withstand legal challenge. The legal rights which people have to their
property must be respected. At the same time, I believe that a solution
should carefully regulate the exercise of these rights so as to safeguard the
character of the 'component states'. Mceting these principles will require
an appropriate combination of reinstatement, exchange and compensation.
For a period of time to be established by agreement, there may be limits
on the number of Greek Cypriots establishing rcsidcnce in the north and
Turkish Cypriots establishing residence in the south. It is worth men-
tioning in this context that the criteria, form and nature of regulation of
property rights will also have a bearing on the extent of territorial adjust-
ment. and vice-versa.
15. 1 find it hard to imagine a comprehensive settlement without a rcturn
to Creek Cypriot administration of an appreciable amount of territory. In
my view, in negotiating the adjustment, a balance must be struck between
a maximum rcturn of Greek Cypriots to areas being returned to Greek
Cypriot administration, and a minimum of dislocation of Turkish Cypri-
ots. The focus should be on the number of persons affected more than the
amount of territory involved. Clearly, the moment is approaching where
discussions should proceed on the basis of detailed geographic data.
16. I am confident that arrangements can be made which effectively ad-
dress the security concerns of each side. It is clear that one side's security
must not be assurcd at the expense of the security of the other, and I think
that both parties would be willing to come to an arrangement acceptable
to all. Such an arrangement should include the continuation of the secu-
rity regime established in 1960, as supplemented to reflect the


comprehensive settlement; the dissolution of Greek Cypriot and Turkish
Cypriot forces; a prohibition legally binding on both exporters and im-
porters of arms supplies; agreed equal levels of Greek and Turkish troops;
a United Nations mandated force and police unit that function throughout
the island; and a political mechanism which can assist in resolving security

17. I am making these observations on the main issues before us after
nearly a year of listening and testing ideas. My purpose is to make a fur-
ther step in the direction of developing an overall picture of a
comprehensive approach to a settlement. Please reflect on what I have
said. I hope you will use my observations as the course to follow in the
talks ahead.
18. I think it is necessary to schedule further talks early in 2001. Accord-
ingly, I invite you to continue the proximity talks in Gcneva from late
January 2001. In the meantime, I am asking Mr de Soto to travel to the
region and the island late this month or early next month.
19. In the time between now and the next session, I would also ask you to
reflect on one final point. A strong impression that I have formed during
the proximity talks is this: it is not only the sad events of the past that are
the tragedy of modern Cyprus; it is also the absence of a solution. The ab-
sence of a solution prevents all Cypriots from sharing fully -and equally -
in the fruits of prosperity, security and progress. A united and independ-
ent Cyprus, in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are equal and
protected and free, as citizens of Europe, is the promise of the future. I
hope that you will seize what is perhaps the best chance yet for a Cyprus
settlement, in order to bcqueath that promise to succeeding generations.
20. In closing, let me say again that I do not intend to make these remarks
public, and I trust that you will also keep them to yourselves.
Of the very few new elements which were introduced since July, two
are worth mentioning. The first was a purely procedural suggestion
(paragraph 7) that from now on the negotiations should be based on a
single negotiating text to which each side should react by agreeing, dis-
agreeing or amending, and that this process should replace the practice of
each side tabling extensive drafts of their own approach to core issues.
This seemingly harmless surfacing of a diplomatic technique used in
countless international negotiations caused massive offence on the Turk-
ish side, who described it as a UN diktat (which it was not) and who
clearly saw it as a way for the UN to play a more central role in the

negotiations (which it certainly was). In any case, if they did not like it, all
they had to do was to say politely to de Soto when he visited the region
that they were not yet ready to move to that stage, in which case the idea
would have been set aside for the time being. With the benefit of hind-
sight it would have been better not to have included this novel thought in
Annan's presentation in Geneva but to have explored it informally in de
Soto's subsequent contacts. It was yet another example, which one ig-
nored at one's risk, of the extent to which Denktash and his close advisers,
and the Turkish officials who specialized in Cypriot affairs, were cut off
from the development of international negotiating practices and tech-
niques and also of how ready they were to interpret any innovation as a
secret weapon being deployed against them. The second novel thought in
Annan's presentation was a brief passage on EU accession (paragraph 13)
where he suggested for the first time that any provisions in a settlement
should not represent an obstacle to EU membership nor require to be
renegotiated when the reunited Cyprus's terms of accession were estab-
lished. This idea provoked less outrage than the other (and none at all
from the EU itself, to which it was directed). But it is interesting to note
that the Turks managed to construe this paragraph as meaning that the
EU had a veto over the terms of a Cyprus settlement when in fact the
meaning and thrust of the paragraph was exactly the opposite: that the
Greek Cypriots should not expect to be able to unpick any settlement
later in the European Court of Justice.

Annan's presentation was given, deliberately, on the last day of the
November session in Geneva, with the object of avoiding knee-jerk reac-
tions from either side. This was in fact achieved. Clerides was relieved at
the absence of any new material on status or sovereignty and let it be
known soon afterwards that he would be content to move forward on the
basis proposed. Denktash's reaction was typically curmudgeonly, but,
since that characterized the whole range of his negotiating technique, it
was never easy to be sure whether there was any significance in it or not.
But de Soto was sufficiently worried to have canvassed with the US and
the UK the possibility of immediately sending a written report to the
Security Council containing Annan's statement and thus putting Denk-
tash and the Turks on the spot. We both counselled against this, not
because there was the slightest doubt that the Security Council would
back Annan, but because past experience had shown that lining up the
Security Counci1,against Denktash did not work and that a written report
of the kind envisaged tended to be interpreted -as it had been in the case


of the Set of Ideas in 1992 -as marking a definitive breakdown in the
efforts to achieve a settlement. Denktash did, however, ominously as it
turned out, say that he could not accept the invitation to a further round
of proximity talks in January 2001 without having first consulted the
Turkish government.

Denktash walks out
It took some time for those outside the Turkish governmental machine to
understand just how fundamentally Denktash and the accompanying
Turkish delegation to the Geneva talks had misunderstood (the charitable
interpretation) or misrepresented (probably closer to the truth) Annan's 8
November statement. One consequence of the statement having been
issued on the last day of the talks was that there was no opportunity for
the two sides to go over the ground with the UN and at least reduce some
of their concerns. But gradually, as the UN and others of us closely
concerned came to be exposed to Turkish versions of what they believed
had been put forward, we realized just how wide of the mark their analy-
sis was. For one tling the rather large number of points that were helpful
from their point of view -the reiteration of the 12 September statement,
the firm endorsement of the 1960 Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance, the
need for any settlement to be endorsed by referendums on both sides, the
avoidance of domination of the 'common state' by either side, the flat
statement that the 'component' states, which would each have its own
constitution, would have power over all matters other than those explic-
itly granted to the 'common' state -were simply ignored or taken for
granted. The dilution of the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance was
asserted, although there was no evidence for it, the provisions on property
were alleged to ensure an absolute right of return for all Greek Cypriot
refugees, although that was not what was provided for, and the territorial
adjustment, although no details of the scale envisaged had been provided
by the UN, was exaggerated.
This was the background against which Denktash went to Ankara late
in November to discuss the next steps with the Turkish government.
Following a meeting, which included the president, the prime minister,
the coalition party leaders and the chief of the general staff, Denktash
emerged and described the proximity talks as 'a waste of time as long as
our parameters are not accepted. They are being run on the basis that the
Greek Cypriots are the sole legitimate government on the island.' He said
he would not attend further UN proximity talks unless the existence of

the 'I'KNC w'is recognized. 'The truth is the co-existence of two states,
two peoples, two sovereignties and two democracie~. . . . There is no point
in attending talks until the existence of our state is accepted.' IIe did say,
however, that he would reconsider his position if 'a new basis' for the
talks was created. Later the same day, as if to slam firmly shut even the
tiny crack that Turkish foreign ministry officials were trying to hold
open, Ecevit said publicly that he supported Denktash's decision (sic) not
to attend the meetings. In this way a whole string of Turkish Cypriot and
Turkish preconditions to negotiations were reinstated in contradiction to
Resolution 1250. Annan, who had been given no advance warning of what
was in the offing, was told he had been wasting his time, and all pressure
to show flexibility was lifted from the Greek Cypriots.

Why did the Turks opt for quite such a kamikaze approach to their
Cyprus diplomacy? Without a detailed knowledge of the inner workings
of the Turkish establishment and bureaucracy it is not possible to say
with any certainty. Neither Denktash nor Ecevit had ever really been
committed to a negotiation in good faith for a settlement that would
necessarily involve some elements of compromise over their publicly
stated positions; they had been pushed into it by international pressure,
particularly from the US and the EU. They could now see that the nego-
tiating train was beginning to move down a track towards a destination at
which they did not wish to arrive -and here the misrepresentation of
what Annan said may have played an important role. They could also see
that the UN's role was becoming more prominent and that their capacity
to filibuster endlessly was going to be limited. They may well have exag-
gerated the likely effect of taking off their shoe and beating the rostrum.
One thing was clear: once Denktash and Ecevit had spoken publicly as
they did, there was no diplomatic wiggle room left, at least in the short
term. The process was blocked and a way would have to be found in
Ankara to unblock it.


2001: Trench Warfare

ne of the eventualities to which little thought had been given by

the UN and its supporters, the US and the UK and the other

main European Union countries, was that Denktash, with full
Turkish support, would simply walk out of the negotiations and refuse to
return. We had bargained for an endless filibuster or even for some dra-
matic breaks but not for an attempt to destroy the whole basis on which
the negotiations had begun a year earlier. This approach had seemed
rather unlikely, if only because the main victims in terms of diplomatic
damage were the Turkish Cypriots and the 'Turks themselves. And yet
this was the situation we now faced. This became quite clear after a visit
to Cyprus, 'l'urkey and Greece, which I made in early January 2001.
While Denktash attempted to equate his action with that of Clerides
when he had absented himself from the talks in New York in September
2000, there was in fact no similarity at all. Clerides had resumed his
participation after a very short (three-day) break and basically on the
terms laid down by the UN, with a little bit of diplomatic finessing with
the 'Three Noes', and he had subsequently ceased to contest the matter
that had caused the problem in the first place. Denktash was thoroughly
enjoying the breakup he had precipitated, went daily to the press with his
aggressive rhetoric about the proximity talks having been a waste of time,
and had publicly set terms (the usual status/sovereignty mantra) for his
return which he knew to be unnegotiable. He showed no inclination
whatsoever to discuss constructively ways of resuming the settlement
process, nor was he to do so at any time during 2001 up until his own
decision in November to take the initiative. tle thus ruled himself out as a
participant in any procedure designed to pick up the pieces.

Working with Turkey
When de Soto sat down with Moses and myself in New York on 18-19
January we had no difficulty in agreeing on the way ahead, even if we had


no illusions that it would be easy or quick. There was no inclination to
take no for an answer. The arguments for pressing on, in particular the
approach of the conclusion of the EU enlargement negotiations, remained
convincing. Nor was there any inclination to discuss Denktash's precon-
ditions. They had been set out so starkly and in such maximalist terms as
to rule out any possibility that the Greek Cypriots would respond posi-
tively; and, since they had just given some ground on status issues by
effectively swallowing Annan's 12 September statement, there was no
convincing reason why they should be asked to do more at this stage. We
were also agreed that Annan's statement of 8 November must not be
allowed to wither on the bough or to become the sacrificial price for
getting Denktash back to the table. Not only were the Turks scandalously
misrepresenting it, but, in the view of all of us, it represented the only
viable approach to a negotiated solution that stood any chance of being
agreed. So, if one sacrificed it or allowed large chunks of it to be lopped
off, one might end up with a resumed process, but a process without
negotiable content.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:01 am

Since we were aiming to get the Turks and Denktash back to the
negotiating table without making any concessions of substance, we agreed
to a division of labour. De Soto would lead on all matters relating to
Annan's 8 November statement. He would try to demystify it, and ex-
plain why it contained much material of use to the Turks and Turkish
Cypriots which could be developed through negotiation into a settlement
that would respect both their vital interests. He would avoid any accusa-
tion of outright misrepresentation and would not move aggressively into
the task of getting Denktash back to the table, thus hopefully avoiding
damaging his impartiality should the US and the UK succeed in bringing
that about. The US and the UK would meanwhile use all means possible
to bring home to the Turks that Denktash's walk-out was damaging them
to an increasing extent as time passed. I had begun this effort when I
visited Ankara in early January and sustained it when I returned there in
May. The US was uncomfortably placed since we were in the last day of
Clinton's presidency, and Moses, who was a political appointee, was
unlikely to continue. No commitments could therefore be entered into
with regard to the incoming Bush administration's policy. But Weston,
who was to take over the lead in Washington when the decision was taken
(not on Cyprus grounds, but out of a general desire to cut back the num-
ber of special representatives) not to replace Moses, made it clear that

contacts with the transition team indicated the likelihood of US policy on
Cyprus being unchanged.

This was a crucial dimension since not only was the US by far and
away the most influential player in Ankara, but the Turks, like many
others, had nurtured all sorts of illusions that the new Republican admini-
stration would be more friendly to them, in general and on Cyprus issues
in particular, than the outgoing Democrat administration had been. Until
that illusion had been dissipated we would get no change of policy in
Ankara. Weston was in fact as good as his word: US policy on this issue
did not change by an iota; and the new administration's firm view that
Denktash needed to return to the table without preconditions was made
known by the incoming secretary of state, Colin Powell, when Turkish
foreign minister Cem visited Washington in March. In addition to these
efforts we agreed that other EU governments should be encouraged to
bring home the same messages to the Turkish government and to under-
line, without making any direct linkage, that Turkey's present Cyprus
policy would inevitably over time conflict with their aspirations to join
the EU. This was indeed done with some effect, all the more so since the
European Union's willingness during this period to move ahead with the
Accession Partnership with Turkey, without making any unacceptable
linkage with the Cyprus problem, demonstrated that Turkish fears in the
autumn of 2000 had been exaggerated.

In truth it was not difficult to marshal the arguments in Ankara that
showed that the walk-out was damaging Turkey's interests. For one thing
it was propelling into the European Union a divided Cyprus. It was
inconceivable that if the 'relevant factors' referred to in the Ilelsinki
European Council conclusions included a Denktash who refused to
negotiate further, the EU would punish the Greek Cypriots and refuse to
admit a divided island. Moreover a prolonged vacuum in the negotiating
process would inevitably lead to further Greek Cypriot pressure to pur-
chase sophisticated weapons, with tiresome implications for Turkey's
security interests in the region. Turkey's long-term European aspirations
were simply not consistent with a Cyprus policy of refusing to negotiate
except on Denktash's terms, nor indeed was the further development of a
Greek-Turkish rapprochement on which Papandreou and Cem had
lavished so much effort. And should the business world conclude that
Turkey's EU aspirations were unlikely to get anywhere and that there
would be more tension in future in the Eastern Mediterranean, this would
over time have damaging implications for Turkey's already fragile econ-


omy and for inward investment. Nor was there a lack of positive points to
make. A Cyprus settlement would facilitate Turkey's EU application,
would mean fewer Turkish troops tied down and less Turkish money
spent, and would mean a Turkish Cypriot presence in EU decision tak-
ing. All these, and more, were points made to Cem and his officials when
I visited Ankara in the first half of 2001. The Americans were making the
same points.

The Turkish response was less discouraging than we had feared. For
one thing they rapidly stopped their misrepresentations of Annan's 8
November statement, realizing that many of the allegations about it
simply did not fit what was said in the statement. Rather more positively
they did not contest the long list of negative consequences for Turkey
that were only too likely to flow from a prolonged hiatus in the negotiat-
ing process. And they understood, even if they did not like, the analysis
that if Denktash was offered substantive concessions to return to the
negotiating table, then no doubt there would be further walk-outs in the
future designed to achieve the same ends. I was struck during my first
visit to Ankara by the clear recognition by Mumtaz Soysal, Denktash's
hardline Turkish constitutional adviser, that the walk-out had been a
tactical error. But, if logic got them so far, it did not immediately bring
about a change of policy. Denktash himself was not helping them in that
respect; he and they were all too aware that most of the negative conse-
quences impacted on Turkey and not on Turkish Cyprus. If, like
Denktash, you did not want Turkey to join the EU in the first place there
was no great discomfort. Nor were these arguments getting through
directly to two critical constituencies, the prime minister, Ecevit, and the
Turkish general staff with whom, by this time, no direct contact with
outsiders was permitted. So while we could feel that we were winning the
argument, there was as yet no evidence that this was getting us anywhere.

Meanwhile, in the short term at least, there was not much to be done
with the Greek Cypriots and Greeks, who were tactically sitting in clover.
Cyprus's EU accession negotiations were making rapid progress, unim-
peded by any doubts over their eventual accession. Indeed, thanks to
Turkish policy, the view became more and more prevalent in the Euro-
pean Union during 2001 that accession by a divided island was virtually a
foregone conclusion; and by the autumn it was proving quite difficult to
persuade the Commission and some of the more nervous EU member
states that it was not yet time to begin drafting the consequential legal
provisions based on that assumption. As always a prolonged period of


contacts by the main players with the Turks led to periodic outbreaks of
nervousness among the Greek Cypriots that they would be expected to
pay the price for getting Denktash back into the negotiations. And assur-
ances to the contrary, however firm and clear, never quite dissipated these
endemic fears.

A USITurkish scenario

From the late spring of 2001 onwards the US became locked into a proc-
ess with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs aimed at defining in
precise terms the way in which Denktash should be brought back into the
negotiations. This was no simple task, particularly since the Turks on this
occasion, unprecedentedly, decided to proceed without consulting Denk-
tash and in strict confidentiality. Given the opacity of the decision-
making process in Ankara, it was never very easy to be sure who knew
about what and who was on board, as the approach took precise shape.
But assurances were given that Ecevit had given his blessing to what was
being done and agreed that the negotiations needed to be resumed. Nei-
ther the UN nor the UK played a direct role in the elaboration or
negotiation of the scenario but each was kept informed at every stage by
Weston, the US Special Coordinator.

The main elements of the scenario as finally agreed in June were as

(i) The UN would contact Denktash and invite him to meet Annan in
New York in late July to discuss the way forward with the UN Good Of-
fices Mission (and thereby give Denktash a fig leaf for the resumption of
the talks).
(ii) After the AnnanIDenktash meeting de Soto would go to the island to
give new impetus to the UN process through discussions on substance.
(iii) It would be agreed in advance of (i) and (ii) that all this would lead to
substantive talks without preconditions on all issues with the secretary-
general in September 2001 at the latest.
(iv) The UN would not make the 8 November statement a specific point
of reference in future talks or in public statements so long as Denktash did
the same. Any assertion that the 8 November statement was 'off the table'
or had been repudiated by the UN would be unacceptable. In subsequent
talks the UN would continue discussion with the parties on the specific
issues that must be agreed as part of a comprehensive settlement. The
parties would also be able to relate their views on the status question.

(v) It was understood that this scenario for restarting the UN process
would not reopen the question of whcthcr the ground had been prepared.
The secretary-general's 12 September statcmcnt on equal status and
equality alrcady did that. Reopening this issue would only call into ques-
tion the continued solidity of the 12 September statement.
(vi) The UN would start the process at (i) once Turkey could assure them
that Denktash had agreed to this scenario for moving ahead.
This extremely satisfactory agreement, which safeguarded all the points
to which the UN, the US and the UK had attached importance when
they had worked out their tactics in January, was confirmed by the Turks
to the US as being acceptable to them. They undertook to put it to
Denktash (which was understood to be a polite way of saying that they
would put the whole Turkish government's weight behind it and get
Denktash to agree to it). In due course they gave the Americans the green
lighr, who passed that on to the UN, it being understood by all concerned
(Turkey, US, UN) that the sequence was a single whole to which all were
committed in its entirety from the outset, not an 'a la carte menu. But it
was also understood by all concerned that no reference must be made, in
particular publicly or to Denktash, to the existence of a scenario of this
sort; it must simply be played out.

Preparation for resumption of the negotiations
The UN had not been idle during this long hiatus in the negotiations,
during which they had been unable to play an active diplomatic role.
Rather they had put in hand detailed work on the main elements of a
comprehensive settlement so that they would be well prepared to move
the negotiations on to issues of substance whenever a resumption was
agreed. On territorial issues they had begun the detailed cartographical
analysis required to achieve a substantial return of territory to the Greek
Cypriots, which would at the same time accommodate the maximum
possible return of Greek Cypriot refugees, while displacing the minimum
possible number of Turkish Cypriots. It was already clear to them that
they could improve on the 1992 Boutros-Ghali map in both respects.
They also identified quite a large number of different territorial options
that would provide some degree of flexibility if and when negotiations got
under way, although in no case did they stray very far away from the
basic Boutros-Ghali proportions (which had been endorsed in 1992 by the
Security Council) of a Turkish Cypriot zone of 28-plus per cent and a


Greek Cypriot zone of 72-minus per cent. They also began to relate each
option to the scale of limited settlement (including returns) by Greek
Cypriots in the Turkish Cypriot component state as it would emerge
from any settlement.

On governance they began looking for ways of avoiding Denktash's
requirement for a veto on every decision, whether substantive or proce-
dural, but at the same time of ensuring that the Turkish Cypriots could
not just be brushed aside, as they had in effect been in 1963. This led
them towards arrangements for a collective decision-making executive
body with a rotating, but effectively powerless, presidency, rather close to
the Swiss model. For essential tie-breaking purposes they were looking
towards a major role for the Supreme Court, on which some non-Cypriot
judges would supplement the equal numbers of Greek and Turkish

As to the division of responsibilities between the common and compo-
nent states, they worked on a very restricted list of powers for the
common state, with many of those central responsibilities actually being
exercised in Brussels once the new Cyprus joined the European Union,
and thus on a very extensive list of responsibilities for the component
states, who would also have residual responsibility for any matters not
allocated to the common state.

For security issues they envisaged the continuation of the 1960 Trea-
ties of Guarantee and Alliance, not only not diluted in any way but
actually extended in that they would now specifically include the guar-
anteeing of the territorial limits and constitutional order of the component
states (which had not existed in 1960). They foresaw the maintenance on
the island of a substantial, but much reduced, number of Turkish and
Greek troops (numbers not yet identified and, ideally, to be agreed mutu-
ally in advance by Turkey and Greece), demobilization of all Greek
Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot armed forces, a legally enforceable arms
embargo, and a UN-mandated military presence, on which some consul-
tation with the US and the UK had already taken place.

They had also done a great deal of detailed work on the methods for
achieving property compensation (the greater part of any property set-
tlement) and restitution (the smaller, strictly limited and quite
considerably delayed part of any property settlement). All this work,
which was built on the foundations of Annan's 8 November statement,
was to come to good use in due course.


In addition a good deal of thought had been given to the issues of
continuity, status and sovereignty, which were obviously going to be
among the most sensitive to be settled as part of any comprehensive
agreement. I had been pressing the UN since the July 2000 session of
proximity talks in Geneva to open up the issue of continuity with the two
sides. I suggested that there could be more common ground on this than
met the eye and that it could lead on to a less confrontational approach to
status issues. The fact was that the Greek Cypriots, while they rejected
any recognition of the TRNC as such, fully realized that there would
need to be some degree of legitimization of all the decisions and legal acts
taken by the Turkish Cypriots between 1963 and the date of the entry
into force of any settlement. The Turkish Cypriots needed that legitimi-
zation, which they could not hope to gain outside a settlement. Moreover,
while the Greek Cypriots would never contemplate any suggestion that
the new Cyprus should be a successor state of the 1960 Republic, they
were prepared to see the 1960 constitution abrogated and replaced by a
new one and for the new state of affairs to be unrecognizable from the
old. They too had an important stake in continuity. At first the UN had
been reluctant to raise the issue of continuity as being too sensitive, but
they gradually warmed to the idea. They had not, however, got anywhere
with it by the time the talks were broken off in November. Now, in the
hiatus that followed, they developed the concept that came to be known
as the 'virgin birth' of the new Cyprus, by which a politically new, but
legally not new, Cyprus, with elements of continuity with what had
passed on both sides of the island since 1963, would come into being the
day after approval by the referendums on the two sides, which would in
any case be needed to approve any comprehensive agreement.

There remained the vexed question of sovereignty, to which Denktash
and the Turks attached fundamental importance, but which they wanted
to resolve in a number of different ways. None of these ways had any
chance of being accepted by the Greek Cypriots, who had made it very
clear that any solution that explicitly located sovereignty with the com-
ponent states -for example a phrase like the common state's sovereignty
'emanating from the component states' -would not be acceptable. The
Greek Cypriots in their turn wanted sovereignty to be the sole perquisite
of the common state with no reference at all to the component states
having any attributes of sovereignty. The obvious solution was simply to
avoid any reference to sovereignty at all, but this was easier said than
done in technical and legal terms and was anyway said to be unacceptable


state that the new partnership contained in the comprehensive settle-

ment supersedes that reached in 1960 (in particular, the 1960

constitution), without prejudice to the continuation of the 1960 trea-

ties, which it would be clearly stated remain in force [as

supplemented by the protocol on security arrangements];

state that the comprehensive settlement would come into force and be

binding only once approved in separate referenda by Greek Cypriots

and Turkish Cypriots, conducted in a manner to be outlined in one of

the annexes;

state that, once it came into effect, the comprehensive settlement

would be binding on all parties to the agreement and having the force

of the law operating in the 'common state' and the 'component states';

state that, should the comprehensive settlement fail to gain the ap-

proval of either side by referendum, it would remain null and void

and of no legal affect; and

list the annexes to the joint declaration of agreement.

3. The annexes to the joint declaration of agreement on a comprehensive
settlement could contain thc following legal instruments/texts:
I. Protocol 011 security arrangements.
11. 'Basic law' of the 'common state'.
Appendix to Annex 11: Property of the 'common state'.
111. Delineation of territory of the 'component states'.
IV. Treatment of property affected by events since 1960.
V. Dispositions relating to EU accession.
VI. List of international treaties to remain in force for the 'common
state' of Cyprus.
VII. 'Common state' legislation to be in force upon entry into force of
a comprehensive settlcment.
VIII. 'Basic laws' of the 'component states'.
IX. Conduct of referenda to approve the comprehensive settlement
(including EU accession).
X. Implementation arrangements.
XI. Establishment of historical clarification commission.
4. It would be ideal to achieve a watershed of broad agreement covering
the issues in annexes I-IV by the end of the first half of 2002 so as to
make possible full participation of the Turkish Cypriot side in the ncgo-
tiations over Cyprus's EU membership as early as possible. Whether this
watershed is achievable, and how it might be informally marked, will de-
pend upon developments.


It was in fact the first outline of the structure of the proposals that Annan
was to put to the parties in Novemt~er 2002.

Failure and success
When the time arrived for the USITurkey scenario to be played out, the
auguries were not entirely promising. Increasingly extensive leaks about
some kind of US understanding with Turkey began to appear in the
press, provoking understandable restiveness in Denktash and also among
the Greek Cypriots. Since the nature of the understanding could not be
commented on and its very existence had to be denied, this left free rein
to the press on both sides of the island and in Ankara, which was not
renowned for the accuracy and restraint of its reporting. Nevertheless the
first stages went ahead as planned. The Turks gave the US the grcen
light, having allegedly squared Denktash, and the Americans asked the
UN to act. The meeting between Annan and Denktash took place in
Zurich during August, and not in New York, purely for reasons of con-
venience. In addition de Soto and I were able to persuade Verheugen to
interrupt his holiday and also to see Denktash (in Salzburg) with a view to
assuring him that the European Union would not allow the rigidities of
the acquis cornmunaotair to cut across or to undermine provisions in a
Cyprus settlement.
Neither mceting was particularly promising. Denktash certainly did
not give the impression that he was someone on his way back to the
negotiating table but he did not say he was not. Thereafter de Soto began
planning his follow-up contacts, and Annan issued invitations to Clerides
and Ilenktash to resume negotiations in New York on 12 September. At
this point Denktash, having apparently squared Ecevit, declined the
invitation. No explanation was ever given by the Turks, who simply went
into an elaborate state of denial about the very existence of a scenario and
their own role in making it work. Of only one thing can one be certain
and that is that the talks would not have happened in New York on 12
September as planned, even if Denktash had accepted, because the A1
Qa'eda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took place
the day before and travel into and out of New York was interrupted for
several days as was the conduct of any UN business other than that
relating to the attacks. Those who had put so much effort into restarting
the negotiations were now left, like Sisyphus in the fable, watching the
stone rolling back down to the bottom of the hill yet again.


In the event, although this was in no way evident at the time, the
situation was less hopeless than it seemed. It appears likely that Denk-
tash's rejection of Annan's invitation was more a tactical manoeuvre
designed to remind those in Ankara who believed they could negotiate
about Cyprus behind his back that he could always outfox them and to
reassert his own primacy in the determination of Turkey's Cyprus policy.
There were some indications also that the Turkish general staff were
surprised and dismayed that the negotiations had not been resumed, as
planned, having concluded that the degree of isolation arising from
Denktash's refusal to negotiate was harmful to Turkey's interests. Be that
as it may, early in November Denktash wrote, completely out of the blue,
to Clerides proposing that the two of them should start face-to-face nego-
tiations on the island without any preconditions. This fairly astonishing
volte-face in fact went further than the USITurkish scenario, which had
envisaged nothing more ambitious than a resumption of the proximity
talks broken off in November 2000, and it quite simply jettisoned a series
of Denktash preconditions that had been said many times to be unnego-

Denktash's letter reached Clerides in New York where he had gone
for the resumed session of the United Nations General Assembly, post-
poned after the attacks on the World Trade Center. I saw Clerides in his
suite at the Waldorf Astoria as he was considering his response and he
showed me the draft reply that had been submitted to him. This, while
stopping short of rejection, was full of legalistic quibbles, only too likely
to set off a lengthy and possibly fruitless exchange of correspondence. I
said I thought something shorter, more political and more positive was
called for. The only really tricky point was the involvement of the UN in
the proposed negotiations, which Denktash had passed over in silence but
which needed to be secured. Assuming that Clerides was prepared to
contemplate negotiations in Cyprus and not, as before, in Geneva or New
York, which he said he was, there was everything to be said for conclud-
ing these preliminaries rapidly and positively. Clerides said he agreed
with all that, and was as good as his word, replying very positively. The
UN point, although it caused a bit of haggling, with much warning by
Denktash that de Soto should not get above his station and must remain 'a
fly on the wall' simply taking the note, was also settled satisfactorily, with
UN participation in all meetings being agreed and the negotiations to take
place on UN ground, in the buffer zone at the former Nicosia interna-
tional airport.

The switch of the negotiations to Cyprus was an interesting example
of how quite trivial procedural points can come to assume an exaggerated
importance and then, quite suddenly, disappear. It had been an article of
faith for several years -with the UN, with those who supported its efforts
and with the Greek Cypriots -that any negotiations must take place off
the island. The considerations were that the ubiquity of the Cyprus press
and the proxinlity of the politicians on both sides, together with unhappy
experiences with previous rounds of negotiation on the island, meant that
this option, which Denktash favoured as a matter of personal conven-
ience, must be resisted at all costs. In the event none of these
considerations proved to be very solid. The Cyprus press was ubiquitous
whether one was in Geneva or Nicosia; the involvement of politicians was
inevitable and necessary; the arguments for allowing two, by now rather
elderly, gentlemen to meet and negotiate close to where they lived and
without extensive air travel were compelling. In the end no one regretted
the decision.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:02 am

Following the completion of the exchanges of correspondence between
the two leaders and the UN, which set January 2002 for the opening of
the face-to-face negotiations, and following Clerides's return to the island,
there was a further and quite unexpected burst of bonhomie and opti-
mism. Clerides invited Denktash to dine with him at his home in the
south of Nicosia, and Denktash then reciprocated in the north. The two
leaders thus broke any number of taboos of protocol and status, on which
massive quantities of ink had been spilled over the previous three decades
and more. Both spoke in a generally upbeat way to the press, Denktash
going so far (unwisely as it turned out) as to predict the conclusion of a
settlement by June -but there was also a distant roll of thunder in what
he said about his need to have heart surgery in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile the UN set in hand a crash progranlme (with generous assis-
tance from the US government) to refurbish some of its pretty dilapidated
property at Nicosia Airport so that an adequate conference centre, with
air conditioning, could bc available for the talks. It all sounded too good to
be true, and of course it was; but it was certainly an improvement on
everything that had passed hitherto.

2002: Countdown to Copenhagen

he face-to-face talks duly began in Cyprus in mid-January and
proceeded intensively until the end of September with a break in
August. There were two and sometimes three meetings a week,
although they became more desultory as the deadlock intensified. In
addition to these meetings of the leaders accompanied by their negotiating
teams, de Soto pushed hard and with some success for informal meetings
attended only by himself, Clerides and Denktash, with no advisers pres-
ent. I le also arranged a number of seminar-type meetings in which he and
his UN team went over particularly tricky or complex issues, such as the
'virgin birth' of the new Cyprus or the property issue, with each of the
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot negotiating teams. From the very
start Denktash reminded de Soto constantly that he was there only as a
'fly on the wall' -a description used by de Soto in the pre-Christmas
bargaining over the format of the talks but which he came to regret.
Denktash would not allow the UN to try to capture on paper any emerg-
ing areas of common ground, particularly at their informal t&e-'a-t&e
meetings, but of course he could not stop the UN gradually building up a
more detailed and comprehensive picture of the positions of the two sides
and identifying where there was potential overlap between them.

The talks took place in a hastily refurbished line of Nissen huts on the
former civil airport at Nicosia. A large, air-conditioned conference room
and a suite of offices for the UN team was constructed out of this some-
what unpromising material. Nicosia Airport had been left stranded, like a
beached whale, in the UN-controlled buffer zone between the two cease-
fire lines when the fighting stopped in 1974. Since then it had remained in
a kind of time warp. On the runway stood the rusting carcases of several
civilian aeroplanes that had suffered collateral damage in the fighting. The
control tower was vandalized and pock-marked with bullet holes. Most of
the land within the old airport perimeter had reverted to scruffy scrub,
some of which had been cleared to make a golf course, and which har-

158 CYPRUS: 'TliK Slil\l(CH 1'011 t\ SOLUTION

boured rather more bird life than was usual in Cyprus. A few houses,
used as quarters by the UN, were dotted around, including the large ugly
villa used by the head of the UN peacekeeping force and known to the
cognoscenti as 'Lenin's tomb'. I'he airport, which is on a plateau a bit
above the broad plain in which Nicosia is situated, has stunning views. To
the north are the Kyrenia Hills and to the south the Troodos A4ountains,
both easily visible on clear days, which is most days in Cyprus. It had
three other inestimable advantages. It was easy of access for both sides,
each leader having to go for no more than a ten-minute drive to get there;
it was neutral ground; and access to it was controlled by blue-bereted UN
soldiers, so there was no question of demonstrators being able to get

The Turkish government had spoken with great insistence to both us
and the Americans before the face-to-face talks began, asking us not to
shadow the negotiations closely as we had done the proximity talks in
New York and Geneva. Denktash, they said, needed space to breathe and
to develop his thinking if he was to negotiate with flexibility. We both
agreed to this request, while expressing lively anticipation of the day
when Denktash began to show flexibility. In fact the situation was quite
different from New York and Geneva. 'There we had had little or no
Cyprus expertise in residence to cover the negotiations in concert with the
UN. In Cyprus we each had an ambassador and fully staffed missions
with plenty of expertise on the Cyprus problem. So we worked to a quite
different pattern. On the island the UN briefed our missions after every
session. We had secure conference telephone calls between de Soto,
Weston and myself on average about once or twice a week. And we set
out on a Baedeker tour for our tripartite meetings, of which we held 12 in
2002 -two in Paris, two in London, one each in Rome, Vienna, Nicosia
and Copenhagen, three in New York and one at Vevey in a delightful
hotel high above Lake Geneva between Lausanne and Montreux. Weston
and I visited the region frequently and Cyprus even more frequently, but
our visits were not connected with particular negotiating sessions as they
had been during the proximity talks. Only once did we ,dl meet in Cy-
prus, our triple presence tending to get the press over excited. This three-
layered system of coordination worked admirably and caused less stress
to everyone than our previous practice, and it ensured that neither side
nor their supporters ever managed to slip even a cigarette paper between
our positions. Indeed both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, inveterate
practitioners of playing third parties off against each other, paid us the

great compliment of stopping even trying to do so. Once, when I asked
Denktash what he had said on a particular point to the Americans, he
said, crossly, that he was not going to waste his time telling me, because
we already knew the answer.

The early months
The early stages of the face-to-face talks showed some promise. It was not
that there were any breakthroughs. There were not. But the atmosphere
was reasonably relaxed, the core issues began to be seriously addressed,
and there was at least something that could come to life as a real negotia-
tion at short notice if the will was there to make it happen. The contrast
with the previous, fallow year, with actual face-to-face talks coupled with
the inexorablc progress towards the EU's decision-making summit at
Copenhagen, seemed to inject a sense of momentum.
Clerides in particular seemed to take on a new lease of life. While he
remained sceptical that Denktash was negotiating in good faith, he shook
off the grumpy pessimism that had characterized him through the prox-
imity talks and began to hint at, and sometimes to set out reasonably
clearly, the sort of concessions he might make as part of an otherwise
satisfactory package. He had clearly been impressed by the major effort
the international con~munity had made to bring Denktash back to the
table without any concessions. And, like the rest of us, he hoped that
Turkey's consideration of its European policy would lead it to value more
highly a settlement in Cyprus. He accepted the advice that we and the
Americms gave him that he should set out up front a conciliatory negoti-
ating position on security issues. We pointed out that, since the Turkish
military were unquestionably going to have a major influence on the
outcome, it made no real sense to hold back on concessions he was ready
to make on security until the end. Hetter to indicate at an early stage that
Turkey's security concerns could and would be met in a comprehensive
This advice he followed -indeed it matched his own instinctive feel-
ing which had begun to surface during the proximity talks -and after the
first few meetings, Denlmsh and the Turks had no excuse if they did not
understand that the structure of a strengthened and open-ended Treaty of
Guarantee, a continued Turkish troop presence on the island and a re-
moval of all the existing Greek Cypriot troops and their weapons was
potentially on offer. On governance also he hinted that he would not be
too demanding over his list of powers for the central authority, which was


longer than that which Denktash and even the UN had in mind, and
would be prepared to see it whittled away a certain amount. He allowed
de Soto to develop the thinking that would subsequently emerge as the
virgin birth approach to the new Cyprus. He stated flatly that he was
prepared to see the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus abrogated
and not merely amended or adapted, as he and Alecos Markides had
originally proposed. He continued to say that his attitude on Greek
Cypriot returns to property in the north would be crucially affected by
the scale of the territorial adjustment and that he could show flexibility on
one if he got satisfaction on the other. And when the vexed issue of the
mainland Turks in the north, the 'settlers', could no longer be avoided, he
was astute enough to say that if Denktash's first figure of 35,000 could be
validated (which of course it could not be as it was a gross understate-
ment) that would cause him no problems. This was a brave, if tactically
astute, move by Clerides since it put the Turkish Cypriots thereafter on
the back foot as they refused to produce a list of names and argued for
much higher figures.

The position of Denktash was quite different. Predictably he began to
construct a new version of his preconditions over status, equality and
sovereignty. This time it was called 'agreeing on a vision of the new
Cyprus'. Once this vision was agreed, he said (and this was a line much
favoured also by Cem), then everything else would fall into place. The
vision naturally involved recognizing the realities on the island, i.e. two
states, making it clear that sovereignty belonged to those states and was
granted to the new Cyprus by them and ensuring that political equality
required Turkish Cypriot agreement to each and every decision, even
procedural ones. But at least at this stage of the negotiations he did not
push his point of view to the extent of refusing to discuss the other core
issues. He flatly declined, however, to contemplate any discussion of the
details of a territorial adjustment until that elusive and ill-defined mo-
ment, the final stage; and he continued to insist that the property issue
must be dealt with in its entirety by compensation, with no returns by
Greek Cypriots to the north. Nevertheless in those early exchanges there
were at least some glimmers of hope that progress could be made. How-
ever, as Annan's subsequent report on the negotiation put it, 'regrettably,
the glimmers seldom lasted beyond the meeting, subsequent meetings
often reverting to debates about history or visions' (S/2003/398 of 1 April


,I his systematic extinction of glimmers of light began before long to
have a negative impact on the talks process. An example gives a picture of
what was occurring. After a useful discussion on 23 January of a variety
of options for what was destined in due course to be Article 1 of the new
constitution of Cyprus and which included the names to be used instead
of the current placebos of 'common state' and 'component state', de Soto
sent to the two leaders a piece of paper setting out seven possible alterna-
tives as follows:

Possibilities for Article 1 of the Constitution

Option 1. The United Cypriot Republic
The United Cypriot Republic is an independent and sovereign State with
a single international legal personality and a common state governmcnt
and consists of two component states, namcly the Greck Cypriot State
and the Turkish Cypriot State.

Option 2. The Union of Cyprus
'The Union of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign State with a single
international legal personality and a central government and consists of
two component states, namely the Greek Cypriot State and thc Turkish
Cypriot State.

Option 3. The State of Cyprus
The State of Cyprus is an independent and sovercign State with a single
international legal personality and a common governmcnt and consists of
two component states, namely the Greek Cypriot State and the lurkish
Cypriot State.

Option 4. The Statelunion of Cyprus
The Statelunion of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign State with a
single international legal personality and a federal government and con-
sists of two constituent states, namely the Greek Cypriot State and the
Turkish Cypriot State.

Option 5. The United State of Cyprus
The United State of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign State with a
single intcrnational legal personality and a common state government and
consists of two component stateslrepublics, namely the Grcck Cypriot
Republic and the Turkish Cypriot Republic.

Option 6. The Federal Partnership of Cyprus
The Fcdcral Partnership of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign State
with a single international personality and a federal government and con-


sists of two partner states, namely the Grcck Cypriot State and the Turk-
ish Cypriot State.

Option 7. The Federation of Cyprus/Cypriot Federation
The Federation of Cyprus/Cypriot Federation is an independent and sov-
ereign State with a single international legal personality and a federal
government and consists of two constituent partner states, namely the
Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State.

The next day Clerides replied in writing, accepting with some qualifica-
tions four of the alternatives (Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 7) and, at the subsequent
meeting, accepted a fifth (No. 5) which had been the only one Denktash
had accepted the day before. Denktash then rejected all seven. It was
difficult to understand what was going on on the Turkish Cypriot and
Turkish side of the fence. It was rapidly becoming clear that the decision
by Denktash and the Turks back in the autumn of 2001 to initiate face-to-
face talks, and thus to execute a complete procedural U-turn, had not
been accompanied or followed up by any definition of a series of negotia-
ble positions on the core issues. Denktash himself seemed to be navigating
without a compass. He was not allowed to walk out of the talks, as he had
done in November 2000 and as he would probably have liked to do again,
but he had been given no clear idea of where the Turkish red lines were
and what his ultimate destination was intended to be. In these circum-
stances he reverted to playing for time in a filibuster which it was
increasingly difficult to sustain as the months went by. The backing and
filling to which he resorted, and which became part of a pattern, was less
easy to explain. Was it simply the result of advice he received from his
hardline Turkish (but not Turkish government) adviser, Soysal? Or was
he actually being pulled back by the Turkish government itself? And, if
so, why? The probable answer was that it was a mixture of all these
elements but, at least during the course of the negotiations, no explanation
was vouchsafed.

The effect of this on Clerides was thoroughly negative. He began to
regret that he had shown so much flexibility at an early stage of the face-
to-face negotiations and to worry that this risked exposing him to his
domestic critics. He told de Soto that he was no longer prepared to come
to ttte-'a-ttte meetings, since Denktash invariably clawed back at later
plenary meetings any movement he had demonstrated at the private ones.
There was then a substantial hiatus in such private meetings, which was
only overcome by the persuasion of the UN, the US, the UK and, even-

C 0 U N '1' 1) (1 \?' N 'I' 0 C 0 1' li N HI\ C E N 16%

tually, of the Greek government too, all of whom pointed out that fili-
bustering at the plenary meetings was much easier than at the private
ones and that it was important to keep up the pressure which Denktash
clearly felt at the private meetings. Meanwhile the plenary sessions began
to deteriorate into exchanges of lengthy papers recycling the respective
positions taken up by the two sides in the proximity talks two years
before, and into polemical exchanges, both spoken and written, in which
the forensic skills of Markides came to the fore but not to any very useful
purpose. In parallel with this deterioration of the atmosphere within the
negotiations, the public perception of what was going on remained com-
pletely negative and cynical. Denktash, who had never been much
troubled by Annan's request to maintain a press blackout, defended at
great length in the media his fundamental views on status and sover-
eignty. On the Greek Cypriot side the desire not to reveal publicly any
flexibility being shown in the negotiations themselves was reflected in a
presentation that depicted the negotiations as totally stuck because of
Denktash's obduracy, which was part of the story but not the whole of it.
So by April the negotiations had bogged down and were badly in need of
a shot in the arm.

The secretary-general lends a hand
As the pace of the negotiations slowed and the prospect dwindled of the
two parties making substantial progress, the need for some external
impetus to get things moving forwards became more urgent. Already the
end-June target date for completion of a comprehensive settlement, so
surprisingly put forward by Denktash before Christmas, was losing
credibility, and he himself was daily subverting it in his press comments.
It was, however, evidently too soon for the UN to be putting on the table
a proposal for a comprehensive settlement, and to table proposals on one
or another of the core issues was certain to ;lrouse objections all round. So
the UN and its supporters were not spoiled for procedural choices. Annan
could, as was the normal practice, invite the two leaders to meet him in
New York or in some European capital where his hectic travel schedule
might take him in the late spring of 2002, or he could himself visit the
island, which no secretary-general since Waldheim had done. The latter
approach had a number of advantages. It avoided the possibility of a long
haggle with the leaders about whether a visit to New York was desirable
and, if so, when it should be; it sent a much stronger public message that
the negotiations were for real; and it provided Annan with an opportunity


to deploy his undoubted presentational skills in reviving what was fast
becoming a moribund public image of the negotiations. For all these
reasons the US and the UK strongly favoured a visit to the island and so
too, more hesitantly, did the UN itself, once they had overcome their
qualms about committing the secretary-general to a meeting which was
highly unlikely to result in a breakthrough. Annan decided to visit the
island from 14 to 16 May and so briefed the Security Council. Faced with
the unlikelihood of any breakthrough on a core issue, the UN set as its
objective getting a green light from the two leaders for de Soto to begin
codifying the outcome of the face-to-face talks, which was of course
diplomatic speak for beginning to create the building blocks of a compre-
hensive settlement.

Annan duly came and went, but there was not much to show for the
visit. The personal atmosphere at the talks remained calm and friendly.
Annan himself demonstrated yet again his skill at managing the most
awkward interlocutors and avoided the temptation to lock horns with
Denktash, which had proved his predecessor Routros-Ghali's undoing.
But he did not succeed in getting a green light for de Soto to codify the
negotiations (although de Soto in fact began tentatively to do so within
weeks). And when, in his farewell statement, Annan expressed the hope
that, even now, the end-June target date might be met, Denktash, in a
statement that was as gratuitous as it was counter-productive, contra-
dicted him.

Nevertheless, within a matter of days, it looked as if the visit might
indeed register a change of gear because by the end of May the two sides
were tantalizingly close to agreement on the outline for handling security
issues. The open-ended and undiluted continuance of the Treaties of
Guarantee and Alliance and their adaptation to the circumstances of a bi-
zonal island, which in particular strengthened the terms of the Treaty of
Guarantee by extending the guarantee to the territorial integrity and
constitutional order of the two component states as well as of Cyprus as a
whole (as had been the case in 1960), was agreed. So too was the demobi-
lization of all Cypriot armed forces, the removal from the island of their
weaponry, and the need for a legally binding arms embargo. And the need
for a UN-mandated international military presence, to operate island-
wide and not just along the Green Line, to underpin but not to enforce
the terms of an agreement, was also settled. Dc Soto had got both sides to
agree that he put all this down on paper and there remained a minimal
number of square bracketed points to be negotiated. In addition the troop

levels of the residual Greek and Turkish military presence in the south
and the north of the island remained to be negotiated, but it had always
been envisaged that this figure should be left to be determined at the end
of the whole process, preferably by direct negotiation between the Greeks
and the Turks.

At this point Denktash performed one of his infuriating two-steps.
IIaving cooperated in discussion of the text, he drew back and said that
Turkey was unhappy about the provisions for a UN-mandated inrerna-
tional military presence. They needed more time and would want a
weaker text, as they were said to be concerned that the UN mandate
could lead to aggressive implementation in the teeth of opposition by
Turkey. Clerides then withdrew his provisional agreement to the whole
document. It was made clear by both sides that further discussion of this
issue in the short term would be fruitless. Clerides's willingness to agree
the security chapter, albeit provisionally, had been something of a gamble.
It had contained major concessions on his part to the Turkish and 'I'urk-
ish Cypriot point of view, and allowing security to be settled and banked
before any of the other core issues had been settled was likely to be
sharply criticized by his rejectionist opponents once it became known,
which it inevitably would.

Why the Turks (because on this occasion it seems clear that it was
their doing) passed up this opportunity to nail down an agreement
strongly favourable to them remains a mystery. When I took the matter
up with Ziyal soon afterwards he replied, somewhat feebly, that the
Turks wanted to have some concessions in hand for the final stage of the
negotiations. Certainly the alleged Turkish problems with de Soto's
security text were never raised in the ensuing months of the negotiations,
nor was a word said from the Turkish side when the same text emerged in
the successive iterations of the Annan Plan. I am inclined to suspect that
the problem arose in the somewhat defective coordination between the
Turkish foreign ministry and the military. Be that as it may, the conse-
quence of this setback was that the end-June target date no longer had any
meaning at all. A wider consequence was that it put an end to steps to
negotiate issue by issue, banking the points provisionally agreed as one
went along, the normal way most successful negotiations proceed.

Britain's role in the negotiations
As one of the UN's main backers in the effort to get a comprehensive
settlement of the Cyprus problem, Britain needed to be active but not too


prominent in the process. We needed to be in touch with all the partici-
pants, oiling the wheels where we could, exercising discreet pressure here
and there and helping two multilateral organizations, the UN and the EU,
not very accustomed to working together, to cooperate effectively. But we
also needed to avoid appearing to take the process over, partly because it
was only going to succeed if the UN remained centre stage and in charge
and partly because Britain's historical inheritance in the Eastern Mediter-
ranean of suspicion and residual hostility made it unlikely that any
activity that was clearly labelled as British would succeed.

But we could move things forward discreetly, and we did. Peter I-Iain,
the minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, visited
Cyprus in April 2002 for talks with Clerides and Denktash. He decided to
try to give the public diplomacy surrounding the negotiations a bit of a
push by means of a speech to a bi-communal audience at the Ledra Palace
Hotel on the Green Line. Such occasions were not unprecedented but
they were unusual, press conferences at the Ledra Palace being more
common, as Denktash normally banned Turkish Cypriots from attending
any event where they might meet Greek Cypriots. The turn-out was
excellent even if the Turkish Cypriot parties that supported Denktash,
and his own entourage, were noticeable by their absence. On the Greek
Cypriot side, unusually, the foreign minister, Kasoulides, attended. As so
often, it was striking how warm the personal relationships between
Turkish and Greek Cypriots were. Both in the opening paragraph of the
speech and in the peroration Hain referred to 'the peoples of Cyprus/of
this island'. In the code-dominated vocabulary of speeches about Cyprus
this reference came high on the Richter scale, it being obligatory in the
south to refer to the Turkish Cypriots as a 'community' (although the
Greek Cypriots did not hesitate to talk about themselves as 'the Cypriot
people' when outside the island). Anyway the reference to 'peoples' did
not pass unnoticed by either side. There was great satisfaction in the
north where the habits of verbal denigration never failed to draw blood
and to win adherents to Denktash's demands for full recognition. In the
south there was the usual media furore designed to get the erring visitor
to recant and recognize the error of his ways. But Hain stood his ground
and told the House of Commons that he would not fancy telling his
Welsh constituents that they were not a people. In reality the Greek
Cypriot concern that the use of the word 'people' opened the door to self-
determination, which was but one step away from secession, was over-


blown. But it did show the astonishing sensitivity to such semantic ques-

A few weeks later Cem, the Turkish foreign minister, took advantage
of a NATO ministerial meeting to lobby his colleagues on behalf of
Denktash's 'vision first' approach and to try, by handing over a non-
paper, to persuade them of the virtues of the Turkish vision. The UN,
who were not in any case present at a NATO meeting, were not well
placed to explain the essential unreality and unnegotiability of the Turk-
ish approach; as facilitators of the negotiation they had to be extremely
careful to avoid crossing swords openly with either side. Britain and the
US, both of whom had been lobbied, could more easily do so and did.
Jack Straw's reply to the non-paper pointed out: The overall impression
we have from your paper is that its proposals are more like a permanent
negotiating diplomatic conference between two independent states likely
to spend much of its time in, or approaching, deadlock, than the func-
tioning institutions of a state which would have assumed the rights and
responsibilities of UN and EU membership and would need to be able to
speak with one voice in the counsels of those bodies and fully to imple-
ment its obligations within them.' Such straight talking was crucially
important for the UN negotiations.

My own worries about the way the negotiations were going, or rather
not going, had begun to focus on the fact that no one in Turkey outside
the small group of officials in the foreign ministry who dealt with Cyprus
seemed to have the slightest idea of how far the possible solutions were
moving towards meeting basic Turkish interests and concerns. So, having
consulted de Soto and our own ambassador in Ankara, Peter Westmacott,
I decided that, on my next visit to Ankara, I would speak out about the
shape of the solutions emerging. My interview with Mehmet Ali Birand
of CNN Turk on 6 June caused plenty of waves. I pointed out that the
new Cyprus would have a new flag, a new national anthem, a new name
(it would not be called the Republic of Cyprus). It would in fact be the
new partnership, for which the Turks and Turkish Cypriots had been
calling. It would have a new constitution and it would be made up of two
constituent states in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would
be masters in their own houses for a whole range of policies. The effect of
this interview in Turkey was entirely beneficial. It contributed to what
developed later in the year into a thoroughly healthy national debate
about the pros and cons of Turkey's Cyprus policy instead of the tacit
acceptance of the conventional wisdom that had prevailed up to then. In


the south of Cyprus the effect was pandemonium. There were demands
for me to be banned from the island or for the British government to be
asked to sack me. A heavily sedated and cynical public opinion had sud-
denly realized that something quite far-reaching might be about to
happen. Luckily I had pre-positioned transcripts of the interview in
Athens, Ankara and Nicosia, so the wilder claims of the commentators,
for example that I had called for the recognition of two states in Cyprus,
could easily be refuted. Gradually the storm blew itself out. When I next
saw Clerides at the end of August I thought I had better apologize for all
the trouble my interview had caused him. Forget it, he said; it is all in a
day's work.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:03 am

One further modest British contribution was made. De Soto's travel-
ling between the three regional capitals was greatly complicated by the
fact that it took the better part of a day to get from Nicosia, where he was
based, via Athens and Istanbul to Ankara, where he was certainly going to
need to go frequently in the final stages of the negotiations, and the better
part of a day to get back again. So a visit to Ankara took three days (flying
directly from the MF base at Akrotiri to Ankara took about 1% hours).
This absurdly long detour was necessitated by the fact that there were no
scheduled flights between Cyprus and Turkey, except for those from the
north of the island which, for political reasons, de Soto could not use. So
he appealed to a number of European countries for help in hiring a private
aircraft (the US had budgetary problems which prevented them doing so)
and this was forthcoming, with the British contribution the largest. The
aircraft was much in use in October, November and January and enabled
de Soto to leave Nicosia by UNFICYP helicopter to Akrotiri, to fly from
Akrotiri to Ankara for lengthy talks and to return the same way, all in a
working day.

The European Union: the parallel track

From the beginning of 2002 there was no longer any serious questioning
of whether the critical decisions on the European Union's enlargement
would be taken at the end of the year and the terms of accession for the
ten applicant countries in the first wave, including Cyprus, would be
definitively settled at the December meeting of the European Council in
Copenhagen. The European Union, having dithered and temporized and
become bogged down in detail over many years, had now changed gear
and was lumbering towards the finishing line. What still remained in
doubt was whether the Cyprus that would be admitted would be a di-


vided one or a reunited one, and whether some important step in the
handling of Turkey's EU candidature would be taken at the same time.
These two issues were of the greatest importance to the Cyprus settle-
ment negotiations. As time went by, it became increasingly unrealistic to
hope that the settlement negotiations would be wound up successfully in
good time for the outcome to be taken on board in an orderly fashion at
Copenhagen. A more likely scenario was of decisions on both tracks being
broadly simultaneous, a prospect that bristled with problems both techni-
cal and political.

The two 2002 European Union presidencies were held by Spain
during the first half of the year and by Denmark in the second half.
Neither country had very strong links with or major interests in either
Cyprus or Turkey, indeed neither at the outset even had diplomatic
missions in Nicosia, although both remedied that. Perhaps helped by this
detachment, both performed their presidency role to perfection. I worked
very closely throughout with the Spanish minister for Europe, Ramon de
Miguel, and with the permanent-under-secretary equivalent at the Danish
foreign ministry, Friis Arne Petersen. The Spaniards had the easier hand
to play. They had to set the stage for negotiations that would only come
to a head after the end of their presidency. On Cyprus they needed to re-
emphasize the European Union's strong preference for admitting a re-
united island over a divided one, without detracting an iota from the
position established at Helsinki that a political settlement was not a pre-
condition for accession. Of even greater importance, they needed to
repeat and endorse at heads of government level a position earlier agreed
at the end of 2001 at foreign-minister level that the European Union
would 'accommodate' any UN settlement when admitting a reunited
island, while reiterating two firm but relatively uncontentious European
Union conditions that had been set out by the presidency of the Commis-
sion, Romano Prodi, when he visited Nicosia in the autumn of 2001, that
a reunited Cyprus must be able to speak with a single voice at the EU and
to implement its EU obligations. On Turkey they needed to signal that
important decisions on Turkey's candidature could (not would) be taken
at Copenhagen but that much depended on how Turkey handled matters
in the meanwhile. The Seville European Council in June 2002 set out
these points admirably, and the fact that it did so with Greek concurrence
was particularly important. The text read as follows:

In rcspect of the accession of Cyprus, the Helsinki conclusions are the ba-
sis of the European Union's position. The European Union's preference is


still for the accession of a reunited island. The European Council fully
supports the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and
calls upon the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot commu-
nities to intensify and expedite their talks in order to seize this unique
window of opportunity for a comprehensive settlement, consistent with
the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, it is to be hoped before the
conclusion of the negotiations. The European Union would accommodate
the terms of such a comprehensive settlement in the Treaty of Accession
in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded: as a
Member State, Cyprus will have to speak with a single voice and ensure
proper application of European Union law. The European Union would
make a substantial financial contribution in support of the development of
the northern part of a reunited island.

The European Council welcomes the reforms recently adopted in Turkey.
It encourages and fully supports the efforts made by Turkey to fulfil the
priorities defined in its Accession partnership. The implementation of the
required political and economic reforms will bring forward Turkey's
prospects of accession in accordance with the same principles and criteria
as are applied to the other candidate countries. New decisions could be
taken in Copenhagen on the next stage of Turkey's candidature in the
light of developments in the situation between the Seville and Copenha-
gen European Councils, on the basis of the regular report to be submitted
by the Commission in October 2002 and in accordance with the Helsinki
and Laeken conclusions.

The story of the Danish presidency belongs to a later part of this chapter.

Over the years the Commission had done everything they could to
prepare for the eventuality of the admission to the EU of a reunited
island. They had tried to improve knowledge and understanding of the
European Union in the north through their delegate in Nicosia. They had
attempted to find ways to build up their own technical data on the econ-
omy and legislation of the north so that a necessarily crash programme to
examine the compatibility of this with the acquis communautaire would
not need to start from scratch. They had sought ways of preparing proj-
ects in the north for European Union funding should a settlement make
this possible and had earmarked substantial funds for that object. But at
every step they had been thwarted by Denktash and by the government
of the TRNC.

The foreign rqinister of the TRNC, Tahsin Ertugruloglu, seemed to
have little better to do than frustrate every attempt by the Commission

delegate in Nicosia to work in the north; petty harassment was the order
of the day. He could not, however, prevent the Turkish Cypriot Chamber
of Commerce cooperating closely with the Commission over the provi-
sion of factual material about the EU, nor could he prevent the member
states (of whom he was rather more respectful than of the Comnlission)
running seminars in the north with expert speakers who could respond to
the steadily increasing appetite there for information about the European
Union and all its works. But every attempt to prepare the legislative
ground for accession and to get EU money flowing towards the north was
shipwrecked on the issue of status and recognition. This reached its
highest absurdity when Denktash's sidekick, Olgun, told the Commission
that he would only cooperate if they wrote to hlnl officially as 'the under-
secretary to the president of the TRNC', a title that he knew perfectly
well not one of the representatives of the EU member states in Nicosia
would be prepared to give him. It was very clear from this campaign by
the Turkish Cypriot authorities that they regarded the prospect of man-
bership of the European Union as a serious challenge to their grip on
Turkish Cypriot politics and to the hard line on a settlement they were
pursuing in the negotiations, just as Denktash regarded the prospect of
Turkey's eventual membership of the European Union as a threat to his
own grip on Turkey's Cyprus policy.

The endorsement by the Seville European Council of the commitment
to 'accommodate' a UN settlement in the terms of accession for a reunited
Cyprus gave the Commission and its officials a more solid basis from
which to intensify the contacts they had already begun to develop with
the UN negotiating team. It had been clear from the outset that any
negotiable settlement would need to offer the Turkish Cypriots reassur-
ance that their component state would not be flooded with Greek
Cypriots buying up property and businesses once the normal provisions
of European Union law applied to the whole island, as they would do
when a reunited island was admitted. There were other tricky issues such
as the European Security and Defence Policy and those that would arise
with respect to the access by Turks to the Turkish Cypriot component
state once it was part of the European Union and had to apply the Schen-
gen provisions of the acquis. Now it became urgent to define the
necessary transitional arrangements or derogations that would need to be
included in any comprehensive set of proposals the UN might put to the
two sides later in the year. All this had to be done with the greatest dis-
cretion given the tendency of many Greek Cypriots to believe that


application of the acquis communarltaire to the north unamended would
deliver to them outcomes that they could not get the Turkish Cypriots to
accept at the UN negotiating table. Verheugen gave this work his full
support, despite the fact that he was precluded from clearing his lines in
advance with member states; he and his officials therefore had to make a
judgement cold on what they thought the EU market would bear.

On one issue alone the Turkish Cypriot authorities' attitude to the
European Union was less than totally negative, namely the decision-
making processes to be applied in a new Cyprus to establish positions on
European Union business. For some time a group of ethnically Turkish
Belgian academics had been pressing on Denktash and on the Turkish
government the attractions of the internal machinery for coordinating EU
policy, which the Belgian government had set up some years before when
Belgium had become a highly devolved federal state. This machinery
covered not only issues for which the central government was responsible
but also those for which the component state governments in a federation
were responsible and issues where responsibility was shared between the
central and the component state governments. All this surfaced in the UN
negotiations in late June 2002 with the tabling by the Turkish Cypriots of
a paper entitled 'Some characteristics of the Belgian state that may apply
to the new partnership state of Cyprus'. This was the single most con-
vincing and influential paper the Turkish Cypriots tabled throughout the
negotiations. It is hard to believe that Denktash and Soysal fully under-
stood the implications of it. But the UN certainly did and much of it
found its way into their proposals.

Another Turkish earthquake

Quite soon after the face-to-face talks got under way, and once the bloom
had worn off them, it became apparent that Clerides and Denktash were
not going to be able to conclude a comprehensive settlement unaided.
Later it also became evident that an incremental approach, with the
parties, assisted by the UN, reaching tentative and provisional agreement
on this or that issue and banking it while they moved on to other issues,
was also not going to be possible. So, gradually, the option that had from
the outset seemed the most likely one -for the UN secretary-general
himself to table a draft comprehensive settlement -became the only
viable one to hand. But it had been agreed between the UN, the US and
the UK that no hint of that should be allowed to surface and no planning
should be undertaken until after the end-June target date for completion


had been overrun. That it was likely to be overrun had been obvious for
many weeks but it made no sense to throw away even the modest amount
of leverage afforded by the target date before one had to. At a tripartite
meeting in Paris on 5 July thought was given to a timetable that would
have involved Annan bringing the leaders to New York early in October,
presenting them with his proposals and then beginning an open-ended
negotiating process with them, probably outside but close to New York.
This timetable, while already quite a tight one in view of the European
Union's enlargement timetable, offered some scope for consultation
recesses and dramatic interruptions of the kind to be anticipated in any
Cyprus negotiation.

Within days of that meeting, however, the Turkish coalition govern-
ment began to collapse and this put paid to any such a carefully calibrated
countdown. The Turkish government had been in difficulties ever since
the winter, when a well-publicized row between the president and the
prime minister at a National Security Council meeting had sent the
financial markets into a tailspin from which they had not recovered and
which the government was ill equipped to handle. By the beginning of
July the financial crisis, the government's inability to master it, the effects
of a massive forced devaluation of the lira, the looming consequences in
terms of inflation and unemployment, the failing health of the reclusive
prime minister, Ecevit, and the tensions between the three coalition
parties, all of whom were shown by the opinion polls to have almost no
popular support, brought things to breaking point. The government then
proceeded to collapse in slow motion over a period of weeks. The foreign
minister, Cem, resigned not only from his office but from Ecevit's DSP
and went off to found a new party, defections of members of parliament
from the governing coalition parties became a daily occurrence and the
pressure to call an early election mounted. By the time the dust settled at
the end of August, there was only an interim, caretaker government, still
led in title, but no more, by an ailing Ecevit and with a new foreign
minister, Siikru Sina Gurel. A large package of EU-compliant legislation
had been passed at Yilmaz's behest in a last-ditch attempt to rescue his
party's fortunes, and a general election had been called for the first week
of November. The opinion polls were predicting (quite accurately in the
event) that because of Turkey's 10 per cent threshold for being repre-
sented in parliament, none of the three coalition parties nor the main
opposition party (Ciller's DYP) would be represented in the new parlia-
ment. The only parties that would be represented on these predictions


would be Erdogan's Islamic AK party, which had risen from the ashes of
earlier, banned Islamic parties, and the CHP (Atatiirk's and Inonii's old
party) which had been out of the previous parliament, having fallen short
of the 10 per cent threshold.

None of these dramatic political events was even remotely caused by
developments in Cyprus but they did have a considerable impact on
them. By the time of the next tripartite meeting in Vienna on 27 July it
was already becoming clear that the previous scenario was unrealistic, and
when we met in Paris on 7 September a number of points had come into
sharper focus. Nothing positive could be expected from the interim
government whose prime minister believed he had settled the Cyprus
problem in 1974 and whose foreign minister (who had previously been
the minister for Cyprus, not directly involved in the negotiations for a
settlement but more concerned with disbursing the $200 million dollars
or so which Turkey had to spend every year -not counting military costs

-to prop up the TRNC) was generally reckoned to be even harder line
than Denktash. So if Annan made his proposals before the Turkish elec-
tion they could well be rejected out of hand. It would in any case be
extremely unwise to throw a complex settlement plan, which concerned a
national issue for Turkey, into the mcle'e of a general election campaign.
So a month was lost which could ill be spared. Another consequence of
the recent events was that Yilmaz's EU legislative package had placed
Turkey in a better position than before to hope for a positive result at
Copenhagen. Of this hope the interim government wasted no time at all
in reminding its EU partners. Giirel's visits to EU capitals in September
were designed to push that case, but they also provided an excellent
opportunity to remind him forcefully that EU governments were ex-
pecting Turkey to help get a Cyprus settlement by the end of the year -a
message that fell on deaf ears.
The run-up to the proposals
Annan invited Clerides and Denktash to meet him in Paris on 6 Septem-
ber. The week before I spent some days in Cyprus and over the weekend
was able to see the leaders in relaxed conditions, outside their offices. My
objective was to bring home to each of them that time was running out to
reach a solution during the time frame before Copenhagen when interna-
tional interest and pressure were creating the best circumstances for
achieving the necessary compromises. The subliminal themes -which
had to remain subliminal, because it was not my job to predict precisely

what the UN would do and when -were that the face-to-face talks proc-
ess had now gone as far as it could, that the UN had a shrewd idea of
where each side's genuine red lines were, and that the time was fast
approaching when the UN would need to draw all the threads together
and provide the basis for a negotiated settlement. I found Clerides, as
usual at his best out on the sea in his beloved boat and swimming off Cape
Greco, the south-eastern tip of the island, very calm and determined to
see the process through to the end and to demonstrate the flexibility
needed to get a deal if that was reciprocated by the other side. He be-
lieved he would be able to negotiate effectively up to December; after that
it would be more problematic (a presidential election was due in the south
in February 2003 and candidacies would be declared, at the latest round
about Christmas). This was in sharp contrast to earlier dire warnings that,
come the autumn, his hands would be increasingly tied by electoral
politics. He was watching the electoral campaign in Turkey with interest
and some hope, but remained to be convinced that the outcome would
bring much change.

Denktash the next day was just as hospitable, in the pool at his house
by Snake Island, looking over the sea towards Turkey, and afterwards at
lunch on the terrace. I-Ie seemed rather subdued, preoccupied by the
gathering signs that his political supporters in Ankara were doing badly in
the election campaign and that he was likely shortly to find himself deal-
ing with a completely new and unpredictable government formed by a
party that all his secular and Atatiirkist instincts inclined him to dislike.
We went over familiar ground at lunch, much of it to do with the core
issues and mercifully little with the 'vision' set of preconditions; unusu-
ally he took copious notes throughout.

In Paris on 6 September Annan did not mince his words, to Denktash
in particular. He referred to a 'profound sense of disappointment' that
more progress had not been made since they had last met in May. He
explained why neither of the two simple overall approaches, recognition
of the TRNC or absorption of the TRNC into the existing Republic of
Cyprus would work, and urged Denktash to see the virtues of an ap-
proach that did not mention the word 'sovereignty' at all, but focused
instead on the exercise of powers at different levels of authority -by the
EU, by the common state and by the component states -with no hierar-
chy between them. He set out the prize to be achieved in the shape of an
entirely new Cyprus in terms almost identical to my CNN Turk inter-
view. He pressed hard for full engagement on the core issues, explaining


why Denktash's refusal to discuss a territorial adjustment was blocking
consideration of tight numerical controls on Greek Cypriots returning to
their property in the north, which Clerides was willing to contemplate.
IIe went over the ground on governance, pointing out why giving the
Turkish Cypriots a veto over every decision, whether procedural or
substantive, was not necessarily the best way of protecting their interests.
He argued that Clerides's recent hint that he could accept a rotating, non-
executive presidency marked a real breakthrough, and warned Denktash
against his practice of publicly misrepresenting Clerides's position in
unjustifiably negative terms. And he warned that if the pre-Copenhagen
opportunity for a settlement was not taken the Greek Cypriots' position
would strengthen: 'The most leverage you will ever have is right now.'

Clerides got off more lightly, but he too was warned that time was
getting short, that while his relative flexibility up to now had been very
welcome more would be required ('If Mr Denktash does engage seriously,
down the road, in a genuine negotiation, you will be pressed to be flexible
on other points as well'), and a clear indication was given that a UN
comprehensive proposal was in the offing ('We are preparing avenues so
that, should the moment be right to make a move, we will be ready to do
SO'). The responses were, as usual, sharply contrasted. Clerides replied in
broadly positive generalities; Denktash treated Annan to a lengthy, para-
noid disquisition on how unfair everyone -the Security Council, the
European Union -had been to the Turkish Cypriots and how all these
injustices must first be corrected if there was to be a settlement. IIe
repeated his 'vision' for a new Cyprus, but did at least refer to my CNN
Turk interview as 'a bold, yet half-way attempt' to meet Turkish Cypriot
needs and interests. He simply declined to grapple with any of the core
issues. The only concrete outcome to the meeting was an agreement to
meet in New York on 3-4 October.

With the two leaders back on the island, de Soto launched a major
effort to push the negotiations ahead on the core issues, and in particular
to get some sort of dialogue going on the territorial adjustment and on the

-linked -constraints on the right of Greek Cypriots to own property in
the north, many of whom would be returnees. E4e only had limited suc-
cess in this because of Denktash's continuing refusal to discuss territory
and his insistence that, before he could do so, he must be assured that the
Turkish Cypriots would exercise sovereignty over that part of the island
allocated in an agreement to the Turkish Cypriot component state.
Meanwhile a small, informal group composed of Markides, Soysal and


Pfirter, de Soto's deputy and legal adviser, had begun to identify a
framework within which there could be a systematic discussion of the
international obligations the new Cyprus would assume from those
entered into by the Republic of Cyprus and the TRNC, of the validity of
acts taken by each prior to the entry into force of a comprehensive agree-
ment and also of the mostly uncontentious but very substantial body of
legislation that would be required by the new common state. This
framework, which might have been called a 'sovereignty umbrella' if the
sovereignty word had not been so sensitive as to be unmentionable, had
actually found its way on to paper by 26 September and so was available
for the New York meeting on 3-4 October.

Meanwhile that rumble of distant thunder, first heard from Denktash
in December 2001 when the face-to-face talks were initiated, to the effect
that he might need heart surgery in the second half of 2002, was rapidly
materializing into an imminent storm of unpredictable dimensions and
duration. First it was announced that he would be having a check-up in
New York after the talks in October, then that he would definitely be
going in for surgery on 5 October immediately the talks had concluded.
Even if the timetable ahead had been less tight and even if Cyprus had
not been a place whose every inhabitant was a conspiracy theorist, a good
deal more would have been read into these announcements than met the
eye. As it was, the speculation that Denktash was playing a hospital card
as part of a continuing filibuster was almost universal, and not merely
among his adversaries in the south of the island. That Denktash needed
heart surgery was not in doubt; he had had several heart problems over
the preceding years. That he had not lost the considerable amount of
weight his doctors said was necessary before an operation was also not in
doubt. 'l'he motivation of the timing of the operation can only remain an
unsolved mystery until, if ever, more is known about the medical back-
ground. What is clear is that nothing was done at any stage, either at the
time of the operation or in the weeks following, when complications set
in, to mitigate the effect of his absence from the negotiating table.

When Annan met Clerides and Denktash in New York on 3-4 Octo-
ber the departure of Denktash from the negotiating scene, at least for
some weeks, was already a given fact, but not one that was taken too
dramatically in the light of the continuing shadow cast by the Turkish
elections over that period and by the need, increasingly less well con-
cealed, for the UN to work intensively on the preparation of its package
of proposals. Annan therefore concentrated on getting agreement on the


setting up of a number of working groups that could carry forward the
absolutely essential technical work during the month of October. He
aimed for three, one dealing with the international obligations of the new
Cyprus, one with the legislation for the common state and one to go over
the technical aspects of a territorial adjustment and of property compen-
sation and restitution. On 3 October the two leaders agreed to all three.
The next day Denktash withdrew his agreement to the third working
group but not to the other two. This latest two-step by Denktash was
even more open and more damaging to Turkey than the previous ones,
since the obvious assumption, possibly but not certainly correct, was that
Turkey had told him overnight to draw back on the key issues of territory
and property. The loss of the third working group was at the time not
taken too tragically since no one at that stage knew or even suspected that
Denktash would simply fail to nominate his representatives to the other
two groups for over two months, thus ensuring that they could neither
meet nor do any work for the rest of the year. That blatant act of bad faith
had serious implications for the final stages of the negotiation, when the
failure of the two groups to have completed their heavy work schedule
was given by Denktash as a reason why any referendum on Annan's
proposals in the spring of 2001 would be premature.

With Denktash in hospital in New York, and unable, as a result of
medical complications, to return to Cyprus until the very end of Novem-
ber, the process of twice or three times weekly face-to-face meetings came
to an end. In its place de Soto undertook an intensive process of consulta-
tion, with the Turkish and Greek governments, with the European
Commission and with the UN's main backers, the US and the UK. The
latter consultations (with the US and the UK) have since been grossly
exaggerated to the extent of suggesting that the Aiman Plan was virtually
written by one or other or both of the governments. It was not. Naturally
much of the thinking in the Annan Plan had evolved over many years of
negotiation, going back to Boutros-Ghali's Set of Ideas and beyond, and
much of what was in the plan had emerged from the intensive process of
coordination that the US, the UK and the UN had practised ever since
the latest effort to get a comprehensive settlement really got under way at
the end of 1999. But in the last hectic month before the first version of the
plan (Annan I) was put forward the consultation with the US and the UK
was about policy issues and choices, not about texts, which the UN kept
to themselves and, quite rightly, did not share. In some cases the advice
given was not followed. For example the US and the UK favoured stick-

ing to Annan's original preference for not mentioning the word 'sover-
eignty' at all, but the UN at a late stage diverted to an approach that
clearly gave sovereignty to the new Cyprus but equally clearly said that
the component states exercise their own extensive powers 'sovereignly'.
In other cases the advice was accepted. For example, the idea of putting
four asterisks in place of the numbers of residual Turkish and Greek
troops to remain on the island, thus effectively creating a bracket between
1,000 and 9,999, was one the UN accepted. One specific piece of consul-
tation related to the UK alone. We were asked if we could, as a guarantor
power, agree to the amendments to the Treaty of Guarantee extending its
scope to cover the territorial limits and constitutional order of the two
component states. We said we could.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:03 am

Consultation with the European Commission also proceeded
smoothly. 'This was confined to the policy areas where the Plan created
potential overlap or incompatibility with the strict wording of the acqnis
communautair-e. With Greece and most particularly with Turkey, the
process was more wide ranging. The Greeks were thoroughly supportive
and made it clear that they were prepared to enter into bilateral negotia-
tions with Turkey at any convenient time to establish the exact size of
their residual troop presence in Cyprus. They favoured as low a number
as possible but did not specify one, and they left the impression that this
was unlikely to be a sticking point. De Soto paid several visits to Ankara
during October for talks with Ziyal and hls foreign ministry team (at
which, however, the military were never represented). These talks were
long, difficult and substantive. The Turks engaged on the substance of all
the core issues, without sheltering behind the preconditions of which
Denlaash was so fond and indeed giving the impression that they found
the 'virgin birth' approach to a new Cyprus interesting and potentially
acceptable. They were also fully aware by now that they were in the last
stages of the preparation of a comprehensive set of proposals by the UN
and they took no exception to that. They were extremely nervous about
discussing territory and would not get far into that issue. On governance
they insisted on the need to avoid any scope for Greek Cypriot domi-
nance of the institutions, and showed a preference for a Swiss-style
executive council with collective responsibility over a non-executive
rotating presidency with a prime minister chosen by a majority in the
legislature. Their reserve on security issues was coilfirmed as being
tactical and concerns about how UNFICYP 11, as it was called, would
operate and would relate to the residual Turkish troop presence in the


island did not appear to be insurmountable. On property they continued
strongly to prefer a scheme based on compensation alone but seemed to
understand that the complexities of the UN ideas were designed to come
up with a result that was not too different from that in practice.

When I visited the island from 24 to 26 October (the only occasion on
which Weston, de Soto and I were there together), I found myself in the
middle of one of those mini-crises in which the Greek Cypriots special-
ized. While intellectually they accepted that the UN needed to consult
intensively with the Turks, they found the actual process particularly
nerve wracking. During this period of waiting for the UN to make pro-
posals, when they were themselves seeing relatively little of de Soto and
his team, having made all their points ad nauseam already, they watched
de Soto's frequent comings and goings to Ankara with rising panic. Were
they perhaps being stitched up? Would they be confronted with unac-
ceptable proposals cooked up between the UN and the Turks?

At this point they came by (a polite way of saying they had purloined)
a document that was either an early draft of the UN's proposals or part of
such a draft. It contained ideas that upset them. A long and hysterical
letter was sent off to de Soto threatening all kinds of dire consequences if
any of these ideas surfaced as proposals. Weston and I did our best to
calm them down with some success. When I taxed Clerides with having
purloined the UN's documents, he gave me a guilty smile, like a child
caught with his hand in the toffee jar. Nothing more came of the matter.
But, as we had feared from the outset, the Greek Cypriots made so much
of a fuss that eventually it got to the ears of the Turks who were naturally
quite convinced that they had yet again been outwitted by the wily Greek
Cypriots and some of whom purported to believe that the UN team had
shared the draft with the Greek Cypriots and not with them. In fact the
UN made no changes at all to their proposals as a result of this rumpus,
but because the document the Greek Cypriots had acquired had been a
very early draft there were plenty of discrepancies with the final version
of the proposals which the Greek Cypriots no doubt congratulated them-
selves as being a result of their efforts.

While all this was going on in the south, in the north nothing was
going on at all. Denktash was in New York, sometimes in hospital, some-
times recuperating in his hotel, sometimes back in hospital when
complications set in. Olgun was with him throughout, but communica-
tion with Olgun was sporadic and limited mainly to medical bulletins.
Soysal had retreated to Ankara. There was literally no member of the


negotiating team with whom one could speak. The TRNC government
had no responsibility for the Cyprus problem, thanks to the intense
rivalry between Denktash and Prime Minister Eroglu, which meant that
the latter was totally frozen out of the negotiations. The intention might
not have been that the Turks alone should speak for themselves and the
Turkish Cypriots during this vital period but that was the effect. Mean-
while I saw all the Turkish Cypriot party leaders (including the
rejectionist ones in the government) and was able to note the rising tide in
the north of dissatisfaction with Denktash's policy. Above all, the immi-
nence of the European Union's decision at Copenhagen on the admission
of Cyprus, with the all too likely outcome that the Greek Cypriots would
be admitted, Turkey's candidature would be advanced and the Turkish
Cypriots would be left in a kind of limbo, was having a powerful effect
and convincing more and more Turkish Cypriots that their leaders were
in the process of missing an extremely important bus. The Turkish Cyp-
riot Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of the younger
generation of businessmen, mounted an increasingly effective campaign
to put pressure on Denktash.

The Annan Plan

Annan sent his proposals to Clerides and Denktash, and to the govern-
ments of the three guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK) on 11
November. Just over a week before, the predicted electoral landslide had
taken place in Turkey, returning the AK centre-right Islamic party to
power with a large overall majority in the single-chamber parliament. The
only other party with substantial representation was the CHP, a centre-
left party which had not been in the previous legislature. Ecevit's DSP,
Yilmaz's ANAP, Bahceli's MHP and Ciller's DYP, together with Cem's
new party, all failed to get 10 per cent of the vote and thus to get into the
parliament. So, from the day of the election, there was no real doubt that
Turkey was going to have its first single-party government for many
years, and the processes for its formation were immediately put in hand
with what was, by Turkish precedents, lightning speed. The political
situation was not, however, quite so clearcut as it looked, since the effec-
tive leader of the AK party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was still barred from
taking office as a result of a conviction for religious incitement, and the
new prime minister, Abdullah Giil, was clearly only an interim appoint-
ment, intended 60 hold office for the few weeks or possibly months it
would take to remove the impediments to Erdogan taking that post. But,


from the outset, both within Turkey and outside it, Erdogan was treated
as the leader of Turkey even though he as yet held no official position.
The clear outcome of the Turkish election and the speed with which the
new government was being formed removed the last obstacle to Annan
making his proposals, the Copenhagen clock by now being only one
month to midnight.

The structure of Annan's proposals was complex, but ingenious,
designed to make the most of the similarly complex but extremely tight
timetable for European Union enlargement. The overall package, which
ran to more than 130 pages and which included a constitution for the new
common state of Cyprus (but not for the component states, the drafting of
whose constitutions were left to the two sides themselves, so long as they
were not incompatible with the overall settlement), and numerous an-
nexes dealing with security, property, the territorial adjustment and EU
issues, as well as other more technical matters, was a single, integrated
whole. But it was so subdivided that not all the subject matter had to be
settled and accepted straightaway. The two leaders and the guarantor
powers were asked to sign a two-page 'Comprehensive Settlement' docu-
ment beforc Copenhagen, which also bound them to accept an attached
seven-page 'Foundation Agreement' containing most of the key, politi-
cally sensitive provisions of the settlement and in addition a fair number
of the most important parts of the constitution and other annexes. The
negotiations would then continue after Copenhagen, to fill in all the gaps
and matters left over, with an absolute cut-off for the negotiations of 28
February 2003, the UN secretary-general having a casting vote if there
were any deadlocks. The month of March would be left for referendum
campaigns in both south and north, the referendums taking place on 30
March. The whole set of agreements would, if both referendum results
wcre positive, enter into force the next day. This structure was, among
other things, designed to enable the European Union to take the political
decision to admit the new reunited Cyprus at Copenhagen and the new
reunited Cyprus to sign the Treaty of Accession to the EU in Athens in
mid-April. But the structure, complicated further by Denktash's failure to
nominate his representatives to the technical working groups agreed on 4
October, also provided for a two-month catch-up period to remedy that.

The Annan Plan sought to navigate through the shoals of status,
sovereignty and continuity with some ingenious legal drafting. The
agreement would 'establish a new state of affairs in Cyprus' (not a new
state); it would be called simply Cyprus or, as a long title, the State of

C 0 U N 'I' I)O W N 'I' 0 C 0 I' I<N I1 I\ G E N 181

Cyprus; it would be a single, sovereign state with a single international
legal personality, composed of two states, the common state exercising the
powers allocated to it in the constitution 'sovereignly' and the component
states exercising 'sovereignly' all other powers not allocated to the com-
mon state, with no hierarchy between them. Continuity would be
provided by legitimizing all acts, whether legislative, executive or judicial,
prior to the entry into force of the comprehensive settlement so long as
they did not contradict the provisions of that scttlcment and by listing all
the international agreements and laws binding on the new Cyprus (these
including much material derived both from the Republic of Cyprus and
from the I'RNC). The two nightmares of secession and domination were
dealt with explicitly, the new state of affairs being proclaimed indissolu-
ble, with secession prohibited, and domination of any institution by one
side being also declared to be unconstitutional.

The plan allocated to the common state responsibility for foreign
affairs, relations with the European Union, central-bank functions, com-
mon-state finances (but the common state had responsibility for virtually
no policies involving substantial public expenditure), economic and trade
policy, aviation and navigation policy and some more technical matters
including meteorology, weights and measures and intellectual property.
The executive would follow something like the Swiss model with an
executive council consisting of Greek Cypriots (4) and Turkish Cypriots

(2) chosen by each side on its own. No decision could be taken without
the agreement of at least one member of each side. There would be a
president and vice-president chosen by the Council from among its mem-
bers, the offices rotating every six months and never providing less than a
2:l rotation (although this provision was overridden for the first 36
months of existence of the new state of affairs during which the two
presidents in office at the time of its entry into force -Clerides and
Denktash -would act as co-presidents). There would be two houses of
parliament, the upper one being split 50:50 between Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots elected by the legislatures of the component states, the
lower house being elected by popular mandate with no side having fewer
than 25 per cent of the seats (the Turltish Cypriot population share being
roughly 18 per cent). Both houses would have to approve any legislation,
and there were provisions ensuring that the Turkish Cypriot nightmare of
one of their representatives being suborned by the Creek Cypriots and
then passing anti-Turkish Cypriot legislation could not come to pass. The
Supreme Court would consist of three Greek Cypriots, three Turkish


Cypriots and three non-Cypriots, to avoid the possibility of deadlock and
to ensure that the Supreme Court was able to exercise the tie-breaking
function allocated to it in the event of the other institutions becoming

On security a number of amendments were proposed to the Treaties
of Guarantee, strengthening it by extending its scope to cover the territo-
rial limits and constitutional order of the component states, and of
Alliance, specifying the equal number of Greek and Turkish troops that
could remain on the island (four asterisks only at this stage, signifying a
figure between 1,000 and 9,999). Neither treaty was diluted or time
limited and the unilateral right of intervention remained. All Cypriot
forces were to be disbanded and their arms removed from the island. A
legally binding arms embargo was to be established. A UN-mandated
international military presence was to be deployed island-wide and for an
open-ended period of time, only to be terminated by common agreement;
it was to underpin but not enforce the settlement.

The territorial adjustment proposed consisted of two alternative maps,
each providing for a transfer to the Greek Cypriots of a bit less than 9 per
cent of the island (the scale of the adjustment in the Boutros-Ghali pro-
posals of 1992). One map gave the tip of the Karpas Peninsula (the 'pan-
handle' deep in the Turkish Cypriot north) to the Greek Cypriots, the
other, by making adjustments elsewhere, did not. The drawing of the line
was somewhat more sophisticated than in 1992, enabling more Greek
Cypriots to return and fewer Turkish Cypriots to be displaced but, in-
evitably, ending up with an even more irregular line.

On property, elaborate provisions were made for mutual compensa-
tion, to be administered by a Property Board. All Cyprus settlement
proposals up to and including the Set of Ideas had equated property rights
with the right of return to those properties, a right that all accepted would
have to be limited. The Annan Plan marked a departure from this, instead
separating out the property question from the right of residence, which
equated more nearly with the EU freedoms. By placing limitations on the
right of residence, the UN did not prejudge whether a Greek of Turkish
Cypriot was returning to his own property, to another property in the
same village (potentially attractive in the case of neglected or abandoned
houses), or indeed building an entirely new property in the other compo-
nent state. It provided a framework for a more normal existence in the
future. Decisions on residence could be taken on the same grounds as
elsewhere in the world, such as job location, schools, family, and not the


backward-looking criterion of inherited property ownership. That said,
there would of course be a strong link between applications for restitution
of property and applications for residence. The distinction between
'residence' and 'return' is a fine one, and it was not much observed on the
island where most people used the terms interchangeably.

The limits on residence and on property restitution were to be estab-
lished in parallel with agreement on the territorial adjustment (meaning
that, if the adjustment was smaller than proposed, the limit on returns to
the north would be higher and vice-versa). There was in any case to be a
moratorium on any returns for three years in the case of unoccupied
property and five years for property occupied.

The issue of how many and which Turks who had come to Cyprus
since 1974 should be covered by Turkish Cypriot citizenship was ducked
for the meantime and left over for further negotiation. But it was pro-
posed that all Cypriots should be Cypriot citizens and at the same time be
entitled to citizenship status in onc or other of the component states.

It was stated flatly that the reunited Cyprus would join the European
Union, and the referendum question was so phrased as to make it impos-
sible to split the two issues of the settlement and of EU membership. A
protocol was included, which the European Union would be asked to
adopt, providing for derogations from the right of establishment and the
right to buy property, and ruling out military participation by Cyprus in
the European Security and Defence Policy. The European Union would
be asked to grant substantial financial assistance to begin narrowing the
gap in economic development and prosperity between the north and the
south. So far as coordinating the Cypriot position for EU decision making
was concerned, the Belgian model, suggested by the Turkish Cypriots,
was followed.

A reconciliation commission to help heal thc wounds of the past and to
remedy the antagonistic interpretations of historical events was also

From Annan I to Annan I1
Annan's covering letter to the plan, which he had sent Clerides and
Denktash on 11 November, asked them not to react imnwdiately (the
Cypriot tendency to shoot from the hip and to indulge in preemptive
press briefing being well known) but to give him their reactions within a
week. On 18 November Clerides replied saying that he was prepared to
negotiate on the basis of the proposals and seeking a number of clarifica-


tions. The clarifications were then pursued between de Soto and Pfirter
on the UN side and Markides. Getting a reaction from Denktash was a
good deal less straightforward. He was still in New York, by now out of
hospital again, but still recuperating in his hotel and not fit to travel back
to the island. He had so far had no direct contact with the new govern-
ment in Turkey. All the sounds coming from him and Olgun, who was
with him, which trickled out to the press, were thoroughly negative. A
preliminary response asking for more time gave no grounds for optimism.

Meanwhile the newly formed Turkish government, with a prime
minister, Giil, who did know something about Cyprus from his time as
minister for Cyprus in the ErbakanICiller government of 1996-97, and a
new foreign minister, Yasar Yakis, with no Cyprus experience, was also
trying to grapple with the Annan Plan. They rapidly coined quite a
promising phrase that was to become the mantra of their policy in the
months ahead: 'no solution in Cyprus is no solution'. However, this was
not in itself a policy response to the detailed proposals in the Annan Plan,
but it was the complete opposite of Ecevit's claim to have settled the
Cyprus problem in 1974, so it did signal a change of mind. They certainly
did not want Denktash to reject the plan or to filibuster eternally. So
Yakis was despatched to New York with a large delegation, including
some of Erdogan's advisers, to discuss the matter urgently with Denktash.
It was evident that Denktash gave Yakis a hard time, and after two days
of inconclusive meetings there was still no response to Annan. Finally,
after further pressure from Ankara had been brought to bear, Denktash
sent Annan a letter on 27 November saying that he was prepared to
negotiate on the basis of the proposals but noting that he had serious
elements of concern with them.

Meanwhile Erdogan had set out on a comprehensive tour of European
capitals designed to boost the chances of the Copenhagen European
Council taking a decisive step forward in the handling of Turkey's EU
candidature, and it became known that the new government was, as its
first legislative priority, drafting a further package of laws following up
those passed in August on Yilmaz's proposal and aimed at filling remain-
ing gaps in Turkey's ability to meet the Copenhagen criteria. Erdogan,
despite his lack of any foreign language and his need therefore to work
through an interpreter, made a very considerable and broadly favourable
impression wherever he went. He pressed hard the case for Turkey to be
given a date for the opening of its accession negotiations, arguing that the
EU application was the best lever he had to modernize and reform Tur-


key and to improve its human rights record. He got a mixed reception,
positive in London, Rome, Madrid and some other capitals, notably
cautious in Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Scandinavia. In every capital, and
also when he moved on to Washington at the beginning of December, he
was told of the importance his interlocutors attached to reaching a solu-
tion to the Cyprus problem and their support for the Annan Plan, but
nowhere were the two issues linked in any formal way. His responses on
Cyprus were generally positive but lacked any specificity.

By the time of my next visit to Cyprus on 20-22 November the clock
was ticking very loudly indeed. The period before Copenhagen was
narrowing and still there was no reply from Denktash. It was highly
desirable that there should be some process of negotiation with the two
sides (although not necessarily directly between them) before Annan
produced a revision of his proposals as a final basis for a pre-Copenhagen
decision. But at the moment, there was no Turkish Cypriot side with
which to negotiate. I discussed all this with a distinctly depressed de Soto
as soon as I reached the island on 20 November and, together, we came to
the conclusion that the only way to cut this particular procedural Gordian
knot was for Annan to invite Clerides to New York where Denktash
already was. It should be possible then for de Soto to shuttle between
them, for Annan to make some modest and balanced adjustments to his
proposals and for a major push to be made to take decisions before
Clerides had to head off for Copenhagen.

I sent these recommendations off to London overnight, where they
were endorsed, and next morning they were discussed positively with the
US delegation in the margins of the NATO Summit meeting going on in
Prague. But when de Soto and I spoke to Weston in Washington that
night we ran into a barrage of US objections. I pointed out that it was
extremely unwise to allow the negotiations to run on into the same time
frame as the Copenhagen meeting itself. Previous experience at European
Councils with parallel meetings of this sort had not been happy. There
was a high risk of confusion and crossed wires. All this was to no avail,
since the US team in Washington (which included Marc Grossman, the
Under-Secretary for Political Affairs and former ambassador to Ankara
who invariably had the last say on matters relating to Cyprus) was pur-
suing a different approach that involved cutting Denktash completely out
of the negotiation and settling matters directly with the new Turkish
government. That approach was incompatible with getting Clerides to
New York and focusing the final phase of the negotiations there. The



trouble was that it turned out to be unrealistic, because the new Turkish
government was no more willing, or perhaps able, to sideline Denktash
completely than its predecessors had been. By the time all that had be-
come clear, the opportunity had been missed, and Denktash returned
from New York to Cyprus on 7 December. By then we were locked into a
scenario that involved bringing matters to a head in Copenhagen on 11-1 3
December at the same time as the European Council met there.

Anyone who might have supposed that Denktash's will to resist had
been weakened by his operation and lengthy convalescence was soon to
be disappointed by his performance following his return. Despite all de
Soto's efforts, he declined to engage in anything approximating to a
negotiation on the specifics of the Annan Plan, sticking to negative gener-
alities all too familiar from previous rounds of negotiation. Indeed
Annan's post-negotiation report goes so far as to say of this period: 'Re-
grettably the substantive input from the Turkish Cypriot side was
extremely general and largely conceptual -leaving the United Nations to
seek inspiration for concrete improvements from concerns publicly voiced
by a broad cross-section of Turkish Cypriot civil society.' When Annan
invited Clerides and Denktash to Copenhagen to take the decisions neces-
sary for agreement on the Plan, Denktash not only refused to come
himself, an absence which could easily have been justified on health
grounds, but also refused to be represented, a move tantamount to boy-
cotting the negotiations. The mini-crisis resulting from this move
completely absorbed Annan's meeting with Erdogan in New York on 10
December, which could have been more usef~~lly

devoted to discussing
the Annan Plan. In the end the Turks told Denktash he must be repre-
sented in Copenhagen, and he conceded, late and unwillingly. However,
he had the last laugh because he sent to Copenhagen Ertugruloglu, the
Turkish Cypriot foreign minister, who could be relied upon to say no to
anything the UN might put forward. Denktash himself retired to Ankara
for a medical check-up and was installed in a guest-house of the president
of Turkey where he was fited by all of Ankara's not inconsiderable
number of rejectionists. It was against this unpromising background that
Annan tabled a revised version of his Plan (known as Annan 11) and
decided, rightly in my view, not to travel to Copenhagen himself.
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