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British declassified documents unveiled partition considered

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British declassified documents unveiled partition considered

Postby joe » Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:48 pm ... ervice=102

British documents on Karamanlis declassified

London (ANA-MPA / L. Tsirigotakis) - Documents referring to the late Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis dating from the year 1976 were unveiled on Friday, when the British Foreign Office confidential archives for that year were automatically declassified with the passage of 30 years.

Of particular interest for Greece are the reports by the then British ambassador to Greece Sir Brooks Richards on the domestic situation in Greece and the efforts by Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis to make Greece a member of the EEC and improve Greek-Turkish relations.

In his report, dated December 23, 1976, Sir Brooks Richards wrote, among others, that Greece’s parliamentary system depended to a great degree on Karamanlis, stressing that without him it would have been considerably less stable. He also believed that his staying in power would benefit the West, stressing that he was most capable to lead (Greece) to an agreement with Turkey on their bilateral differences. In addition, he stressed, that the likelihood of a coup was small at that time but Karamanlis was still at risk of being assassinated.

The British senior diplomat also mentioned that Karamanlis’ move to the country’s presidency was likely to cause a rift in the New Democracy party, a view also shared by government minister Athanasios Tsaldaris according to a confidential document signed by British diplomat John Denson.

On the state of the Greek opposition parties during that time, the British ambassador wrote that the main opposition party is weak and the creation of a united political front with the participation of centrist and leftist parties before the next parliamentary elections appeared to be unlikely. He stressed that the party of Georgios Mavros (Union of the Center - New Forces party) will not collaborate with PASOK or a leftist party while, on his part, Andreas Papandreou (the founder of PASOK) would find it very hard to adjust his policies and personality to such a political formation.

In another report to the British Foreign Office, Ambassador Sir Brooks Richards points out that the two major priorities for Constantine Karamanlis were Greece’s accession into the EEC and the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations. Greece’s accession into the EEC was Karamanlis’ great obsession because he believed that it could protect and stabilize democracy in Greece while ensuring the European Community’s support on the issue of Cyprus, underlined the British diplomat.

On the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, the Greek prime minister had entered into a correspondence with his British counterpart Harold Wilson. In a seven-page-long letter he had outlined Greek positions regarding Greek-Turkish differences, stressing that Greece’s intention was to bring Greek-Turkish differences on the Aegean to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The British prime minister, in his diplomatic response, had ruled out the likelihood of an initiative by the British government, saying that there was no role for third countries in settling Greek-Turkish differences on the Aegean.

Meanwhile, the documents also unveiled that a partition solution for Cyprus was being considered as a possibility by the British Foreign Office at that time. The then British ambassador to Ankara Sir Horace Philips had mentioned in a document addressed to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Crosland that, in the case that the two sides could not agree on a federation solution and if, particularly the Turks, appear to favor partition, Britain shouldn’t be reluctant to discuss an alternative solution.
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