Right of Reply: Michael Attalides

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The Independent Culture
The High Commissioner of Cyprus responds to yesterday's

leading article

LET ME begin with where I agree with The Independent's editorial about Cyprus. Partition is, as you say, rarely an ideal or even a stable answer to ethnic division. However, one can only make the assertion, as you do, that after 25 years of division there is "little hope for Cyprus" if one makes a wrong diagnosis of the reasons why negotiations on a settlement have, as you point out, foundered.

The failure cannot be attributed to the effort of the Republic of Cyprus to defend itself in the face of a Turkish occupation force, and it is certainly not the fault of the negotiations for membership of the European Union. Joining the EU will benefit Turkish Cypriots as much or more than it will benefit Greek Cypriots. The Cyprus government has invited the Turkish Cypriot community to join the accession negotiations but, unfortunately, the offer has not been accepted.

Successive Cyprus governments have endorsed a bicommunal, bi-zonal federation as a solution which would give Turkish Cypriots extensive autonomy. President Clerides has proposed complete demilitarisation if Turkish troops withdraw from the island. These proposals, if implemented, would, together with EU membership, assure a very hopeful future.

What prevents this is the insistence of Turkey on maintaining the results of the ethnic cleansing its troops perpetrated in 1974 and the continued presence of her army of occupation on Cyprus.

UN Resolutions provide for a solution based on a single citizenship, international personality and the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus. There will be considerable hope for Cyprus if the G8 and the United Nations Security Council show resolve in the face of Turkish refusal.