Holbrooke offers hope to divided Cyprus

They may be only a faint glimmer on the Mediterranean ocean, but the prospects for a settlement of the Cyprus conflict seemed brighter yesterday than at any time since the Turkish invasion and the division of the island 23 years ago.

Stirring the excitement was news that Richard Holbrooke, the main architect of the 1995 Dayton Accord that ended the Bosnian conflict, has agreed to act as President Bill Clinton's special envoy to Cyprus. His Bosnian experience has left Mr Holbrooke with a reputation as a mediator extraordinaire.

Mr Holbrooke enters the picture at a critical juncture. The United Nations will stage face-to-face talks in New York next month between the Greek Cypriot leader, Glafcos Clerides, and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Rauf Denktash. It will be their first such meeting in over three years.

Both sides yesterday welcomed the choice of Mr Holbrooke. "With the appointment of Richard Holbrooke ... the United States is implementing its promises and reaffirms the importance it places on a solution to the Cyprus problem," said a spokesman for the Greek Cypriot government.

Mr Denktash also described the appointment as a "positive step". He also cautioned, however: "We hope he will quickly understand the realities of the Cyprus problem."

Since he resigned from government service 15 months ago, Mr Holbrooke has been working at a New York investment bank. He has agreed to take out one week a month to concentrate on the Cyprus issue and to do it without pay. He will work alongside Britain's envoy to the island, Sir David Hannay.

Ending the armed stand-off between the island's two halves was identified as a priority by Madeleine Albright when she became the US Secretary of State. The process is also being driven by European Union plans to begin discussions next year on eventual EU membership for Cyprus.

The Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, is meanwhile due in Washington today for talks with Ms Albright. He is expected to present a package of proposals for the gradual demilitarisation of the island.

Mr Holbrooke, 55, told the New York Times that Cyprus, "along with Bosnia, is the great unresolved flashpoint in Europe". He also underlined the importance of settling the Cyprus conundrum as a means to easing friction between Turkey and Greece, both members of Nato.

"Tensions between them generally have been rising since the restraints of the cold war were removed. So it's absolutely necessary for Europe, the United States and the United Nations to try to settle this issue," Mr Holbrooke said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'