NEW YORK.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The movement of people across the lines in Cyprus does not settle the division of the island, and the complicated questions relating to property and security, and how to bring Turkish Cypriot within acquis-communautaire, questions that remain to be addressed answered in a comprehensive settlement, said US Department of State Special Coordinator, Ambassador Thomas Weston, in an exclusive interview with GreekNews.
Replying to questions about the recent extraordinary events in Cyprus, he said that although visually they could look alike what the World have witnessed in Berlin, 1n 1989, there are fundamentally different in content.
“I think in Berlin in ’89, we were seeing basically the collapse of the Warsaw pact, among other things. I think what we’re seeing in Cyprus is a combination of the kind of reaction to long suppressed feelings on the part of both communities of the isle, to know one another and to be with one another and to some extent to demonstrate that they’re all Cypriots together”.
Ambassador Weston thinks that another element contributed to it, is the great disappointment on the part of the people of Cyprus, both Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots in the failure to get a Cyprus settlement as we tried to do at the Hague in March. “Some of this activity now this wish to see the other side to know the other side is also fueled by that disappointment. So I hope both of those messages are taken into account by the political leadership on the island of Cyprus in terms of finding a way ahead to a settlement”.
Thomas Weston thinks that it will be very difficult from now and on to stop the channels of contact between people who are obviously going to result from this movement.
“This is not a one time shot. Many of these people, at any rate, they will remain in contact and develop their relationships with one another in whatever means they can. There is a real wish to form relationships among Cypriots and I know that will change and I don’t think it can be stopped while it started”.
The US official says that many people have played a role in these big developments, including U.S.
“I was on the island 2 weeks ago and talked about this very opening with some Turkish leaders on the Cypriot side. So I think there are a lot of people who are involved in it and I would give credit to everyone, including UNFICYP, that has played a very good role in facilitating this surprisingly large movement of people”.
Weston disagrees with the view that recent events left behind UN Secretary General’s plan and there are a lot of key questions to be answered. And that will be done only in a comprehensive settlement.
Although he is reluctant to speculate on what the next move will be in Cyprus, he thinks that there has been already a change in response to the large movement of people.
“I understand there’s already been a decision to open up a couple of additional crossing points as long as to promote longer stays up to 3 days, in the North etc I know that the government of Cyprus is having meetings today (The interview has been taken before the announcement of the measures) about their own ideas, some measures that would merely raise the conditions of the Turkish-Cypriots. So I suppose those will be forthcoming in the not so distant future. I think there are all kinds of areas where we are likely to succeed positive development”, he said, not excluding Varosha.
“I think we just have to wait and see. I would have to add to that, I am optimistic that there will be other positive measures”.
United States, Ambassador Weston told GreekNews, are expecting people in Cyprus to do everything possible to improve conditions on the island, to remove the division and to get a comprehensive settlement.
“I think everything that’s happening falls within that. I have those expectations.
Asked to comment whether he expects an early resumption of the talks, he said that the United States, and him personally will be doing everything possible to see that they do.
“We’ve got a clear cut expression from the Secretary General, that was supported unanimously by the Security Council, about what is necessary to restart the talks. And that is a demonstration of the necessary good will by the two sides. According to the S.G.’s report, talks have failed because the two sides failed to the finalization of the plan by a certain date, as well as agreement to put it into a referendum, referenda shortly thereafter. So the path to the resumption of the talks is fairly clear at least in the view of the UN and at the international community is represented by unanimous decision of the security council of the UN. Whether that will happen sometime soon once again I will indulge in speculation”.
The American diplomat says he is surprised that there have been so few problems, regardless the vast movement of people across the lines.
I think the problems that you might expect are those technical related to a very changing situation. There were very large, long waiting lines; there was a period of time when cars couldn’t cross at one point. There was a need to add additional computers that there just technically allow this to happen and I think, you know, whenever you have large numbers of people waiting in the hot sun”.
Weston describes as minimal the few incidents of friction that occurred.
“To have those as the only reported incidents is remarkable and I think a great credit to the people of Cyprus for which the people of Cyprus, both Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots deserve great praise”, Weston said.
Asked about his future plans, he told GreekNews that he needs first to visit Ankara and Athens and then he plans to travel to Cyprus in June.