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June 27, 2006
Cyprus: Status of U.N. Negotiations and Related Issues
Cyprus has been divided since 1974. Greek Cypriots, 76% of the population, live in the southern two-thirds of the island. Turkish Cypriots, 19% of the populace, live in the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey, with about 36,000 Turkish troops providing security. United Nations peacekeeping forces (UNFICYP) maintain a buffer zone between the two. Since the late 1970s, the U.N., with U.S. support, has promoted negotiations aimed at reuniting the island as a federal, bicommunal, bizonal republic.
In recent times, the U.N. Secretary General's April 5, 1992, "Set of Ideas" was a major, but unsuccessful, framework for negotiations for an overall settlement. Next, both sides accepted U.N. confidence-building measures only in principle and they were never recorded nor implemented.
The prospect of Cyprus's European Union (EU) accession and its eventual membership intensified and complicated settlement efforts. After five rounds of U.N.-mediated proximity (indirect) talks beginning in December 1999, Secretary General Kofi Annan presented his "observations" on substance and procedure on November 8, 2000, leading Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to withdraw from the talks for a year. Denktash and (Greek) Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides finally met on December 4, 2001 and agreed to begin direct talks on January 16, 2002. On November 11, 2002, Annan submitted a comprehensive settlement Plan based on Swiss and Belgian government models; but the two sides did not agree on it. After still more negotiations, Annan announced on March 11, 2003 that his efforts had failed. Cyprus signed an accession treaty to join the EU on April 16.
The December 14, 2003, Turkish Cypriot parliamentary elections in northern Cyprus produced a new government determined to reach a settlement. The U.N. led new negotiations from February 19-March 22, 2004, and again they failed. Talks continued in Switzerland, with Greek and Turkish leaders present. Annan presented a final, revised Plan on March 31. In referenda on April 24, 76% of Greek Cypriot voters rejected the Plan, while 65% of Turkish Cypriot voters accepted it. Annan blamed (Greek) Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos for the result. Cyprus joined the EU on May 1, 2004. There have been no direct or indirect negotiations since 2004.
Some Members of Congress have urged the Administration to be more active, although they have not proposed an alternative to the U.N.-sponsored talks. Since the referenda, the Administration has been working to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots in order to diminish economic disparities between them and the Greek Cypriots and pave the way for reunification. Some Members have questioned this policy. This CRS report replaces CRS Issue Brief IB89140, Cyprus: Status of U.N. Negotiations, by Carol Migdalovitz, and will be updated as developments warrant.
Contents Most Recent Developments Background Settlement Efforts and Other Developments 1977 Makarios-Denktash Meeting 1979 Kyprianou-Denktash Communique 1984 Proximity Talks 1988-89 Talks March 1990-April 1992 Set of Ideas Confidence-Building Measures Missiles Other Developments 1997-2001 Proximity Talks Developments, 2002-2003 Annan Plan 2004 Referenda and After Developments in 2006 Other Factors Affecting the Talks Domestic Politics in Cyprus Policies of Greece and Turkey European Union U.N. Peacekeeping Forces U.S. Policy Settlement Aid 109th Congress Legislation
Cyprus: Status of U.N. Negotiations and Related Issues
Most Recent Developments
In his May 23, 2006, Report to the Security Council, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that there have been "no tangible indicators of an evolution in the respective positions" of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots that had produced the current impasse, although they had signaled some willingness to begin to reengage. (1) Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari is to arrive on Cyprus on July 6 to assess the situation and the prospects for a resumption of the Secretary General's good offices mission.
On June 12, Turkey provisionally completed the first and easiest of 35 negotiating chapters, on Science and Research, in the process of joining the European Union (EU). However, the EU conclusions that day referred implicitly to Turkey's refusal to open its ports to (Greek) Cyprus, an EU member, as required by Turkey's customs union with the EU. The EU asserted that Turkey's failure to "implement its obligations fully will have an impact on the negotiating process" and that, in view of this consideration, "the EU will, if necessary, return to this chapter." (2) It is anticipated that the unresolved Cyprus situation will be raised throughout Turkey's negotiating process. For its part, Turkey insists that it will not open its ports and airports to the Greek Cypriots before the EU fulfill promises to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot north. (For background, see "European Union," below.)
In an interview published on June 17, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni suggested that a new "Plan for a United European Cyprus" could result from a U.N. process based on preparations of the Secretary General, on the European (Union) "reality," and on the will of the two communities. She linked preparations for this plan to talks in technical committees expected to be formed shortly. (3)
The island of Cyprus gained its independence from Great Britain in 1960. The 738,000 Cypriots are 76% of Greek ethnic origin, and 19% of Turkish ethnic origin. (Maronite Christians, Armenians, and others constitute the remainder.) At independence, the Republic's constitution defined elaborate power-sharing arrangements between the two main groups. It required a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice president, each elected by his own community. Simultaneously, a Treaty of Guarantee signed by Britain, Greece, and Turkey ensured the new Republic's territorial integrity and a Treaty of Alliance among the Republic, Greece, and Turkey provided for 950 Greek and 650 Turkish soldiers to help defend the island. However, at that time, the two major communities aspired to different futures for Cyprus: most Greek Cypriots favored union of the entire island with Greece (enosis), and Turkish Cypriots preferred to partition the island (taksim) and unite a Turkish zone with Turkey.
Cyprus's success as a new republic lasted from 1960-1963. After President (and Greek Orthodox Archbishop) Makarios III proposed constitutional modifications in favor of the majority Greek Cypriot community in 1963, relations between the two communities deteriorated, with Turkish Cypriots increasingly consolidating into enclaves in larger towns. In 1964, Turkish Cypriots withdrew from most national institutions and began to administer their own affairs. Intercommunal violence occurred in 1963-64, and again in 1967. On both occasions, outside mediation and pressure, including that by the United States, appeared to prevent Turkey from intervening militarily on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots. On March 4, 1964, the U.N. authorized the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to control the violence and act as a buffer between the two communities. It became operational on March 27 and still carries out its mission today. (See "U.N. Peacekeeping Forces" below for details.)
In 1974, the military junta in Athens supported a coup against President Makarios, replacing him with a more hardline supporter of enosis. Turkey, citing the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee as a legal basis for its move, sent troops in two separate actions and, by August 25, took control of more than 36% of the island. This military intervention (4) had many ramifications. Foremost was the widespread dislocation of the Cypriot population and related refugee and property problems. The Athens junta fell, civilian government was restored in Athens and in Nicosia, Greece withdrew from NATO's military command to protest NATO's failure to prevent Turkey's action, and Turkey's civilian government entered an extended period of instability. U.S. relations with all parties, each of which blamed its fate on Washington's lack of support, suffered.
After 1974, Turkish Cypriots emphasized a solution that would keep the two communities separate in two sovereign states or two states in a loose confederation. In February 1975, they declared their government the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus" (TFSC). In 1983, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash declared the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC)--a move considered by some to be a unilateral declaration of independence. Only Turkey has recognized the TRNC, which has a constitution and a 50-seat parliament. Denktash argued that creation of an independent state is a necessary precondition for a federation with the Greek Cypriots. He ruled out a merger with Turkey and pledged cooperation with U.N. settlement efforts.
Settlement Efforts and Other Developments
After 1974, U.N. negotiations focused on reconciling the two sides' interests and reestablishing a central government. They foundered on definitions of goals and ways to implement a federal solution. Turkish Cypriots emphasized bizonality and the political equality of the two communities, preferring two nearly autonomous societies with limited contact. Greek Cypriots emphasized the freedoms of movement, property, and settlement throughout the island. The two parties also differed on the means of achieving a federation: Greek Cypriots wanted their internationally recognized national government to devolve power to the Turkish Cypriots, who would then join a Cypriot republic. For the Turkish Cypriots, two entities would join, for the first time, in a new federation. These views could affect resolution of property, citizenship of Turkish settlers, and other legal issues. Since 1974, there have been many unsuccessful rounds of U.N.-sponsored direct and indirect negotiations to achieve a settlement:
1977 Makarios-Denktash Meeting. Agreed that (1) Cyprus will be an independent, nonaligned, bicommunal, federal republic; (2) each administration's control over territory will be determined in light of economic viability, productivity, and property rights; (3) freedom of movement, settlement, and property will be discussed; and (4) powers and functions of the central federal government would safeguard the unity of the country. …