A negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem through the creation of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation is impossible due to Greek Cypriot intransigence and the only viable alternative is a two-state solution, Britain’s former foreign secretary, Jack Straw has said.
According to an article by Straw in the ‘Independent’, last July’s international conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana ended in failure because it “was rejected by the Greek-Cypriot government – as every previous one has been”.
“It is time to end the charade that a negotiated agreement to unite the island with a ‘bi-zonal, bi-communal’ government will even be possible,” Straw wrote.
“The solution is to partition the island and give international recognition to the Turkish Cypriot state in the north.”
He then went on to argue that the decision to accept Cyprus as an EU member in 2004 regardless of the status of the Cyprus problem was a key missed opportunity and left the Turkish Cypriots in limbo.
“But what is now needed, surely, is to remove all discrimination against people who are, after all, citizens of the European Union and to prepare the Turkish Cypriots and their legislation and administrative practices for eventual European membership.”
He added that for any negotiation to succeed, both sides had to be able to gain something and that from the Greek Cypriot point of view, conceding political equality with the Turkish Cypriots meant giving power away.
It is time, Straw argued, for the international community to acknowledge this reality and recognise the partition of the island.
“That would be far more likely to improve relations between the two communities than continuing the useless merry-go-round of further negotiations for a settlement that never can be,” he said.