wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ATHENS2647
2005-10-07 15:34:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Athens
Cable title:  

THE WAY AHEAD ON CYPRUS: THE VIEW FROM ATHENS

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  CY  GR 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS 002647 

SIPDIS

FOR EUR - DAS BRYZA AND EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL CY GR CYPRUS
SUBJECT: THE WAY AHEAD ON CYPRUS: THE VIEW FROM ATHENS

REF: A. NICOSIA 1617


B. ANKARA 6036

Classified By: AMB. CHARLES P. RIES FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS 002647

SIPDIS

FOR EUR - DAS BRYZA AND EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL CY GR CYPRUS
SUBJECT: THE WAY AHEAD ON CYPRUS: THE VIEW FROM ATHENS

REF: A. NICOSIA 1617


B. ANKARA 6036

Classified By: AMB. CHARLES P. RIES FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)


1. (C) SUMMARY: Embassy Athens welcomes an exchange with
the Department, Nicosia, and Ankara on the way ahead on the
Cyprus issue. From our perspective, the October 3 accession
wrangle provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at the
Cyprus problem, and underscore the importance of grasping
this nettle again. While we believe Athens can play a
constructive role, simply asking Greece to put pressure on
Papadopoulos is not likely to take us very far. We would
expect a repetition of the stock answer of how difficult
politically it is to intervene. To break the logjam on
re-starting negotiations and to change the atmosphere, we
recommend exploring whether the UNSYG would appoint a "group
of wisemen," chaired by an internationally respected figure
of moral stature and comprised of prominent Greeks, Turks and
Greek/Turkish Cypriots. To be successful, such a group would
have to have a focused mandate -- excluding (if possible)
contentious zero-sum game debates and placing the emphasis on
a possible positive future of Greek and Turkish Cypriots
living together in a bizonal, bicommunal federal state. Some
additional ideas are presented in para 8. END SUMMARY.

Cyprus Issue: The Greek Context


2. (C) Embassy Athens endorses Nicosia's observation that
there is a window of opportunity, and a new reason for taking
a fresh look at the Cyprus issue following the October 3 EU
decision on Turkey. In our view, Greece, which played a
generally positive role on Turkey's EU track, can be engaged
to play a positive role in contributing to a Cyprus
settlement. Aside from the undoubted stability that a united
Cyprus would bring to the region, Greece has other compelling
reasons to want to see Cyprus solved: big savings on the
troops and equipment it provides to Cyprus to balance Turkish
forces and savings in contributions it makes to UNFICYP
(Greece pays 6.5 million USD annually).


3. (C) But getting the Greeks to pressure Papadopoulos to

take a more conciliatory approach to an Annan Plan-type
Cyprus settlement is at best a small part of the answer. Any
Greek government -- especially the current one headed by
ultra-cautious PM Karamanlis -- fears creating the impression
with its voters that it does not support its Hellenic "little
brother" far more than it fears Turkish troops on northern
Cyprus. In fact, during this past summer of de Villepin's
discontent with Turkey's EU prospects, the Greek Government
came under fierce criticism at home for being seen as less
vigorous in support of Cypriot "rights" than France (or
Austria). FM Molyviatis has told us repeatedly that
Papadopoulos, who is not personally popular with Greek
Government officials, has more leverage on Greece than the
other way around, since he can play the pan-Hellenic card
whenever GoG actions are not to his liking. For his part,
Karamanlis has kept Papadopoulos at arm's length (and
Molyviatis does everything he can to avoid FM Iacovou), and
keeps relations with Cyprus and those with Ankara on two
separate tracks, whenever possible. In short, he believes
(and we agree) that relations with Ankara are too important
to be held hostage to the obstructionist Papadopoulos and the
day-to-day vagaries of the Cyprus issue.


4. (C) That said, there are good reasons to believe that
Greece could be brought to engage positively now on Cyprus.
First, it is in Athens' interest to keep the Cyprus issue out
of the EU and under the UN umbrella. After the
rough-and-tumble of fashioning EU positions on the
counterstatement and negotiating framework, we should be able
to reinforce to the Greeks -- and more to the point, get the
Greeks to reiterate -- that it is logical and natural to
reinvigorate the UN process on Cyprus. The fight about
Turkey clearly demonstrated (to everyone except President
Papadopoulos) that the EU is not the place to pursue a
comprehensive settlement, and that a settlement is needed now
more than ever. More importantly, it seems clear from Athens
that Papadopoulos has every intention of continuing to make
life miserable for Turkey -- whether it is pressing for
Cypriot membership in international organizations or
insisting on early Turkish parliamentary ratification of the
customs union protocol. Athens does not want to see the
recognition debate reignited or take the risk of being
carried along as an unwilling partner in prolonged Cypriot
interference in the EU accession process. Inevitably,
Nicosia's actions in this regard would spill over into
Greek-Turkish relations and Karamanlis might no longer be
able to keep his two tracks quite so separate.
Some Vision Please?

5. (C) From our vantage point, the central problem is that
neither the Greek Cypriot nor the Turkish Cypriot side seems
anxious to engage. President Papadopoulos must feel content
with the leverage his seat at the EU table gives him and
happy to have changed the subject from why the Cypriots did
not support the Annan Plan to why Turkey won't recognize
Cyprus. "TRNC" President Talat prefers to focus on ways to
reduce the North's "isolation" as the overdue reward for
supporting the Annan Plan. To escape this trap, and to get
to a situation where outside interested parties such as
ourselves, the Greeks and the British can make a difference,
we agree with Nicosia that we must find a way to foster an
environment where the two communities can build trust and
practice communication.


6. (C) In other words, we need to start focusing on a
vision of Greek and Turkish Cypriots living together in a
common state. Perhaps a way to break the logjam and make the
issue larger than just the sum of its details is to suggest
that UNSYG Annan appoint a "group of wisemen" who want to see
such a vision become reality. Such a group might be chaired
by highly respected, internationally known figures with
impeccable moral credentials but not currently in government
(President Havel?) and have prominent Greeks (former PMs
Simitis and Mitsotakis, for example) and an equal number of
respected Turkish and Greek/Turkish Cypriot leaders (former
President Clerides?) who could inspire goodwill and a create
an atmosphere far more conducive to a settlement than the
current situation. The wisemen could meet with the
interested parties and perhaps at some point hold a
high-level meeting in a neutral place (perhaps Australia,
with its large contribution to UNFICYP) to signal their
resolve on finding a solution. Blessed by the UNSYG, this
high-powered group might be able to reach the Greek Cypriot
people over the heads of the defensive Papadopoulos and his
insincere repetition of a solution based on a bizonal,
bicommunal federation.


7. (C) We would want to make sure these wisemen have a
positive, visionary influence. They could have terms of
reference that preclude their getting bogged down in property
claims in the North or other contentious details. The role
would be to set the tone and change the atmosphere, not
figure out all the fine points of negotiation.

Other Efforts


8. (C) In addition to the idea of the wisemen, we suggest
the following actions:

-- With Greece: In the short-term, we need Greece to
reiterate publicly its commitment to a Cyprus settlement,
that the time is right, and that the locus of activity
remains the UN (not the EU). This could be done in a variety
of ways -- FM interview, as part of the MFA's weekly press
briefings, statement at the UN, etc.

-- Also with Greece: In the medium term, look for issues
that are important to Papadopoulos and on which he relies for
Greek support. Perhaps there can be some pressure brought to
bear here.

-- At the UNSC: There should be a debate by year's end on
Cyprus next steps to highlight the primacy of the UN in the
settlement process. The British could take this lead, as
both a permanent UNSC member and EU President; Greece could
help here as well, as it is a member until the end of 2006.
We would want to have close P-5 consultations to make sure
Russia/China do not use their veto to block, but also because
it makes sense to have these two influential, non-EU
countries behind this effort.

-- Within the EU: Identify 2-3 key members who agree with
our view that the EU is not the right place for pursuing a
comprehensive settlement and who see Papadopoulos as the
problem. What can they do to help rein him in?
RIES