Cypriot President Spyros Kyprianou sees the unresolved Greek-Turkish problem as his nation's key problem. In an interview with the Monitor, Mr. Kyprianou painted a picture of a small island in great need of restored unity and abandoned separatist tendencies. Committed to international "nonalignment," Mr. Kyprianou nevertheless thinks the West, and especially the United States, can do the most to help solve the Cyprus problem.
What are the prospects for settlement of the intercommunal problem?
The prospects for reaching a settlement of the Cyprus problem do not seem to be auspicious at the moment. The hopes for a breakthrough in the protracted Cyprus drama reposed in the resumed intercommunal talks, have unfortunately, been dashed by the negative attitude adopted by the Turkish Cypriot side at the negotiations. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership look upon the talks not as a means to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem but as a means to obtain gaining legal recognition of the results of the Turkish aggression and occupation. Despite this Turkish stand, we shall continue the talks with all goodwill because we believe that the dialogue under the UN auspices is, under the circumstances, the best available procedure for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Would a change in government in either Greece or Turkey help Cyprus?
As regards Turkey, experience has shown that the Turkish policy on Cyprus is the same regardless of who is in power.It is common knowledge that the foreign policy of Turkey is formulated by the military. Thus, a change in government in Turkey would not make any difference insofar as Cyprus is concerned. What could make Turkey change her policy on Cyprus would be the exerting of substantive pressures on her by those countries which keep her tottering economy from collapsing.
As regards Greece, there has always been close cooperation between the Cyprus and the Greek government. Greece has been providing undivided support to the Cyprus cause, and I am sure this will be the case regardless of which party is in power.
Has it been easier or more difficult to deal with Turkish leaders since the military coup late last year?
There has not been any change in the attitude of the Turkish leaders since the military coup in Turkey.
Do you think the Reagan-Haig foreign policy team will be better or worse Cyprus than the Carter-Vance team?
Carter greatly disappoined the people of Cyprus because he went back on promises he had made about Cyprus during the electoral campaign. As regards the new Reagan administration, I cannot say whether its policies will be better or worse. We can only express the hope that it will make a better assessment of the Cyprus situation than the previous administration and will act on the basis of the principles of justice and in the light of the true interests of the Western world.
What are the consequences of the impasse for Cyprus? For the West?
The continuing impasse is having most adverse effects on both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. In the first place, the existing artificial division of the country is proving very harmful. The political uncertainty is not creating the right climate for economic growth, for political stability is an essential prerequisite to any kind of economic venture. Moreover, the continuing conflict causes both communities to waste energy and resources which could otherwise have been channeled to productive purposes.
The protraction of the problem has adverse effects for the West as well. It poisons relations between Greece and Turkey, two members of the Western alliance , because of the ethnic links between these two countries and the two communities. Moreover, the West appears to be conniving at a gross violation of every norm of international law perpetrated by one of its members and even to be encouraging continuation of this crime since, although it provides generous aid to the occupation power, it fails to effectively use its leverage to force it to redress the injustice done to Cyprus.
What do you see as Cyprus's role in the Middle East?
We want our country to be a bridge of peace in this strife-torn part of the world. We have supported complete demilitarization of Cyprus, and we are taking an active part in the efforts for the Mediterranean to be turned into a lake of peace. Our friendly relations with the neighboring Arab countries help the role of Cyprus in this connection.
Is there anything Cyprus is doing or can do to help increase stability in the Mediterranean?
Stability in this strife-torn part of the world requires, no doubt, concerted efforts and collective action, particularly by the big powers, which are in a position to influence developments. Cyprus is too small for its individual efforts to have any noteworthy impact on the situation. However, it is doing all it can, as a member of the larger world family of the nonaligned group to contribute to pacification in the area.