Greek and Turkish Cypriots are inching towards reconciliation. Efforts by United Nations Secretary-General Javier P'erez de Cu'ellar are moving the two communities in this direction after more than 10 years of bargaining and strife.
A comprehensive settlement project devised by Mr. P'erez de Cu'ellar was nearly accepted at the start of 1985 by Rauf Denktash and Spyros Kyprianou -- leaders of Cyprus's Turkish and Greek communities.
However, the overall settlement plan collapsed -- because of a lack of political will on both sides, say reliable sources.
Mr. P'erez de Cu'ellar has refined his previous plan and is again pulling both sides together.
Basically, the plan envisages Cyprus as an independent, unified, nonaligned, confederated republic.
The island's president would be Greek Cypriot but its vice president, and perhaps its foreign minister, would be Turkish Cypriot.
About 29 to 30 percent of its territory would belong to the Turkish community.
Certain populated areas, on either side of the present border between the two communities would be governed jointly by Turkish and Greek Cypriots, making the territorial split less rigid and leading to limited coexistence.
``P'erez de Cu'ellar's original plan has been refined to the point of almost 100 percent fairness to both sides. It will be hard for Denktash and Kyprianou to reject it,'' one well-placed UN diplomat says.
``This is probably the only problem that has been dumped on the UN's lap which can be isolated from the East-West rivalry and lend itself to a UN-mediated solution,'' says one informed source.
``The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities are leaning toward peaceful coexistence. It is their leaders who have been difficult,'' this well-informed source continues.
But through P'eres de Cu'ellar's good offices, ``a settlement is now in sight . . . . If nothing upsets the apple cart Cyprus could be reunified in a matter of months,'' the source added.