Lord Hannay: Cyprus solution depends on Turkey - EU relations
London, Jun 25 (CNA) -- Britain’s former special representative on Cyprus, Lord David Hannay, believes that the solution of the Cyprus problem depends on the evolution of Turkey’s application for accession to the European Union.
Speaking at a presentation of his book'' Cyprus – The Search for a Solution'', Lord Hannay expressed the opinion that if the Turkish EU application is rejected, then there will be no settlement of the Cyprus issue.
''If the Turkish application is rejected then forget about it, there is not going to be a settlement. It is as bad as that. That’s my prediction. But I don’t think that will happen'', he said, adding that despite the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in Holland and France, the EU would not forget about its commitments towards Turkey.
He said accession negotiations with Turkey will probably take up to ten years, adding that if Turkey's EU course makes steady progress, ''then I believe that we will see a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan (a UN solution plan) but certainly with some changes in it''.
Lord Hannay said that any rush to a new round of talks should be avoided because another failure would be extremely damaging and he recommended political parties on both sides to multiply their contacts and that parties in Greece and Turkey also be involved in the process.
''It is also crucial to reduce the economic gap between the north and the south by both aid and trade between the two sides and between the two parts of the island and the EU'', he said.
Referring to the prospects of a solution, Lord Hannay expressed the view that through a patient preparatory process, the changes in the Annan plan would be identified, other changes may be out of date, others may give rise to unintended consequences that people did not know about when the plan was originally drafted.
''The changes should not damage the other side. It is no good thinking that you could have a whole lot of changes that you want and no changes that the other side wants. There have to be compromises always a difficult word to use in Cyprus'', he said.
Lord Hannay said that the key to everything is Turkey's progress to accede the Union.
''It all really depends on the evolution of Turkey’s relationship with the EU. That is the key to everything. No Turkish negotiations, no Cyprus settlement in my view'', he said.
''If Turkey’s negotiation goes wrong and there is no Cyprus settlement one or two people may begin to ask themselves whether it might not be a good idea to accept Annan 2 at Copenhagen. But let us hope it never comes to that'', he concluded.