The Cyprus talks are, as expected, going nowhere, with the Turkish side not prepared to consider anything which deviates from its preferred solution of two separate and sovereign states on the island.
Indeed, this week the Turkish side got in such a strop over the pointless and harmless UK-Cyprus Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by President Christofias and Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London – in which 'both countries commit themselves to working together to reunify the island… based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and political equality, as defined by the relevant UN resolutions and the principles upon which the EU is founded, [with] a single sovereignty, international personality and a single citizenship' – that it decided to harden its position in the meetings of the so-called technical committees and working groups supposed to prepare the ground for direct talks between Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mehmet Ali Talat.
According to this report in Politis newspaper, the Turkish side has been putting forward proposals that envisage no return of territory, property or refugees; the absolute maintenance of Turkey's rights of intervention on the island; and the right to stay on Cyprus and receive Cypriot citizenship for all Turkish settlers, who number between 150,000-200,000. Obviously, these proposals are absurd and cannot form the basis of any serious negotiations.
While the Turks may be upset with the British, they can still rely on the Americans to do their bidding. The adoption, yesterday, of a UN Security Council resolution aimed at renewing the mandate of UN peacekeepers in Cyprus should have been a straightforward affair but was almost scuppered by the Americans, who, acting on Turkey's behalf, all of a sudden, at the last moment, despite the text of the resolution having been agreed the day before, intervened to try and remove references in the resolution to a Cyprus settlement being 'based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and political equality, as defined by the relevant UN resolutions', which, Turkey, having been served Cyprus on a plate by the Annan plan, is no longer interested in.
The Americans failed in their efforts to persuade the other 14 UNSC members to reopen the debate on the resolution, though not before the Americans made it clear that they supported the Turkish position of a Cyprus solution being based on a partnership of two constituent states, which is code for partition, with the Turks masters in the north and partners in the south.
American hostility to Greek national interests is nothing new, of course; but it is worth pointing out that should John McCain win the presidential elections this autumn, Greek and American interests are likely to diverge even further.
This article makes clear that McCain is a stalwart supporter of the view that Turkey is America's most important strategic partner in the Balkans, Middle East and Caucasus, and that America to enhance its alliance with Turkey should unhesitatingly promote Turkish interests, however nefarious. As such, McCain has consistently opposed Armenian genocide resolutions in the Senate, supported Albanian nationalism in the Balkans and, as this article shows, was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to support religious freedoms for the Greek minority in Constantinople.