CONTENTS

Soundings

Anxious to avert any unpleasant developments, the U.N. Secretary-General announced at a press conference in Geneva on 7 July 1983 that he intended to undertake a new effort to establish whether it was possible to accelerate a solution to the Cyprus problem. On 8 August 1983 the U.N. Secretary-General conveyed to both sides "informal and confidential soundings" containing certain "indicators" designed to "narrow the gap between the positions" of the two sides on the outstanding issues arising from his evaluation paper. The U.N. Spokesman in Cyprus said the soundings were intended to "further the negotiating process" and that Mr. Perez de Cuellar had not conveyed to the parties "any plans or proposals for the solution of the Cyprus problem". The U.N. document covered the executive, legislature and question of territory. The then President of Cyprus, Mr. Kyprianou held a series of consultations with the Council of Ministers and party leaders to assess the U.N. Secretary-General's initiative. As for the Turkish Cypriot leadership, it demanded that the Greek Cypriots, comprising of over 4/5 of the population should overlook the fact that the Turkish Cypriots are a small ethnic minority and accept them as "equal partners" in the body politic even though this would strike at the foundations of democracy. Brandishing the threat of U.D.I. once more, they demanded further that the Cyprus Government renounces its sovereignty over the entire territory of the Republic, that it recognizes the Turkish Cypriot community as a separate autonomous people and that it stops seeking support for its case at international fora.
On 30 September 1983 the then President of Cyprus, Mr. Kyprianou handed to the U.N. Secretary-General the Greek Cypriot side's response to the soundings. The Greek Cypriot side accepted the Secretary General's initiative and methodology and expressed its views as requested. The Secretary-General described the Greek Cypriot side's response as a "positive and constructive step".
Mr. Denktash, however, after some procrastination, verbally informed the SecretaryGeneral that he had rejected his initiative. He let it be understood that he disagreed with the methodology and would not be submitting any comments on the soundings. Mr. Denktash then called for the resumption of the talks from where they had left off. Seeing that his stand would make him appear in a bad light internationally, Mr. Denktash suddenly proposed a high-level meeting with Mr. Kyprianou to divert attention from the issue.
Although wary of Mr. Denktash's stalling tactics, the Greek Cypriot side, as a further demonstration of goodwill, said it would leave it to the U.N. Secretary-General to decide whether to call such a meeting.
For his part, the Secretary-General said he would arrange for a high-level meeting provided it was well - prepared and both sides cooperated in ensuring its success. Mr. Kyprianou informed the Secretary-General that he would attend a meeting convened on the lines he had suggested.
In the meantime the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refused to accept "deputies" from Mr. Denktash's illegal regime. As a consequence of the European body's decision, Mr. Denktash demanded that the two Cyprus deputies represented in the Assembly be withdrawn. This was coupled with new threats of U.D.I. On 14 November 1983 Mr. Gobbi returned from abroad with instructions to prepare the ground for a high-level meeting and start consultations with the interested parties. He also brought letters from the U.N. Secretary-General stating that the meeting would be based on an agreed agenda with the aim of achieving substantive progress towards a global solution or a mini package deal. The letters were delivered to the then President Mr. Kyprianou and Mr. Denktash the following day.

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Giorgos Zacharia (lysi@mit.edu) 1995-1999.