Cyprus. The end of the membership negotiations with the
EU contributed to direct talks starting January 21 between
Cyprus President Glafkos Klerides and Turkish Cypriot leader
Countryaah website, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Cyprus in May to
try to breathe life into the negotiations between Greece and
Turkey on the future status of Cyprus. The visit was the
first a UN chief conducted in more than 20 years. The UN
Security Council extended the UNFICYP's mandate for another
six months on June 13.
In early July, Klerides and Denktash had met more than 40
times without reaching a breakthrough. The crackdown was on
state formation, where the Turkish Cypriots want a loose
confederation and the Greek Cypriots a more cohesive state.
The EU announced on October 25 that it adhered to the
decision to accept only the Greek Cypriot part as an EU
member, but invited the parties to agree before the final
negotiations on EU membership were concluded.
The UN launched a peace plan on November 11 where the
island would have a joint government for the "two incoming
states". The current part of the Turkish Cypriots would
shrink and the island would be demilitarized with the
continued presence of UN forces. Greece and Turkey's new AKP
government party were positive about the proposal, but Greek
and Turkish Cypriots demanded more reflection time.
On March 12, former President Spyros Kyprianou died. He
turned 69. Kyprianou was foreign minister in the first
government after independence in 1960 until 1972, and
president in 1977-88.
Army commander Evangelos Florakis and Air Force commander
Stylianos Demenagas were killed in a helicopter crash July
Tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrated at the
end of December against Denktash, which was deemed
impossible to try to reunite Cyprus. Later, Recep Tayyip
Erdoǧan, the leader of Turkey's largest party after the
November elections, also asked Denktash to reconsider his
opposition to the UN plan. Turkey believes that a solution
to the Cyprus issue would increase the prospect of a start
date for EU negotiations.