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 Rauf Denktash.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Cyprus is every October 1. 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 10.
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.