At last, I have fast wireless access! Now, I can fill you in on what my trip to Cyprus is all about.

Balanced information sources on the Cyprus conflict are few and far between, but cyprus-conflict.net, a web site recommended to me by a very helpful UNDP employee, is certainly one of the best.

Here is a short summary of the Cyprus conflict from cyprus-conflict.net

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has suffered a long history of foreign domination,  violence, and civil strife.  Since the 1950s, when still a colony of Britain, Cyprus has been a battleground between its two main ethnic/religious populations—Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.  The history of the conflict includes a militant confrontation with British imperialism, a set of treaties giving a limited form of independence, the breakdown of that constitutional structure, ruthless meddling by the Greek and Turkish “motherlands” and the major powers, a Greek coup d’etat and the Turkish invasion that divided the island as it is today, and fitful attempts to negotiate a just settlement—all set against a background of communal violence, terrorism, and intimidation. Equally true, however, is a record of cooperation and peace between most Cypriots, and, since 1974, the growth of indigenous efforts across the lines of hostility to reconcile.

Today, the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is stationed in the Green Zone, the no man’s land that lies between the Republic of Cyprus (the Greek Cypriot part of the island) in the south, and the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to the north. Nicosia, the capital of both states is a beautiful but sad city, divided by a high cement wall topped in many places by barbed wire and surrounded by dilapidated buildings that have been left to rot in the frozen conflict.

In 2004, an ambitious plan created by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan failed to reunite Cyprus before its admission as a full member of the European Union. Now, the Republic of Cyprus is an EU member state, and, technically, all the Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island are EU citizens, though the aquis communautaire is suspended in the TRNC. Currently, negotiations are stalled, but both Greek and Turkish Cypriots remain hopeful that a permanent settlement will be reached in the near future, and the island’s two peoples will finally be able to leave their painful past behind.

Una

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