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Greece and Cyprus through the eyes of the Foreign Office diplomats

31 December 2009 / 15:12:42  GRReporter
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The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought to light 1979 archives regarding the policies of Greece and Cyprus. These include documents relating to the politics of the countries during that period connected with both the European Community and correspondences on what suits Konstantinos Karamanlis bought from Burberry.

A report of 14 pages tells about formal meeting between the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Margaret Thatcher in October 1979. Then he asked for the support of the British on the issue of integrating Greece into the European Community and he also expressed his desire for the United Kingdom to be the first country to ratify the Greece’s entry into the European family.

During the same meeting Mrs. Thatcher declared her support for Greece and, in turn, asked Britain to be among the countries that will participate in large construction projects such as coal-fired power plants and the modernization of the Greek railways. The two discussed the situation on the Balkans and it seems that Mr. Karamanlis said that he wants to develop greater cooperation in the field, but then he faced the reaction of the Soviet Union - "they feared that his initiative could provide greater independence of the Balkan countries." Regarding the Cyprian issue, Mr. Karamanlis said that bold decisions need to be taken, and Turkey needs to demonstrate its goodwill.

During Mr. Karamanlis’ visit in England the British police had recorded his every step – the archives show what purchases he made in the Simpsons shoe store and from Burberry.

Pandora's box regarding the Cyprian issue opened this year as well and brings to the fore the island to be divided into two zones, according to the interpretation of the document the goal of the Turkish Cypriots was to give a certain meaning to the term “two zones” that will lapse the concept of a federation. At his meeting with Margaret Thatcher, President of Cyprus Spyros Kyprianou, informed the Britain PM about the situation in Cyprus and mentioned that the term "two areas" is not used in any constitution, about which Mrs. Thatcher had agreed and also said that this concept does not exist in any international law.

From the archives of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs it becomes clear that after 1965 the British government (as a result of the negotiations with the Cypriot government, taking into account all relevant factors including the economic needs of the Republic of Cyprus) for the next five years would have decided the size of its economic aid to the island. The same document mentions that the Cypriot government was reminding the British of their commitment on various occasions and approaching them with a request to pay rent for their military bases on the island, for certain areas used by them and other facilities such as roads. At that point both parties fail to agree on the amount. Mr. Kyprianou then manifests the desire of Cyprus to proceed to the European Economic Community (now European Union).

Another British document dated April 19, 1979, talks about the visit of Lord Caradon, who in one conversation regarding the Cyprian issue mentions a plan made by the British Government, according to which the Security Council should appoint a team of three members with representatives of Western, Eastern and Third World country who will deal with the issue.

An interesting fact is that thirty years ago a senior British diplomat - J. Martin, forecasted that Thassos Papadopoulos will become president of the Republic of Cyprus. However, his assessment was that Mr. Papadopoulos would become president right after Spyros Kyprianou, reported in an extensive article on the topic Vima newspaper. 

Tags: British government archive release Kostas Karamanlis Margaret Thatcher
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