Alexander Downer, the United Nations’ secretary-general’s special adviser for Cyprus, is on the island in order to oversee the current negotiations between the leaders of the two sides, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. On April 10th 2009 an official reported that there seems at last to be real progress, a state which is described by him as ‘very encouraging according to the China View web page.
Mr Downer announced to the media that ‘the process has appropriate momentum and that it moves forward’ He went on to explain that more details had been committed to paper than at any point since the beginning of the split in1974. This was after some 25 meetings between the two leaders, Greek Cypriot president, Demetris Christofias, and the leader of Turkish Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat Despite Mr Downer’s apparent optimism the Cyprus Forum on the Topix web page, carries a report only 3 days later ( 13th . April 2009) with a rather different viewpoint.
Titled ‘US Turkish declaration important message for Greek Cypriots’ The Turkish Cypriot foreign secretary Turgay Avci stated that ‘the declaration is a response to the Greek Cypriot administration which thinks that it could keep Turkish Cypriots in peril forever under its cruel oppression and international economic isolations. Speaking about the declaration made during the recent visit of Hilary Clinton, the United Stats newly appointed Secretary of State that both countries i. e. America and Turkey, would work to remove the isolation of Turkish Cypriots Mr Avci said that :-
This is a message we have been waiting for which clearly defied the idea that Turkish Cypriots would be kept under isolations for 40 years even if the negotiations would have taken that long Meanwhile islanders and visitors still struggle with every day living. A report on the web page ‘About North Cyprus . com’ gives detailed instructions for anyone from the north wanting to visit the supermarket, the airport or Marks and Spencer’s. These involve getting a visa, presenting passports to the authorities on both sides of the border, and leaving cars behind – you have to walk across.
No one is making it easy. At least the crossing points, in place since 1958 rather than just since 1974 as might be thought, are open 24 hours a day. Other Problems The island has a number of other problems. The CIA World Fact Book Cyprus page discusses loss of natural resources and diversity in wildlife of all kinds due to increased urbanization in what is after all a relatively small area which cannot be increased. There is a lack of adequate fresh water resources for a number of different reasons:- like its Mediterranean neighbor Malta, the island has no large lakes or other natural catchment reservoirs.
There is also a somewhat erratic seasonal rainfall as well as the intrusion of saline sea water into island’s largest aquifer, with an increase of salination especially in the north. There is also a problem of pollution of the water supply because of illegal dumping of industrial waste as well as problems with the disposal of sewage. In the area administered by Turkish Cypriots water shortages are a continual problem, although several desalination plants have been added to existing plants in the immediate past and are now on line.
This situation wasn’t helped by the long 10 years of drought in the years 1991 – 2001. Considerable rain fell in the years 2001-04 but since that time rainfall has been well below average and water rationing is often a necessary step. Although the annual population growth is relatively small at 0. 5191% it is still an increase in an area that is geographically limited and with a fixed amount of resources. Economically there is small but continued growth. The C. I. A. Cyprus web page reports an estimated growth in the Gross National Product of 3. 6 % for 2008.