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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Analysis: Cypriot reunification benefits
By Tabitha Morgan
BBC, Nicosia

Greek and Turkish Cypriots will now decide on whether or not their island will be reunited.

Turkish Cypriots cross to the Greek side in April 2003, for the first time in 29 years
Reunification will be phased - no dramatic tearing down of walls
They will get the chance to vote on the UN proposals in separate referendums on both sides of the divide in April.

So what would reunification mean for Cyprus?

This agreement means that while Cyprus would be regarded by the international community as a united republic, it would - to all intents and purposes - consist of two very small constituent states living side by side.

They would each enjoy autonomy in everything except defence and foreign relations.

To date, Greek Cypriot public opinion appears to be set firmly against it - but if Cypriots do vote in favour of the deal, reunification would be phased in over several years.

The number of crossing points in the UN buffer zone that divides the island would gradually be increased, but Cypriots would still have to show their identity cards when crossing between the two constituent states.

Win-win?

As for changes in daily life, it is the northern Turkish part of the island that would stand to gain most.

The unrecognised republic is drab and impoverished.

Decades of international trade sanctions have stunted economic development and unemployment and emigration are high.

Reunification would end Turkish Cypriot political and diplomatic isolation and would enable the community to trade directly with the rest of the world.

For Greek Cypriots the changes would be less visible, but sufficient territory would be returned to the Greek Cypriot state to allow more than half of the refugees who fled their homes at the time of the Turkish invasion to return.

There may be a lot of uncertainty over the details of the latest UN plan, but one thing is clear - if the island is reunited there will not be any dramatic tearing down of walls.


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The BBC's David Banford
"The Greek side is most annoyed with the proposed changes"



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