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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive

Vincent Morelli
Section Research Manager

As 2013 opened, the Republic of Cyprus had just concluded what many agreed was a highly successful six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) that began on July 1, 2012. During that same six-month period, the republic continued to experience banking and fiscal crises not unlike what was taking place in Greece and elsewhere throughout Europe, resulting in the beginning of a prolonged negotiation with the EU for financial assistance and the implementation of a tough economic austerity program. The republic, at the beginning of 2013, also entered a period of national elections for a new government.

Lost in the conduct of the EU presidency, the trauma of the fiscal crisis, and the beginning of the electoral season was the negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots to try to resolve the political division of Cyprus and set reunification into motion. By May 2012, the U.N.-sponsored talks, which had endured two years (2010-2012) of intense negotiations including regular leadership meetings, technical level discussions, and five meetings with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, had essentially reached a stalemate and were suspended. Republic of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu were simply unable to find common ground or make enough necessary concessions on the difficult issues of governance, security, property rights, territory, and citizenship (mostly involving mainland Turks who had “settled” in the north), to craft a final settlement.

On February 27, 2013, Nicos Anastasiades of the DISY party, was sworn in as the new president of the Republic of Cyprus after having won office in a February 24 second-round presidential vote. Anastasiades, who himself had supported the 2004 Annan Plan for reunification, had partnered during the election cycle with the center-right DIKO party, which had expressed strong opposition to many of the positions reportedly taken by former President Christofias in the negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots.

With the election over, and Anastasiades committed to first addressing the government’s fiscal crisis, questions have been raised about how, when, and under what conditions the talks would restart. The Turkish Cypriots saw an opportunity to hopefully start over, under different conditions, with a newly elected government in the republic. However, Mr. Eroglu recently stated that “while there is a Greek Cypriot administration in the South, there is the TRNC state in the North. The Cyprus Republic was a state based on the partnership of Turkish and Greek Cypriots. We were ousted from this republic in 1963 and [now] we are seeking a bicommunal state based on bizonality, political equality and two founding states.” This view, which seems to set a new condition for resuming the talks, will not likely be shared by the Anastasiades government. Eroglu has also restated his belief that if the talks resume they must come with a deadline for conclusion, a demand previously rejected by the Christofias administration.

Legislation (H.Res. 676 and S.Con.Res. 47) had been introduced during the 112
th Congress calling for support for the republic. The Congress will likely continue to maintain its interest in a resolution of the Cyprus issue during the 113th Congress. This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks.

Date of Report: March 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: R41136
Price: $29.95

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Azerbaijan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Jim Nichol
Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs

Azerbaijan is an important power in the South Caucasus by reason of its geographic location and ample energy resources, but it faces challenges to its stability, including the unresolved separatist conflict involving Nagorno Karabakh (NK). Azerbaijan enjoyed a brief period of independence in 1918-1920, after the collapse of the Tsarist Russian Empire. However, it was re-conquered by Red Army forces and thereafter incorporated into the Soviet Union. It re-gained independence when the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991. Upon independence, Azerbaijan continued to be ruled for a while by its Soviet-era leader, but in May 1992 he was overthrown and Popular Front head Abulfaz Elchibey was soon elected president. Military setbacks in suppressing separatism in the breakaway NK region contributed to Elchibey’s rise to power, and in turn to his downfall just over a year later, when he was replaced by Heydar Aliyev, the leader of Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan region and a former communist party head of Azerbaijan. In July 1994, a ceasefire agreement was signed in the NK conflict. Heydar Aliyev served until October 2003, when under worsening health he stepped down. His son Ilkham Aliyev was elected president a few days later.

According to the Obama Administration, U.S. assistance for Azerbaijan aims to develop democratic institutions and civil society, support the growth of the non-oil sectors of the economy, strengthen the interoperability of the armed forces with NATO, increase maritime border security, and bolster the country’s ability to combat terrorism, corruption, narcotics trafficking, and other transnational crime. Cumulative U.S. assistance budgeted for Azerbaijan from FY1992 through FY2010 was $976 million (all agencies and programs). Almost one-half of the aid was humanitarian, and another one-fifth supported democratic reforms. Budgeted aid to Azerbaijan was $26.4 million in FY2011 and an estimated $20.9 million in FY2012 (including “Function 150” foreign aid and excluding Defense and Energy Department funds). Under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for FY2013, signed into law on September 28, 2012 (P.L. 112-175), regular foreign aid accounts are funded until late March 2013 at the same level as in FY2012 plus .612%, and most country allocations may be adjusted at agency discretion.

After the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Azerbaijan granted overflight rights and approved numerous landings and refueling operations at Baku’s civilian airport in support of U.S. and coalition military operations in Afghanistan. More recently, the country is a major land, air, and sea conduit of the Northern Distribution Network for supplies entering and leaving Afghanistan to support U.S. and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stabilization operations. Azerbaijan has contributed troops for the ISAF since 2003. The country increased its contingent from 45 to 90 personnel in 2009, including medical and civil affairs specialists. From 2003 to 2008, about 150 Azerbaijani troops participated in the coalition stabilization force for Iraq.

Date of Report: February 22, 2013
Number of Pages: 33
Order Number: 97-522
Price: $29.95

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97-522.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART


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