However, there does at last seem to be a real hope of progress. All four of the outside interests in Cyprus' future are, for the first time, of one mind. The United Nations has produced a plan for a rotating presidency of the whole island which would broadly recognise the existing demarcations. The European Union wants Cyprus as a whole in a settled state in time for its admission to membership in 2004, which has already been agreed in principle. There is a new government in Turkey which wants to act responsibly to further its own EU membership prospects. Greece, currently holding the presidency of the EU, is in turn showing signs of wanting a civilised relationship with Turkey.
There is a fifth force inside Cyprus which could prove especially influential the Turkish residents who have shown by large demonstrations that they want the stubborn Rauf Denktash to reach a settlement. The next deadline is on Monday when finalstate negotiations start once more, hopefully for the last time.
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