Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


Over the course of four decades the Cyprus Problem has become legendary in diplomatic and political circles for its intractability. In the thirty years since Cyprus was divided in 1974, four successive UN Secretaries-General have unsuccessfully attempted to bridge the intercommunal divide and reunite the island. All have failed. However, even before this, in the decade from 1964–74, yet another UN chief unsuccessfully tried to broker an agreement between the two sides.1 If being the secretary-general is, as famously described by Trygve Lie, the first holder of the post, ‘the most difficult job in the world’, Cyprus has been the issue that has lent a Sisyphean element to the position. As Kurt Waldheim once commented, Cyprus was the ‘most thankless and frustrating task’ of his tenure.2 But it has not just been secretaries-general of the UN that have been defeated by Cyprus. This small Mediterranean island has also bested many of the world most skilled diplomats, politicians and mediators. Even Richard Holbrooke, fresh from his success forging the Dayton Accord, which brought to an end the tripartite civil war in Bosnia, was roundly beaten by Cyprus.


European Council Field Researcher General Staff European Union Membership Political Circle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 17.
    David Barchard, Turkey and the European Union ( London: Centre for European Reform, 1998 ), p. 35.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James Ker-Lindsay 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civilitas ResearchCyprus

Personalised recommendations