Cyprus is a difficult and complex issue. It has a long history and remains unresolved today. But the issue ultimately revolves around one central fact: the existence of two distinct peoples on the island, the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. Their language, culture, national origin and religion, as well as their aspirations, are different. However, they are equal to one another in determining the destiny of the island. Hence, the story of Cyprus is essentially the story of the relationship between these two peoples.

This booklet is about that relationship from the point of view of international law. It is designed to meet an essential need, namely, an in-depth legal analysis of the political equality of the two sides in Cyprus. For too often this equality has been denied or ignored for reasons of political expediency and the Turkish Cypriot views have not been properly appreciated because the legal underpinning's were generally lacking.

The five sections of this booklet provide the legal background necessary for a balanced understanding of the Cyprus question. The booklet contains three legal opinions, one on the right of self-determination of the Turkish Cypriot people and two on the status of the two communities in the island, as well as a legal memorandum on the subject occasioned by the unilateral Greek Cypriot application for membership to the European Communities. They together shed light on the major aspects of international law issues involved in, and relevant to, the Cyprus question. It should be remembered that legal opinions are regarded as objective expressions of the law under the authority of their authors.

The author of two of the three opinions is Mr. Elihu Lauterpacht, CBE, QC, a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who has been Reader in International Law since 1981. He is at present the Director of the Research Centre for International Law in Cambridge.

The author of the third opinion, Mr. Monroe Leigh, is at present a member of a private legal firm, Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, D.C. , and a member of the Legal Adviser's Public Advisory Committee on International Law, U.S. Department of State. He was Legal Adviser to the Department of State, Washington, by Presidential Appointment during January 1975 to January 1977.

The legal issues expounded in the opinions of the above mentioned distinguished lawyers, in the context of the Cyprus question, are particularly relevant at the present time, in the light of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 649 (1990) of 12 March 1990, which called upon the parties "to pursue their efforts to reach freely a mutually acceptable solution" in the from a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. This resolution confirmed the conceptual framework underlining the principle that a settlement is only possible if the two politically equal sides are freely able to reach a mutually acceptable solution through direct talks-a point which formed the basis of the United Nations Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on 8 March 1990 (S/21183), which contained, inter alia, the following significant passage:

"Cyprus is the common home of the Greek Cypriot community and of the Turkish Cypriot community. Their relationship is not one of majority and minority, but one of two communities in the State of Cyprus. The mandate given to me by the Security Council makes it clear that my mission of good offices in with the two communities. My mandate is also explicit that the participation of the two communities in this process is on an equal footing. The solution that is being sought is thus one that must be decided upon by, and must be acceptable to, both communities. It must also respect the cultural, religious, social and linguistic identity of each community."

Resolution 649 (1990) was the result of this report of the Secretary General to the Security Council.