This essay highlights the role of contingent provisions in the London-Zurich Agreements, which established the Republic of Cyprus, in damaging the future chances for a smoothly functioning state of affairs between the ethnic groups on Cyprus. By allowing contentious elements such as geographic division of municipalities, allocation of sovereign territory by a colonial power (the British), taxation and allocation of resources for the two communities to manage their affairs separately, the extent of integration of the armed forces, and the ratio of participation in the civil service, these provisions set up the young republic for turmoil. A powerful lesson emerges for constitutive arrangements as ethnic groups are driven to the negotiating table. The reluctance of drafters of agreements to address contentious issues sets up the conditions for reignition of conflict. To the extent issues are not addressed, a conflict simply continues by “other means,” and peace is merely imagined.

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