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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-11-18

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 18, 1999

Ankara creating 'negative climate'

THE DECEMBER proximity talks continued to be the main topic on the front pages as well as in the editorial columns.


reported that Ankara was "rushing to pre-empt any Cyprus developments" by insisting that a solution must be based on the existence of two states. The Turkish government, which appeared to have imposed this view on the mediators, constantly expressed its public support for Rauf Denktash's demands. All this had created a "negative climate".

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, in "an outburst of intransigence", made it clear that he would make no concession on Cyprus while Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said "Turkey will not retreat even by a millimetre". Meanwhile, the UN had not yet decided the procedure that will be followed in next month's proximity talks, nor the issues that will be discussed.


reported that the international community had been rallying behind the UN Secretary-general's peace initiative. Apart from the "direct and positive support of President Clinton, who had advised Turkey to make a goodwill gesture," France, Britain, Russia and Sweden had also called on Ankara to make a positive move. Clinton called on everyone to work hard for a fair settlement.

The paper was less flattering to Clinton in its front-page editorial. It criticised the US president for making big promises to Turkey -- large amount of financial aid, to help the EU drive and to make her a geo- strategic power -- without seeking anything in return. This policy could be construed by Turkey as a "reward for a sick and dangerous mentality".


revealed that US permanent representative at the UN Richard Holbrooke had been behind the calling of proximity talks on December 3. Until then, there would be an "intensive bout of diplomatic haggling", which was expected to commence at the OSCE meeting in Istanbul. Holbrooke had kept open lines of communication with US ambassadors in Ankara and Athens.

In its front-page editorial, the paper slammed the Cyprus government for lifting all the conditions it had set for attending talks and accepting all the demands of the Turkish side. The latest developments had "confirmed that Cyprus policy no longer has credibility" at home or abroad. At home, public opinion could no longer have faith in the leadership's declarations, while abroad "they know that resistance is false".


reported that the Greek diplomatic services had attempted to link the New York proximity talks to the EU Helsinki summit, in exchange for supporting Turkey EU candidate status. If all went according to plan the decision would include the following points:

a) It would express the hope for a Cyprus settlement, calling on both sides to word towards this goal. b) If there is no settlement, this should not be an obstacle to Cyprus' accession to the EU. c) No third country, which is not an EU member, could veto the accession of any country to the EU; this was an indirect reference to Turkey which has tried to block Cyrpus' EU accession.


reported that the Americans would submit three sets of proposals on the basic aspects of the Cyprus problem during the December proximity talks. The proposals would be submitted by the UN and cover the following issues: territory, constitution and security.

The Americans will propose the return of as much territory as possible in order to secure the return of a large number of refugees to their homes. Peacekeeping will be done by a multi-national force, commanded by the US.


reported that the Cyprus government would ask the EU to take a more active role in the December talks and to use its influence so these would prove productive. There will be no mention of the Cyprus issue at the OSCE conference in Istanbul. All diplomatic discussions about Cyprus were expected to take place on the sidelines of the conference, it said.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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