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Cyprus News Agency (96-06-06)

Cyprus News Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Panayiotis Zaphiris <pzaphiri@glue.umd.edu>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Clinton, Clerides to discuss ways to solve Cyprus problem
  • [02] UN Security Council stresses need for Cyprus settlement
  • [03] Former Government Spokesman pardoned
  • [04] Us house wants end to aid to Turkey
  • [05] Huge blaze under control
  • [06] Former Cyprus President elected House President
  • [07] National Council meets Friday
  • [08] New House President vows to work objectively
  • [09] Ireland firm on Cyprus' EU course
  • [10] New House President - biographical note

  • 0945:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clinton, Clerides to discuss ways to solve Cyprus problem

    Washington, Jun 6 (CNA) -- US President Bill Clinton and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will discuss on June 18 in Washington how the US can promote prospects for a lasting and peaceful solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    A White House official statement says the US sees President Clerides' visit to the country as an opportunity to affirm the excellent relations between Cyprus and the US.

    ''US President Bill Clinton has invited Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides to Washington for a working visit on June 18. President Clerides has accepted the invitation'', the statement says.

    It adds the visit ''provides an opportunity for the two leaders to affirm the excellent relations that exist between the US and the Republic of Cyprus''.

    It also notes that during the meeting the two leaders will ''review the situation on the island and discuss how the US can promote prospects for a lasting and peaceful settlement''

    They will also ''exchange views on the overall situation in the eastern Mediterranean and discuss other political and economic issues.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    Turkey has blocked repeated UN and US efforts for a solution to the long-standing problem, ignoring numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of its occupation troops from this east Mediterranean island.

    Washington is expected to launch a fresh initiative later this year.

    CNA DA/MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1030:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] UN Security Council stresses need for Cyprus settlement

    United Nations, Jun 6 (CNA) -- The killing of a Greek Cypriot soldier in the UN-controlled buffer zone is a reminder of the need for a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem, Egyptian President of the UN Security Council has stressed.

    Nabil El Arabi, whose country presides over the UN Security Council for June, said an investigation into the incident would be undertaken, adding that ''it is a reminder of the need to make progress towards a peaceful settlement.''

    He noted the ''Security Council has repeatedly called for unmanning along the buffer zone and removal of weapons.''

    In its deliberations the UN Security Council reminded itself that its resolution 889 of December 15, 1993 calling for extensive unmanning along ''all areas of the buffer zone where the two sides were in close proximity'' lays unimplemented for the past three and a half years.

    UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, reported on June 7, 1994 that the National Guard has ''repeatedly indicated it is prepared to pursue'' unmanning discussions, noting that the Turkish forces did not agree to enter discussions.''

    Similarly, the demilitarisation proposal put forward by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides have also been turned down by the Turkish side.

    Meanwhile, Cyprus lodged a strong protest with the United Nations over the killing of 19-year-old Greek Cypriot National Guardsman Stelios Panagi on Monday morning by Turkish soldiers in UN-controlled buffer zone at Ayios Andreas area in Nicosia.

    In a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN Nicos Agathocleous says ''this tragic event reaffirms the need of adequate measures on the part of the UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to ensure that such acts of violence and aggression in cold blood are not repeated''.

    The Cypriot diplomat stresses in the strongest possible terms his government's ''protest, indignation and condemnation of this unprovoked criminal act, which underlines once again the inherent dangers to peace and security emanating from the continued presence of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus''.

    Agathocleous refers to the killing saying that the soldier, who was unarmed, was shot and killed without and prior warning or any attempt to arrest him.

    He says the local UN troop commander went to the scene of the shooting but was not able to move to the place where the soldier was shot as three shots fired by Turkish Cypriot soldiers.

    It was only after about 25 minutes that the UN soldiers were finally able to rescue the body, as confirmed by the UN spokesperson.

    Doctors in Nicosia said the soldier was still alive when an ambulance went to the scene but died on way to hospital.

    ''The Cyprus government considers that the Turkish occupation forces bear full responsibility for this callous act,'' ambassador Agathocleous notes in his letter, circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    The National Guard soldier was shot and killed by the Turks in the no man's land. The 1.200-strong UN Force patrols the 180-kilometre buffer zone across this east Mediterranean island since the Turkish invasion.

    CNA JD/MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1130:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Former Government Spokesman pardoned

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- Former Cyprus Government Spokesman Akis Fantis won a presidential pardon today and is to be released after four months and 19 days in jail.

    Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides confirmed to CNA that President Glafcos Clerides reached this decision based on a suggestion by Attorney General Alecos Markides.

    Fantis, who had served as Government Spokesman from 1988 to 1992 under President George Vassiliou, was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment on January 18, 1996 by Nicosia District Court, for fraud and conspiracy for squandering public funds.

    A pardon has also been granted to Charalambos Charalambous, who had been given a 14-month sentence, for the same case.

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1350:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] US House wants end to aid to Turkey

    Washington, Jun 6 (CNA) -- The US House of Representatives has passed an amendment to end the US economic assistance to Turkey unless that country stops its inhumane blockade of Armenia.

    The amendment, which passed yesterday afternoon by 301 votes in favour and 118 votes against, was offered by congressmen Peter Viscolsky (D-IN), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

    Almost all congressmen, who took the floor, referred to the Cyprus problem, using tough words for the Turkish policy on Cyprus. Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    Viscolsky said in addition to Turkey's ongoing blockade of humanitarian assistance to Armenia, Turkey is continuing its illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus, its internationally-condemned war against the Kurds living in Southeastern Turkey, its persecution of Christians, and its aggressive policies in the Aegean Sea, which very nearly resulted in an armed confrontation with Greece earlier this year.

    Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) told the House that ''the illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus must end. Turkish intransigence over the proposed demilitarization of this beautiful island must end.'' She said the foot dragging over the final fate of the missing Greek Cypriots and Americans must also end.

    ''For my colleagues who aren't aware of the depth of suffering brought on by the 1974 invasion, I invite them to Astoria, Queens, in my district, where they will meet dozens of people who have not heard a word about their loved ones in twenty two years.

    Similar tough statements were made by many other congressmen. Among them was the Chairman of the US House International Relations Committee Benjamin Gilman (R-NY).

    The amendment was prompted by the decision of US President Bill Clinton to make a waiver, claiming reasons of national security, on the decision of the US Congress to cut aid to Turkey.

    CNA DA/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Huge blaze under control

    Limassol, Jun 6 (CNA) -- A huge fire, raging out of control until an hour ago near Episkopi village on the southern coast has been put under control.

    Firefighters, aided by a variety of fire fighting equipment including helicopters, have been working all day to extinguish the fire which has destroyed about five square kilometres of wild vegetation, olive and carob groves, and pine trees.

    The exact cause of the fire, fanned by northerly winds, has not been established yet but Limassol police said they are looking into unconfirmed reports that a small camping gas, used by British soldiers training in the area, was responsible for the blaze.

    A spokesman for the British bases dismissed the reports as ''unsubstantiated'' and said ''I am quite sure this is not so.''

    Police maintain the fire broke out last night when the small gas bottle exploded. It was nearly extinguished by midnight but flared up again during the early hours of Thursday morning.

    One of the two military bases Britain has retained since Cyprus gained its independence, RAF Akrotiri and Episkopi Garrison, are in the vicinity.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1710:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Former Cyprus President elected House President

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- Spyros Kyprianou, former Cyprus President and leader of the centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO), is the new President of the House of Representatives.

    He was elected with the support of the ruling Democratic Rally party (DISY) and his own party, a government partner, with 30 votes in favour and 26 against.

    His opponent for the post, Socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides, received 26 votes in favour (those of AKEL, EDEK and New Democrats) and 30 against.

    More later

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1745:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] National Council meets Friday

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides will brief Friday the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, on the latest developments in the Cyprus question.

    The President intends to brief Council members on his recent contacts with foreign dignitaries involved in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem.

    He will discuss with them the views he will outline in his forthcoming meetings with UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, on June 11 in Geneva, US President Bill Clinton, on June 18 in Washington, and British Premier John Major, on June 19 in London.

    Announcing Friday's meeting, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said former Cyprus President and newly elected member of the House of Representatives George Vassiliou has been invited to participate in tomorrow's meeting.

    Vassiliou, who served as President of the Republic from 1988 to 1993, will participate in the National Council as leader of the newcomer party in the House, Free Democrats Movement.

    ''The Council will decide on the composition of its members for future meetings. I would think this will take some time before the Council reaches a conclusion on the matter,'' Cassoulides said.

    He said various suggestions and proposals will have to be looked into before a final decision is taken.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1820:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] New House President vows to work objectively

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- The new House President Spyros Kyprianou has pledged to work ''in an objective, serious and responsible manner'' to ensure the smooth running of the House in a spirit of cooperation.

    In his first speech after his election to the post, the second highest post in the Republic of Cyprus, Kyprianou said he was fully aware of the grave responsibility and the task entrusted to him by the House.

    ''I would like to assure all deputies, irrespective of party affiliation, that I shall contribute with all my strength towards constructive dialogue and smooth running of the House,'' Kyprianou told the first House session after the May 26 parliamentary elections.

    He vouched to work with ''honesty and consistency'' to carry out the ''difficult and painful task before us.''

    The new House President, the eighth in succession since Cyprus became an independent state in 1960, stressed the need for a ''harmonious relation between the executive and the legislative'' but also pointed out that the legislative should ensure proper control of the executive.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Kyprianou said securing freedom and the return to the Turkish-occupied areas of the island are the goals Cyprus is aiming at.

    The reunification of Cyprus and the Republic's ''political defence through membership of the European Union are also part of our objectives,'' he said.

    He expressed appreciation to Greece for its unwavering support for Cyprus and said the joint Greco-Cypriot defence policy ''has opened new horizons for Cyprus' negotiating position.''

    Kyprianou congratulated the outgoing House President Alexis Galanos and described his term in office as ''creative.'' Galanos, in his reply, thanked all deputies who praised his House Presidency.

    Kyprianou also paid tribute to the qualities of his only opponent for the House presidency, Socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides, who was supported by the opposition parties leftwing AKEL, socialist EDEK and the newly-elected party to the House Free Democrats Movement (KED) of former Cyprus President George Vassiliou.

    Kyprianou was supported by 30 deputies, namely 20 from the ruling rightwing Democratic Rally (DISY), and 10 from his own centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO), a government partner.

    Lyssarides was supported by 26 deputies, namely 19 from AKEL, five from EDEK and two from KED.

    All deputies, including 21 new comers in the 56-seat House, were sworn in at today's session and pledged ''faith and respect for the Constitution and the laws and the maintenance of the independence and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.''

    The House will meet again on Thursday, June 13.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1925:CYPPRESS:09

    [09] Ireland firm on Cyprus' EU course

    London, Jun 6 (CNA) -- Ireland, next European Union president, has assumed a very positive stand towards Cyprus' application for admission to the EU, Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring has said.

    He said the opportunity that avails itself at present, through accession negotiations, should be seized to push for a Cyprus solution.

    Speaking here today after a 45-minute meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Spring welcomed the chance to meet Michaelides again and said ''Ireland has a very positive attitude towards Cyprus' application.''

    ''We had a number of meetings in the past few months and with the Irish EU presidency commencing on July 1, we want to have ongoing discussions with the Cypriot government in relation to the accession and in relation to finding a solution to the problems on the island,'' he said.

    Asked if a Cyprus settlement should precede the island's accession, Spring replied ''there is a certain momentum now and I think we should use the window of opportunity in terms of the Cyprus accession to have discussions in relation to finding a solution.''

    Replying to questions, the Irish Minister said he saw no problems in keeping to the agreed timetable for the start of membership talks between the EU and Cyprus.

    ''I do not see any problems about the start of accession negotiations. We would hope to conclude the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) during the first half of 1997 and we have an agreement between a number of states that negotiations will commence within six months of the completion of the IGC.''

    That is the position, he added, and ''I do not see any change on that.''

    In his remarks after the meeting, Michaelides said he was ''very pleased'' and said Spring was ''very positive and showed a lot of understanding'' during the talks which aimed to find ways to engage the EU more effectively in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem.

    ''The purpose of the exercise is to involve the EU in a more substantive and effective manner because the EU is a most appropriate body to express views, suggestions and contribute towards the internal aspects of the Cyprus question,'' Michaelides told the press.

    The two Ministers agreed to continue their consultations and meet again in Florence later this month, at the forthcoming EU summit ''to outline the strategy we shall follow to get the EU more actively involved in Cyprus.''

    Michaelides did not question the EU decision to embark on membership talks with Cyprus, as set out in the EU Council decision in March last year.

    Replying to questions, Michaelides said the main players in the efforts to settle the Cyprus question are the US, as a superpower which can talk to Turkey on security issues, and the EU which is in a better position to influence on the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem.

    Cyprus applied for full membership of the European Community in July 1990. It signed an association agreement with the Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    The east Mediterranean island Republic has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2040:CYPPRESS:10

    [10] New House President - biographical note

    Nicosia, Jun 6 (CNA) -- Newly-elected President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, the seventh in succession, was born in the southern coastal town of Limassol in 1932.

    He is married with two children, one of whom is a House deputy. He studied law in the City of London College and founded the National Students Union of Cypriots in Britain and served as the Union's first President between 1952-54.

    In March 1959 he returned to Cyprus and a year later, when the Cyprus Republic was established, Kyprianou was first appointed Justice Minister, only to be moved to the Foreign Ministry shortly afterwards.

    He served as Foreign Minister until his resignation in May 1972 when he disagreed with the then Greek military junta that ruled Greece.

    He worked as a lawyer and when after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, Kyprianou shuttled between Athens and London, where Cyprus' President, Archbishop Makarios III, had fled after he was toppled by a military coup on July 15, 1974, engineered by the Greek military junta.

    In May 1976, Kyprianou established the Democratic Party (DIKO) and secured 21 seats in the parliamentary elections the same year in the then 35-seat House.

    Kyprianou was elected House President in 1976 and a year later, when Archbishop Makarios III died, he was acting President of the Republic.

    In the next presidential elections, in February 1978, he was elected to the Presidency of the Republic unopposed, a post he held until 1988 when he lost the race to the Presidential Palace.

    DIKO today now has ten parliamentary seats in the 56-member House, which emerged from the May 26, 1996 elections.

    The centre-right party participates in the coalition government with the rightwing Democratic Rally Party (DISY), which was formed in 1993 when Glafcos Clerides was elected President of the Republic with DIKO's support.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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