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Cyprus News Agency 96-06-20.

Cyprus News Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Giorgos Zacharia <lysi@MIT.EDU>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Britain sees need for ''good progress'' ahead of accession talks
  • [02] Withdrawal of Turkish troops key to Cyprus solution
  • [03] Clerides proposal on missing persons an important step forward
  • [04] Britain wishes to be helpful, says Fortillo
  • [05] Clerides arrives in Florence
  • [06] Parliament approves budget for DNA blood bank
  • [07] US, Britain to concentrate efforts on Turkey, says spokesman
  • [08] Bulgaria supports just Cyprus settlement

  • 1100:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Britain sees need for ''good progress'' ahead of accession talks

    London, Jun 20 (CNA) -- Britain would like to see ''good progress'' towards a settlement in Cyprus prior to the start of accession negotiations between Cyprus, an applicant country, and the European Union, British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind has said.

    He said the UK would work towards this goal because it has a ''strong sense of obligation'' to do so.

    On his part, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has warned that confusion might ensue if efforts by the international community to push ahead with talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides are not adequately coordinated.

    Speaking after a dinner he hosted for President Clerides last night in London, Rifkind said it was ''extremely valuable to hear from President Clerides the Greek Cypriot community view and the view of the Republic of Cyprus of the current situation.''

    Invited to comment on the correlation between the solution of the Cyprus problem vis a vis EU accession, the Foreign Secretary said undoubtedly accession negotiations, due to start six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference, would be a lot easier if things move forward.

    ''A lot of the problems that come up during the negotiations will be easier to solve if there has been a good political progress, indeed if there is a political solution. That would make the negotiations a lot easier,'' Rifkind replied.

    He said Britain was ''very anxious to help any prospect for a political settlement in Cyprus'' and said the recent appointment of Sir David Hannay as the British government special representative for Cyprus ''is not a separate initiative but part of the international community efforts to take forward any prospect that can make dialogue and ultimately a political solution.''

    Asked how Britain can help towards this objective, Rifkind said ''Britain has a strong sense of obligation to do what we can to help.''

    ''We will do it as a member of the international community, we have an interest as a guarantor under the original treaty, we have an interest as a member of the European Union because Cyprus has applied for accession, and also through our commitment to the UN force in Cyprus,'' he said.

    In his remarks, President Clerides said ''it would be preferable if all efforts on Cyprus are coordinated into one, because if they move parallel to each other confusion may be created.''

    Describing his discussions as ''very frank and friendly,'' he said talks covered ''the various aspects of the Cyprus problem and what could be done in order to promote a solution and make the two communities feel secure.''

    ''I feel that there is an understanding that the solution of the Cyprus problem is an urgency, there is desire and willingness to help promote a solution, there is also an understanding that sufficient preparations must be done before we attempt to negotiate directly with the Turkish Cypriot side,'' the President said.

    There is also an understanding of the main issues that have to be faced before a solution is found, he added.

    Earlier on Wednesday, President Clerides met British Premier John Major and according to a Foreign Office spokesman ''the two sides reviewed the prospects for an intercommunal settlement, including the new dimension of the prospect of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.''

    ''The Prime Minister underlined the UK's commitment to play an active role in the search for a settlement,'' the spokesman said.

    President Clerides was accompanied to his meeting with Major by Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides and High Commissioner in London Vanias Markides.

    Today, President Clerides is scheduled to see Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, who visited recently the two military bases Britain has retained in Cyprus since it granted the island its independence in 1960.

    Portillo did not call on the President during his visit, which was described as a ''domestic visit.''

    Later today, President Clerides leaves for Florence where the EU will hold its summit under the Italian presidency where he will have a working lunch with the EU Council. He returns home on Monday.

    CNA KT/MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1210:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Withdrawal of Turkish troops key to Cyprus solution

    Washington, Jun 20 (CNA) -- The Chairman of the powerful US House International Relations Committee called on the Clinton administration to ''make it clear to the Turkish authorities, particularly to the Turkish military, that the patience of the Congress with the continued Turkish occupation of Cyprus is nearly exhausted''.

    This strong warning was conveyed, according to congressional sources, in a form of a letter by Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) to Richard Beattie, the US Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus.

    The White House announced Monday that President Bill Clinton will send his Special Emissary ''to the region in July to begin discussions on the key issues involved in a comprehensive settlement, with special emphasis on security''.

    The announcement came after a meeting between Clinton and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides during which the two leaders ''discussed how the United States could help promote prospects for a lasting and peaceful solution''.

    At the invitation of Chairman Gilman, President Clerides briefed the House International Relations Committee on June 18 about his consultation with President Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

    Gilman's positions reflects the frustration of the US Congress with Turkey's constant efforts to undermine UN efforts to end the division of Cyprus.

    It is also indicative of the strong bipartisan support for a US role in promoting a Cyprus settlement. Gilman told Beattie that he was pleased ''to hear that the administration is again taking a more active role to resolve this long-standing problem''.

    Although recognising Turkey's importance as an ally, Gilman made it clear in his letter, that the United Sates ''cannot allow that fact to excuse the continued military occupation and territorial claims against another small country that we also value strongly as a friend''.

    He also emphasised a widely held belief that the ''Turkish military holds the key'' to allow the process towards a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus dispute through the ''withdrawal of Turkish military forces from the island".

    Chairman Gilman invited Beattie to brief the House International Relations Committee on the results of his consultations that are expected to take place in mid July.

    The US House of Representatives declared in a resolution last September that ''all foreign troops should be withdrawn from the Republic of Cyprus''.

    The House endorsed a comprehensive proposal for the demilitarisation of Cyprus put forward by President Clerides in 1993. The adoption of the resolution was vigorously promoted by Gilman and his Committee.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA DA/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1330:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Clerides proposal on missing persons an important step forward

    Washington, Jun 20 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides' proposal on the missing persons question is a step forward and could help the two communities on the island to come closer.

    This was said by US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns, in an exclusive statement to CNA.

    He said President Clerides put forward his proposal on the missing persons in Cyprus at his meeting with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, on Tuesday in Washington.

    ''The issue did come up at the Secretary's breakfast. It came up and President Clerides indicated that Cyprus was prepared to exhume the remains of missing Turkish Cypriots, if the Turkish Cypriots were prepared to exhume the remains of Greek Cypriots''.

    The Spokesman told CNA that the United States support the effort by the United Nations regarding the missing persons and that the proposal of President Clerides is a step forward.

    ''We support the UN on this and President Clerides made this offer, that he would help with the Turkish Cypriots if the Turkish Cypriots would help him, which seems to be as a humanitarian gesture a logical way to go forward'', Burns said.

    The State Department Spokesman said ''this is the kind of thing that can promote, as a small step, some progress on Cyprus. If the two communities can agree we'll deal with the dead together, that seems to be common ground for them, to help them if that happens''.

    Burns said President Clerides and Secretary Christopher discussed the ongoing efforts of a US investigating team to trace the whereabouts of five American citizens missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    ''The Secretary and President Clerides also discussed the efforts by the US investigating team led by ambassador Dillon to ascertain the whereabouts of the five Americans missing from the conflict. And they continue their investigation in their pursuing leads that have been accumulating since 1974'', Burns said.

    He said ''there was an agreement yesterday to continue the work on this''.

    A total of 1619 people have been missing since the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory in 1974.

    A UN investigatory committee set up in 1981 has been unable to produce evidence for even a single case because of procedural obstacles raised by the Turkish side.

    Many of those listed as missing persons were seen or heard in prisons in mainland Turkey long after the cessation of hostilities in 1974.

    CNA DA/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2000:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Britain wishes to be helpful, says Portillo

    London, Jun 20 (CNA) -- The need for reduction of arms on both sides of the divide and Britain's wish to assist efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem, were stressed today by British Defence Secretary Michael Portillo.

    Speaking after a 30-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, in London, Portillo expressed concern ''about the increased number of arms on both sides on the line of division of the island'', adding that Britain ''would like to see that reduced and President Clerides would like to see that reduced as well.''

    Noting that ''whatever progress we are able to make with peace, obviously it is very important to reduce the temperature as much as possible'', Portillo welcomed President Clerides' proposal for the island's demilitarisation.

    He said ''we welcome all suggestions for reducing tension on the island'' and noted that ''President Clerides has made a very positive contribution with some of the suggestions he has made.''

    Portillo stressed that Britain's role in Cyprus ''is to be helpful'' and referred to the visit to the island of British Special representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hanney scheduled for July 6.

    Noting UN and European Union (EU) interest in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Portillo said ''we all want to do the best that we can and we look to President Clerides and to the Turkish Cypriot side to take up these offers and also to advise us about how we can be of help in bringing the parties together.''

    Commenting on his recent visit to Cyprus, Portillo noted how determined both Britain and Cyprus are ''that the relationship between the British base areas and the Republic of Cyprus is a harmonious one.''

    Asked about prospects of Cyprus' accession to the EU, he said the issue was discussed during the meeting with President Clerides and expressed the hope that ''it would help to accelerate the peace process.''

    After London, President Clerides flew on to Florence, Italy, to attend a meeting with the EU Council, at the invitation of the Italian Presidency of the EU.

    Cyprus applied for EU membership in 1990. It signed an association agreement in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    CNA KT/MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2015:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Clerides arrives in Florence

    Nicosia, Jun 20 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides arrived in Florence, Italy, this afternoon, to attend a working meeting with the European Union (EU) Council.

    President Clerides has been invited to the meeting by the Italian Presidency of the EU.

    On Saturday, he will take part at a working meeting with the leaders of the EU member-states.

    On the sidelines of the EU summit, President Clerides will have a series of meetings with European counterparts to discuss the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' bid to become a full member of the EU.

    Already it has been announced that he will hold talks with British Prime Minister John Major and British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, whom he saw in London yesterday.

    Cyprus - EU accession talks are expected to start six months after the end of the EU Intergovernmental Conference.

    The decision for the start of membership talks was agreed on March 6, 1995 by the EU Council of Ministers.

    In previous EU summits, the EU leaders decided that the Mediterranean island republics of Cyprus and Malta will be involved in the next EU enlargement.

    Cypriot, European and US diplomatic sources see a future accession of the island to the EU to facilitate a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem.

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

    This east Mediterranean country applied for full EU membership in 1990. It signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2020:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Parliament approves budget for DNA blood bank

    Nicosia, Jun 20 (CNA) -- The establishment of a DNA blood bank to facilitate identification of remains of persons listed as missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus was given the green light today by the island's House of Representatives.

    During today's plenary session, the House approved legislation to provide for a sum of 110.000 Cyprus pounds (some 220.000 US Dollars) from the Relief Fund, a state budget, to cover the operation costs of the DNA blood bank.

    The decision to establish the bank was taken by the Council of Ministers in March. The request was made by Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Leandros Zachariades following pressure from relatives of missing for scientific identification of their loved ones, killed during the invasion.

    The Bank will be based at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Nicosia.

    There are some 1.619 persons listed as missing since the Turkish invasion, some of them non-combatants, including elderly people, women and children.

    A UN Investigatory Committee, set up in 1981, has failed to produce evidence for even a single case of the missing persons, some of whom are foreign nationals.

    Many of them were seen or heard in Turkish prisons long after the cessation of hostilities in 1974.

    CNA EC/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2025:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] US, Britain to concentrate efforts on Turkey, says spokesman

    London, Jun 20 (CNA) -- The US and Britain should convince Turkey that common ground is a necessary precondition for direct talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides on a Cyprus settlement, Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said today.

    Speaking to London Greek Radio (LGR), Cassoulides said ''the US and Britain should concentrate their efforts on convincing Turkey that the creation of common ground is a necessary precondition for the start of direct talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.''

    Cassoulides said the Greek Cypriot side has displayed good will in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and is expecting the Turkish side to act in a similar manner.

    Answering a relevant question, Cassoulides said all parties interested in assisting efforts for a Cyprus settlement, including the UN Chief, Britain and the US and most probably the European Union and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, ''have assured the Cyprus government that they will try to coordinate their efforts under UN auspices.''

    He added the US support Cyprus' accession to the EU as well as the view that the accession would assist efforts for a Cyprus settlement and will ''convince the Turkish Cypriot community of the benefits accession will entail for their welfare.''

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

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2030:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] Bulgaria supports just Cyprus settlement

    Nicosia, Jun 20 (CNA) -- Bulgaria supports efforts for a just, viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, the country's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Planning and Construction, Doncho Konacktchiev has stated.

    The Bulgarian official made this statement at a meeting with Cyprus Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, who is visiting Bulgaria.

    The Bulgarian government, Konacktchiev said, supports efforts for a just, viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem that would secure human rights and political freedoms according to UN principles.

    Christodoulou is attending the 10tth meeting of the Cyprus -Bulgarian Intergovernmental Committee to discuss ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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