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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-07-18

Cyprus News Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <dist@hri.org>


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Clerides meets Albright
  • [02] Cyprus solution foreseen before start of EU talks
  • [03] Clerides - Albright meeting described as constructive
  • [04] Protest outside embassies
  • [05] Army commanders to meet for first time
  • [06] Albright brings news ideas for Cyprus
  • [07] Government confirms meetings between army commanders
  • [08] Cyprus and Russia to strengthen legal cooperation
  • [09] Albright's ideas concern methodology

  • 0930:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] President Clerides meets Albright

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides was discussing the Cyprus problem this morning over a working breakfast with US Permanent Representative to the UN Madeleine Albright.

    Attending the meeting are Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides, Presidential Under-Secretary Pantelis Kouros, Attorney General Alecos Markides and Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Alecos Shambos.

    Albright is accompanied by Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Beattie, the Director of Southern European Affairs Office at the State Department Carey Cavanaugh, US Ambassador in Nicosia Kenneth Brill, Embassy First Secretary John Koening, Real Admiral Malcolm Fages, US Navy, Acting Vice Director J-5 Strategic Plan and Policies Joint Chief of Staff, Elaine Kathrine Shocas, USUN Chief of Staff, James Phillip Rubin, USUN Senior Adviser and Spokesman, David Scheffer, Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Permanent Representative, Stuart Edward Jones, USUN Executive Assistant, Eugene Tadie, USUN Executive Assistant and George Rowland, Executive Officer Secretary's Office Department of State.

    Albright, who is a member of President Bill Clinton's cabinet, arrived in Cyprus yesterday afternoon for a 24-hour visit to discuss the Cyprus problem with Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.

    She came to Cyprus from Athens, where she held talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, Theodoros Pangalos and Yerasimos Arsenis.

    Albright leaves Cyprus this afternoon for Ankara, last stop of her three-nation tour, for similar talks with the Turkish government.

    The US official will have a meeting with Greek Cypriot National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Nicolaos Vorvolakos.

    At noon, she will cross into the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus to have separate meetings with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces Hasan Kundaksi.

    Before leaving the island, she will give a press conference for the Greek and Turkish Cypriot journalists, at the Ledra Palace Hotel, situated in the UN-controlled buffer zone of Nicosia.

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1100:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Cyprus solution foreseen before start of EU talks

    United Nations, Jul 18 (CNA) -- Stating that the new element in the Cyprus equation was the ''European factor'', UN special envoy Han Sung-Joo said it was ''important to find a solution to the Cyprus problem before the start of the European Union accession talks'', which are due to begin sometime in 1997.

    Han said here yesterday ''both sides recognised this as an element to be reckoned with and that European Union membership served the interests of both communities.''

    Describing it as a ''crucial moment for both communities'', Han noted it was important that progress be achieved before then.

    Professor Han was speaking during a press conference, following a briefing to the Security Council on his visit to Nicosia, Athens, Ankara, Brussels and other capitals. He is expected to return to the region for further talks sometime in autumn.

    Han noted he had extensive meetings with political parties, trade unions, and business groups in both communities but that there still appeared to be ''a great deal of distance in the positions of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.''

    He said the Security Council ''expressed concern about the fairly large number of mediators'', who had lately become involved in the Cyprus problem.

    The UN envoy said he was ''given assurances that all of them would cooperate very closely with UN Special Representative and support my efforts not only to try to solve the Cyprus problem but to coordinate the efforts of the mediators.'' He said he was ''fairly optimistic such coordination would be achieved.''

    Asked about the status of the ''set of ideas'' put forward in 1989 by the UN Secretary-General, Han said they would still serve as the ''basis of the solution we are seeking but that after four years they needed updating.''

    Asked whether he encountered a harder line in Turkey since the government there had changed, Han replied that his meetings there were useful and that he remained ''hopeful that we can find some kind of formula for a solution.''

    The ''set of ideas'' was the subject of three rounds of talks between both sides from June to October 1992. The talks foundered, in the words of the security Council, ''because certain positions adopted by the Turkish Cypriot side were fundamentally at variance with the set of ideas.''

    In this connection, the Secretary-General noted that ''some of the positions voiced by the Turkish Cypriot side are, in a fundamental way, outside the framework of the set of ideas.''

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal. CNA/JD/GP/1996

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1245:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Clerides - Albright meeting described as constructive

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides described President Glafcos Clerides' meeting today with US Permanent Representative to the UN Madeleine Albright as ''constructive and quite interesting''.

    President Clerides and Albright discussed the Cyprus problem over a working breakfast at the Presidential Palace, attended by officials from both sides. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes.

    Cassoulides avoided to answer press questions before the conclusion of Albright's meetings on the island.

    Albright also refrained from making any statement, saying there would be a press conference later today.

    The press conference will be given at the Ledra Palace Hotel situated in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, before her departure for Ankara.

    Asked to comment whether there is any attempt to link the Cyprus problem with an effort to promote confidence building measures in the Aegean Sea (dispute between Greece and Turkey), Cassoulides said the two issues are dealt with separately. At the same time, he noted that the Cyprus problem is not in a ''glass cage'', as he characteristically said. It has a relation with other problems, the Spokesman added.

    After the Presidential Palace, Albright went to the National Guard Headquarters, where she had a meeting with National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Nicolaos Vorvolakos.

    No statements were made by either party after the one-hour meeting but according to reliable sources security issues with special reference to the UN-controlled buffer zone across the island were discussed.

    The same sources told CNA that pressure is expected to be exerted on both sides, for an overall solution of military issues.

    Among the members of the US delegation, which visited the National Guard Headquarters, were Real Admiral Malcolm Fages, US Navy, Acting Vice Director J-5 Strategic Plan and Policies, Joint Chief of Staff, and US Embassy Defence and Army Attache David Fetter.

    The US officials will have similar discussions this afternoon with the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces Hasan Kundaksi.

    The meeting will take place in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1450:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Protest outside embassies

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- The Cypriot people demanded today from the big ''5'' and the European Union to exert pressure on Turkey to end its occupation of part of Cyprus.

    A group of people made up of refugees, relatives of missing persons and representatives of the enclaved people staged sit-in protests today outside the embassies of the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France and the European Union, to denounce the Turkish invasion, 22 years ago, and the occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory.

    In a petition handed over to embassy representatives, the group denounces the unacceptable Turkish stance that disregards UN resolutions on Cyprus and calls upon the United Nations to implement its resolutions, which provide for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops and settlers and the return of thousands of refugees to their homes.

    It also calls on the UN to force Turkey to give definite answers regarding the fate of the Greek Cypriots missing since the Turkish invasion and to implement the Vienna III agreement, signed in August 1975, providing, inter alia, for the protection of the human rights of the enclaved people.

    The petition stresses that the people of Cyprus look forward for the UN intervention for the island's demilitarisation and the withdrawal of the Turkish settlers, thus allowing all Cypriots to live peacefully.

    CNA MCH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1750:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Army commanders to meet for first time

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- A meeting between the Commander of the National Guard and the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, under the auspices of the UN Commander, will take place as soon as possible, US permanent Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright announced here Thursday.

    This is the first time in 22 years, since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, that the commanders of the two armies will meet to discuss security issues.

    Speaking at a press conference today at the end of her 24-hour visit to the island, the American ambassador announced:

    ''I am heartened that I can report some concrete progress. For the first time the sides have indicated a willingness to convene a meeting of the Commander of the National Guard, the Commander of Turkish Forces in Cyprus, under the auspices of UN Commander as soon as possible''.

    Albright said such a meeting can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure effective implementation of the relevant UN proposals to reduce tensions along the buffer zone.

    ''This is exactly the kind of practical beginning I hope to achieve'', she said.

    Albright, who is leaving for Ankara this evening for talks with the Turkish political leadership and the military, also said in the past, both sides have identified security as a critical issue in any potential settlement.

    ''During our discussions today, we have sought to identify the key problems that need to be resolved in this area'', she said.

    Ambassador Albright said she ''did come with specific views about what needs to be done along the buffer zone and that both sides shared this concern and agreed to work extensively on the latest UN proposal in this area''.

    Furthermore, Albright said ''the time has come for practical solutions and a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus conflict -for the sake of the people who live here and to ensure regional stability''.

    Referring to her meetings on the island, Albright said in her opening remarks that ''the focus of our meetings has been to explore whether the opportunity exists to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement for Cyprus''.

    The American ambassador said she has ''no illusions about the difficult of this task and we know that if such a peace is to be reached it will require a great deal of diplomatic groundwork.''

    She said the US Presidential Emissary, Richard Beattie, who is accompanying her, ''will be continuing this process intensively in the coming months''.

    Albright acknowledged that ''many Cyprus peace initiatives have come and gone. Nevertheless, we are convinced that an opportunity exists for progress. Assisting the parties to seize this opportunity as long as it exists is now our diplomatic goal''.

    The American official noted the Clinton administration believes the ''only practical way to resolve a problem as complex as that of Cyprus, is with direct, comprehensive negotiations between the parties.''

    However, she said it is clear that much work needs to be done beforehand to narrow differences and thereby give the direct negotiations the greatest chance of success''.

    Concluding, Albright said a true Cyprus solution can only come when the parties and the people are ready. ''But our message today is a simple one: The Clinton administration is prepared to offer a helping hand to those who are prepared to take a risk for peace. I believe our visit has provided an excellent foundation for more active and direct US diplomacy in the coming months.''

    Albright had meetings today with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    She had also meetings with the Commander of the National Guard, Nicolaos Vorvolakos, and the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces Hasan Kundaksi.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA EC/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1950:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Albright brings news ideas for Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- The new ideas, which US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Madeleine Albright carried with her to Cyprus, will be the subject of the discussions which US Presidential Emissary Richard Beattie will have during his forthcoming visits to the island.

    Replying to questions at the end of her 24-hour visit to the island, Albright was asked what where the new ideas which State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns had announced that she would bring to the island.

    ''We have a number of ideas that we have presented and that we will continue to present and work upon''. However she avoided giving details about these ideas, saying there should not be public discussion on them.

    She said Beattie will be pursuing these ideas, as well as US Ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill.

    The US diplomat announced that the Commander of the National Guard Nicolaos Vorvolakos and the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces Hasan Kundaksi will meet soon, under the auspices of the UN peace-keeping force (UNFICYP) Commander Ahti Toimi Paavali Vartiainen from Finland, to discuss security matters along the buffer zone aimed to reduce tensions.

    This is the first time in 22 years, since the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory that the commanders of the two armies will meet.

    Albright noted that what she and her entourage, which arrived yesterday from Athens and left this afternoon for Ankara, had tried to do here is ''to make sure the Cyprus issue does not fall into one of two categories, either a status quo, that becomes a final solution, which we think is inappropriate, or in the column of too hard to do''.

    She added ''what we (the Americans) are trying to do here is to lend a hand to the parties to find a comprehensive settlement that they can work on themselves.''

    Asked if she expects there will be a result in the next months, Albright said there are a number of questions that need to be resolved in order to arrive in a comprehensive solution.

    She could not tell when progress is expected. The US Ambassador clarified that during her diplomatic career, she has ''given up... the work predicting time-tables. I find that not useful''.

    However, she noted that the ''only way a settlement will come here is if the parties themselves come to a settlement. They have to do it, we cannot do it for them,'' she noted.

    Replying to a question whether she can report any progress in the political area, Albright said the fact that she was here, and brought a very strong message from President Clinton of support for the process, and the fact that she is going on to Ankara, and was in Athens, ''I think that provides the political framework. So to answer your question, yes to that extent''.

    Asked to clarify what the occupation regime leader Rauf Denktash meant after their meeting today in the occupied part of Nicosia that there would be ''good news for Greeks and Turks in a couple of days' time,'' Albright said her meeting with Denktash was ''very good and useful''.

    She said ''everybody has there own interpretation of what is good news''. However, Albright noted that she was always an optimist and that in order to stay an optimist, one needs to do a lot of groundwork, a lot of very detailed work. All good news needs to be supported by very careful work,'' she said.

    The US diplomat was also asked to clarify what she believes the key problems in Cyprus are. She said the key issue is how to get the two communities to live together, to have a sense of freedom and prosperity and have the ability to enjoy rights that are available to other Europeans.

    Asked when a meeting between the Commanders of the National Guard and the Turkish Forces will take place, Albright said she hoped that ''as soon as possible.

    She also avoided giving details about the specific agenda, but noted that the issues that ''we are interested in, is to look at ways that the recent tensions within the buffer zone can be decreased.''

    Asked why she visited the military, Albright said the issues that she came to deal with as a first step,''was our general concern about the increasing tensions along and within the buffer zone. And those are military, technical issues, therefore it seems appropriate to have those kind of discussions with the military people''.

    To a question about President Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of the island and a suggestion for the withdrawal of forces behind mountain ranges, whether these were the first step in that direction, Albright said there are a number of ideas on the table and they will be discussed in the future.'' However, she said it would be premature and counterproductive at this moment to go into details.

    Asked what is her opinion about the military balance in Cyprus, Albright noted that something the Americans are concerned about generally, within the region and clearly also in Cyprus, ''is an increasing militarisation. We would very much prefer that there will a lowering of the arms issues here, and a movement that in fact lessens the military capabilities rather than increases them. I think that each of the sides has a different view on the military balance''.

    However, the US Ambassador said the Cyprus problem is ''not going to have a military solution, it will have a diplomatic solution.''

    Referring to the stationing of a multi-national force on the island after a solution is found, Albright said it would not be useful to have more specific discussions about that at the time.

    To a question how the Cyprus issue relates to the Greco-Turkish relations, and especially on the aspect of security, she replied that ''the Cyprus issue has a life of its own''.

    Although she said there is now an escalation in terms of Greco-Turkish relations that relate to a series of other issues to do with the Aegean and even though these issues are obviously taking place simultaneously, they are not linked. ''One has to deal with the issues separately''.

    ''We are however concerned about the regional instability in a part of the world that is very important to the US'', she concluded.

    CNA EC/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2040:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Government confirms meetings between army commanders

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government confirmed this evening that a meeting is being arranged between the Commander of the National Guard and the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, under the auspices of the UN Commander.

    The agreement to hold such a meeting was announced earlier this afternoon by US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, at the end of her one-day visit to the island.

    Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides told reporters after Albright's press conference that the military dialogue will begin the soonest after the venue will be selected by the Commander of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Brigadier-General Ahti Toimi Paavali Vartiainen, as well as the date which the dialogue will commence, following consultation with both sides.

    Cassoulides added there is no agenda for the meeting, the aim of which is to reduce tensions along the buffer zone. He added these issues have a clear, ''military and technical nature''.

    This is the first time in 22 years, after the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory, that the chiefs of the National Guard and the occupation army will meet.

    CNA EC/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2105:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] Cyprus and Russia to strengthen legal cooperation

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Russia agreed today to strengthen their cooperation in legal matters.

    The two sides exchanged views at a meeting between Cyprus House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou and Yuri Skouratov, the Attorney General of the Russian Federation, who arrived yesterday in Cyprus for an official visit at the invitation of his Cypriot counterpart Alecos Markides.

    After the meeting, Kyprianou told the press that the Russian official described media reports on Russian ''mafia'' activities in Cyprus, especially about illegal money laundering, as ''exaggerations.''

    On his part, Skouratov assured that even simple issues are being tackled with and said ''there should not be any worry.''

    The Russian Attorney General, accompanied by members of his office and the Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Boris Zenkov, had also meetings with House Legal Affairs Committee and the President and members of the island's Supreme Court.

    Later on, Skouratov had talks with the Republic's Attorney General Alecos Markides. Present at the meeting were Deputy Attorney General Loucis Loucaides, Ministry of Justice and Public Order Permanent Secretary George Hadjianastasiou, the Chief of Police Panicos Hadjiloizou and the Central Prison Director George Anastasiades.

    The Russian official will be received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Wednesday.

    Tomorrow, he will have talks with the Ministers of Justice and Public Order and Interior, Alecos Evangelou and Dinos Michaelides.

    He leaves Cyprus on Wednesday, July 24.

    CNA AP/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2140:CYPPRESS:09

    [09] Albright's ideas concern methodology

    Nicosia, Jul 18 (CNA) -- The ideas which US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, presented during her meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, concerned the methodology the US will adopt in going about to solve the Cyprus problem.

    This was revealed this evening by Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides, speaking after Albright announced during a press conference earlier today that she brought new ideas which will be the subject of forthcoming discussions of US officials on the island.

    Explaining what Albright's ideas on methodology are, Cassoulides said these concern the way the US, in cooperation with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat, intend to work, helping the two parties on the island to achieve common ground.

    Cassoulides also elaborated on the Greek Cypriot side's acceptance to enter into a military dialogue between the commanders of the National Guard and the Turkish occupation forces on the island.

    The Spokesman said the Greek Cypriot side expressed readiness to come forward for a military dialogue, on strictly technical military issues. These issues are set out in the UN Security Council resolution 1062, he said, but Cassoulides did not exclude the possibility that more issues might be raised.

    Asked what is the message from the agreement to begin a military dialogue, the Spokesman said:

    ''There is an intent, which thankfully was confirmed by the other side, that there is a need to reduce tension in the area, caused by the murder of a (National Guard) soldier in the buffer zone (by a Turkish soldier), stone throwing (by Turkish soldiers) the violation of the buffer zone by Turkish troops and the use of barbed wire within the buffer zone by Turkish troops''.

    ''Reducing the tension will, of course, help the political dialogue'', Cassoulides remarked.

    The Spokesman said the US have expressed, through Ambassador Albright, their determination to seriously exert influence on Ankara.

    He noted that among those countries which can influence for a Cyprus settlement, the power which can exert the greatest influence on Ankara is the United States.

    Asked to comment on ''the opportunity which exists now for progress'', a statement which Albright made before her departure, Cassoulides attributed this view to three reasons.

    These are the increased international interest in a Cyprus settlement, the momentum being created in the area, and the catalytic efforts of Cyprus to join the European Union.

    CNA EC/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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