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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-08-17

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek Premier arrives in Cyprus
  • [02] US Senator condemns Turks for killing demonstrator
  • [03] Kornblum says killings could be averted if...
  • [04] Greek Premier ''to make contribution''
  • [05] Cyprus ready to embark on peace process
  • [06] Simitis in Cyprus
  • [07] Turkey's likely EU entry not related to Cyprus solution
  • [08] UN reveals Turkish indiscriminate shooting against demonstrators
  • [09] Simitis: Greece stands by Cyprus in every way
  • [10] EU statement very objective, says Foreign Minister
  • [11] Illegal immigrants remanded
  • [12] WCC expresses deep concern over buffer zone killings

  • 1140:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Greek Premier arrives in Cyprus

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis arrives in Cyprus early this afternoon for talks with the Cypriot leadership on the future handling of the Cyprus problem.

    During his one-day working visit to the island, the Greek Premier will attend a crucial meeting of the National Council, the island's top advisory body to President Glafcos Clerides on the handling of the Cyprus issue.

    The body chaired by President Clerides is made up of the leaders of the five political parties represented in the House of Representatives.

    Simitis will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas.

    Soon after his arrival, the Greek Premier will meet President Clerides and later on attend the National Council session. Before leaving late tonight he will see the primate of the Cyprus Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    Simitis' visit follows the cold-blooded murders of two Greek Cypriot youths, by Turkish troops and Turkish extremists, during peaceful anti-occupation demonstrations in the UN buffer zone, on Sunday and on Wednesday.

    The killings have escalated tension on this east Mediterranean island, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    Commenting on Simitis' visit to Cyprus, Clerides said this is another proof of Greece's keen interest in the Cyprus problem and in the physical and national survival of the Greek Cypriot population on this island.

    He told the Athens News Agency that he expects to have a productive talks with the Greek Premier, which would help the future course of the Cyprus problem.

    The Greek Premier is expected to discuss with Cypriot leaders ways to diffuse tension and speed up efforts to find a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The Council is expected to take a decision on a proposal put forward in public by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash between him and President Clerides, with an aim to diffuse tension on the island. Cyprus and Greece will also coordinate efforts to brief the international community on the new atrocities committed by Turkey in Cyprus.

    Turkish extremists savagely beaten to death 24-year-old Tasos Isaac, during a peaceful anti-occupation rally in the UN-controlled buffer zone, last Sunday.

    After Isaac's funeral on Wednesday, hundreds of Greek Cypriots marched to the buffer zone to protest against the killing.

    One of the demonstrator, Isaac's cousin Solomos Spyrou Solomou, 26, was shot dead by Turkish troops when he tried to lower the Turkish flag in the area. Eleven other people, including two British UN peace-keepers, were wounded during the indiscriminate shooting.

    CNA GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1310:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US Senator condemns Turks for killing demonstrator

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- US Senator Clairborne Pell has condemned ''in the strongest terms'' the shooting by Turkish occupation forces of Greek Cypriot demonstrator, Solomos Spyrou Solomos, last Wednesday.

    The Democrat senator from Rhode Island called the killing, ''a tragic and totally senseless incident'', as Solomos was shot attempting to tear down a Turkish flag at a guard post on the UN-controlled buffer zone near the Turkish-occupied town of Famagusta.

    ''I condemn in the strongest terms the shooting by Turkish Cypriot security forces of an unarmed Greek Cypriot civilian. The actions taken by these forces were unacceptable and wholly disproportionate to the threat posed by the protesters,'' Pell said.

    Solomos was protesting the beating to death three days earlier of another Greek Cypriot, Anastasios Isaac, by Turkish Cypriot ''policemen'' and members of an Turkish extremist group known as the ''Grey Wolves'' in the buffer zone close to where Solomos was shot and killed.

    Pell, who is the former chairman and current Banking Minority Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also said that he regards as ''inappropriate'' the comments of Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller, who threatened Thursday to ''break the hands of anyone who touches the Turkish flag''.

    The US senator added, ''I call upon all parties to the conflict in Cyprus to exercise at this time the utmost restraint and to work towards a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict on the island.''

    CNA MH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1335:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Kornblum says killings could be averted if...

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs John Kornblum has said that if the US proposal for meetings between the military commanders in Cyprus had materialised, perhaps the tragic incidents of the past few days in Cyprus would not have taken place.

    Kornblum, who was speaking on BBC World Service, said the recent mission to Cyprus of Madeleine Albright, the US Ambassador to the UN, and Richard Beattie, the US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus, ''was designed to put the focus on the questions of how we can move forward towards a solution, but also to look at the shorter term measures, which might help to improve the situation''.

    ''One of the ideas we had, was to have meetings between the military commanders to talk about the kind of detailed cooperation'', Kornblum added.

    During her visit to Cyprus, Albright announced that the two sides agreed to have a meeting between the commanders of the National Guard (Greek Cypriot) and the Turkish occupation troops, in the presence of the commander of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    But the meeting has not yet taken place because of the insistence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to have the commander of the so-called Turkish Cypriot forces in this meeting.

    The Americans have said the agreement provided that only the commanders of the National Guard and the Turkish occupation forces would take part.

    He said Greece and Turkey are US allies and noted that this does not pose any problem, but instead ''gives us an advantage'', because ''what we have been doing, is trying to describe the Cyprus issue as something which affects the peace of the whole region, and we believe it does''.

    When pointed out to him that there have been some problems lately in the relations of the US with Greece and Turkey, Kornblum admitted that ''it is true and there is no question about it'', but noted that what ''is important is the depth of the ties'' between the US, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

    ''The US'', he said, ''play a very important role and these countries are also important to us, so this gives us a great reason both to maintain these ties and work for a solution''.

    Asked if the US remain strictly neutral in this situation, having in mind that only the Turkish side has been condemned for the atrocities of the past few days, Kornblum said:

    ''We maintain the ties with these countries. We are not going to castigate on or the other countries, but we never have in this process hesitated to criticise steps we do not think are very helpful and we believe that the steps taken by the Turkish Cypriots were not proportional to the danger that they faced''.

    Furthermore, asked what the US can do, given the good relations maintained with the various parties, Kornblum referred the journalist to the mission to Cyprus of Madeleine Albright and Richard Beattie.

    Reminded that nothing came of this mission, Kornblum replied: ''That of course defines a problem'' and compared the Cyprus problem to the one in Bosnia.

    ''There are in the world, and unfortunately also in parts of Europe, these deep conflicts which go back sometimes for centuries and are very hard to put together. The Cyprus one is one of them'', he added.

    ''However, that does not make us loose hope. It just means that we keep trying and we have been quite active in trying to move forward our efforts in Cyprus'', Kornblum concluded.

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

    CNA RG/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1400:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Greek Premier ''to make contribution''

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Greek Premier Costas Simitis, who arrives shortly in Cyprus, will ''probably make his own contribution to future moves'' on efforts to settle the Cyprus question, Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said here today.

    Speaking at a press conference, ahead of Simitis' one-day working visit today and in the aftermath of two killings by the Turks in the UN buffer zone, he said the visit ''underlines Greece's interest in Cyprus and sends a message of support.''

    The Premier shares in the thinking about future steps that need to be undertaken to facilitate a settlement and perhaps make his own contribution, Michaelides added.

    Simitis will have a private meeting with President Glafcos Clerides prior to a meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body to President Clerides on the handling of the Cyprus issue.

    Council meetings are convened by the President and comprise the leaders of the five parliamentary parties. The last Greek Premier who attended a Council meeting in Cyprus was Constantine Mitsotakis in 1989.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1415:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Cyprus ready to embark on peace process

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Cyprus is ready to embark on a peace process which would set in line moves towards a settlement of the protracted Cyprus question, Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides has said.

    He has also appealed to the international community to take an increased and more active engagement in the Cyprus question to move things closer to a solution.

    Michaelides, though critical of Greek Cypriot demonstrators breaking into the UN buffer zone, justified the demonstrations as ''fully justified'' as they expressed the people's feeling of frustration over the past 22 years, when ''not an inch of Turkish occupied land has been freed.''

    The Minister was speaking at a press conference here today after the most violent events on the island since Turkey invaded in 1974 which left two Greek Cypriots dead from Turkish soldiers and Turkish extremists, in the UN-patrolled buffer zone.

    ''We want to embark on a process, we are ready to enter into a process now to set in line meetings and other moves that would help towards a settlement of the Cyprus issue,'' the Minister said.

    The question now is not how to reduce tension but how to take ''resolute action to settle this problem,'' he explained.

    It is also very important, he added, that the UN, the US, Europe and all interested countries should ''multiply their efforts and create a momentum to accelerate the peace process and bring a solution closer.''

    The Minister reiterated the government's readiness to enter into a military dialogue as proposed by the US, envisaging a meeting between the commander of the National Guard and the commander of the Turkish occupation forces.

    The move has so far failed to materialise because the Turkish Cypriot side has requested a presence at the meeting, a move President Glafcos Clerides has turned down.

    ''The situation is now calmer, we have come out of the tension of the past few days even though the situation on the island remains explosive because of the continuing Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus,'' Michaelides told the press.

    The Minister laid political responsibility for the tragic events of recent days clearly and squarely on Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who consented to the use of excessive force against the unarmed demonstrators and reacted in a disproportionate manner to the threat posed by them.

    ''The protests are fully justified as one must understand the feeling of frustration among the people of Cyprus,'' he said.

    In the past 22 years, not an inch of occupied land has been freed, he said and people continue to endure the repercussions of the Turkish invasion and occupation.

    Fending off criticism about the inability of the Cyprus police to control demonstrators and prohibit entry into the buffer zone, the Minister recognised the mistake on the part of the demonstrators but pointed out that ''Turkish forces also violated the buffer zone and moreover killed two people there.''

    ''I do not know of any police force which can guarantee that no demonstrator will get through its cordon during demonstrations,'' he added.

    He said the government would like to talk to UNFICYP to discuss with them ways to help them exercise their duties in a more effective way, be it through an increase in numbers or a change in their mandate.

    The Minister also raised the issue of ''unaccountability'' of those responsible for the two killings and said Cyprus expected all interested countries to ''look into all possible avenues and demand accountability.''

    Similar calls for bringing to justice the culprits were also made by US congressmen, Euro MPs and the US State Department.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1445:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Simitis in Cyprus

    Larnaca, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis arrived in Cyprus this afternoon for what has been described as ''a working visit''.

    President Glafcos Clerides met the Greek PM as he stepped off the falcon executive jet he travelled in to Cyprus.

    Simitis is accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his government spokesman Demetris Reppas.

    Present at Larnaca airport were Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides and other Cypriot and Greek embassy officials.

    Clerides and Simitis, surrounded by their aides, were making statements to the press at the airport.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Turkey's likely EU entry not related to Cyprus solution

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government does not consider that Turkey's possible accession to the European Union would help bring about a Cyprus settlement.

    Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides made this assertion in reply to Turkey's Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller's call for Turkey's accession to the EU to facilitate a settlement in Cyprus.

    Any claims that Turkey's entry into the EU would solve the Cyprus problem do not reflect the reality of the situation, the Minister said.

    ''I do not see the connection between Turkey's EU membership and a Cyprus solution,'' the Minister told the press.

    ''Whether Turkey joins the EU is not for us to decide but the EU. We can be neither for or against Turkey's accession because this is an unquestionable right of the EU to take a decision on such a matter,'' he explained.

    The EU, he added, has said on separate occasions they would not allow anybody to exercise pressure on them relating to future membership of any candidate country.

    ''Our interest in the EU is the interest of Cyprus joining the EU as it has been reconfirmed that we are eligible for accession,'' he said.

    Cyprus is progressing speedily towards customs union, expected to be completed shortly, he said.

    Michaelides stressed that Turkey should not be rewarded for its continuing occupation of part of Cyprus but instead Turkey has an obligation to comply with the principles of international bodies it wants to join, such as the EU.

    ''Unfortunately Turkey feels free to grossly violate human rights in Turkey and elsewhere and at the same time wants to join a body that stands for human rights, which is a contradiction in terms,'' he concluded.

    Cyprus applied for EU membership in 1990 and Turkey in 1987. Cyprus signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    This east Mediterranean island Republic has been given a firm date for the start of membership talks by the EU Council of Ministers, six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1540:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] UN reveals Turkish indiscriminate shooting against demonstrators

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Officials with the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus strongly protested to the commander of the Turkish occupation forces on the island, ''the totally unwarranted'' use of force by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot military personnel last Wednesday against Greek Cypriot demonstrators.

    As a result of the indiscriminate shooting one Greek Cypriot youth was killed, the second in three days, and eleven were wounded, including two British UN peacekeepers.

    In its report on the demonstration of Wednesday, 14 August, the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) lays blame squarely on the Turkish occupation forces, for the casualties during the peaceful demonstration, including the death of Solomos Spyrou Solomos, aged 26.

    ''Solomou was some three metres off the ground when he was shot by a Turkish or Turkish Cypriot soldier and fell to the ground with blood flowing profusely from his neck,'' the report states. (Solomou had tried to lower the Turkish flag).

    An autopsy conducted two days later, revealed Solomou was hit by five bullets from a pistol and an automatic assault rifle. He received wounds to his head, neck, chest and legs.

    Solomou was trying to lower a Turkish flag from a Turkish guard post on the buffer zone separating the free from the occupied areas of the Cyprus Republic.

    Solomou was protesting the beating death earlier in the week of another Greek Cypriot civilian, Anastasios Isaac, by Turkish Cypriot ''policemen'' and members of a Turkish extremist group known as the ''Grey Wolves''.(This was confirmed by an earlier UN report.)

    The report states further that the UNFICYP force commander and the commanding officer of the Austrian battalion witnessed Turkish or Turkish Cypriot soldiers firing ''some 25 to 50 rounds indiscriminately into the crowd inside the buffer zone... They observed uniformed Turkish or Turkish Cypriot military personnel kneeling down and firing in the direction of the demonstrators inside the UN buffer zone.''

    As a result of what the report calls, the ''indiscriminate shooting by Turkish or Turkish Cypriot soldiers'', two British UNFICYP soldiers were shot from behind and two Greek Cypriot civilians were also hit by gunfire.

    One elderly Greek Cypriot woman received a serious gun shot wound in the abdomen, standing a kilometre away from the incident outside the buffer zone.

    The UNFICYP force commander, accompanied by the chief of staff, met with the commander of the Turkish forces in Cyprus late in the afternoon of 14 August to ''strongly protest the totally unwarranted use of force'' by Turkish soldiers, the report concludes.

    CNA MH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1600:CYPPRESS:09

    [09] Simitis: Greece stands by Cyprus in every way

    Larnaca, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Greece will stand by Cyprus in its efforts to settle the Cyprus problem, boost its defences and join the European Union, Greek Premier Costas Simitis has said.

    He has pledged to protest Turkish aggression to international fora, and in particular to the EU, to ensure that ''appropriate pressure'' is exerted on Turkey.

    The PM has also called for ''fresh initiatives'' to help solve the Cyprus question and noted that recent events in Cyprus (killing of two Greek Cypriot demonstrators by Turkish forces) affect Greco-Turkish relations.

    President Glafcos Clerides expressed appreciation for Simitis' visit which, he said, shows ''Greece's keen interest in Cyprus and indicates the high priority it gives to our national issue.''

    Speaking on arrival at Larnaca airport, Simitis said ''we need to think of and undertake additional initiatives'' as efforts to settle the Cyprus question so far have failed to produce any results.

    ''Greece's cooperation with Cyprus will be intense in all fields, be it the restoration of a nation without borders and dividing walls, be it the defence effort as part of our joint defence pact or in the effort of the Republic of Cyprus to join the EU,'' he told the press.

    He pledged that Greece will continue to protest the ''unacceptable Turkish behaviour to all international fora, especially the EU, so that the international community undertakes its responsibilities at last and exert appropriate pressure on the Turkish side.''

    There is no doubt, he added, that Turkey's behaviour in the past few days weighs heavily on our relations with that country.

    He said that these events ''proved to world public opinion what we have all known for a long time: Turkish provocative behaviour and disrespect for the rule of law.''

    ''This is the message I bring: Greece is here, Hellenism is here and together with Cyprus we shall all be here in the struggle for a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem,'' he told the Cypriot people.

    Cyprus cannot remain the only divided country in Europe, which does not enjoy fundamental rights, such as freedom of movement and settlement.

    ''Cyprus' division runs contrary to the common future European people aspire to,'' Simitis said.

    In his remarks, President Clerides extended a warm welcome to Simitis, here for the first time as Greek PM, and added ''your presence here shows ''Greece's keen interest in the Cyprus question and the priority it gives to our national issue.''

    It also displays Greece's cooperation and support for the Cyprus question, he added.

    ''Mr. Simitis is here to be briefed on the Cyprus problem,, and exchange views on how to handle the situation that has arisen,'' he remarked, noting also that the visit ''is part of the cooperation policy we have drafted between our governments.''

    ''The presence of the parliamentary parties in the talks we shall have later on indicates the democratic manner we conduct our business,'' he concluded.

    Clerides and Simitis are engaged in private talks, at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, prior to a meeting of the National Council, comprising all parliamentary parties, which acts as an advisory body to President Clerides on the handling of the Cyprus question.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1700:CYPPRESS:10

    [10] EU statement very objective, says Foreign Minister

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- The government has welcomed a statement by the Irish EU presidency on the recent violence in Cyprus, which resulted in the death of two Greek Cypriots, killed by Turkish and Turkish Cypriots during demonstrations in the UN buffer zone.

    ''We consider the EU statement as very objective,'' Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides told a press conference here today.

    The EU presidency ''deplored the recent violence in Cyprus and the disproportionate use of force by the security forces in the north of Cyprus in response to unauthorised entry into the buffer zone.''

    Furthermore, it ''condemns the brutal killings'' of the two Greek Cypriot demonstrators and calls for ''restraint and calm in the wake of these tragic events.''

    The EU urges both sides to ''avoid any further confrontation and to cooperate fully with UNFICYP in its efforts to diffuse tensions.''

    The recent events, the statement added, have again ''highlighted the urgent need to intensify efforts to promote a comprehensive political settlement in Cyprus, under the aegis of the UN.''

    The EU also reiterated its ''full support for the work of the UN Secretary-General and his special representative in this regard.''

    The unprecedented violence of the part of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces has been described as ''totally unwarranted'' by the US and the UN.

    The commander of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus ''strongly protested'' the use of such force which killed on Wednesday a Greek Cypriot demonstrator and injured two UN peace-keepers.

    Last Sunday, during a similar peaceful anti-occupation demonstration Turkish extremists savagely beat to death another Greek Cypriot youth.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1720:CYPPRESS:11

    [11] Illegal immigrants remanded

    Larnaca, Aug 17 (CNA) -- Larnaca District Court issued an eight-day remand order against 48 persons, of Kurdish origin, who entered Cyprus illegally early this morning.

    Police are looking for a woman and a child who managed to get away as soon the boat they were in arrived in the eastern coast of the island, near Liopetri village.

    Most of them [34] come from Iraq, two from Iran, one from Afghanistan and one from Egypt, and all claim to be political refugees. There are two women and four children among them.

    They told the court they paid 500 dollars each to the four-member crew of the boat to take them to Crete but instead the captain brought them to Cyprus.

    They also said they oppose their respective governments and pleaded with the authorities not to release their names because, they claimed, that would put them in danger.

    CNA MM/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1750:CYPPRESS:12

    [12] WCC expresses deep concern over buffer zone killings

    Nicosia, Aug 17 (CNA) -- The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed ''deep concern'' at the shooting death of a Greek Cypriot demonstrator by Turkish occupation forces last Wednesday.

    A press release issued by WCC says the killing of Solomos Spyrou Solomou serves as a grim reminder of the ''uneasy peace'' that has prevailed in Cyprus since the invasion of the island by Turkish military forces in 1974.

    It acknowledges that not much progress has been made by numerous mediation efforts to re-unite the island, including those under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General and by the US and the European Union. As a result, the WCC states, Cyprus remains divided and a ''potential flashpoint in the heart of Europe.''

    The WCC is drawing the attention of the international community on the need to defuse tensions in the area, since the incident refocuses on ''the urgent need for implementation of the relevant UN resolutions in Cyprus.''

    The Council appeals to the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to ensure the sanctity of the UN buffer zone separating the occupied areas from the free Republic, because ''this is necessary if a just and peaceful solution of the conflict is to be achieved within an inter-communal framework.''

    CNA MH/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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