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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-03-04

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Bi-communal tree planting
  • [02] UN working for direct talks, says UN top envoy

  • 1240:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Bi-communal tree planting

    Pyla, Cyprus, Mar 4 (CNA) -- "Pyla symbolises what we are trying to achieve for the whole island, Greek and Turkish Cypriots living together in peace in a bi-zonal federation."

    This was said by UN Resident Representative Gustave Feissel, speaking today during a bi-communal tree planting at the mixed village of Pyla, a village northeastern of the coastal town of Larnaca, inhabited by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    The village is situated in the no man's land controlled by the UN Peace- Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    The bi-communal event began with ceremonies in both Greek and Turkish Cypriot community schools. The tree planting was followed by a reception in the village market square.

    Newly appointed UNFICYP Commander, Major-General Evergisto de Vergara, from Argentina, attended the event.

    Feissel described the bi-communal tree planting ceremony as "a vote of confidence in the future".

    He added that "for the children attending the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot schools, who will nurture these small plants, these trees will serve as a constant reminder of the need to strive for a common and brighter future".

    Feissel said the UN are ready to assist the two communities in improving the facilities and economic life of their village.

    The UN official stressed that the "people of Pyla have demonstrated that problems can be solved when they are addressed with common sense and a willingness to compromise. It is this spirit of give and take which is required to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem."

    Asked to comment on the UN Secretary-Generals' intention to bring the two leaders (President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash) together, Feissel said "it is the Secretary-General's intention and determination to bring the two leaders together as soon as possible in the coming months and we are all working to make sure that this encounter will be fruitful and will move the process forward".

    Feissel added that "the next meeting between the two leaders is going to be very important because people do expect to see something out of it."

    He said this meeting would take place as soon as possible, preferably during the first half of this year.

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

    Some 1.200 UN peacekeepers man a 180-kilometre buffer zone across this Eastern Mediterranean island.

    CNA TA/AZK/GP/1997

    [02] UN working for direct talks, says UN top envoy

    Nicosia, Mar 4 (CNA) -- The UN hope very much that direct negotiations will be on the cards in the first half of 1997 with a distinct possibility of having these talks outside Cyprus.

    "Our objective is to get the two leaders (President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash) together soon, and everybody is talking about the first half of 1997 and hopefully that will be the case," UN Secretary-General's deputy special representative for Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, told the press after an hour-long meeting with President Clerides here today.

    Asked if the talks would take place in Cyprus, Feissel replied "that remains to be seen, but obviously there are advantages in doing it elsewhere."

    "I can think of a number of reasons why that ought to be the case, so let us see," he added, noting that New York, the UN seat is an option as it would make it easier for Secretary-General Kofi Annan, even though there are other possibilities.

    The venue for the talks was not discussed with President Clerides, he said.

    Referring to today's meeting, Feissel said he briefed President Clerides about his discussions in New York with Annan and reiterated UN determination to move things forward so that the two leaders can meet as soon as possible by the middle of this year.

    "We are working very hard to make such meeting possible," he pointed out.

    Replying to questions, the UN envoy said he did not bring any messages from Annan to the President but reminded journalists of Annan's letter to Clerides and Denktash, Greece and Turkey in which he expressed his determination to move things forward.

    Asked if he got any replies from the two sides, Feissel said the UN is talking to both sides and "expects things to move along, hoping they will meet sooner than later."

    President Clerides, he explained, has not given him a written reply to Annan's letter.

    On the UN-sponsored military dialogue between the Cyprus Republic's National Guard and the Turkish occupation troops, Feissel said "there is still some way to go" but noted that a positive outcome would "make an important contribution in making things easier as far as the military aspects are concerned and improving the overall climate."

    On the issue of missing persons, Feissel said Annan had not replied to matters the Cypriot President raised at their recent meeting in Davos but explained that former UN chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali had set out his views on how to move forward on matters relating to the Committee on Missing Persons in a letter he sent to both sides.

    "I hope things will start moving in that way," Feissel added.

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

    CNA MM/GP/1997

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