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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-14

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Clerides resumes duties
  • [02] Cyprus village becomes twin with island's history
  • [03] Canadian forces could return to Cyprus, envoy says
  • [04] UN prepares ground for Cyprus direct talks
  • [05] Cyprus urges UN chief to halt illegal hotel sales
  • [06] House President meets Canadian Special Envoy on Cyprus
  • [07] Russians here to have their own church
  • [08] Canada calls for compromises
  • [09] Russia wants to be helpful in Cyprus peace efforts

  • 0900:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] President Clerides resumes duties

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides resumed his duties this morning after being discharged from the Nicosia General Hospital yesterday afternoon, where he had a coronary angiogram following a minor chest complaint.

    All presidential meetings, as from today, will take place as scheduled. The President, however, on the advice of his doctors, has postponed his five-day official visit to China. He was due to leave on May 16.

    President Clerides meets this morning UN resident representative, Gustave Feissel, as part of the on-going proximity talks on the Cyprus problem.

    Later in the morning, President Clerides will receive the special representative of Canada for Cyprus, Michael Bell, who visits Cyprus for the first time in this capacity.

    Leaving hospital yesterday, President Clerides told the press the condition of his health would not have any consequences on developments in the Cyprus problem.

    The 78-year-old Cypriot President had been feeling minor chest pains and was admitted to hospital early yesterday morning for a coronary angiogram.

    His doctors said the angiogram has shown that the President has a "perfect myocardium".

    CNA AP/GP/1997

    [02] Cyprus village becomes twin with island's history

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- The town of Lefkara has consummated its bond with the island's Frank legacy by becoming a twin of the French west coast town of Lusignan, the birthplace of Cyprus' Medieval Lusignan rulers.

    "It brings the two peoples closer together," Lefkara Mayor, Sofocles Sofocleous told CNA. "It's a unique experience that bonds the two countries closer together."

    A delegation headed by Lusignan Mayor, Renee Gibault, visited Lefkara recently to formalise the twinning of the two towns.

    Among the French delegates was Count Phillip Roux de Lusignan, who can trace his lineage generations back to one of Cyprus' Frank rulers.

    "We thought it would be interesting to make Lusignan and Lefkara twin towns because of the historical connection of Lusignan with Cyprus," Lusignan Town Hall General Secretary, Jean Pierre Migault, told CNA from France.

    "Lusignan is trying to develop its cultural heritage and we chose Lefkara because it is very similar to Lusignan," Migault added.

    Interest for the twinning was initially expressed by the French town in the last few months. With the mediation of European Commission Ambassador to Cyprus, Gilles Annouil, the two towns began forging a closer relationship.

    Sofocleous said his Lusignan counterpart will try to promote Cyprus in France, but "the aim is essentially and practically is outside the scope of politics. It's a much more substantial relationship (between the two towns)."

    Another delegation from Lusignan will visit Lefkara in mid-July to put the finishing touches to the twinning.

    The reign of the Lusignans between 1192-1489 is considered to be the Golden Age of Medieval Cyprus, after King Richard the Lionhearted transferred Cyprus to Guy Lusignan, the ex-King of Jerusalem.

    Lusignan Cathedrals and castles still stand today as testimony to the grandeur of that period in Cyprus' history, but many of them lie neglected in the Turkish-occupied northern third of Cyprus.

    CNA MH/GP/1997

    [03] Canadian forces could return to Cyprus, envoy says

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- Canada's contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for almost 30 years, has been held in high regard by locals, even through some of the island's darkest times during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    So, when Canadian Special Representative on Cyprus, Michael Bell, exclusively told CNA that Canada would be willing to dispatch a monitoring force to the island after a Cyprus solution is reached, many turned a curious ear to listen.

    "Canada has a long-standing involvement in peace keeping. It is a mainstay of Canadian policy. If Canada was asked to contribute (a monitoring force), we certainly would consider it. But, we do not want to get involved in another 29-year mission," Bell said.

    The Canadian envoy said there are two ways through which Canada can help with peace efforts on the island. One, would be prior to solution, by "lending our voice to the voices of numerous others urging both parties on Cyprus to bridge their problems".

    The other, would be after an agreement is reached by contributing to a monitoring force, generally agreed by those involved in the Cyprus problem and would be necessary to allow Greek and Turkish Cypriots, kept separate by Turkish occupation forces for 23 years now, to ease the transition back to a re-united Cyprus.

    "There's wide agreement on a monitoring force in Cyprus for a three-to- five-year period after a solution is reached, so that both communities can mend their relationships. But Canada makes no commitments at this time," Bell was careful to point out.

    Canada was among the first countries to contribute a contingent to UNFICYP when inter-communal troubles broke out in Cyprus in 1963. Canada ended its participation with the peacekeeping force in 1993.

    "We were worried we would become part of the problem instead of being part of the solution," Bell said of his country's decision to pull out of UNFICYP.

    Bell was appointed Special Representative on Cyprus by Canadian Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy, on April 17.

    Bell, currently on a four-day fact-finding mission on the island which ends today, said Canada wants to be part of growing international interest in Cyprus, particularly in light of recent "disquieting events" in which three unarmed Greek Cypriot civilians were brutally murdered by Turkish extremists and occupation troops.

    "This is a learning project for me as it relates to the UN. I'm not advancing ideas or pressing hard for a solution," Bell said.

    The Canadian envoy will present a report to Axworthy in late June, after he wraps up his contacts in Cyprus and visits several European capitals to discuss the island's problem.

    He said Canada's next step regarding Cyprus "will flow from the report".

    Bell expressed "cautious encouragement" on efforts towards a solution in Cyprus following his meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioanis Kasoulides, on Monday.

    He said his assessment is based not so much on what he has heard so far from community leaders here, but rather on the international attention currently focused on Cyprus.

    "I haven't seen a lot that the parties are moving in the direction that they ought to be... My hope rests with European and the international community's involvement. Everyone is focused on Cyprus," Bell said.

    The Canadian envoy said Canada supports a durable agreement where no peacekeeping force would be required, but added a solution would come about only if the two sides themselves would want it themselves.

    "One conclusion that I have reached so far, is that hard compromise in needed by both sides, particularly during direct negotiations... both parties need a compromising attitude," Bell noted.

    Press reports suggest that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is widely expected to call both sides to direct negotiations probably in New York, sometime in June, after ongoing proximity talks here, conducted by UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, conclude.

    Asked to comment on Canadian political commentator, Dalton Camp's observation in a major Canadian daily a few years ago that "the Cyprus problem could be solved over a bottle of wine", Bell said he does not share that sentiment.

    "I would happily buy that bottle of wine if that were true," Bell said.

    CNA MH/GP/1997

    [04] UN prepares ground for Cyprus direct talks

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary-General is expected to extend an invitation for a direct meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, by the end of May or beginning of June.

    UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, said today that the direct meeting between the leaders of the island's two communities will be one of the main issues the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, will discuss in Cyprus.

    Fiessel met President Clerides today, in view of Predergast's arrival in Cyprus this afternoon.

    Replying to a question, Feissel said the UN Under Secretary-General will not be extending the invitations for the meeting between President Clerides and Denktash, as they "will probably be extended end of May, early June."

    Feissel noted that "the subject of the direct meeting will be discussed (during Prendergast's visit) and I would expect that following his return to New York, the Secretary-General will take the final decisions about when, where and how (it will take place)."

    The UN envoy reiterated that the meeting should take place around the middle of this year, and said Prendergast will discuss "the location and the scenario of these meetings".

    "One of the things that will come up, because it is important, is the question of these direct negotiations, since the date is coming closer and closer," he added.

    Feissel said that during his visit here, Prendergast will also discuss the Cyprus problem in general, "the substantive aspects and other related things".

    Asked if the meeting between President Clerides and Denktash will take place after June 27, as the Cypriot President will be in New York for the UN Environment Conference, Feissel said it " will take place at a time when everybody is available", including the UN Secretary-General.

    Prendergast will meet President Clerides at noon on Thursday. The meeting will be followed by a working lunch. Early Thursday evening he will go to the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia where he will have a meeting and a working dinner with Denktash.

    After his meetings in Cyprus, the UN Under Secretary-General will visit Athens and Ankara, and will then return to New York to report to the Secretary-General.

    Feissel has been holding proximity talks with the two sides in Cyprus, expected to lead up to direct negotiations between President Clerides and Denktash.

    Meanwhile, replying to a question, Feissel said he has no information about Turkish provocations during a concert to be held next Monday, May 19, in the Nicosia buffer zone by Greek pop singer Sakis Rouvas, and Turkish singer Burak Kut.

    Feissel noted the objective of the UN and all involved in efforts to solve the Cyprus question is "to bring the two communities back together, so that they can live together here in Cyprus" and described the concert as "an important step in that direction."

    The UN envoy, who will attend the concert, stressed "it is important that people show that this is what they want and that it is possible, and that all those who say the two communities cannot live together are obviously wrong."

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [05] Cyprus urges UN chief to halt illegal hotel sales

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has asked the United Nations to prevent the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime from selling two hotels in the Turkish-occupied areas of the island, legally owned by Greek Cypriots.

    In a letter to UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, circulated yesterday, head of Cyprus permanent mission to the UN, ambassador Nicos Agathocleous, strongly protested the illegal Turkish actions and requested UN immediate intervention to prevent them.

    "The illegal secessionist entity set up in the occupied areas of Cyprus has announced its intention to put up for sale properties, namely two hotels," one in Kyrenia and the other in Famagusta "which were illegally usurped from their rightful owners following the Turkish invasion and occupation of a large part of Cyprus in 1974," the letter said.

    According to Turkish Cypriot press reports the two hotels to be sold are the "Dome", in the northern occupied coastal town of Kyrenia, and the "Salamis Bay", in the eastern coastal town of Famagusta.

    Agathocleous said these actions "are to be taken as first steps in a so- called privatisation programme" and noted "such properties belong to their legal owners, who were forcibly uprooted from their ancestral homes and properties by the Turkish invading and occupying forces." He cited a "binding decision" by the European Court of Human Rights, in a property case last December, which concluded that the applicant, Titina Loizidou, "remained legal owner of her property in the occupied area and that Turkey was in violation of the European Human Rights Convention by preventing her from returning to and enjoying her property in Kyrenia."

    The ambassador pointed out to Annan that these Turkish actions take place at a "most sensitive phase of the Cyprus problem, at the time when you are exerting determined efforts to bring about a just and lasting solution."

    "On behalf of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, I strongly protest these illegal Turkish actions and request the immediate intervention of the United Nations to prevent them from taking place," Agathocleous concluded.

    UN resident representative in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, asked today by CNA if he would raise the issue with Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, said "this matter has been raised with us and we are looking into it."

    Meanwhile, Cyprus radio quoted today Elli Leptou, the refugee mayor of Kyrenia, as saying that legal owners of the "Dome" hotel, the Katsellis family, have filed a recourse to the European Court of Human Rights.

    CNA AP/GP/1997

    [06] House President meets Canadian Special Envoy on Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- Canada, in spite of problems it now faces, is willing to contribute substantially to efforts towards a solution in Cyprus and would also be willing to contribute troops to a multinational peacekeeping force once a solution is reached, Canadian Special Representative on Cyprus, Michael Bell, told Cyprus House President, Spyros Kyprianou, here today.

    Bell however, pointed out to Kyprianou that neither Canada nor any other country at this time, is launching an independent initiative on Cyprus, but that all involved countries are supporting the United Nations Secretary-General's good offices mission on Cyprus.

    Kyprianou said after the one-hour-long meeting that he explained to Bell the Cyprus government's view that foreign countries should look for a solution to the Cyprus problem not on the island itself, but rather in Ankara.

    "The entire course of progress (on the Cyprus problem) depends on Ankara," Kyprianou said, adding that it is firm belief to date that "it is obvious there has not been a shift in Turkish policy on the Cyprus issue".

    Kyprianou noted that the Canadian envoy did not dispute this view, and that Bell did pose, what the House President describe as "very logical questions" regarding the Cyprus issue.

    Kyprianou added that such visits by international envoys to Cyprus do in fact help because "it gives us the opportunity to explain to them our positions so they can better understand the Cyprus problem".

    "The perception has long been maintained abroad what will happen in Cyprus depends on the two communities on the island, while we know very well this is not the case. The problem lies in the expansionist policies of Turkey," Kyprianou added.

    Bell was due to meet later today Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. He leaves Cyprus tomorrow morning and will travel to a number of European capitals to discuss the Cyprus issue.

    He is expected to present a report on his contacts and assessments to Canadian Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy, by the end of June.

    CNA MH/GP/1997

    [07] Russians here to have their own church

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- The Orthodox Church of Cyprus has donated land to the Russian Orthodox Church, in the southern coastal town of Limassol, to build a church where Russians, residing or visiting Cyprus, will exercise their religious duties.

    The agreement was signed today at the Archbishopric in Nicosia, by the Primate of the Cyprus Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos, and Archbishop Sergius, on behalf of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    After the ceremony, Archbishop Chrysostomos expressed "great pleasure to be given this chance to offer Orthodox Russians living in Cyprus a place where they would exercise their religious duties".

    Archbishop Sergius expressed gratitude to the Church of Cyprus for its donation.

    "Moscow Patriarch, Aleksii II, has asked me to convey that this act is not only a proof of the friendship between our two churches and peoples, but it will also help various political forces that are working towards a just solution to the Cyprus problem," he added.

    Russia's ambassador to Cyprus, Georgi Mouratov, who attended the signing ceremony, said an estimated five to six thousand Russians live in Cyprus, while about 25 thousand visit the island during the summer months.

    Mouratov said a meeting will be held this afternoon at the Limassol Bishopric, during which the organising committee for the building of the church will be established.

    The Russian architect, who will draw the plans for the Russian church in Limassol, was also present at the signing ceremony. CNA/MK/MA/GP/1997


    [08] Canada calls for compromises

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- Canadian Special Representative on Cyprus, Michael Bell, called on President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to make compromises for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to reporters about a meeting today with President Clerides, Bell said the President gave him an excellent briefing on the outlook for continued talks on the subject of a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Bell said he will be visiting Athens this week and later in the month Ankara, adding that he hopes "to have a thorough report to present to my minister on my return to Canada".

    The Canadian envoy said his country's "very desire is to see an agreement this time that will resolve the problem that is very long standing, and a problem that Canada has been associated with for many years".

    "We look to the two leaders to make the compromises necessary to bring an agreement out of the current hope and we are fully supportive of the UN Secretary-General's initiative at this time in trying to get the leaders to that point", Bell added.

    To a question how he sees Canada's eventual involvement in Cyprus, Bell said that one of the major elements of any proposed settlement in Cyprus is a multinational force that will assist the two communities to develop the institutions necessary to take back their peaceful co-existence.

    "I cannot say at this time that Canada will be definitely part of that force. But I can say that we will very seriously consider it and if the agreement we see emerging from these talks is an agreement which we see having the prospect of success, I can only see that it would be favourable consideration," Bell added.

    Invited to elaborate that both leaders should make compromises, Bell said that he has been made aware during the last few days that there is still four to five serious points of discussion and disagreement between the two leaders.

    "I do not know where the middle ground is on those points. But obviously, when you enter a negotiation, you must be flexible, you must seek the opportunity to define that middle ground", he said.

    Bell went on to add that President Clerides is a leader who will be able to show that kind of flexibility and with only that kind of flexibility there will be an agreement.

    To a question if he thinks Denktash has the will to compromise, Bell said "I hope that he does". Although he said Denktash is interested in the talks, "he is a difficult man to deal with", adding at the same time that the Cyprus problem "is a difficult problem to deal with".

    Bell added he found the President in good health and in very good form. President Clerides yesterday cancelled all meetings after undergoing a coronary angiogram following a minor chest complaint.

    CNA EC/GP/1997

    [09] Russia wants to be helpful in Cyprus peace efforts

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- Russian ambassador in Nicosia, Georgi Mouratov, has said a Moscow document on the Cyprus issue, put forward during a recent UN Security Council meeting, offers some elements which could be useful to a solution here.

    "Russia's duty as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is to put forward proposals that could be useful," Mouratov said today, when asked if Moscow could ensure that the principles set out in the document would be accepted.

    During a five-permanent-member meeting last month in New York, Russia put forward a document comprising of seven principles for a settlement to the Cyprus question, most of which are based on UN resolutions envisaging the establishment of a bicommunal, bizonal federation in Cyprus.

    It also supports the demilitarisation of the island, a guarantee of its security through "international safeguards", the political equality of the two communities as well as identical rights and powers, a single territory and the safeguarding of universally recognised rights and freedoms.

    "The Russian document is of a complete and general nature and certain points, which are based on UN Security Council resolutions, could be used," Mouratov said.

    "We are actively involved in these efforts and will continue to be," he added. However, he noted that at this stage he does not know what will be agreed in the UN-led proximity talks, as they are continuing.

    Replying to a question, the Russian ambassador said there is regular contact with UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, who briefs him on the on-going proximity talks. "We are in regular contact with Feissel," he added.

    CNA MK/MA/GP/1997
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