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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-20

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Concert ends, wishes exchanged, hopes raised
  • [02] Feissel satisfied with concert
  • [03] Bi-communal concert sends message of peace and love
  • [04] UN sees benefits in bicommunal pop concert
  • [05] Arrested demonstrators taken to Court

  • 0030:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Concert ends, wishes exchanged, hopes raised

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- "We want peace" the crowd chanted as the curtain went down at the end of a UN-sponsored bicommunal concert here tonight.

    Greek pop star Sakis Rouvas and Turkish popular singer Burak Kut were cheered by over 2,000 spectators from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.

    "I hope this day will mark the beginning of a new era for all of us," Rouvas told the audience, which responded with cries of approval "we want peace."

    The Turkish producer thanked President Glafcos Clerides, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Turkey's President Suleyman Demirel and the UN for helping to organise the concert, during which Turkish Cypriots offered flowers to their compatriots.

    The atmosphere among Greek and Turkish Cypriots as they left the concert area was very charged and people parted in tears, and wishing they could meet again soon.

    The UN concert took place with the full backing of the Cyprus government and amid a lot of harsh criticism from many people, some of whom organised a counter concert in downtown Nicosia.

    CNA MM/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0135:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Feissel satisfied with concert

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- The Greek and Turkish Cypriot audience who attended a bi-communal concert here tonight behaved in an exemplary way, UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, has pointed out.

    "The audience we had was certainly around 3.000 people. They enjoyed themselves and behaved, as expected, in an exemplary manner", the UN official told CNA at the end of the concert.

    Asked to comment on a minor incident that occurred, when somebody among the crowd, probably a Turkish Cypriot, formed the sign of the Turkish terrorist organisation "Grey Wolves" with his hands, Feissel said more serious incidents occur in New York concerts.

    "There was no incident", he said, noting that "when you go to concerts in New York, there are a lot more incidents than that."

    The offender was hurried away by Turkish Cypriots and UN soldiers.

    The concert, which was severely criticised by various groups on both sides of the divide, went ahead smoothly amid stringent security measures from the UN and the Cyprus police.

    Emotions ran high during the 90-minute concert, which took place in the UN controlled buffer zone, and spectators cheered both artists, Greek pop star Sakis Rouvas and Turkish popular singer, Burak Kut. CNA EC/MH/MCH/MM/1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0245:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Bi-communal concert sends message of peace and love

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- A UN-sponsored bi-communal concert sent a message of "love and peace" according to the two participating artists, despite hostile reaction from certain groups from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

    Greek and Turkish pop-singers Sakis Rouvas and Burak Kut told a press conference here today they hoped their concert would convey a message of peace and love to those who can contribute towards a solution in Cyprus.

    Rouvas called on the people of Cyprus to "reap the harvest from the seeds sown by the concert" and bring peace to the island.

    Thanking Kut for his co-operation, the UN for their assistance and the people who attended the concert "under the most adverse conditions", Rouvas said the past must be remembered but one should also strive for a better future.

    "Today we sent the message that there is the desire for a solution even though we are not claiming there is going to be a solution today", he said.

    Expressing regret over the hostile reaction, Rouvas said, "we all believed in what we did today" and noted that "the important thing was that the message of love and peace was conveyed to the people, and especially young people."

    On his part, Turkish singer, Kut said he was "very happy for a great show" but disappointed about the reaction of certain groups in both communities.

    "What is done belongs to the past, what is important is to work for friendship in Cyprus. I am sure that what we did tonight will give a lesson to the people", he said.

    Noting the concert might have a negative effect on his career, as some people have branded him a traitor, Kut pointed out that "one day everyone will appreciate what we did tonight."

    "We had trouble, but most of the press and politicians were happy about it. Peace is always true", he stressed.

    Thanking the two singers, UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel said "they came to Cyprus to give the message which everyone here should follow."

    He praised the Greek and Turkish Cypriots who attended the concert for their exemplary behaviour and said they "sent the message across the island which hopefully will be received by the others."

    "In the long run, there can be no doubt that this is the way, because the alternative is obviously bad news for both communities", Feissel added.

    CNA EC/MCH/MM/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0930:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] UN sees benefits in bicommunal pop concert

    by James Delihas

    United Nations, May 20 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman drew attention to last night's UN-sponsored bicommunal pop concert in Nicosia, featuring the Greek and Turkish popular singers Sakis Rouvas and Burak Kut, as a sign of the two communities' willingness to bridge their differences.

    The spokesman, Fred Eckhard, interrupted his noon press briefing Monday to read a statement which had just been transmitted from UN headquarters, in Nicosia.

    "This is the first event of its kind", the statement read. "The UN is providing assistance to the commercial organisers allowing the use of a stadium in the buffer zone. The event is being hailed by leaders of the two Cypriot communities," it added.

    Eckhard told CNA the UN viewed the event positively in the context of Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast's current visit to Cyprus and the region to prepare the groundwork for the face-to-face political talks, expected in June.

    The concert, organised with UN support, appears to be one element of efforts on the part of the UN to generate positive momentum (including, in this case, in the non diplomatic arena) to encourage direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, their first since October 1994.

    Last week, UN resident representative in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, described the concert as an "important step" in the direction of bringing the two communities back together and demonstrating this is what people want and that "those who say the two communities cannot live together are obviously wrong."

    The UN has been encouraging bicommunal events and exchanges to promote rapprochement between the Greek and Turkish communities on the island.

    More often than not it is Denktash who has blocked such interactions most recently, by refusing permission to Turkish Cypriot artists to attend a bicommunal exhibition in Nicosia.

    Last April, the Turkish Cypriot leader went back on assurances that Greek Cypriots would be allowed to attend Orthodox Easter church ceremonies at the Turkish-occupied Monastery of Apostolos Andreas.

    The Cyprus government, however, did permit to some 450 Turkish Cypriot worshipers to visit the government-controlled free areas of the Republic and pray at the Hala Sultan Tekke (mosque), just outside the southern coastal town of Larnaca, considered to be one of the most revered of Islamic shrines.

    As for the June direct talks, some uncertainty surrounds the issue.

    UN sources Monday would not go beyond the statement that Kofi Annan still "intends" to stage face-to-face talks.

    As the Secretary-General said in Moscow over the weekend "I do expect peace talks on Cyprus to begin in New York in the course of June."

    Greek Cypriot officials, however, have expressed some doubt whether adequate preparation and sufficient common ground has been established to justify hopes that direct talks will have concrete positive results.

    CNA JD/AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1350:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Arrested demonstrators taken to Court

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- A total of 54 people arrested last night in Nicosia during a demonstration were due to appear before the Nicosia District Court today. Strict security measures were taken in the area.

    A police spokesman told CNA the arrested demonstrators would be charged in connection with clashes with a police force Monday night.

    The demonstrators hurled stones at police, set fire to rubbish and smashed shop windows, as they left Eleftheria square, in downtown Nicosia, in their attempt to approach the venue of a UN-sponsored bicommunal pop concert by a Greek and a Turkish singer and express their opposition.

    The demonstrators took part in an anti-occupation event in Eleftheria square, organised by the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation and the Pancyprian Anti-occupation Movement counter to the bicommunal concert.

    The police spokesman told CNA that 39 policemen, 15 firemen and a civilian were slightly injured during the clashes.

    He said the bicommunal concert was attended by 580 Greek Cypriots and 2000 Turkish Cypriots, as well as 120 officials from both communities.

    The spokesman said the anti-occupation event was attended by some 3000 people and 300 motorcyclists.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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