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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-05

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] No preconditions for negotiations, says UN envoy
  • [02] Divergence of views between EU-US

  • 1420:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] No preconditions for negotiations, says UN envoy

    Nicosia, May 5 (CNA) -- "There should be no preconditions for negotiations by either side".

    This was stressed here today by UN Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative in Cyprus Gustave Feissel, when invited to comment on preconditions set by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for the resumption of the Cyprus peace talks.

    Speaking after meeting here today Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, Feissel said "I think that is one of the fundamental rules of negotiations: That there should be no preconditions."

    He added that this morning's discussion focused on the visit of US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke and "what emerged by all that" noting that President Clerides gave him "his impressions and thoughts."

    Asked to comment on the results of Holbrooke's visit, he said that the US envoy himself admitted that he was not able to move things forward "so we are still basically where we were and where we have been for some time."

    "Obviously, this is not good. We have been in an impasse and the political situation has been getting worse, more difficult and of course it is very important that we find a way to move forward, because this is the only way that we can reach a settlement," he said.

    Feissel stressed that "we are at a very important moment" repeating that it is in the interest of each of the parties involved in the Cyprus question to find a settlement to this problem without delay. Otherwise, he warned, there would be negative developments for the parties and the whole region.

    The UN official refrained from commenting on Holbrooke's statement that "President Clerides does not represent the people of northern Cyprus" noting that "there are Security Council resolutions which say what they say and we all know what that is and so I don't really want to go into that."

    Asked to comment on the fact that the US emissary changed Denktash's title from "Turkish Cypriot leader" to "leader chosen by political procedures of northern Cyprus", Feissel expressed the view that "both are correct."

    He explained that the interlocutors are the leaders of the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community and that "you may say 'legal', you may say 'illegal', but it is true that they have an election on the Turkish Cypriot side which led to the election of Mr. Denktash."

    He added that "there are various other people over there who had been elected to legislative positions."

    Answering a relevant question, he said "the mandate of the Secretary- General is to help the two sides on an equal footing. The resolution does not say help the victim deal with the aggressor."

    Concerning the missing persons issue, he said that Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Takis Christopoulos and Turkish Cypriot member of the Investigatory Committee for the Missing Rustem Tatar have exchanged information about the sites where Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot persons may be found.

    He added that last week the two men met in order to work out the arrangements which would lead to the opening of graves and the return of the remains of those persons.

    "We had this meeting a week ago and we had a first discussion of that. We did not finish the work. It needs further discussions", he added. He expressed the hope that the procedures and arrangements will move forward without any delay.

    The meeting on the missing persons took place within the framework of an agreement signed on July 31, 1997, by President Clerides and Denktash.

    Asked whether the leaders of the two communities are also in favour of the procedure moving forward without any delay, he said "well that is certainly my impression and my hope".

    A total of 1.619 Greek Cypriots and Greeks were listed as missing persons soon after the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus' northern third in summer 1974.

    CNA KN/GP/1998

    [02] Divergence of views between EU-US

    Nicosia, May 5 (CNA) -- The rotating presidency of the European Union, currently held by Britain, does not consider the current impasse in Cyprus as a crisis and, unlike the US, believes the EU did offer a forward movement to the Union's relations with Turkey.

    Britain also hopes that this month's Association Council with Turkey will be successful to allow the June summit to reflect that success.

    The EU presidency reiterated that it is dealing with the application from the government of Cyprus, noting that the Turkish Cypriots have not yet taken up a proposal from President Glafcos Clerides for a joint negotiating team.

    "We very much support the view that this is not a crisis, there are continuing efforts on various fronts and these efforts will continue," British High Commissioner in Nicosia David Madden, told the press after seeing President Clerides.

    His comments come after a fresh US-led attempt to resume the dialogue for a negotiated settlement in Cyprus failed because, as US envoy Richard Holbrooke told a press conference Monday, the Turkish Cypriot side demanded recognition of its regime prior to talks and wanted the Cyprus government to withdraw its application for EU membership.

    Holbrooke described the conclusions of the last EU summit in Luxembourg as a "mistake" with regard to Turkey, in that it was the only applicant country left out in the cold unlike the remaining eleven applicants who are on the list of countries which will eventually start accession talks.

    Six of them, including Cyprus, have already started, the other five at a later stage.

    "The Luxembourg conclusions do offer a forward movement to EU - Turkey relations, they offered Turkey a forward progression in its relations with the EU," Madden said.

    He said if May's Association Council meeting with Turkey "goes well", this success would be appropriately reflected in the Cardiff conclusions, in June.

    Replying to questions, Madden said he would not describe the difference of opinion with the US on the Luxembourg conclusions as "fundamental".

    The US, he explained, "obviously would like to see the EU in a position to offer rather more to Turkey."

    Asked if the Luxembourg decision was an error as Holbrooke said, Madden pointed out it would be "very difficult to find someone representing the EU presidency to agree that it was a mistake."

    Invited to say if the Cypriot application represents the whole of the island, the British diplomat said the EU is "acting on an application by the government of Cyprus" and then referred to President Clerides' proposal to Turkish Cypriots to participate in the accession negotiations as full members of the Cypriot team.

    "That offer has unfortunately not yet been taken, but we continue to argue the advantages of a joint Cypriot negotiating team," Madden said.

    He refrained from any public comment on a statement by Holbrooke that Clerides does not represent or have control of the people of northern Cyprus.

    "The important thing is for matters to be discussed at the negotiating table at some point," he added.

    Replying to questions, Madden said the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the accession talks does not change the legal status of the application.

    CNA GG/MM/GP/1998
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