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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-14

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Congressman sends letter to Turkish Premier
  • [02] US squarely blames Turkish side for deadlock in Cyprus
  • [03] Prominent Greek American leaders discuss Cyprus issue
  • [04] State Department coordinator to visit Cyprus
  • [05] New UN envoy in Cyprus named
  • [06] Greek Americans honour State Department coordinator

  • 0940:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Congressman sends letter to Turkish Premier

    Washington, May 14 (CNA) -- Ben Gilman, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, has asked the Turkish authorities to inform him of any further measures it is planning to take against attacks on property of the Orthodox Church in Turkey.

    In a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, dated May 13, the US congressman voices "strong concern over continuing attacks by unknown individuals against the property of the Ecumenical Patriarchate".

    He notes that following last year's attack, which was not the first, he wrote to the Turkish ambassador requesting his government "do everything within its power to ensure the safety and security of the Patriarch, his personnel and property belonging to the Church".

    "Regrettably there is an ongoing campaign in Turkey by certain individuals to attack institutions of the Orthodox Church," Gilman adds, noting the recent vandalisation and desecration of the Orthodox Cemetery of Saint Eleftherios in Constantinople.

    The US congressman expresses hope the appeals of Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew for love and reconciliation "will be heard and honoured by the people of Turkey".

    "I know that your government has expressed its strong view that acts of intolerance aimed at any religion are unacceptable," he said.

    Gilman concludes that he would "appreciate learning of any further measures Turkish authorities plan to take to ensure that the property of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is secure and to bring the perpetrators of these despicable crimes to justice."

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0945:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US squarely blames Turkish side for deadlock in Cyprus

    Washington, May 14 (CNA) -- The US has said it holds the Turkish side primarily responsible for the deadlock in efforts to settle the protracted Cyprus problem.

    In a written statement issued yesterday in response to a question, State Department spokesman James Rubin notes that: "As ambassador Holbrooke said, the Turkish side bears primary responsibility for the lack of progress in talks".

    US presidential emissary Richard Hoolbroke held three-day consultations with the two sides in Cyprus beginning of this month, in a bid to get them back to the negotiating table.

    His efforts were inconclusive because Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash insisted he would not negotiate unless talks were held on a "state- to-state" basis and Cyprus withdrew its application to join the European Union.

    The illegal regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognised only by Turkey. UN resolutions call on all states not to recognise or facilitate in any way the secessionist entity, unilaterally declared in 1983.

    Until today the peace talks have been held by President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash in their capacity as leaders of their respective communities.

    Denktash is reacting strongly to Cyprus' European Union accession mainly in reaction to a Union decision not to include Turkey in the countries considered eligible for membership.

    Meanwhile, asked if Greek officials who recently met with US officials in Washington gave any support to Turkey's EU membership, Rubin said "we were pleased to hear the secretary-general of the PASOK (ruling) party say that Greece does not object to EU membership for Turkey".

    Greek Foreign Under-Secretary, Yiannos Kranidiotis, and PASOK general- secretary Kostas Skandalides had meetings with State Department officials.

    Rubin reiterated the US view that "Turkey's future is in Europe."

    "It is in the strategic interests of the US, the EU and Turkey that the EU and Turkey have a constructive relationship. We consistently support efforts to build and improve that relationship," he added.

    The EU believes Turkey should meet criteria set for other states before it considers it eligible for membership, such as respect for human rights.

    It has also said Ankara should prove it backs efforts for a settlement in Cyprus, is ready to resolve the Kurdish problem and iron out its relations with Greece.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1100:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Prominent Greek American leaders discuss Cyprus issue

    by Demetris Apokis

    Washington, May 14 (CNA) -- The 9th annual conference of the "Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus" got underway here yesterday with an appeal from Cyprus' ambassador in Washington Andros Nicolaides for the continuation of efforts for a settlement in Cyprus, as 1998 is a critical year for the island.

    Opening the meeting, Nicolaides told prominent Cypriot and Greek American leaders that in their meetings with American officials they must bear in mind that the US will not pressure Ankara for as long as it believes in Turkey's strategic importance.

    He also stressed that Turkish intransigence in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem will continue for as long as its European Union prospects are not satisfied and if the US continues to blame the EU for not considering Turkey eligible for membership.

    Referring to the anti-aircraft missile system S-300 expected to be deployed on the island later this year, Cyprus' ambassador to the US said the government has an obligation to protect its people and a right to self- defence.

    In his address, Greek Foreign Under-Secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis described the situation in Cyprus as an "anachronism which must be done away with".

    He added that efforts to settle the Cyprus question should aim at reuniting the island in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions and two high level agreements reached in 1977 and 1979 stipulating for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Outlining the benefits of Cyprus' EU accession, Kranidiotis said it would act as a catalyst in efforts for a settlement and would contribute towards upgrading the Turkish Cypriots' standard of living.

    The delegates also met with a US official, at the White House Old Executive Office Building, who reassured them that American efforts to resume peace talks in Cyprus will continue.

    He described as a "setback" the recent visit by US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, to Cyprus, in a bid to resume peace negotiations.

    He said that at first the US officials were not surprised with the preconditions set by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for negotiations to resume, believing it was his initial position, only to realise that he would not back away from them.

    During Holbrooke's consultations with the two sides beginning of this month, Denktash demanded recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish- occupied areas of Cyprus and the withdrawal of Cyprus' application to join the European Union if he is to participate in peace talks.

    The American official pointed out that the US has put the blame on the Turkish side for the deadlock, noting that they purposely blamed Ankara and not Denktash.

    He added that Ankara has a role in the solution to the Cyprus problem and reiterated US positions on the need for closer ties between the EU and Turkey.

    Referring to the reasons why the US wants a settlement in Cyprus, such as the improvement of Greco-Turkish relations and Turkey's EU prospects, he underlined that his country has made clear to Ankara's political and military leadership that a Cyprus solution is an important issue for the US.

    On the Cyprus government's decision to deploy the S-300, he said the US respects Cyprus' right to self-defence but believes it makes efforts for a settlement more complex.

    The delegates also had a working lunch with members of the US Congress, with whom they exchanged views on their efforts to formulate US policy on the Cyprus issue.

    Most congresspersons expressed disappointment with Holbrooke's inconclusive visit to Cyprus, noting however that it has unveiled the Turkish side's intransigence.

    Speaking during a conference strategy session, Cyprus President's Commissioner for Overseas Cypriots and Minorities, Manolis Christofides, stressed that Cyprus wants the US initiative for a settlement to continue.

    He also called on the delegates to step up and coordinate their efforts for a solution in Cyprus and outlined his views on how the situation came about and recent developments.

    Christofides stressed that Turkey did not invade Cyprus in 1974 to protect the Turkish Cypriots and underlined that the Cyprus problem is an international problem of invasion and occupation.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1300:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] State Department coordinator to visit Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- US ambassador in Nicosia, Kenneth Brill, today confirmed that State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, will be in Cyprus for meetings with the two communities towards the end of this month.

    Speaking after an hour-long meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Brill confirmed press reports that a proposal by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos for the creation of a no-fly zone over Cyprus was being discussed.

    He reiterated that the US recognised only one government in Cyprus that represents the people of the island.

    Invited to confirm press reports that the US government was seriously discussing Pangalos' proposal and that this was one of the issues raised during a recent visit to Athens by US Defence Secretary William Cohen, the US diplomat confirmed the idea was raised by the Greek Foreign Minister in Washington.

    "We've said that we want him to follow up on the idea, to see precisely what he had in mind," Brill said.

    He added that "there has been that discussion that was raised by the Greek side in Washington and we've spent some effort to follow it up in Athens."

    Asked if he has discussed the issue with President Clerides, he replied "we discussed all issues across the board".

    Pangalos had put forward the proposal with his American counterpart, when Madeleine Albright raised the Cyprus government's decision to deploy the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system later this year.

    The Greek Foreign Minister had replied that the issue could be examined if the US and NATO would consider guaranteeing a no-fly zone of military flights over Cyprus.

    Brill refrained from disclosing details of the discussion he had with the Cypriot President, but said "we talked about things that were relevant to ambassador Holbrooke's visit and other issues".

    He said they discussed a variety of issues, he heard the President's views and they exchanged ideas.

    US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke and Miller were in Cyprus beginning of this month in a bid to resume peace negotiations.

    They stumbled on preconditions set by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, for the recognition of his illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus and the withdrawal of Cyprus' application to join the European Union.

    To a question if Mr. Miller will be visiting Cyprus on May 25, the American ambassador said the US State Department coordinator would be arriving around that weekend.

    Replying to questions, he reiterated that the US had always only had relations with the government of Cyprus, "that represents the people of Cyprus".

    He described the American government's view on this issue as "clear- cut" and stressed "there has been no change".

    CNA MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1400:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] New UN envoy in Cyprus named

    Nicosia, May 14 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has officially announced the appointment of Dame Ann Hercus, as his Deputy Special Representative in Cyprus.

    The 56-year-old new UN Resident Representative will succeed Gustave Feissel, who will relinquish his post on 30 June 1998, after a 35-year career in the UN.

    Hercus is at present an international consultant and advisor to, inter alia, the UN and the Commonwealth.

    She served as an MP and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the UN and she was a member of the Secretary-General's Eminent Persons Group on preparations for the World Conference for Women in Beijing.

    In New Zealand, she has engaged in strategic planning, chairing policy reviews, facilitation and community consultation projects.

    Hercus is also a founding member of the World Women Parliamentarians for Peace and she is currently chairperson of the New Zealand Communication Disorders Trust and of the New Zealand Women's Refuge Foundation as well as a Patron of the Commerce Charitable Trust.

    She holds a B.A. in English literature from the University of Auckland and law degree from the University of Canterbury (United Kingdom). She was made a Dane Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and Saint George in 1988.

    She was born in 1942. She is married to John Hercus. They have two sons.

    CNA MCH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1410:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Greek Americans honour State Department coordinator

    by Demetris Apokis

    Washington, May 14 (CNA) -- Cypriot and Greek Americans yesterday honoured US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, for his contribution to the ascertainment of the fate of a young Cypriot, of American citizenship, who went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    At an official dinner hosted by the "Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus" (PSEKA), Miller was presented with a plaque "for his efforts to help bring an end to the suffering of the Andrew Kasapis family".

    Forensic examinations on bones found in the occupied areas of Cyprus have confirmed that Andrew Kasapis, who was 17 during the Turkish invasion, was killed.

    Presenting Miller with the plaque, Kasapis' father Costas thanked the American official, the Clinton administration, the US Congress and the Justice Committee for their efforts in determining the fate of his son.

    "I pray these efforts will help determine the fate of all missing persons," he added.

    Some 1,600 Greek Cypriots were reported as missing in the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, of which five were of American citizenship.

    In his reply Miller said he accepts the honour on the part of a team of American officials and all who helped in the investigation of the fate of the missing.

    In his remarks, Ben Gilman, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, said "we are all disappointed that Holbrooke's and Miller's hard fought efforts have not produced a breakthrough."

    He was referring to the visit to Cyprus by US presidential emissary, Richard Holbrooke, and Miller, in a bid to resume peace negotiations.

    Their efforts stumbled on preconditions set by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for recognition of his illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas and the withdrawal of Cyprus' application to join the European Union.

    Gilman said he agrees with their assessment that "the impasse is a result of the Turkish position and that the key to breaking the current stalemate lies in Ankara".

    Democrat senator Paul Sarbanes said "there are more dynamics taking place now with regard to Cyprus, such as Cyprus' accession process to the EU, which can produce a political dynamic for progress."

    "There is also more positive focus of the US government at the high level on the problem of Cyprus, as well as the active engagement of the UK, the UN and the EU in the efforts to find a solution," he added.

    Sarbanes said "we must not give up, we must stay in the fight no matter what the disappointments are. In the end we will win because our cause is just, our cause is right."

    Similar views were expressed by PSEKA President, Philip Christopher, who underlined "we have an obligation to bring justice to Cyprus. The struggle must continue until those same ideals of justice and freedom that we cherish in America shine in all of Cyprus."

    Greek MP and president of the Greek Parliament committee on overseas Greeks, Gregoris Niotis, was also honoured at the dinner for his role in the establishment of the Council of Overseas Greeks.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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