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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-21

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Biennial conference of European Institutes
  • [02] Northern Ireland deal offers lessons for Cyprus
  • [03] Russian MPs call on President Clerides, House President

  • 0945:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Biennial conference of European Institutes

    Nicosia, May 21 (CNA) -- The 16th biennial Conference of Directors of European Institutes of International Relations, gets underway in Nicosia tomorrow.

    The two-day Conference on "Enlargement in an Evolving Europe: Challenges and Opportunities", is co-organised by the Cyprus Research Center (KYKEM) and the University of Cyprus.

    Issues such as "The new European Structures", "The European Union Enlargement Process", "The Evolving Security Matrix in the Mediterranean and Central Europe" as well as "Networking", will be tackled by prominent academics and political scientists.

    Representatives from the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the New York Institute for East - West Studies, the Brussels based Centre for European Policy Studies will speak at the Conference.

    Speakers include professors from the WEU Institute for International and Strategic Studies, the London-based Royal United Services Institute, the Institute of Europe and the Centre for Political and International Studies, of Moscow.

    Similar institutes or professors from Italy, Slovenia and Poland will also participate.

    Cyprus Attorney General Alecos Markides, the chief negotiator in Cyprus' accession talks with the EU, former President George Vassiliou, and professors will address the conference, which is closed to the public.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1110:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Northern Ireland deal offers lessons for Cyprus

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, May 21 (CNA) -- As the people of the island of Ireland, north and south of the border, are gearing up for tomorrow's referendum, their political leadership on either side appears ready to share its experience with other trouble-spots around the world.

    The overriding message for Cyprus, which party officials and representatives of the British and Irish governments have to offer, is that compromise is needed if peace is to be established.

    Speaking to CNA recently in Belfast, they said good relations between two of the main protagonists in the Cypriot conflict (Greece and Turkey) is a must, if anything is to be achieved, but stressed that the sides directly involved should display the political will to move forward towards an agreement.

    Drawing a parallel of the situation, they also said that outside help, in the form of envoys, can serve as a very useful tool in encouraging the two sides to clinch a deal.

    Furthermore, they pointed out that a shift in the position of the British government and the decision by Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, to pursue its goals by peaceful means, facilitated the peace effort.

    A British government official said the procedure during the multi-party talks "was one of compromise".

    "The input of international envoys in the work of the two governments (London and Dublin) was very important," the official said, noting that US Senator George Mitchell "acted as a catalyst."

    Both capitals prepared documents on the various problems that needed to be tackled which Mitchell used to prepare an outline of the Agreement.

    The official also noted that there are no winners and no losers out of the Agreement.

    A senior diplomat of the Irish government noted that in the case of Cyprus, the two interested governments in Greece and Turkey "are at loggerheads and improved relations between them can help the Cyprus situation."

    "There is a lesson for Cyprus here," he said, adding "we do have an interest in Cyprus".

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

    On outside engagement in the Irish conflict, the diplomat said US President Bill Clinton's involvement and support to the two main political parties in Northern Ireland was "helpful", as was the deadline which Senator Mitchell set.

    Asked what exactly had clinched the deal, he listed a number of factors, including the decision by the political wing of the IRA, Sinn Fein, to "go down the path of peace" and the fact that "the British government have no agenda, no economic or strategic interest in staying in Northern Ireland."

    Talking to CNA on developments in Northern Ireland in relation to Cyprus, Sinn Fein Councillor, Michael Brown, said he sees "no reason why others cannot reach an agreement, if we can."

    "I hope the Agreement serves as a good point of reference for Cyprus," he added.

    Acknowledging that his party has made compromises, Brown said Sinn Fein considers the Agreement "not as a point of settlement" and was sure that the goal of a united Ireland can be "a reality within our lifetime."

    "It is a question of when, not if, we get a united Ireland," he stressed.

    The main Protestant party, the Ulster Unionist Party (UPP), which backs the Agreement but wants to continue links with London, recognises the path to peace is an uphill struggle and is adamant that the British government does not abandon Ulster.

    May Steele, of the UUP, gave a stern warning to others outside Northern Ireland facing similar problems, saying that if the Agreement is wrecked, "it will be the end of the road."

    She said her party "sidelined thorny issues, such as the early release of prisoners, but got a big achievement on the proposed changes to the Irish constitution."

    Referring to the period leading to the Agreement, Steele said "papers were presented on many issues, but we did not have clear cut negotiations as such on each separate issue as all of them are interwoven."

    "It is worthwhile trying to give peace a chance," she told CNA, as her piece of advice to others attempting to bring lasting peace to troubled areas.

    A representative of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Martin Morgan, was willing to share his party's experience with people in Cyprus but warned that "there must be compromise all round."

    "If we can offer a bit of assistance, we would certainly do it," he said, underlining the positive contribution of the Irish and British governments.

    The Agreement acknowledges, for the first time in black and white, that the people of Northern Ireland alone can bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, provided the majority backs such a development.

    Morgan underlined the need to restore trust, but said conflict resolution as such does not necessarily resolve a problem in that it is "somewhat patronising" notion.

    Confidence has to be achieved through concrete and practical steps from both sides, he explained.

    A staunch opponent of the Agreement, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led by Ian Paisley, shares Sinn Fein's view that the Agreement leads to a united Ireland.

    "It is the biggest con-job ever tried on the people of Northern Ireland, " Sinclair McAlister told CNA and vowed that his party would enter the proposed Assembly in Belfast to "wreck it."

    "We are going to fight for our right to remain within the Union just like Greek Cypriots are prepared to fight against something they do not want," he said.

    People in Northern Ireland are asked to say "yes" or "no" to the Agreement, reached in April after lengthy negotiations, while people in the Republic of Ireland are asked to approve far reaching changes to the country's constitution, which abandons Dublin's territorial claim over the six counties of Northern Ireland.

    CNA MM/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1240:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Russian MPs call on President Clerides, House President

    Nicosia, May 21 (CNA) -- President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou today briefed members of the Russian Federation Duma (parliament) on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

    A four-member delegation of the Russian Duma - Cyprus Friendship Association, who are visiting Cyprus at the invitation of the House of Representatives had separate meetings with the two men.

    Association head Yuri Utkin said they briefed President Clerides on its activities within the Duma as well as cooperation between the two parliaments.

    He said cooperation between the two parliaments should continue as it benefits both peoples.

    "For us Cyprus is not small, we are two states with friendly relations that will continue cooperating on this basis," Utkin added.

    House President Spyros Kyprianou described the four-day visit of the Russian MPs as important because it will back bilateral relations and said they exchanged views on relations which "are developing positively in all fields".

    He added that he briefed the MPs on latest developments in the Cyprus issue, with special emphasis on Russian involvement as a Security Council permanent member.

    "I believe that closer ties will contribute to the further cooperation and the relations between the two countries," Kyprianou added.

    The Russian MP also stressed the need for cooperation between the two parliaments and the strengthening of ties between the two peoples.

    "The Russian parliament supports Cyprus, a friendly country," Utkin added.

    The delegation also comprises Nikolai Astafiev, Michael Bugera and Vladimir Piatoshin.

    During their stay the Russian MPs will also meet Archbishop Chrysostomos, political party leaders or representatives as well as the House Foreign Relations Committee.

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