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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-28

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Members of Congress - Letter to Clinton
  • [02] Defence Minister - Athens meeting
  • [03] Political leaders - Athens meeting

  • 1630:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Members of Congress - Letter to Clinton

    Washington, Aug 28 (CNA) -- Forty-nine members of Congress asked US President Bill Clinton for more aggression in American diplomacy in Cyprus, in view of the intransigence displayed by the Turkish side in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem.

    In a letter, dated June 25 and made known today, the members of Congress describe preconditions set by the Turkish side for the resumption of peace talks as unrealistic and unacceptable.

    They add that the demands by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Ankara for recognition of the illegal regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the withdrawal of the Republic's application to join the European Union raise questions about their alleged commitment to a viable solution.

    The Congress persons note they have "long considered the forcible division and foreign occupation of part of Cyprus as unacceptable and a continuing source of tension and instability in an area which is vital to US national and security interests."

    They also underline their support to a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem which will reunify the island and its people.

    "Such a solution will also strengthen peace and stability in the volatile Eastern Mediterranean and significantly advance our national security interest in the region and beyond," they add.

    The members of Congress say they are "incensed by the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Turkish government."

    "The preconditions for further negotiations set by Denktash and Ankara are both unrealistic and unacceptable. Their demand for Cypriot government recognition of the illegal occupied area of northern Cyprus and their attempt to interfere with Cypriot negotiations with the EU demonstrate their true intentions," they add.

    They point out that such demands "call into question their alleged commitment to the process and to a viable solution."

    The American Congress persons also express concern with Turkey's efforts to integrate the areas of Cyprus it occupies since its forces invaded the island in 1974, through the strengthening of security and economic relations.

    In the two-page letter, they commend the American President for his support and commitment to a Cyprus settlement but note that "if we are to take advantage of this limited aperture for a resolution, the US must be more aggressive in its diplomacy."

    They describe US response to the Turkish side's demands as "insufficient, given the absurdity of the proposed preconditions for an agreement."

    "Mr Denktash and the Turkish government cannot be allowed to hijack the process and rob the Cypriot people of their right to live in peace in a reunified Cyprus," they add.

    The members of Congress conclude their letter by outlining their view that a Cyprus settlement should include a reunited country, with a single sovereign citizenship and international personality and with a strong federal government.

    They add that the rights of all citizens should be ensured and say that these principles are based on international law and the provisions of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

    "A solution that does not encompass those principles would not lead to a lasting peace," the Congress persons stress.

    CNA DA/MA/GG/1998

    [02] Defence Minister - Athens meeting

    Larnaca, Aug 28 (CNA) -- Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou said today that Nicosia and Athens will undertake joint efforts to achieve the resumption of the Cyprus peace process.

    On his return from Athens, Omirou described yesterday's meeting between the two governments chaired by President Glafcos Clerides and Premier Costas Simitis, as very productive and noted that Greece reassured it stands by Cyprus.

    The Defence Minister, who participated in the meeting, said concrete political moves and initiatives were decided.

    "In the next few months the two governments will try to implement their policy for the resumption of a productive dialogue which would lead to a settlement of the Cyprus problem or a dialogue on security issues, which would reduce tension, with an aim to achieve complete demilitarisation," he said.

    Omirou said the meeting was very important and noted that one of its main conclusions was that "Greece is in full solidarity with the people of Cyprus in their struggle for justice and freedom."

    He also said that efforts made in the past few months to portray the Cyprus question as a problem of arms purchases by the Cyprus government were dismissed.

    The two governments underlined that the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation, violation of the rule of law and Turkey's refusal to comply with UN resolutions, Omirou added.

    Asked why there was no mention of the Greek government's position that a new Turkish offensive against Cyprus would constitute a "casus belli" (cause for war), the minister said this decision still stands.

    He referred to the positions outlined in a joint communique, issued after the meeting, that says that the Greek government is committed to defend Cyprus militarily in case of a threat and supports the Cyprus government's sovereign right to build its defences.

    The Minister stressed that no decision to postpone the deployment of the Russian-made S300 surface-to-air missile system ordered by the Cyprus government was taken.

    "On the contrary, the two governments reiterated their decisiveness to back the Cyprus Republic's sovereign rights," he added.

    The government ordered the S300 in a bid to boost its air defence, amid strong opposition from foreign governments, including the US and Britain.

    Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continue to occupy 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MAN/MA/KN/1998

    [03] Political leaders - Athens meeting

    Nicosia, Aug 28 (CNA) -- The majority of political party leaders today welcomed the Greek government's reaffirmation that it continues to support Cyprus and its sovereign rights.

    In statements evaluating a joint communique issued after a meeting held in Athens on Thursday, chaired by President Glafcos Clerides and Premier Costas Simitis, political leaders express satisfaction with the position outlined on the issue of the S300 defensive missiles.

    Main opposition party AKEL leader Dimitris Christofias said the joint communique "sends the message to third parties and locally that discussions on the S300 should stop and we should all start working on the substance of the Cyprus problem."

    He said the possibility of postponing the deployment of the missiles is left open and added it is expected that Greece would stand by Cyprus if there is a new Turkish offensive or a threat against the island.

    Ruling right-wing DISI leader Nicos Anastasiades welcomed the outcome of the meeting "and especially the reiteration of Greece's decision to back Cyprus militarily if it is threatened."

    He underlined that unity between political parties in Cyprus must prevail.

    Anastasiades also said that the decision to deploy the S300 missiles in Cyprus still stands, but added that the political leaders will have the last word taking into consideration the prevailing international and regional conditions at the time.

    On the other hand centre-right Democratic Party's (DIKO) initial response to the communique is that it raises many questions.

    The Party's press spokesman Andreas Constantinou said it is expecting clarifications "on some serious matters such as the issue of 'joint decisions' and some 'ideas' about a moratorium of overflights in Cyprus."

    However, Constantinou expressed satisfaction with references in the communique to Cyprus' European Union accession course and the efforts the Greek Premier undertakes on the issue.

    Socialist Party President Vasos Lyssarides expressed satisfaction with the meeting, noting that it reconfirmed the S300 would be deployed and that if any other proposals were made they would be discussed by the political leaders.

    "If the majority of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem) decides that we will remain steady on our decision for the deployment of the S300 then it will go ahead," he added.

    United Democrat leader George Vassiliou, said the National Council should convene to take decisions on all issues of concern.

    He described the communique as "an important step in the right direction so that attention will no longer focus on the missiles but the political aspect of the Cyprus problem."

    New Horizons party leader, Nicos Koutsou, stressed the importance of "the Greek government's clear position that it will militarily support Cyprus in the case of a new Turkish provocation."

    He said the National Council has already decided on the deployment of the S300 and added that any postponement would have dire consequences.

    The joint communique says President Glafcos Clerides declared his readiness to listen to ideas which would contribute to peace and gradual reduction of armaments leading to demilitarisation.

    It adds that the S300 surface-to-air missiles ordered by the Cyprus government is not a means to an end and reiterates that the Greek government is committed to defend Cyprus militarily in case of a threat against the free parts of the Republic.

    "The S300 is not a means to an end. Both countries aim to consolidate peace and security in the region, defend the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and safeguard international law," the communique says.

    The Greek government makes in clear to every direction that "the joint defence pact (agreed between the two countries in 1993) is a commitment Greece has undertaken governed by the decision to defend Cyprus militarily in case of a threat".

    Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continue to occupy 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA MA/KN/1998
    cna ends
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