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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-03-10

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Danielle Mitterrand - Turkey - Cyprus
  • [02] US Ambassador - Cyprus - Bilateral relations
  • [03] Albright - Karamanlis
  • [04] House of Lords - Cyprus
  • [05] Armenian FM - Departure
  • [06] Agriculture Minister - EU - Rome meetings

  • 0920:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Danielle Mitterrand - Turkey - Cyprus

    Brussels, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of the late French president and prominent human rights activists, has lambasted Turkey for its double standard policies against the Kurdish people and the oppressive methods it applies to suppress their legitimate demands.

    In an article in the Belgian paper "La Libre Belgique," Mitterrand points out that "the Kurds are denied their cultural heritage by a regime which demands these same rights for several thousand Turkish Cypriots who occupy, unpunished, for a quarter of a century, the north of Cyprus."

    The former first lady calls on Europe to "speak with one voice, act in concert to lead Turkey to see reason and oblige her to make peace with its 15 million Kurds by at last recognising their identity and dignity."

    Europe, she adds in a critical remark, which "considers itself the land of asylum and has welcomed eminent democrats such as Bokassa, Khomeiny, Duvalier and which knows very well how to welcome emirs and corrupted leaders of the third world, has closed its doors to the Kurdish leader running the risk of death and delivering him to his executioners."

    Describing Turkey's oppression of the Kurds as "terrible and barbaric, " she recalls that Turkey went unpunished when it carried out the Armenian genocide and expelled more than one million of Greeks, noting that "Turkey tries through its impressive military arsenal to efface from the map these indigenous people from their country."

    Referring to the armed struggle the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) is waging against Turkey, Mitterrand says that "in a similar situation, under occupation, I opted for resistance and I was like many other resistant fighters labelled a terrorist by the powers of that era."

    She also reminds readers that former leaders of the Algerian resistance against France "have now become our partners."

    Mitterrand notes that France has been negotiating for the past month the sale of tanks and helicopters to the Turkish army at an estimated cost of 10 billion dollars.

    CNA NB/MM/GP/1999

    [02] US Ambassador - Cyprus - Bilateral relations

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- The United States said they are not embarrassed by the occupation of part of the island, but instead they are working hard to promote a settlement.

    Replying to questions last night during a gathering of the Cyprus- American Association - Nicosia branch, the US ambassador noted it was up to the people of the island to help themselves.

    Asked if the US are embarrassed by the current situation in Cyprus, Brill replied, "why would we feel embarrassed?"

    He explained the US "have worked very well and hard to promote a settlement for the Cyprus problem."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    He said that ever since the 1960's the US have been very involved with Cyprus and "continue to be very involved, partly because we have important interests in the region, important interests with our NATO allies, and strong feelings for Cyprus as well".

    Brill assured the US do all that they can, "but this is a world where people have to help solve their own problems".

    In his speech, Brill referred to the bilateral relations noting that "Cyprus is a valued economic partner of the US".

    The value of total imports from the US to Cyprus has increased by almost 400 per cent and the US have been Cyprus' leading supplier of total imports for four years in a row.

    Furthermore, around 50 per cent of US exports to Cyprus are subsequently re-exported by Cyprus-based businessmen while Cyprus hosts a number of America's leading companies that conduct their offshore operations in the region or flourish as franchises on the island.

    Brill said the Cyprus government is doing its part to help improve economic cooperation and referred to the enforcement of new legislation on copyright protection and the law on protecting patents.

    However, Brill underlined the need for investment between the two countries, noting that although Cyprus may have a small domestic market, its location near the Gulf and Europe puts it near a huge market.

    The US Embassy, he said, is "aggressively promoting the idea of US private-sector investment in Cyprus.

    The American diplomat said his country values "Cyprus as a market and as a trade partner" and has been working hard to sell "Cyprus the Opportunity" to US businessmen, not the "Cyprus Problem".

    He stressed the need to promote tourism from the US to Cyprus, adding that every year between 25,000 - 35,000 Americans visit Cyprus.

    Referring to the people-to-people aspect of the bilateral relations, Brill said this has been enriched by the Fulbright programme which has been providing scholarships and citizen-to-citizen links between the two countries since 1962.

    Almost 2,400 scholarships and training grants have been granted by the US to Cypriot students over the years while 2,000 Cypriots are pursuing higher education in the US. A further 50 training grants for mid-level professionals are given annually to perfect their skills in the US.

    Furthermore, the US give annually 15 million US dollars since 1974 through the Agency for International Development while 10 million US dollars is spent through the UN Office of Programmes on projects such as hospitals and the Cyprus Institute for Neurology and Genetics.

    Another five million dollars support the Cyprus-American Scholarship Programme.

    However, he said there is still a big gap in the people-to-people relationship noting there is not a single "sister city" relationship between a US and Cypriot city.

    Brill praised the Cyprus government's decision to establish a Unit for Combatting Money Laundering, and referred to a new extradition treaty between the two countries and their partnership in fighting against narcotics trafficking and international terrorism.

    Referring to the friendship between the two peoples, Brill said there are 40 thousand Greek Cypriots who live in the US who are "literally a bridge between our two countries".

    CNA EC/GP/1999

    [03] Albright - Karamanlis

    Washington, Mar 10 (CNA) -- US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has apparently recognised that the Turkish side is responsible for the lack of progress towards a negotiated settlement in the Cyprus question.

    Albright is said to have expressed this view at a meeting in Washington with Costas Karamanlis, leader of the main opposition party Nea Democratia (New Democracy).

    According to Karamanlis, who talked to the press after his discussions with Albright, she also indicated that the US intend to undertake an initiative after the Turkish election in April.

    The Cyprus problem was one of the main topics on the agenda of their talks, he said.

    James Rubin, State Department spokesman, also said Cyprus was one of the issues discussed at the meeting.

    "There is a need for the US to undertake an initiative to curb Turkish intransigence and open the road for a just and lasting settlement," Karamanlis told the press.

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

    CNA DA/MM/GP/1999

    [04] House of Lords - Cyprus

    London, Mar 10 (CNA) -- "Now is the time to look forward in Cyprus and not back", pledged Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean.

    Speaking before the House of Lords, Baroness Symons noted the tension on the island has been reduced following the decision of the Cyprus Republic not to deploy in Cyprus the S300 Russian anti-aircraft missile system.

    Asked what progress has been made in securing a peaceful settlement in Cyprus, Baroness said "the best means of achieving this is through the UN Secretary-General's mission of good offices on the basis laid down in Security Council resolutions for a bizonal, bicommunal federation."

    She assured that Britain "is committed" to working for the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1218 which "sets out clear objectives for reducing tension and for progress towards a comprehensive settlement."

    Baroness Symons added that Britain can "draw some comfort from the current process" on the island under the aegis of Dame Ann Hercus who is discussing with both sections of the community.

    She said "an enormously important step" which helped reduce tensions was the decision not to have the S-300 weapons on the island. The fact that that has not happened, "must reduce the tension", she added.

    The British official said there is "a certain amount of bicommunal activity, notably in the current meetings between businessmen" which give the people an opportunity to get together.

    Referring to the island's efforts to join the European Union (EU), Baroness Symons said Britain is working with its EU partners "to ensure that the technical difficulties which undoubtedly exist and which were caused by the division of the island are not overlooked in the accession negotiations."

    She said "it is better to identify those obstacles now than to allow them to develop into more serious obstacles further down the track."

    Baroness Symons said the UK is "looking forward to the eventual accession of Cyprus."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory. It applied for full EU membership in July 1990.

    CNA KT/EC/GP/1999

    [05] Armenian FM - Departure

    Larnaca, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Armenian Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian said he was "extremely satisfied" over the results of his official visit to the island.

    Oskanian was speaking at Larnaca airport, prior to his departure after four days of contacts which included a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides and talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides.

    The Armenian minister said he had "very productive meetings" in Cyprus, noting the two countries have made certain "forward steps" in their bilateral ties.

    Noting that political ties are "extremely good", Oskanian said further work will be done to increase economic relations, especially expanding a legal framework to give Armenian business people more opportunities on the island.

    He also referred to the decision to form a friendship group between the parliaments of Cyprus and Armenia, which will help contribute towards the further development of their relations.

    Around 2500 people of Armenian origin live in Cyprus. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA MAN/EC/GP/1999

    [06] Agriculture Minister - EU - Rome meetings

    Larnaca, Mar 10 (CNA) -- The European Union common agriculture policy will provide security to Cypriot farmers, once Cyprus joins the EU, Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Costas Themistocleous has said.

    Speaking on his way to Rome to attend FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) ministerial meetings, the minister also had a word of warning for Cypriot farmers.

    "Cypriot farmers must understand that we are talking about a different competitive environment and we may have to give up some of the methods we apply at present to make our products more competitive," Themistocleous said.

    He said EU prospective membership is a "challenge for the local farmer, who with state backing will be able to adjust to the new environment and render agricultural produce into a small but dynamic sector of our economy."

    Replying to questions, Themistocleous said "there are about 30 teams of experts dealing exclusively or in the larger part of their time with EU matters."

    The minister will attend three FAO ministerial meetings on forestry, fisheries and agriculture of small island states.

    He said he will outline Cyprus' experience in agriculture as a small island state.

    CNA MAN/MM/GP/1999
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