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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-30

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus - India - Award
  • [02] Cyprus' EU Chief Negotiator - Genscher
  • [03] Turkey - Israel - Relations
  • [04] Rally - Cyprus - Yugoslavia
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot pilgrims - Return
  • [06] Genscher - Lecture
  • [07] President of Ghana - Cyprus visit

  • 1515:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus - India - Award

    Nicosia, Mar 30 (CNA) -- Cyprus' High Commissioner to India, was presented with the Indira Gandhi Award for the Promotion of Cultural Cooperation between Nations.

    Speaking during the ceremony, Rea Giordamli said her aim will be to strengthen cooperation in the political field and to expand the cultural, trade, tourism and technological relations between the two countries.

    Giordamli referred to the close relations between India and Cyprus and the friendship of the late President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, with Indian premiers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

    The award was established in 1994 and is presented to international personalities for their contribution to the strengthening of relations between peoples.

    CNA EC/GP/1999
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    [02] Cyprus' EU Chief Negotiator - Genscher

    Nicosia, Mar 30 (CNA) -- Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Chancellor of Germany Hans Dietrich Genscher called for a solution to the Cyprus problem and expressed strong support for the island's accession to the European Union (EU).

    Genscher, who is visiting the island as a guest of the Cyprus Popular Bank, had a meeting today with Cyprus' Chief Negotiator in talks for accession to the EU, former Cyprus President George Vassiliou.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, Genscher said in the past he and Vassiliou, whom he described as a "friend", "very often discussed the problems of Cyprus".

    "He was my best advisor" on the island's question, he remarked, adding "I wish all the best, in particular with the negotiations with the EU" in order to make Cyprus' accession possible.

    Genscher went on saying he strongly supports Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    On his part, Vassiliou said Genscher is a very influential personality, noting his help regarding Cyprus' European course "will be very useful".

    Genscher sees the need for a solution to the island's political problem, but expressed the view that "Cyprus cannot be punished" if Turkey does not contribute to the solution of the problem, Vassiliou said.

    The German politician expressed the view that "you cannot victimise Cyprus for a second time", Vassiliou added.

    Asked whether Genscher is a potential mediator on the Cyprus issue, Vassiliou said he did not want to speculate on that, adding, however, that "if someone is the appropriate person for mediating, that is Mr Genscher".

    Vassiliou described Genscher as a "world heavyweight personality, who is highly appreciated."

    Cyprus, along with Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and the Czech Republic started substantive accession negotiations with the EU in November 1998.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA GG/GP/1999
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    1725:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Turkey - Israel - Relations

    Nicosia, Mar 30 (CNA) -- Turkey's shaky ties with Israel came under scrutiny today by prominent academics who voiced a certain degree of concern about the extent to which these ties are serving the interests of the countries involved and those of the region.

    The academics pointed out that mutual interests form the underlying thinking behind the military cooperation between the two countries, but also outlined the different perspectives and goals each country seeks to achieve through this cooperation.

    It was also said that Turkey is unlikely to be persuaded to change course in its foreign policy on either the Cyprus question or its ties with Greece unless any such change would serve its own national interests.

    Speaking at a one-day seminar on "Turkey in the post cold-war era", professor Ali-Hillal Dessouki, of the Cairo University, said reaction among Arab nations to the Turkish-Israeli military cooperation agreement ranged from "tacit approval, to downright silence, to expression of reservations and to seeing it as a threat."

    "I suggest that what we have here is a military cooperation that can lead in future to other things depending on global factors," professor Dessouki said.

    He explained that a military cooperation means "to enhance, promote and consolidate the military capabilities of the countries involved."

    Turkey and Israel, he added, do not share "the same perceptions of threats to their national interests" and noted the lack of consensus in Israel and Turkey about the impact and the repercussions of their defence agreement.

    Dessouki said Turkey considers Israel responsible for the impasse in the Middle East peace process and Israel wants to disengage itself from Turkey's position on Cyprus.

    He said the alliance "is more of a military cooperation with US blessings."

    Greek professor Alecos Coudsis, of Panteion University, in Athens, said "Turkey's emergence as a regional power, underscored by its strategic relations with Israel and growing security ties with Jordan, surely strengthens its deterrent credibility and wins it great respect among its neighbours."

    Turkey's increasing strength may lead to the formation of alliances to counter it and the country's close ties with Israel may inhibit its chances to "play a significant part in multilateral tracks, associated with the Middle East peace process," Coudsis added.

    Referring to Turkey's ties with the West, professor Coudsis said the country's problems with Western Europe and the US make Ankara less likely to be responsive to Western diplomatic initiatives, particularly on the Cyprus and Greece-related issues that seem most to concern Brussels and Washington.

    "The EU has little ability to dissuade Turkey from a foreign policy course Ankara considers to be in its national interest," he added.

    Outlining the Israeli point of view, professor Alon Liel, of the Hebrew University said his country's "love affair" with Turkey has had many ups and downs through the years and noted that both countries have paid a price because of this.

    "This love affair can continue if Turkey understands Israel's needs to maintain an independent stand towards Greece and Cyprus," he cautioned.

    Israel cannot and will not play along with Turkey's policy in the region, he added, noting that Israel has already paid "a heavy price in its relations with Europe" because of its ties with Turkey.

    Explaining the reasons behind these close relations, professor Liel pointed to Turkey's concerns about regional security, its need to replace Europe by a western ally in the region and its wish to create a regional bloc to function along the basis of secularism and democracy.

    On the Israeli side, he said the country is still trying to "get legitimatised" in the region and noted the advantages in intelligence and civilian trade as well as in the country's defence industries.

    The seminar is organised by the Research and Development Centre of Intercollege, headed by Andreas Theophanous and the Department of International Relations of the college.

    CNA MM/EC/1999
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    [04] Rally - Cyprus - Yugoslavia

    Nicosia, Mar 30 (CNA) -- Political parties here are organising an all party rally on Saturday to condemn the continuing NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia and express support and solidarity with the Yugoslav people.

    The decision was announced today by House President, Spyros Kyprianou, who will address the rally on behalf of all the parties.

    "Party leaders feel very strongly about the situation in Yugoslavia. What is happening in Yugoslavia is a violation of the UN Charter and the role of the Security Council," Kyprianou said.

    He described the methods used to deal with the political problem as "totally unacceptable".

    "Unless the credibility of the UN and that of the countries participating in this war adventure, are restored, nobody will be able to talk about a better future for humanity," he added.

    The House President said Saturday's rally will send the message that the people of Cyprus, who are fighting for their own freedom, "give their full support to the same principles, the same values and ideals in every case."

    There has been strong criticism of NATO's air strikes from various quarters in Cyprus, including downright condemnation from organised groups.

    The past few days have seen protests outside the US Embassy and the British High Commission by Yugoslav nationals who live in Cyprus, and Cypriots.

    Today, 100 persons, waving national flags, aired their sentiments outside both embassies, where police had cordoned off with barbed wire.

    Secondary school pupils were out in the streets as well today to protest the bombardment of Yugoslavia. The protest was peaceful, even though eggs, tomatoes and bottles were thrown against the US embassy building, from a safe distance since police were out in force to avert any incidents.

    In a resolution, pinned on the barbed wire encircling the embassy, pupils criticised the US for resorting "selectively to inhuman acts to suit their interests while they completely ignore human rights violations of the people of Cyprus for the past 25 years."

    Part of Cyprus continues to be under Turkish occupation since troops invaded in the summer of 1974.

    The Cyprus Peace Council has sent a message to UN Secretary-General denouncing NATO's "inhuman raid against the people of Yugoslavia and calls on the UN to take immediate action to end it and promote a political solution to the problem."

    "Peace and security in the world rests with the UN and not NATO or any other military alliance," the message said.

    A similar message was sent to NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, which points out that NATO's role is "obsolete" after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

    CNA MM/EC/1999
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    [05] Turkish Cypriot pilgrims - Return

    Nicosia, Mar 30 (CNA) -- Turkish Cypriots, who visited the Hala Sultan Tekke in the southern coastal town of Larnaca today to celebrate the Kurban Bayram, returned to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus this afternoon.

    Before boarding the 23 busses which they travelled on from the occupied areas, the 1227 Turkish Cypriots expressed the desire for peace between the two communities.

    "War is not good, we need peace everywhere, each has to live happy and safe," said one Turkish Cypriot before he left, in relation to NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia.

    Another one said "we must have peace between Greeks and Turks." Others said they were pleased to have visited the Hala Sultan mosque, considered to be one of the holiest Islamic shrines as it was built in memory of the aunt of the Prophet Mohammed, who died on the spot after falling off her mule.

    On Easter Monday (April 12) over 1000 Greek Cypriots are expected to visit the monastery of Apostle Andreas on the northern tip of the island, which has been under Turkish occupation since 1974.

    Contact between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, has been rare since the Turkish invasion. Turkey refuses to withdraw its occupation troops, despite repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MM/EC/1999
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    2130:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Genscher - Lecture

    Nicosia, Mar 30 (CNA) -- Former German Foreign Minister, Hans Dietrich Genscher, has called for more political integration in an enlarged European Union encompassing all its neighbours, in eastern and central Europe as well as in its southern flank, to serve the EU's interests in an increasingly globalised environment.

    On Cyprus' bid to join the Union, the man, widely described as the architect of new Europe, said Cyprus cannot be held hostage to its division, which exists against its will, adding that Cyprus' EU membership could contribute to the country's unification as well as regional stability.

    Speaking to a large audience, here today, Genscher said "EU enlargement is a task of paramount importance and a moral imperative" because only a greater Europe will be able to influence global developments in its interests.

    He also stressed that "only through a united Europe we can influence global developments in line with our own European interests."

    He paid tribute to the courage of the nations of Central and Eastern Europe which contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall and said Europe can only prosper if its eastern and southern neighbours prosper too.

    Describing the start of accession talks with the six countries, including Cyprus, as an important step towards a united Europe, he said "the EU needs to start accession negotiations with all the associated countries in central, southern and eastern Europe as soon as possible."

    On the EU's timetable of enlargement, he warned that one should be careful about fixed dates for first accession but one should not wait too long.

    "Clear time prospective means light at the end of the tunnel for the people of the acceding countries," he added.

    Referring to Cyprus, he welcomed the start of membership talks and added "Cyprus is an essential part of Europe, it has made a tremendous contribution to Europe's history, culture and identity."

    "Europe would therefore remain incomplete without Cyprus and Cyprus must not suffer from the fact that it is still divided, it cannot be made hostage of its division against its own will," Genscher told his audience.

    The former minister also pointed out that "EU membership of Cyprus must be used in order to contribute to a peaceful unification of Cyprus and a sustained stability of the whole region, including Turkey."

    Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third, began substantive accession negotiations last year. It applied for membership to the European Community in 1990.

    Turning to economic matters, Genscher said the introduction of the Euro has rendered Europe into an "economic superpower" and expressed optimism about the fate of the Euro.

    "In the long run, Europe needs not only a common currency but also an efficient constitutional framework," he added.

    He called for putting aside national interests in favour of European interests, noting that his country's interests coincides with those of Europe.

    Replying to questions about NATO's air strikes against Yugoslavia, Genscher welcomed the mission of Russia's prime minister Yevgeny Primakov but refrained from diverting from the common policy adopted by the US and its allies in the Yugoslav crisis.

    Introducing the German diplomat, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides recalled Genscher's advice at a meeting they had two years ago when the latter told Kasoulides that the Cyprus problem can only be solved after the island joins the EU and cited Germany's example to back his view.

    Kasoulides outlined Genscher's contribution to European integration and the world's political stage and said he has "far reaching and creative vision."

    Doing away with formal introduction, the minister turned to the German statesman and said that "his (Genscher's) reputation precedes him."

    The Executive Chairman of the Popular Bank group, Kikis Lazarides, at whose invitation Genscher came to the island, said that Europe has an obligation to contribute to the lifting of the consequences of the occupation and division of Cyprus and to the removal of those fait accompli which endanger the very survival of a culture that is theirs too.

    CNA MM/EC/1999
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    [07] President of Ghana - Cyprus visit

    Paphos, Mar 30 (CNA) -- The President of Ghana and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Jerry Rawlings, expressed the hope that there will soon be a solution to the Cyprus problem that would enable both communities to live together.

    Rawlings arrived in Cyprus yesterday for a private visit, and is accompanied by his family. He will remain on the island until April 3.

    In statements after a dinner hosted by President Glafcos Clerides in the western coastal town of Paphos, Rawlings said his country "would like to see some solution" to the Cyprus problem, and a " compromise found to the situation between the two brothers and sisters".

    He said the potential of this island is so great, "that the claim by one group as opposed to another, is only holding back the potential of this island".

    On his part, Clerides described Rawlings as a "friend from the Commonwealth".

    He said both men discussed the Cyprus problem over dinner. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA SS/EC/MM/1999
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