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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-04-10

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Kyprianou - Statements

  • 1800:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Kyprianou - Statements

    Larnaca, Apr 10 (CNA) -- The President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, said he had confronted difficulties in his efforts to secure the release of three US army soldiers by Serb forces in Belgrade, because of a misinterpretation by the US media of his statements which upset Belgrade.

    Speaking on his arrival from Yugoslavia, after talks with the leadership there, Kyprianou said he had done his utmost to achieve some specific results in his mission of good will.

    In statements to local and foreign press at Larnaca Airport, Kyprianou referred to the consultations he had in Belgrade with the presidents of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Foreign Ministry and President Slobodan Milosevic.

    Explaining about the failure of his mission, Kyprianou said that when he left Cyprus "I left with many hopes which were well founded", but when he arrived in Athens, he was informed that there was "some misunderstanding because a channel in the US, did not correctly transmit the message I made and it was considered as a misstatement inclined to assist the American point of view".

    He acknowledged that from then on, "there were some difficulties in continuing with the mission".

    Kyprianou also said the Americans "are now complaining" that he made a "statement which is in favour of the Yugoslav side", adding however that this was not the main issue.

    He said that when he met Milosevic, the Yugoslav president's main argument was that whenever he tried to show good will, "the situation turned for the worse", referring to his unilateral declaration for a ceasefire "which made things worse", according to Milosevic.

    "Finally, it was obvious that he was not willing to do something which would, in his view, be contrary, to the unity of the political leadership and the people," Kyprianou said.

    The Yugoslav President, said Kyprianou expressed his gratitude to the people of Cyprus.

    "I would have been of course much more pleased if I was able to bring the three soldiers here, as it was my target. But you understand, things had changed from the moment I left until our meeting", he underlined.

    He said that when he had left Cyprus, he did not have "a guarantee that this was going to happen, (the release of the soldiers) but the hopes were there, and that's why I took upon myself, the responsibility to undertake the mission".

    Kyprianou referred to his visits to areas which were NATO targets. He said the result of the bombings were "20.000 people homeless and hundreds of thousands" without jobs because of the destruction of factories and industries". Hospitals were also destroyed and he witnessed war casualties.

    Kyprianou noted that houses were destroyed which were not in any strategic areas and said he did not expect this, because "we expect that the targets are military targets".

    The House President expressed the hope that "the day will come soon that the situation might change for the better", in which case he will continue his effort.

    Asked to comment on reports that he mediated for the return of two Australian humanitarian aid workers Kyprianou replied positively, pointing out that it "was not mediation but rather a request by the Australian government to ascertain the fate of" the Australian nationals.

    He said the Australians might be with refugees but the issue is being investigated by the Foreign and Interior Ministers of Australia who are in consultation with the Australian ambassador in Yugoslavia whom Kyprianou had met.

    "We hope they will find them. We have no information that these people have been murdered or died in any way. It seems that they are somewhere and it is a matter of finding them", he said.

    At this point, Kyprianou revealed that there was also a Cypriot woman who could not leave Yugoslavia but after consultations with the Greek ambassador to Yugoslavia, they managed to trace her and bring her back to Cyprus.

    Referring to his role, Kyprianou said is not "pretending to be a great mediator" and that "by chance and coincidence" he became involved.

    "Coming from a small country which does not have any special interest, it seems to be an advantage", he said, adding that he was glad to hear a foreign broadcast which said it was natural for Cyprus which is undergoing a tragedy itself, with division and ethnic cleansing, to be sensitive about these things".

    "The name of Cyprus came to the minds of many people", he said, adding that "they now remember that still after 25 years we are looking for missing persons, and we have enclaved people and refugees".

    Kyprianou said that "now the international community knows that Cyprus is a country very sensitive to humanitarian issues and very sensitive when principles are involved".

    Referring to the situation in Yugoslavia, Kyprianou expressed the view that even if the bombings continue, "the problem will not be solved...even if NATO succeeds, they will gain the animosity and hostility of a whole people for centuries to come".

    Therefore, "we plead for peace, and peace I am convinced, can come about if somebody can decide that they can stop (the bombings) and see how we can reach a peaceful solution", he added.

    Asked who is to blame for the failure of his mission, Kyprianou avoided replying, noting he has to brief the Cyprus government and political leadership before speaking clearly about what had happened during a press conference.

    CNA MAN/EC/../1999

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