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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 99-12-08
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 8 December 1999
The UN Secretary General's Special Advisor for Cyprus Mr Alvaro de Soto had separate meetings with President Clerides and his delegation at 11 am (New York time) and with the Turkish Cypriot leader and his delegation at 5.30pm (New York time). No statements were made after the meetings.
The Secretary-General's Spokesman Mr Fred Eckhard replying to a question yesterday during his press briefing, on the duration of the talks said: "We have a much time as the parties want to give to this process. As long as they feel they are making progress and it is worth continuing the discussions, we are happy to continue to facilitate them".
Mr Eckhard also confirmed that the UN Secretary General did in fact receive a letter from US President Bill Clinton but added that he could not reveal its contents.
Speaking at the Fourth Meeting of the Conference for the Accession of Cyprus to the European Union at Ministerial Level in Brussels, where he presented the Cyprus government's views on the eleven chapters of the agenda, Mr Kasoulides said that the contents this 4th meeting is the best proof of the progress made since the negotiations started less than two years ago.
In this relatively short period, he said, Cyprus had succeeded in completing the study of the acquis and the screening process and initiated negotiations in 23 out of 29 Chapters.
"I wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Finnish Presidency for its efforts and the way it has helped us to clarify our positions and in general speed up our efforts for implementation of the acquis" he said, adding that he hoped that the progress achieved in several chapters during the Finnish presidency, would allow their provisional closure at the next meeting of the Conference.
The Finnish Presidency and the European Commission expressed their complete satisfaction with the course of the island's accession negotiations.
"Security Council Members heard a short briefing from the Secretariat on Cyprus. They heard a short discussion, which reflects the fact that the priority at the moment in terms of substance, is with the talks under the Secretary General's aegis.
We want those talks to proceed in the framework within which the Secretary General has set, which is quite a closed and confidential one of which the Council is not getting into the substance of that whilst these talks are going on. We noted that we would have to have a mandate renewal by 15 December and that we are clear that there is room in the timetable to do that".
Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly yesterday Mr Zackheos said that the Cyprus government's determination to investigate the fate and pursue the return of every object of Cyprus' cultural heritage, which was illegally removed from Cyprus, is "unshakable."
"In this effort, we look to the international community to extend its support" he said, adding that many of the artefacts of Cyprus' rich civilisation "can be viewed in museums around the world".
The Cyprus Ambassador said that many more have become objects of illicit traffic, especially those removed illegally from the territory of the island, which is now under Turkish occupation.
Mr Zackheos welcomed the decision of the United States to impose in April 1999 an emergency import restriction on Byzantine ecclesiastical and ritual ethnological material from Cyprus, unless an export permit, issued by the Government of Cyprus, accompanies them.
"We acknowledge the obvious, which is, that we're not a member of the EU. That said, though, as President Clinton indicated when he was in Greece, we strongly support the EU's decision to start accession talks with Cyprus. We also believe as the President said that Turkey should become a candidate for membership in the EU. This is our view; it's not a secret".
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/