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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-01-30

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] US supports Cyprus' entry into EU
  • [02] UN envoy reaffirms role in Cyprus peace effort
  • [03] Government ready for talks, but preparation essential
  • [04] Environmentalists continue protest against British troops

  • 1110:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US supports Cyprus' entry into EU

    Washington, Jan 30 (CNA) -- The United States believe that Cyprus should be part of the European Union, said US State Department Spokesman, Nicholas Burns.

    He said ''the United States has an excellent relationship with Cyprus, the government of President Clerides, and we wish to see Cyprus stable. We wish to see a resolution of the Cyprus problem, but the decision as to whether or not the European Union takes in new members is a European Union decision. It's not for the United States to give public advice to the European Union''.

    Asked whether the United States urges the European Union to accept Cyprus as a member prior to a solution of the Cyprus problem, the Spokesman repeated the long standing US position that it is not for the United States to advise the European Union on membership matters.

    On the issue of the purchase by Cyprus of Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, Burns said the US has already made its opposition clear on that ''but President Clerides has promised us that his system will not be operational during the next 16 months, indeed, none of the parts of the system will even be imported into Cyprus. He has given us an opportunity to try to lower the temperature and see that this issue is resolved''.

    Asked by CNA about the specifics of the discussion between Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the officials of the European Union, he said ''there was a good discussion on Cyprus because it's a common problem. I think both Madeleine Albright, and (Dutch Foreign) Minister Van Mierlo agreed that the United Nations should have a leading role in Cyprus.''

    He said ''we are very glad to see (UN) Secretary-General Koffi Annan indicate that publicly. We think it's good for the United Nations to have a leading role and we will also continue our role''.

    He said as Secretary Albright indicated, Presidential Emissary Richard Beattie will continue his duties as a US negotiator on Cyprus and ''that she (Albright) personally understood the problems there, she had been there, she thought that it is a very high priority for American policy to try to be as helpful as we could''. Burns said ''there was a good discussion on Cyprus''.

    Asked by CNA about the US initiative and if it is compatible with the UN and European efforts on Cyprus, he said ''the United Nations Secretary- General has said that it is an important issue and I want to have my own person there. And we all, Europeans and Americans, think that is a very good idea. We support that. And all of us in our individual capacities continue to be active in Cyprus''.

    The Spokesman stressed that ''the leading role is to Cyprus, the Cypriot government, the parties and the Greek and Turkish governments, all the rest of us, we are trying to help. All efforts are compatible''.

    On the US position regarding Turkey's accession to the European Union, Burns said, ''it is our position that one needs to look at the full scope of our relationship with Turkey. The human rights issue is important; the strategic military relationship is important; the economic is. On balance, there is a strong case to be made by the United States that Turkey should be more fully integrated into Europe''.

    CNA DA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1315:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] UN envoy reaffirms role in Cyprus peace effort

    Nicosia, Jan 30 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General's top envoy for Cyprus, Han Sung Joo, has reaffirmed the leading role the UN has in efforts to settle the Cyprus question and believes his meetings here got off to a ''good start.''

    Speaking after an hour-long meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Han, who was accompanied by his deputy Gustave Feissel, said discussion focused on a letter he conveyed to the President from Koffi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, and on general matters at hand.

    ''The letter conveyed a very strong interest and concern of the Secretary-General on the Cyprus issue and his determination to find a solution of the issue. It is of a general nature and deals with broad issues,'' he told the press.

    He said the Cypriot President was ''very constructive'' and was ''thankful'' for the letter which he read ''carefully.''

    Commenting on the extent of UN cooperation with the US, in relation to a much publicised American initiative, Han replied ''to the extent that there is a US initiative, it is my understanding that the US will work very closely with the UN effort and I have been in close consultation with the US and they are very supportive.''

    Asked if the UN was actually taking the lead in the Cyprus peace effort, Han said ''everybody, including the US, look to UN as the leading actor in this effort, and I am convinced that the US, as well as other actors, will be cooperative and supportive.''

    Replying to questions about time restraints in the UN effort, Han indicated the UN has no set timetable as such but added that the time frame, set for the European Union for the start of membership talks with Cyprus, is being taken into account.

    ''The time frame we are thinking of is being constructed on the basis of all the elements, including the EU effect,'' Han explained.

    Asked to clarify his statement yesterday about a ''window of opportunity'', Han warned that it should not be allowed to ''get stuck'' and expressed the hope that, though not a ''very large window to work with'', the UN will have the means to open it.

    On increased Russian involvement in Cyprus, Han had this to say ''I know Russia supports the (peace) process through the UN framework and I can concur with that position.''

    The UN envoy will also see today Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The meeting will take place in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

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

    CNA MM/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1350:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Government ready for talks, but preparation essential

    Nicosia, Jan 30 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government is ready to enter into direct negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem, provided sufficient preparation is made to ensure a successful outcome, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said here today.

    Speaking after a meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and UN top envoy for Cyprus, Han Sung Joo, Cassoulides said ''the meeting concentrated on the content of the letter the UN Secretary-General, Koffi Anan, sent to the President and the reiteration of UN willingness to involve themselves actively in the efforts to reach a political solution of the Cyprus problem in the context of the good offices mission.''

    The Spokesman said the Cypriot President ''reiterated our own political will to cooperate positively with the efforts to reach a political solution and our willingness to go into direct negotiations after a period of preparation which will give opportunities to these direct negotiations to succeed.

    ''We are more than ready to enter into a discussion on specific issues which relate to various aspects of the Cyprus question,'' he said.

    Asked to outline his conditions for these talks, Cassoulides replied ''we have no conditions, we just say that, for the sake of the success of these negotiations, there is a need for good preparations beforehand.''

    This means to assist the sides ''to breach somehow their positions from what they have been in the past 22 years in order to have hopes that the direct negotiations will succeed this time,'' he added.

    Cassoulides said nothing new has emerged from today's meeting, which focused on general matters.

    Replying to questions, he said Anan's letter indicates the need for sufficient preparation to enable the two sides to return to the negotiating process.

    The Spokesman agreed with a statement, made earlier today by Han, that all initiatives on Cyprus should be supportive of UN efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus and must be in the framework of the UN Secretary- General's good offices mission.

    Asked to outline the government's expectations from Han's week-long meetings here, Cassoulides replied ''the UN envoy has not said what his precise intentions are during his stay here.''

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

    CNA MM/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1420:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Environmentalists continue protest against British troops

    Paphos, Jan 30 (CNA) -- A strong police force is trying to prevent members of environmental organisations and organised groups from heading into an area where British military exercises are taking place.

    However, a number of protestors have escaped police blocks and are heading to the ''Tzioni'' site, in the island's western peninsula of Akamas, unique in flora and fauna, where they are scheduled to culminate their protests.

    This is the fifth day that Cypriot environmentalists are protesting against the use of Akamas area as an exercise site for the British troops stationed in Cyprus.

    Among the protestors are women and motorcyclists, who went to the area to take part in excursions which include nature trails, visits to old churches, photographing nature and training of racing motorcyclists.

    According to reports from Paphos, many protestors remained since yesterday. Wednesday is a hunting day.

    Britain, which has retained two sovereign military bases on the island, carries out troop training in specific locations, under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Environmental organisations, including "The Committee against British Policy and the Bases in Cyprus'' oppose the presence of British Bases in Cyprus.

    They organised a number of excursions today in an attempt to disrupt the British military exercises in Akamas peninsula.

    The Committee, in an open letter to President Glafcos Clerides, the President of the House of Representatives, the Foreign Minister and other officials, are asking under which law is the touring of the Akamas area prohibited.

    It said Greek Cypriot policemen blocked the roads, leading to Akamas in an effort to prevent environmentalists from visiting Akamas. It urged the government to declare Akamas a National park.

    CNA SS/EC/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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