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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-01-31

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 report gives equal status to both sides
  • [02] All quiet on Akamas front today
  • [03] CEPA approves Cyprus' Parliament new delegation
  • [04] Conditional upturn for Cyprus tourism
  • [05] Russian proposals still on, says Russian envoy

  • 1045:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US report gives equal status to both sides

    Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) -- A report by the US State Department on human rights in Cyprus once again fails to note the issue of illegality of a secessionist state unilaterally declared in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus and treats Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities as equal.

    Although the report acknowledges the unwarranted killings of Greek Cypriots during the peaceful demonstrations in Summer 1996, it makes no reference whatsoever to the presence of the Turkish extremist group ''Grey Wolves'', subsidised by Ankara to attend a counter-demonstration, mainly responsible for the killings.

    Nor does it talk about the involvement of a so-called minister of the pseudo-state in the killing of a Greek Cypriot youth, Solomos Solomou, when he climbed a pole to bring down the Turkish flag.

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

    In its introduction, the report notes that a substantial number of Turkish troops remain on the island. However, it says that ''in both the government-controlled areas and in the Turkish Cypriot community there is a generally strong regard for democratic principles.''

    The report says ''the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot authorities generally respect human rights norms and practices,'' which actually gives both equal status.

    However, it notes that ''deadly intercommunal violence flared in 1996'' and in August ''Turkish Cypriot police killed two Greek Cypriot demonstrators. In September, unknown assailants shot and killed a Turkish Cypriot soldier. In October Turkish Cypriot security forces who again used unwarranted deadly force, shot and killed a Greek Cypriot civilian''.

    It also claims that police in the government-controlled areas allowed demonstrators during the August 11 motorcyclists' demonstration ''unimpeded access'' into the UN buffer zone.

    However, it notes that so-called ''Turkish Cypriot authorities also allowed a group of Turkish Cypriot civilians into the buffer zone and may have even facilitated their entry through a restricted military area.''

    It criticises the illegal regime for failing so far in conducting a ''credible investigation'' into the ''politically motivated killing'', as described, murder of prominent leftist Turkish Cypriot journalist, Kutlu Adali, murdered last July outside his home in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia.

    The report says the Turkish Cypriot so-called police ''reportedly prevented the family from entering his home for nearly a day, claiming that they were searching for evidence.''

    The State Department refers to the Republic's ombudsman report confirming that police used torture against suspected Turkish Cypriot drug smuggler Erkan Egmez, noting that ''no official action has been taken against any of the police involved.''

    It notes that in the Turkish-occupied areas, there are ''credible reports of pervasive police abuse of power and harsh treatment of detainees.''

    In addition, the report says that abuses of power occur at the hands of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot police at the time of arrest and that suspects often are not permitted to have their lawyers present when testimony is being taken.

    Regarding rapprochement efforts between the two communities, the report says that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots enjoy freedom of movement within their respective areas.

    It notes that, since last October, the illegal regime denies ''permission for virtually all meetings'', although they had earlier permitted most bicommunal meetings in the UN-controlled buffer zone, and cites the activities of Greek Cypriot MP Marios Matsakis ''to discourage tourists from crossing the buffer zone into the north.''

    However, the report does not mention that the Greek Cypriots Ledra Palace weekend demonstrations are taking place to enlighten tourists about Turkish atrocities, in a bid to prevent them visit the occupied areas.

    Referring to the living conditions of the enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites, the report criticises the Turkish Cypriots noting that the enclaved ''are unable to move about freely or change their housing at will.''

    At the same time, it refers to the rapporteur of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly for Cyprus, the late Lord Finsberg, who said he was ''shocked'' by the conditions he found among the enclaved.

    The report also points out that UNFICYP access to the enclaved ''remains limited'' and that ''there are no Greek-language educational facilities for Greek Cypriot or Maronite children in the north beyond elementary education, forcing parents in many instances to choose between keeping their children with them or sending them to the south for further education (in which case they may no longer return permanently to the north)''.

    Referring to elections on the island, the report says that ''multiparty political systems exist throughout Cyprus''. However it makes no reference to the presence of Turkish settlers, claiming that ''in April 1995, Turkish Cypriot voters elected Rauf Denktash in elections deemed by observers to be free and fair.''

    Regarding the role of women in both communities, it says, ''women face no legal obstacles in participating in the political process''. However, the Greek Cypriot women ''face discrimination that denies them the ability to pass on citizenship to their children if they marry foreign spouses.''

    Finally, the State Department report notes that as a result of last Summer's killings many of the Turkish Cypriots who used to work in the government-controlled area ''did not report to work and were dismissed.''

    However, it notes ''the Cyprus government, which stated that it could not guarantee the safety of the Turkish Cypriot workers, undertook to provide unemployment benefits'' to them.

    CNA EC/AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1100:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] All quiet on Akamas front today

    Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) -- Things seem to have quieted down in the Akamas region today, with British army training continuing as scheduled.

    ''All is quiet on the Akamas front today,'' British Sovereign Base (SBA) spokesperson, Mervyn Wynne Jones told CNA this morning, adding that training is continuing normally ''and will cease this afternoon according to schedule.''

    Environmentalists have apparently taken a break from their week-long protests against British army training in the ecologically sensitive Akamas, but have said they plan to continue their demonstrations soon.

    ''Friends of Akamas'' President, Yiannos Ioannou, told CNA he was unaware if protests are continuing there today, or if any people from his environmentalist group are in the Akamas at all.

    President of the Federation of Environmentalists and Ecologists, George Perdikis, also said he was unaware of any protest action today and confirmed that ''our people are not inside Akamas.''

    Perdikis added his group will announce what further action it will take early next week.

    Police in Paphos say just two people had made their way to Akamas this morning.

    Groups of protestors invaded the six-square-kilometre firing range yesterday and lit small fires to make the British soldiers aware of their presence.

    Despite this, British forces went ahead with their training using small- calibre live ammunition.

    Earlier this week, a Cypriot MP said he hid in the firing range for two days to obstruct the training, but without result.

    CNA MH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1240:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] CEPA approves Cyprus' Parliament new delegation

    Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) -- The plenary of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (CEPA) adopted with an overwhelming majority, earlier this week, a resolution on the situation in Cyprus, which increases the number of Greek Cypriot representatives from three to four.

    According to a House of Representatives press release here, the delegation is made up of deputies Alexis Galanos and Doros Christodoulides as Representatives and Panayiotis Demetriou and Takis Hadjidemetriou as Substitutes.

    Galanos was elected as one of CEPA Vice-Presidents, for 1997, in the place of House President Spyros Kyprianou, who withdrew from the Cyprus delegation at the Assembly.

    Chairman of the European Democratic (Conservative) Group, Hallgrim Berg, noted the absence of Turkish Cypriot representatives and said they should be represented proportionally.

    Greek Cypriot Representative, Doros Christodoulides, referred to late Lord Finsberg's report on Cyprus which clarified that it is ''not legally possible'' for any Turkish Cypriot to be represented in the Assembly, before a solution of the Cyprus question is reached.

    While Greek Cypriot parties welcomed CEPA resolution 1113/1997 on the situation in Cyprus as ''the best possible under the circumstances,'' Turkish politicians and the Turkish Cypriot press denounced it as a ''shock result'' favouring the Greek Cypriot side.

    According to the resolution, ''Cyprus is entitled to three Representatives (and three Substitutes) in the Parliamentary Assembly, two of which are to be Greek Cypriot Representatives and one a Turkish Cypriot Representative.''

    ''At present, only one seat (and the place of one Substitute) is filled by a Greek Cypriot Representative and a Greek Cypriot Substitute,'' it added, noting that leaders of Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties are, occasionally, invited on an ad hoc basis to committee meetings.

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

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1330:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Conditional upturn for Cyprus tourism

    by George Yiannakis

    Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) -- Despite problems facing the Cyprus tourism, an upturn can be made possible if certain conditions are met.

    This relatively optimistic declaration was made by the Cyprus Hotel Association (PASYXE) Director General Zacharias Ioannides, in an interview with CNA, stressing that ''Cyprus tourism has a present as well as a future and things just could not be otherwise''.

    Ioannides urged all parties involved to assume their responsibilities and ''work in a collective way, in order to make Cyprus tourism's future auspicious''.

    Tourism, is Cyprus' biggest money earner. Revenues earned by the so- called ''backbone'' of the Cyprus economy were for 1995 810 million Cyprus ponds (1.62 billion US dollars), representing 20 per cent of the Republic's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    Referring to the future, Ioannides said ''we have set the framework within which we have to work and thus, what is needed now, is the will to implement what we have decided''.

    He said according to a recent research led by the hoteliers' association, the number of tourists per year, needed for a satisfying profitability of the hotel industry, given its capacity, is 2,7 million tourists. The only means to achieve this goal, Ioannides said, is ''collective hard work''.

    In 1995, a total of 2,1 million tourists visited Cyprus while the 1996 figure was around 2 million.

    Speaking about the share of other partners, Ioannides said Cyprus Airways, the island's national carrier, has a major role to play. He urged the company not to evaluate each destination only according to profitability, but also to its potential in contributing to a vital tourism stream.

    Ioannides also urged Cyprus Airways to capitalize on the new potential tourist markets, such as Russia, other east European countries, Israel, central Europe (Geneva, Strasbourg) and to envisage flights to/from west European peripheral airports, especially in the UK.

    Referring to the task of the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), he said ''we appreciate their work and contribution, but we believe that compared to international standards, the amount of money spent for marketing, is not enough''.

    He explained that internationally 3 per cent of revenues earned by tourism, is re-invested in marketing.

    Following this rule, Cyprus should spent 24 million Cyprus pounds (88 m. US dollars) every year. The actual amount is only 10 m. pounds.

    ''An increased marketing budget, could enable the CTO to recruit more specialized personnel and implement more aggressive marketing strategies'', Ioannides indicated.

    Concluding, he said the hoteliers' association welcomes the government's decision to set up two committees, one formed by ministers and the other by tourism technocrats and experts, tasked to control and conduct the implementation of all measures decided, towards tourism upgrading.

    CNA GG/GP/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1410:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Russian proposals still on, says Russian envoy

    Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) -- Russian proposals for an international conference and a permanent monitoring committee on Cyprus are still on the table, Vladimir Tchizhov, Head of the Third Directorate for European Affairs at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said here today.

    The Russian envoy, who is on a five-day fact-finding mission on the island, met today with Acting President of the Republic and President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou to discuss recent developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Reaffirming Russia's active involvement in efforts towards a Cyprus settlement, Tchizhov said the Russian proposal for an international conference on Cyprus is ''still on'' and ''remains on the table until all those who are to participate are ready to do so.''

    Also on the table is Moscow's proposal, put forward last April, concerning the setting up of a permanent monitoring committee, composed of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to assist the UN Secretary-General in his good offices mission.

    Tchizhov said ''we will look into the positions of the government and the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus problem as well as those of Greece, Turkey, the UN Security Council and the European Union. We will also discuss the plans of the UN Secretary-General'', he added.

    Speaking after the meeting, Acting President Kyprianou expressed satisfaction with the meeting, adding that the Russian involvement in the Cyprus peace process is being encouraged.

    Kyprianou stressed that ''the UN Secretary-General should have the leading role in efforts towards a solution and the permanent members of the UN Security Council have the right and the obligation to participate.''

    Tchizhov is meeting this afternoon with the UN Secretary-General's special representative for Cyprus Han Sung Joo, who is currently in Cyprus, and UN resident Representative Gustave Feissel.

    He was also meeting Greek Cypriot political party leaders.

    During his stay in Cyprus, the Russian envoy will cross into the Turkish-occupied part of the island to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

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

    CNA MCH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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