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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-03-06

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Michaelides: Present period "most favourable" for Cyprus
  • [02] Proximity talks begin next week

  • 1630:CYPPRESS:06

    [01] Michaelides: Present period "most favourable" for Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 6 (CNA) -- Efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement must be intensified so that the period between now and the start of Cyprus-European Union accession talks, scheduled to begin early next year, can be utilised best, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides has stressed.

    The Foreign Minister made the statement following a meeting last night with French European Affairs Minister, Michel Barnier.

    Speaking to Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation after the meeting, Michaelides described the present period as one of the "most favourable" for Cyprus.

    "For the first time, there is great interest in Cyprus (from abroad) and everyone realises that a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem not only helps Cyprus, but strengthens stability in the region," he added.

    Michaelides said the meeting with the French Minister was conducted in this frame of mind, and pointed out that "there was a common assessment that truly efforts must move forward".

    The Foreign Minister said Barnier will visit Cyprus in the near future as part of French efforts towards a Cyprus settlement.

    Responding to a question on efforts made by some countries to connect accession to the EU with a solution to the Cyprus problem, Michaelides reaffirmed that the government's priority is to reach a settlement in Cyprus.

    He called on all those involved and concerned about this protracted problem "to take part in efforts towards a solution, that must take place today".

    Asked to comment on Turkey's efforts to interfere with Cyprus' accession process, the Foreign Minister said countries making statements to the effect that without a solution there will be no accession, "simply give Turkey the message that it has the right to hold Cyprus hostage".

    Michaelides stressed that "something like this is a negative contribution to the entire effort for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem".

    CNA MK/MH/MCH/1997

    [02] Proximity talks begin next week

    Nicosia, Mar 6 (CNA) -- Proximity talks on the Cyprus question between the UN and the Cyprus government and the Turkish Cypriots will begin Monday, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides announced here today.

    "The government is ready to discuss the substance of the Cyprus problem during the UN effort for proximity talks aiming to create common ground to allow direct negotiations between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to take place," Cassoulides told his briefing.

    He also said the government enters these talks "with good will and no prejudice" and added that the positions of both sides will emerge during the talks.

    President Clerides and Rauf Denktash had two meetings in Nicosia in October 1994, which reached a deadlock due to the Turkish side's insistence on separate sovereignty. The two men have not met since.

    UN Secretary-General's Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, will start the talks between the two sides, with separate meetings with President Clerides and Rauf Denktash, next week and will deal with "substantive issues."

    "These talks will be more intensive and no timetable has been set as it is difficult to foresee how long they will last," the Spokesman explained.

    He said the time devoted to probing for common ground has come to an end and now "we embark on the search for common ground (on the main aspects of the Cyprus question)."

    Cassoulides did not reveal the issues to be discussed, but said the UN resolutions on Cyprus and the High Level Agreements reached between the two sides in 1977 and 1979 providing for an independent, bizonal federation would serve as a basis.

    Replying to questions, the Spokesman did not rule out the possibility of seeing "a sudden and speedy promotion of the Cyprus problem" if there is political will.

    Asked if the proximity talks will tackle the various aspects of the Cyprus problem separately, Cassoulides replied "the UN hopes for a comprehensive approach in a spirit of compromise."

    "This phase of consultations is important in that it will pave the way for direct negotiations," he added.

    The Spokesman said the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus, Han Sung-Joo, will be visiting the island during "crucial periods" of these talks.

    Invited to say whether the proximity talks mark "a premature death" of a much-anticipated US initiative on Cyprus, Cassoulides said "far from it, I believe that there will be American involvement (in the talks)."

    Asked to comment on the timing of a visit here by Britain's Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, expected next week, and whether there is coordination on the Cyprus issue with the UN, he noted "the UN encourages the Security Council Permanent members to reinforce their effort". He said that at some stage the permanent "five" will have to help the UN representatives.

    CNA KN/MM/MCH/1997
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