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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-08

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Clerides to meet Holbrooke in New York
  • [02] Fresh effort for Cyprus settlement
  • [03] Opposition MPs take on Cyprus leadership
  • [04] Arrangements for talks tightly scripted

  • 1000:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] President Clerides to meet Holbrooke in New York

    by Maria Myles

    New York, Jul 8 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides is scheduled to have a working breakfast here Tuesday morning with US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke, as part of a series of contacts ahead of the UN-sponsored direct talks starting Wednesday with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    A second meeting between President Clerides and Holbrooke is expected to take place at the end of the talks before Clerides leaves for London.

    The President's meeting with Holbrooke is one of many meetings taking place here in New York before the start of the talks.

    Later today, President Clerides is due to meet with Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Third Directorate for European Affairs, Vladimir Tchizhov.

    In the evening, the Cypriot President and Denktash will attend a dinner UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is giving at his residence in the presence of envoys on Cyprus from different countries.

    On Tuesday morning, European Union representative to the talks, Luigi Boselli, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the UN, and EU Presidency envoy for the Cyprus problem Kester Heaslip, will exchange views ahead of the Secretary-General's dinner and discuss other contacts they may have in the days to come.

    Clerides met Monday afternoon at his hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, with British High Commissioner to Cyprus David Madden, who will meet later today with Denktash.

    Speaking after his meeting with President Clerides, Madden reiterated his country's support for the UN effort and expressed Britain's commitment and resolve to help the direct talks forward.

    Asked what his government's contribution is to the talks, Madden said "our contribution is to assist the UN, the two parties in every way we can, to take the process forward to a settlement".

    When asked by CNA whether his talks with the President focused on the ten points former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind presented last year on the Cyprus problem, Madden refrained from giving any details on the substance of his discussion.

    "I am not going to give you any details on the discussion I have just had with the President because I don't think that would be very helpful," he said.

    Asked if he discussed with President Clerides the main aspects of the Cyprus problem, the British High Commissioner replied: "You can rest assured that I see that we covered the various aspects of the Cyprus problem in a way which I hope is helpful. I am not going to say which particular aspects we covered today."

    Madden also denied discussing an agenda with the President.

    Invited to outline the cooperation between London and Washington on the Cyprus peace efforts, Madden said, "our cooperation is with the UN, but obviously many other people help the UN and that is why we are here; to help the Secretary-General, the special representatives and others, to take to process of talks forward".

    Also yesterday afternoon, Holbrooke met with Denktash at the Turkish Cypriot leader's hotel, the UN Plaza, and both men made statements after their meeting.

    Speaking to the press after his meeting with Denktash, the US official said he had a private conversation with the Turkish Cypriot leader and added: "I am not here as a negotiator. This is just a 'get re-acquainted' session, and I look forward to the outcome of the talks".

    He also said the US is supporting the US process.

    Asked if he had any advise for the two sides on how to proceed in the talks, Holbrooke said, the talks are confidential and refrained from giving any further details.

    Invited to say if he submitted any ideas on the talks' agenda, Holbrooke said "no, this is a UN meeting. I am just here to get updated on the situation".

    Commenting on press remarks that the US is keeping a low profile in these talks, the US Emissary noted that "these (talks) are Kofi Annan's event and we are supporting him and his Special Representative Diego Cordovez".

    He also said he will again meet with Denktash next week.

    In his remarks to the press, Denktash described his meeting with Holbrooke as a "very sincere exchange of views" and he said he looked "very much forward" to meeting him again after the negotiations conclude.

    Asked to comment on a statement by Turkish Vice-President Bulent Ecevit that Ankara is the negotiator in the talks and not Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader said, "he (Ecevit) did not say that. He said Turkey also has an interest in Cyprus".

    Denktash avoided giving any information on the exchange of views he had with Holbrooke saying their meeting was confidential.

    CNA MM/MH/GP/1997

    [02] Fresh effort for Cyprus settlement

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Nicosia, Jul 7 (CNA) -- Both sides on Cyprus say they do not expect much to come out of the first stages in the latest round in efforts to re- unify this eastern Mediterranean island, but each side is keenly aware that the eyes of the world are turned on them - and expectations for a settlement are high.

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have stated they do not foresee any breakthrough emerging from the first round of their first face-to-face meeting in three years.

    But the two leaders have tempered their mutual pessimism by saying that they will be going to the UN-sponsored direct negotiations, set to start on Wednesday in Troutbeck, New York, with a "constructive attitude" and "good intentions".

    In fact, President Clerides has stated that even though a breakthrough is unlikely this year, 1998 will be a crucial year for Cyprus.

    Denktash has remained unbending through and through on his insistence on "sovereignty" for his breakaway state he unilaterally declared in 1983 which is recognised by no country other than Turkey.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader has gone to New York because he does not want to be painted as the one unwilling to compromise on an issue that remains on the international agenda unresolved since the 1974 Turkish invasion and division of the island.

    And this has become even more important now that so much international attention is focused on Cyprus. This latest effort to solve the Cyprus problem have been imbued with a renewed sense of urgency because of a number of factors.

    One, is the very real fear of war breaking out on the island which could destabilise the entire region by dragging Greece and Turkey, two NATO allies, into a wider conflict, a prospect that all the major players in settlement efforts want to avoid at all costs.

    Another is Cyprus' application to join the European Union, a move widely seen as a catalyst to a solution. The EU has already guaranteed that accession talks with Cyprus will begin six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference.

    Turkey and Denktash vehemently oppose Cypriot accession because they feel that would impede with Turkey's chances of becoming an EU member.

    A third factor is the appointment of heavywheight US diplomat Richard Holbrooke to the post of US Presidential Emissary on the Cyprus problem which is seen by many on the island as affirmation of the US government's commitment to a solution in Cyprus.

    Several other countries, including Britain, Russia, France, Germany and Italy, have appointed special representatives on Cyprus, who will be at the talks in New York to lend their help in the negotiation process.

    These and other factors give this round of negotiations a heightened impetus to hammering out a comprehensive settlement.

    Yet, judging by its own track record, the UN will face an uphill battle to get Denktash, a man seen by other Turkish Cypriots as an "impediment" to a solution and who has been admonished repeatedly by the UN for his intransigence, to break out of a 23-year old cocoon reinforced with Ankara's political support and the backing of 35,000 Turkish troops in the occupied areas, and agree to a settlement.

    In the UN-sponsored talks of 1977, Denktash signed with the then President, Archbishop Makarios, the first High Level Agreement envisaging an independent, non-aligned, bizonal and bicommunal federation.

    Denktash then signed a second High-Level Agreement in 1979 with Makarios' successor, Spyros Kyprianou.

    In spite of the agreements, Denktash declared in 1983 the independence of his pseudo-regime which was soundly condemned by both the UN Security Council and the General Assembly.

    The next round of talks between Denktash and Kyprianou were held in 1985 under the auspices of then UN Secretary-General, Xavier Perez de Cuellar. These proved fruitless.

    Talks resumed in 1990 between Denktash and new Cyprus President George Vassiliou which, again, end up in deadlock.

    De Cuellar's successor, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, launched in 1992 a fresh round of talks between Vassiliou and Denktash in which he introduced the "Set of Ideas" to the Security Council. The "Set of Ideas" encompassed a number of ideas and proposals aimed at guiding both sides to a comprehensive settlement.

    These talks carried over into 1993 when Clerides was elected President of the Cyprus Republic. The following year, Ghali introduced a package of measures aiming to build confidence between the two communities on the island. This round again lead nowhere due to Denktash's rejection of the confidence-building measures.

    On May 30, 1994, Boutros Ghali reported to the Security Council that "the Security Council finds itself faced with an already familiar scenario: the absence of agreement due essentially to a lack of political will on the Turkish Cypriot side".

    In late October of the same year, five unofficial meetings in Nicosia between President Clerides and Denktash were held under the auspices of the UN. The meetings again end in deadlock because of Denktash's insistence on separate sovereignty.

    The 1994 unofficial meetings were the last face-to-face talks between President Clerides and Denktash until tomorrow's start of the direct negotiations in New York.

    CNA MH/GP/1997

    [03] Opposition MPs take on Cyprus leadership

    Nicosia, Jul 8 (CNA) -- Two deputies from the opposition today took over as Acting President of the Republic and Acting President of the House of Representatives for the time President Glafcos Clerides and House President Spyros Kyprianou are in New York for the Cyprus direct negotiations which begin tomorrow.

    Left-wing AKEL MP for Limassol, Christodoulos Veniamin took over today as Acting President of the Republic while AKEL MP for Nicosia Avraam Antoniou took over as House President.

    The two MPs have been temporarily posted to the positions because they are the oldest deputies currently on the island.

    Veniamin's first official act was to receive this morning at the Presidential Palace, Yugoslav Labour, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Miroslav Ivanisevic, who is on an official visit to Cyprus.

    The Yugoslav Minister was accompanied by Health Minister, Christos Solomis.

    Veniamin, a former Defence and Interior Minister, took over as Acting President of the Republic since President Clerides, Kyprianou and Deputy House President Nicos Anastasiades are all in New York for the talks.

    Under the Republic's Constitution, the House President and the Deputy House President are in line respectively to assume the post of President of the Republic anytime the President is outside Cyprus.

    Veniamin was an AKEL runner-up deputy in Limassol District in the parliamentary elections in May 1996 and took over as MP when AKEL deputy Dimitris Kontides was elected to the post of Limassol Mayor in last December's municipal elections.

    CNA MH/GP/1997

    [04] Arrangements for talks tightly scripted

    by James Delihas

    United Nations, Jul 8 (CNA) -- The UN has provided an almost minute-by- minute account of preparations and arrangements that is making for the direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the first in three years, that begin at Troutbeck, New York, on Wednesday.

    Speaking at a briefing for UN correspondents Monday, UN Director of European Division, Department of Political Affairs, Derek Boothby, said "Denktash and his delegation are expected to arrive at the site of the talks, at Troutbeck Conference Centre, at 1100 (local time), Wednesday."

    "President Clerides is due to arrive at 1115," he added.

    The UN official said "both will be met by the proprietor of the facility and enter the building."

    By 1140, Boothby continued, various envoys and special representatives are due to arrive, followed finally by Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast and Diego Cordovez, Annan's special advisor for Cyprus and UN resident representative in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel.

    The entire contingent will then be available for photos by a press pool.

    The Secretary-General will be the only one to make a statement. There will be none by President Clerides or Denktash, Boothby added.

    The closely orchestrated events then call for Annan, shortly after 1200, to "host a private lunch" for the President and Denktash, with Cordovez the only other official attending.

    At 1400 the Secretary-General is due to depart Troutbeck for New York city. It is at that time that the actual direct talks themselves begin between President Clerides and Denktash, secluded with only their advisors and Cordovez present.

    Cordovez is to keep Annan apprised by telephone of the progress of the talks and, if need he, the group of special envoys and representatives for Cyprus, who will be back in New York.

    The UN is making bus arrangements for some 30 UN-accredited correspondents to Troutbeck for tomorrow morning's events, returning by mid- afternoon.

    Once the talks begin, on Wednesday afternoon, "there will be a press blackout," Boothby emphasised, "until Monday, July 14, when the UN spokesman will brief the press on the just-concluded talks."

    The long list of special envoys to the Cyprus issue, appointed by major countries including Russia, the US and Britain, attest to the importance the international community now places on a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    A representative of the European Union will also closely follow the talks, said Boothby, because Cyprus' accession negotiations will begin in 1998.

    CNA JD/AP/GP/1997
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