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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-17

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] US to encourage sides for progress, says ambassador
  • [02] President's letter to French PM
  • [03] EU "Agenda 2000" - Cyprus
  • [04] Worshipers enter buffer zone to pray

  • 1220:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US to encourage sides for progress, says ambassador

    Nicosia, Jul 17 (CNA) -- The US considers the first round of UN-led direct talks held in Troutbeck, new York, last week, a useful beginning and will encourage the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to build on what was achieved there.

    This was reaffirmed here today by US Ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill, after an hour-long meeting with President Glafcos Clerides.

    "It was a chance for me to have a discussion with the President about his meetings in New York. We compared a few notes and I found it very useful", the US Ambassador said.

    He described the first round of talks as "a useful beginning", noting that "there are some things to build on" and "everybody involved should be doing their best to do that."

    Brill added the US "will certainly be encouraging all sides to try to build on that useful beginning."

    Asked to comment on whether the process for a Cyprus settlement and that of the Republic's accession to the EU should run parallel, Brill confined himself in saying that as a non-European he tries "not to comment publicly on what the EU should or should not do.

    "I find that the EU is quite rigorous about pursuing its own interests and does not appreciate commentary from outsiders", he added, noting, however, that "the EU accession process is clearly very important."

    Asked about US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke's plans to visit Cyprus, Brill said Holbrooke's plans "have not finalised", but added that he is not expected to come here before the second round of talks, scheduled to take place in Montreux, Switzerland, from 11 to 16 August.

    Brill said he did not think Holbrooke would be present at the Motreux talks.

    Commenting on the visit tomorrow to Cyprus, of a three-member US State Department delegation, Brill said they are "part of the policy planning staff" and "they are making an orientation trip."

    CNA MCH/GP/1997

    [02] President's letter to French PM

    Larnaca, Jul 17 (CNA) -- Socialist EDEK party President Vassos Lyssarides left today for Paris to deliver a letter from Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides to French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on Cyprus' accession course to the European Union.

    Lyssarides' trip aims at securing France's more active involvement in Cyprus' bid to become a full member of the EU.

    Describing the letter as "complete" and with "special content", the EDEK leader told the press that the letter puts forward "all the arguments why this accession must be achieved".

    He added the arguments are based on the unanimous decisions of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking prior to his departure for his one-day visit to the French capital, Lyssarides said the only reason for his trip is to meet with the French Prime Minister, in order to deliver the President's letter.

    Lyssarides noted that he would try to convince France to become "more actively involved, with the view it would be incomprehensible to connect a solution to the Cyprus problem with accession to the EU".

    Cyprus has secured a positive avis (opinion) from the EU while the EU Council of Ministers decided in March 1995 to give Cyprus a firm date for the start of membership talks, six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference. The talks are expected to start next year.

    According to a European Commission report called "Agenda 2000" presented yesterday in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, membership negotiations will begin with Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia.

    Cyprus signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987. It applied for full membership in July 1990. CNA MAN/KK/MH/GP/1997


    [03] EU "Agenda 2000" - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jul 17 (CNA) -- Cyprus is eventually heading towards the European Union (EU) despite the obstacles and delays that Turkey sought to impose through blackmailing and threatening to annex the occupied part of the island, if Cyprus' accession talks began.

    The European Commission confirmed in its "Agenda 2000", released on Wednesday, July 16, that the island's accession negotiations will start six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), before a political settlement of the Cyprus problem is reached.

    "If progress towards a settlement is not made before the negotiations are due to begin, they should be opened with the government of the Republic of Cyprus, as the only authority recognised by international law," the "Agenda 2000" says, though noting that "agreement on a political settlement would permit a faster conclusion to the negotiations."

    Referring to the accession negotiations' impact on the process aiming at reaching a political settlement, the Commission points out that "the Union shares the view expressed by the UN Secretary-General that, the decision to open negotiations should be seen as a positive development which would promote the search for a political settlement."

    The Commission points out that the status quo on the island, "which is at odds with international law, threatens the stability of the island, the region, and has implications for the security of Europe as a whole."

    Referring to the EU's role in the process of reaching a political settlement, the European Commission says the Union is available "to advice on the compatibility" of future institutional arrangements agreed between the two parties, with the "acquis communautaire."

    According to the "Agenda 2000," there has not been until now "sufficient incentive for the two communities to reach agreement" on the political issue, and therefore the economic advantages of a prospect of accession, which are now becoming clear to Greek Cypriots as well as to Turkish Cypriots, can in themselves provide such an incentive.

    As for the shape of a political settlement, the Commission notes that the Union supports the establishment of a bicommunal and bizonal federation (as envisaged by UN resolutions).

    Referring to the Republic of Cyprus' economic performance, the European Commission says its advanced level of development, noted in the Commission's 1993 opinion, "still holds good" with full employment (2,5 per cent joblessness rate), moderate inflation (3 per cent) and public debt standing at 53 per cent of Gross National Product in 1996.

    The Cyprus Republic therefore, "should not encounter any major problems in adopting the acquis communautaire or in coping with competition inside the EU," the Commission notes.

    It points out that "there is a need to align regulations and practices in the financial sector more fully with those which apply in the Union, and to reinforce cooperation and controls in all areas of justice and home affairs."

    Referring to the economy in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic, the Commission says that the average income per capita is about 3.970 US dollars per annum, one third of that of the Republic of Cyprus.

    It adds that the economy in the occupied areas "is becoming increasingly dependent on the public sector, which ultimately means financial transfers from Turkey."

    CNA GG/GP/1997

    [04] Worshipers enter buffer zone to pray

    Nicosia, Jul 17 (CNA) -- Hundreds of Greek Orthodox faithful today gathered to worship in the small church of Saint Marina located in the buffer zone separating the government-controlled from the Turkish-occupied areas.

    Worshipers converged on the church, near the Dherynia area, in eastern Cyprus, under strict security measures taken by United Nations peacekeeping forces patrolling the buffer zone.

    Peacekeepers accompanied the faithful to and from the church in groups on the condition that no more than 200 worshipers could enter the church at one time.

    According to the Greek Orthodox calendar, today is Saint Marina's feast day. The pilgrimage concluded at noon.

    The buffer zone in the Dherynia area is the site of last August's violent incidents in which two unarmed Greek Cypriot demonstrators were brutally murdered by Turkish extremists and occupation troops.

    Meanwhile, residents of the Turkish-occupied village of Kythrea last night held an anti-occupation demonstration at the Mia Milia checkpoint, on the eastern outskirts of Nicosia, the world's last divided capital.

    In a petition approved during the demonstration, Kythrea residents called on the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council to act decisively to end the continued, illegal occupation by Turkey of 37 percent of the island's territory.

    They also called for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the principles of the UN Charter.

    An outdoor vespers service was held during the demonstration after the occupation regime refused Kythrea residents to go and worship in their occupied village's church of Saint Marina.

    CNA MK/MH/GP/1997
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