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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-19

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus' EU course linked to peace effort
  • [02] Hunger strike begins
  • [03] President Clerides pledges to work for Cyprus solution

  • 1140:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus' EU course linked to peace effort

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Jul 19 (CNA) -- A former US Cyprus envoy believes that Cyprus' course for accession to the European Union (EU) and efforts to solve the Cyprus problem are "seriously interlinked, if not almost identical issues."

    He also considers it unlikely that the Greek or the Turkish Cypriot sides will "negotiate seriously", if the EU offers the Republic of Cyprus Union membership.

    These are the views Nelson Ledsky, former US Cyprus envoy and one of the architects of a set of ideas for an overall settlement in Cyprus, (now revised and under discussion) has expressed during an interview with CNA in the aftermath of last week's UN-sponsored direct talks in Troutbeck.

    His comments come as no surprise to political observers and echo statements by US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, who said earlier this week the two (EU accession and peace efforts) cannot be separated.

    However, the Cyprus government has repeatedly said its first priority is to find a just and lasting settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem, but also stressed that Cyprus should not be held hostage of the political situation on the island, divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory.

    Ledsky, though speaking in a personal capacity, seems to continue to be involved in one way or another with Cyprus if only through his contacts at the US State Department.

    In his interview, he supported a settlement can only be achieved if other issues, such as clashes along the buffer zone and the issue of the enclaved and missing, "are put aside" in favour of a comprehensive settlement.

    On the outcome of last week's UN-sponsored talks at Troutbeck, near New York, between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the former Cyprus envoy said the approach is "hardly new" and noted that "we are now back to fundamentals."

    The main issue relating to efforts for a resolution of the Cyprus problem, he said, "is the EU question and once this is sorted out, then an agreement would be possible."

    The EU, he remarked, will have to make up its mind about the "extent of its involvement in Cyprus, whether it will take Cyprus in or whether it will set up another type of relationship with either the Greek Cypriot side or the whole of the island."

    "There isn't any likelihood of serious negotiations if the EU accepts Cyprus in its ranks because neither side will negotiate seriously," he told CNA in Washington, noting that "if the EU reserves its decision to take in Cyprus, then negotiations can take place and this is where Holbrooke will step in."

    The EU "Agenda 2000", presented last week, recalls that the Commission delivered a favourable opinion in 1993 on Cyprus' application for membership and the Council has reaffirmed on several occasions that accession negotiations should start six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference.

    Ledsky does not believe that EU accession would solve some of the differences between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, such as freedom of movement, settlement and the right to property, and considers this would inevitably make them reluctant to negotiate.

    Referring to the direct talks in Troutbeck, Ledsky said the paper the UN gave the two communities was "very reminiscent of things four-five years ago" and questioned whether this new approach is the way the two sides will be brought together.

    Asked if we are now back to square one, Ledsky said "I do not think so, we are back to the fundamentals and the basis for a settlement in Cyprus is contained in the 1992 set of ideas."

    Acknowledging "a wide gap of opinion" between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, Ledsky said the fact that both sides have reneged on things they promised "has widened the difference in their positions."

    He said Denktash walked away from a promise to restrict himself to 29 per cent of the island's territory to come under Turkish Cypriot administration in a federal solution and President Glafcos Clerides "tried to reshape things on the issue of guarantees and defence."

    However, he was quick to add he did not consider these differences as "unbridgeable" and described Turkey's new Premier as "a facilitator who will prove to be a useful negotiating partner and accommodating to the West."

    Invited to identify the most difficult areas that need to be bridged, he referred to territory and security issues and noted that other matters relating to sovereignty, presidential administration and voting mechanics are easier to sort out.

    The Turkish side, he underlined, "has to give up territory they are now holding and Denktash can eventually be persuaded to do so."

    Each side, he claimed, discounts the security concerns of the other and a compromise formula has to be found.

    "We are not going to get a demilitarised Cyprus as President Clerides has suggested or a large presence of Turkish troops as Denktash wants," he said and added "this is where Holbrooke comes in to explain to the two sides how this can be achieved."

    On the issue of a rotating presidency, Ledsky said the Turkish side rejects the notion of "one man one vote" and wants this notion modified to ensure that the president of a federal Cyprus is not always a person elected entirely by the Greek Cypriot side, who might nurture nationalist views.

    Ledsky regards the issue of sovereignty a "verbal issue" which could be sorted out through the EU process in that a federal Cyprus, member of the EU, would have to cede part of its sovereignty to the Union.

    Replying to questions, Ledsky said "any one of the remaining issues, including the missing, enclaved, clashes on the green line and tension on the island, can block agreement."

    "Some of these issues have to be put aside, if an overall agreement is to be reached," he explained and called on the politicians on both sides "to go beyond the views or actions of people who are keeping things from happening."

    Reaching a settlement is not going to be easy but it can be done, he concluded.

    CNA MM/MA/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1335:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Hunger strike begins

    Nicosia, Jul 19 (CNA) -- About ten Greek Cypriots began a two-day hunger strike on Saturday at the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia, to mark the 23rd anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 percent of Cyprus' territory.

    Most of the hunger strikers are women whose loved ones are among the 1619 Greek-Cypriots listed as missing after the July 20 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    The women, bearing the heat and holding photographs of their missing husbands or sons, told CNA they are determined to carry on their struggle until the fate of all the missing is established.

    Meanwhile, the demonstration held every weekend since last year to inform tourists visiting the checkpoint, the only place through which one can cross into the Turkish occupied part of the Republic, about Turkish atrocities in Cyprus, is continuing.

    On the other hand, parties and organisations are holding various events this weekend, marking the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    A message by President of the Republic, Glafcos Clerides, to the people of Cyprus, will be broadcasted this evening.

    CNA MK/MA/RG/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1400:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] EMBARGO UNTIL 20.00 (17.00 GMT) President Clerides pledges to work for Cyprus solution

    Nicosia, Jul 19 (CNA) -- President of the Republic, Glafcos Clerides, has reiterated the government's desire for a solution to the Cyprus problem "the soonest possible" and stressed the need for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to envisage a common future.

    In a message to the people of Cyprus, broadcasted tonight, on the occasion of the coup staged by the Greek military junta, on July 15, 1974 and the Turkish invasion that followed five days later, President Clerides described these "tragic events" as "the darkest periods of Cyprus' history".

    Noting the consequences, such as the number of people killed, the missing, the refugees and the violation of fundamental human rights, he stressed that at the same time "the illegal colonisation and adverse conditions created" forced "many of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots in the occupied area to emigrate".

    "They are quickly disappearing as a community," President Clerides pointed out.

    The President stressed that one of the conclusions of these tragic events is that "we must all respect fully our democratic institutions and engage in continuous dialogue and in a spirit of mutual understanding reach consensus."

    He added that a second conclusion concerns the relations between the Greek and Turkish communities, and calls on all to recall "not only the bitter experiences of the past but also the happy experiences of harmonious coexistence".

    President Clerides stressed the two communities "must envisage and plan a common future" and noted that "as we enter the 21st century we must abandon the mentality and practices which have brought about so many ills to Cyprus".

    He said a fair solution must be found that "will heal the wound of the past" and establish "a climate of confidence, mutual understanding and cooperation".

    Noting that the Greek Cypriot side has shown "goodwill and made painful concessions" in these 23 years, he said the government showed a positive attitude during the UN-led direct negotiations between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, held in the US July 9-12.

    Stressing that it will show the same attitude in the second round of negotiations, scheduled to be held in Switzerland August 11-16, President Clerides said "our ferment desire is to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem the soonest possible".

    "We all hope that the process that has already started may be the starting point of an unprecedented effort to find a solution," he added.

    President Clerides noted the government policy, that has increased international involvement in the Cyprus issue, its European Union course and a joint defence pact agreed with Greece in 1993, has "increased hopes for finding a solution".

    Noting that the efforts for a solution "will be very difficult and complex", he stressed that "our future on the land of our ancestors depends on the outcome of this course".

    Assuring he will devote all his energy "to ensure that this course may have the desirable conclusion to the benefit of the two communities", President Clerides stressed he will not accept a solution "that will not safeguard the future of Greek Cypriots, whatever the price we may have to pay for our stand".

    He also refers to an agreement reached during the US negotiations, to meet with Denktash in Nicosia, before the second round of talks, to discuss the issue of the persons missing since the Turkish invasion and the living conditions of about 500 Greek Cypriots who have remained in their homes in the occupied areas.

    "I am sure that with the solidarity of the people and Greeks everywhere, with the close cooperation and assistance of the Greek government, the political parties of Greece and the Greek people and the solidarity and active support of other states and political figures, our struggle will be successful," President Clerides concludes.

    CNA MA/RG/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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