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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-05

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 believes Turkish PM wants to solve Greek-Turkish differences
  • [02] Greek FM on Cyprus and Greco-Turkish relations
  • [03] New Greek Ambassador arrives

  • 1020:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US believes Turkish PM wants to solve Greek-Turkish differences

    Washington, Aug 5 (CNA) -- The US government believes Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, is committed to resolving issues that continue to be points of friction in relations between Greece and Turkey, the US State Department Spokesman has said.

    Commenting on an interview given by Yilmaz in the August 11 issue of the US weekly news magazine "Newsweek", Jim Foley said the US believes the Turkish Prime Minister is "committed to resolving the entire range of issues that divide Turkey and Greece".

    "(Yilmaz's) comments are an indication that the process of reconciliation began with (US Secretary of State Madeleine) Albright's Madrid initiative is indeed alive and well," Foley said.

    In the interview, the Turkish Prime Minister said his government will cooperate with the US initiative to resolve the Cyprus problem, especially if Dayton peace accord architect Richard Holbrooke is involved in the process.

    Holbrooke was recently appointed US Presidential Emissary on the Cyprus problem.

    However, Yilmaz reiterated the previous Turkish government's threats that his country will strike Cyprus militarily to destroy Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles if they are deployed on the island.

    The Turkish Prime Minister said his country cannot "tolerate" the deployment of the missiles in Cyprus because they pose a "threat" to Turkey since, he claimed, the missiles can strike targets within Turkey.

    The Cyprus government purchased the missiles late last year, but stated that neither the missiles, nor any of their components, will be deployed on Cyprus before August, 1998.

    Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continues to occupy 37 percent of the island's territory. Turkey also maintains 35,000 heavily armed troops in the occupied areas.

    In the interview, Yilmaz said that in order for Turkey to resolve its problems, it must reach a consensus internally and externally and that steps have already been taken in that direction, such as the common declaration with Greece made last month at the Madrid NATO summit.

    In the common declaration, Greece and Turkey agreed to "initiate an effort to promote bilateral relations" based on the principles of mutual respect for each other's sovereignty, international law and each state's interests in the Aegean sea, a commitment to resolving differences by peaceful means and avoiding unilateral actions and conflicts arising from misunderstandings.

    The Turkish Prime Minister noted that he does not exclude the possibility of resolving Greek - Turkish differences over the uninhabited Greek island of Imia in the Aegean through arbitration by a third party or legal recourse to the International Court of Justice.

    Greece and Turkey reached the brink of armed conflict in January of 1996 when Turkish special forces raised the Turkish flag on Imia.

    Yilmaz added that "wise men" could lead the two countries to resolving the Imia issue in the International Court of Justice.

    Greece and Turkey agreed in June to each form respective committees composed of leading academics and other experts with the task to evaluate and recommend ways through which relations between the counties can improve.

    "(Yilmaz's) comment on 'wise men' we believe is highly significant, and we hope that the wise men can meet soon on this issue (Imia)," Foley said.

    Reacting to an interview by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the same issue of "Newsweek", the US State Department Spokesman said his government considers it "highly significant" that Simitis has "indicated his desire to solve the issue of the Continental Shelf and agreed to confidence building measures" with Turkey.

    Asked if the US is optimistic that Greece and Turkey will soon accept proposals made by NATO Secretary-General Xavier Solana on confidence- building measures over the Aegean, Foley refrained from saying exactly when this will occur.

    "I don't want to predict when this will be," the State Department Spokesman said, adding that "we indeed hope that both governments will be able to respond to Secretary-General Solana's initiative and agree on mutually agreeable confidence-building measures."

    CNA DA/MH/MM/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1320:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Greek FM on Cyprus and Greco-Turkish relations

    Washington, Aug 5 (CNA) -- Turkey will not be admitted to the European Union (EU) and relations between Greece and Turkey will not improve if the Cyprus issue is not resolved, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has said in an interview with the "Washington Post".

    In an article titled "Greece and Turkey: Moving Toward Peace", Pangalos said "there will never be good relations between Turkey and Greece as long as the Cyprus issue is not resolved."

    Responding to a question if the Cyprus problem must be resolved prior to Cyprus' accession to the EU, the Greek Foreign Minister said Cyprus would be better off if it were to join the EU with its problem resolved.

    However, he stressed that Cyprus must accede to the EU irrespective of a solution to its problem. "Cyprus can become a member of the EU. It will be very welcome if it's (problem) solved before. It will be very unhappy if it's not solved. But it doesn't stop Cyprus from being a member of the EU. The EU has to admit Cyprus even if the Turkish presence on Cyprus continues," Pangalos said.

    The EU has agreed to start accession negotiations with Cyprus and five other east European countries in early 1998.

    According to the article, Pangalos said it is out of the question for Greece to consent to admitting other countries to the EU, if Cyprus is dropped by the EU.

    Referring to relations between Greece and Turkey, Pangalos said that a breakthrough on the issue of the uninhabited Greek islet of Imia depends upon the internal situation in the Turkish government.

    Turkey has claimed Imia to be within its sovereign jurisdiction. Greece and Turkey came on the verge of an armed conflict, in January 1996, over Imia.

    The Greek Foreign Minister also pointed out the intractable positions held by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    According to the article, Pangalos said a major point of friction between Greece and Turkey is the demarcation of the continental shelf, the seabed between the Greek islands in the Aegean and Turkey's western coastline, which potentially holds oil and mineral resources.

    The Greek Foreign Minister noted that a legal framework is needed to resolve the problem, which Pangalos said should be referred to the International Court of Justice.

    The article said the next move in Greco-Turkish relations will be a meeting between two non-governmental experts from each side, the so-called "wise men". According to the newspaper Pangalos revealed that Greece has approved this meeting.

    The article also said that this fall, Pangalos plans to have an official meeting at the UN with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and that Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz may also meet with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis, in Crete, this November.

    CNA DA/MH/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1435:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] New Greek Ambassador arrives

    Nicosia, Aug 5 (CNA) -- The new Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus, Kyriacos Rodousakis, has stressed he is taking up his post at a crucial time for the Republic, in view of renewed efforts for a settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem and negotiations for the island's European Union accession.

    Speaking on his arrival, Monday, Rodousakis pledged to work towards "furthering contact and relations between the two countries, in all fields" including the political, economic, cultural and defence sectors.

    He also expressed readiness to cooperate with the Cyprus government and other state institutions.

    The Greek Ambassador will present his credentials to President Glafcos Clerides on Thursday, August 7.

    Rodousakis, 52, a career diplomat born in Crete, takes up his post in Nicosia after serving as Ambassador in Moscow.

    He joined the Greek Foreign Ministry in 1972 and has also served with his country's embassies in Tehran, Rome, Johannesburg and Monaco.

    CNA MA/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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