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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-16

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] State Department on Cyprus peace talks
  • [02] Slovakia to continue initiative for bicommunal meetings
  • [03] Russia condemns Turkish threats
  • [04] Turkish Cypriot shot dead

  • 1020 CYPPRESS:01

    [01] State Department on Cyprus peace talks

    Washington, Aug 16 (CNA) -- US State Department spokesman, James Rubin, said that the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus confirmed their goal is to achieve a bizonal, bicommunal federation, but avoided to react directly to the outcome of the five-day Cyprus peace talks that ended in Switzerland Friday.

    In his regular briefing Friday, Rubin said the US is studying the statements made by the leaders and added that "they did confirm their goal as achieving a bizonal, bicommunal federation."

    The State Department spokesman noted that President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash invited the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor, Diego Cordovez, who chaired the talks, to the island and agreed to continue their discussions on humanitarian issues, in Nicosia.

    Rubin said the US "regard the talks as having been useful", but noted this will be "determined over time" as the Cyprus problem is a long running dispute and cannot be solved easily.

    He added that the US "don't expect another round (of talks between President Clerides and Denktash) until after the (presidential) elections in Cyprus, next year".

    The direct talks ended without any results mainly because Denktash insisted on the European Union (EU) freezing Cyprus' accession course.

    Referring to Cyprus' bid to join the EU, Rubin said "our position has been that we support the EU membership desires of both Turkey and Cyprus" and reiterated that "the EU accession process provides incentives for the concerned parties to move ahead to achieve a just and viable settlement to the Cyprus dispute".

    According to Rubin, US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, "has spoken to various EU leaders over the recent weeks and talked about the need to try to hold open as much prospect as possible for both Cyprus and Turkey, emphasising that doing so increases the chances that we will be able to resolve this long-simmering dispute".

    He said that on Thursday, Albright had a telephone conversation with British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook.

    Invited to comment on the EU's decision to start accession talks with Cyprus and not with Turkey, Rubin said this is "a decision for the EU to make", but added that the US is trying to explain to the EU "about the extent to which we think holding out the prospect of membership to both Cyprus and Turkey will improve the atmosphere and improve the incentives for a negotiation on this matter (Cyprus issue) to succeed".

    Asked about the future role of US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, the State Department spokesman said Richard Holbrooke intends to begin meetings in New York and visit the region in autumn. He stressed that Holbrooke "is going to have to make a judgement of where, in this context, he can play the role that we hope he can play."

    CNA DA/RG/MA/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1025:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Slovakia to continue initiative for bicommunal meetings

    by Emilia Christofi

    Nicosia, Aug 16 (CNA) -- Slovak Charge d'Affaires in Nicosia Dusan Rozbora has expressed optimism about the future of Cyprus but noted it is up to the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to proceed to a solution.

    At the same time, he said he is ready to continue his country's invitiative for bicommunal meetings between political parties from both sides of the divide.

    In an interview with CNA, Rozbora, who arrived on the island five months ago, said he positively became involved in the bicommunal meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties, an initiative which began in 1989 by the former Czechoslovak Ambassador to Cyprus, Emil Keblusek.

    He has presided over two such meetings, in March and May, at the UN- controlled Ledra Palace Hotel situated in the no man's land. The meetings were attended by top UN envoy in Cyprus Gustave Feissel.

    Asked how he sees the future of these meetings, Rozbora said the Slovak Embassy and he himself "are ready to continue" this initiative.

    "The party leaders expressed their wish to continue. But it is their decision when to meet again. September would be a good time for the next meeting," Rozbora said.

    The Slovak diplomat added his embassy supports "all contacts among the people of the two communities, in all fields because it is not only a matter of politicians but a matter of ordinary people in various fields of activities, businessmen, journalists, culture, youth..."

    To a question how he sees the future of Cyprus, Rozbora said "it depends on the results of the talks. There is a hope. I am optimistic. I think that there are many common points which could bring the two communities together," he noted.

    Speaking about bilateral relations between Cyprus and Slovakia, Rozbora referred to what he described as "two very important" agreements signed in May between the two countries in the fields of economy, industry, science, technology and tourism.

    He said after ratification of the agreements, a joint commission will be set up, which will assist in developing relations and implementing the agreements.

    However, Rozbora said he was not satisfied with the decreasing trade between the two countries.

    "It is unsatisfactory, especially during the last year. Results for 1996 show that trade went down almost by 30 per cent, compared with 1995."

    Cyprus imports wood, iron and textiles while Slovakia imports citrus and pharmaceuticals.

    Noting that both countries must do their best to increase trade transactions again, Rozbora said the two agreements are "a good step" towards this, as well contact between businessmen from both countries.

    Asked what he believes is the reason behind the decrease of trade between the two countries, Rozbora said there is no Slovak commercial mission in Cyprus.

    Another reason is that the Embassy of Cyprus covering Slovakia is based in Vienna, while the commercial field is covered by the commercial attache in Prague. "We are not very satisfied with this fact," Rozbora said and suggested that the Cypriot commercial attache could be based in Vienna, which is closer.

    "Diplomats serving in Prague look at Slovakia by the eyes from Prague. They do not travel very often to Slovakia," he noted.

    He stated that his country would have been very happy if there was an embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Bratislava, although he acknowledges this is not easy.

    Cyprus and Slovakia are now working on a new agreement to abolish double taxation and on another agreement for the support and protection of investment, expected to be finalised by the end of the year. These will give another opportunity to strengthen relations in the economic field, he said.

    As far as tourism is concerned, Rozbora remarked that there has been a slow increase of tourist traffic between the two countries.

    In April, a delegation of the Association of Slovak travel agents travelled around Cyprus and "were very impressed with what they saw." This is "a good basis for the future," he remarked.

    Cyprus travel agencies are also interested in sending more Cypriot tourists to this European country. "Slovakia can offer everything -except sea- mountains, spa, ski, historical places," Rozbora said.

    The Slovak diplomat also spoke about the recent decision of the European Commission, which excluded Slovakia from the countries to start accession negotiations with the European Union next year.

    "We are unhappy by the recommendation of the European Commission", he said, noting that the reason behind the EU decision was internal political problems.

    "I do not think there is any country that does not have disputes between the coalition and opposition parties," he said.

    Slovakia, he added, fulfils the other EU criteria. "There is democratic development, there is a constitution. Elections were held with utmost democracy. There is freedom of the press. There is pluralism," he said.

    Furthermore, the rate of inflation in the country, he said, declined from 13,4 per cent in 1994 to 5,8 per cent in 1996. while the inflation of the other five central European applicant countries for EU membership, which were approved is higher.

    However, Rozbora pledged that "membership to NATO and the EU remain high priorities of the Slovak foreign policy" and expressed the hope that during the Luxembourg summit in December, the European Council "we shall be able to show our country as it is in reality."

    CNA EC/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1130:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Russia condemns Turkish threats

    Nicosia, Aug 16 (CNA) -- Russia's special envoy to the Cyprus peace talks, Victor Boiko, has condemned threats by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus will be integrated into Turkey if the Cyprus Republic joins the European Union (EU).

    In statements to the Athens News Agency, Boiko underlined that such threats should prompt a reply from the international community.

    He also reiterated Moscow's support to President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the demilitarisation of Cyprus and recalled that last October the Russian Duma condemned the continuing occupation of part of Cyprus.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    Speaking after the five-day UN-sponsored Cyprus peace talks, that ended in Glion, Switzerland, Friday, Boiko agreed with President Clerides that the UN Security Council should assess what really occurred during the talks.

    The second round of direct negotiations, chaired by the UN Secretary- General's special advisor on the Cyprus problem, Diego Cordovez, reached a deadlock due to the negative stance of the Turkish side on Cyprus' European Union (EU) course.

    Both Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side stepped up their intransigence on the Cyprus issue, since last month's EU reconfirmation, in a report named "Agenda 2000", that accession talks with Cyprus will begin next year, as scheduled.

    In statements, Denktash accused the EU of having thrown a "bombshell" into the peace process by deciding to open accession talks with Cyprus and has blackmailed not to negotiate for a settlement to the Cyprus question if they go ahead.

    In an association agreement signed in the Turkish-occupied part of the island only five days before the Cyprus peace talks began, Ankara and the puppet regime threatened to integrate the occupied areas into Turkey if the EU starts membership talks with Cyprus.

    Boiko expressed regret at the fact that there was no outcome in the talks and stressed it is important that the UN Secretary-General keeps up his good offices mission.

    He noted his country's interest in an early settlement to the Cyprus question, not only because it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council but also because Cyprus is situated near southern Russia and is important to the security of the whole region.

    CNA MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1310:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Turkish Cypriot shot dead

    Nicosia, Aug 16 (CNA) -- A Turkish Cypriot was shot dead early today, in the southern coastal town of Limassol, as he was driving his motorcycle in the old Turkish Cypriot sector of the town.

    Jian Nejip Hakkemes, a 37-year-old fisherman, was hit in the head and other parts of his body, at close range, by four bullets, a police spokesman told CNA. He died instantly.

    Police have cordoned off the area and are carrying out investigations "in all directions because of his lifestyle." Police said he was under inquiry for drugs-related offences.

    Cyprus radio reported his Greek Cypriot girlfriend, Lukia Adamou, a prostitute, told police that a few days ago Nejip received an anonymous letter with which he was blackmailed, but did not elaborate.

    Nejip was arrested last March along with two Turks on suspicion of spying on military areas.

    However, he and one of the two Turks, were released because of lack of evidence, while the third will go on trial October 9.

    Around 300 of the 500 Turkish Cypriots living in the free areas of the Republic are staying in Limassol.

    CNA MK/MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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