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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-04

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] New US Cyprus coordinator to visit region
  • [02] Former UN chief blames Turkish Cypriot leader for impasse
  • [03] Time works against Cyprus solution, says US envoy
  • [04] Euro Parliament must ask for start of EU-Cyprus accession talks
  • [05] Germany backs Cyprus' EU entry

  • 0920:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] New US Cyprus coordinator to visit region

    by Dimitris Apokis

    Washington, Sep 4 (CNA) -- New US State Department Special Coordinator on Cyprus, Tom Miller, will pay a two-week visit to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey as well as European capitals, this month, after which US steps for a settlement to the Cyprus problem will be discussed.

    Replying to a question, deputy State Department spokesman Jim Foley said Miller will visit "Ankara, Athens, Nicosia and a number of European capitals as well", from September 7 to 20.

    Asked about the goal of Miller's trip, Foley noted it is "his first visit in this capacity. I wouldn't characterise it as an orientation tour, because Mr. Miller is very well briefed and up to the speed on all of the issues."

    "He'll certainly be taking the temperature in the different capitals and then reporting back, meeting with Department officials, meeting with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke (the US President's special emissary on Cyprus) and then discussing with him where we go from there."

    The State Department deputy spokesman pointed out that "in conducting diplomacy, the element of timing is critical" and noted that Holbrooke had met both President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in New York, during the first round of UN-led negotiations held early July.

    He added that the US President's Emissary is "keeping a close eye in the situation. He's going to meet Tom Miller on his return and then they're going to decide what steps the US government may take."

    However, Foley noted he "can't really forecast what those are going to be."

    The State Department official refrained from saying when Holbrooke will be more involved in efforts for a solution to the Cyprus question and again referred to the importance of timing.

    "When we have something to announce we'll do so. I don't think that, for example, a date for a possible Holbrooke visit has been set, but he will undoubtedly be going out to the region."

    Regarding the UN process for a settlement in Cyprus, Foley described it as "important" and "the prime forum and venue for negotiations."

    Commenting on the fact that last week Turkey had stopped and searched an Egyptian ship believing it was carrying components of the Russian-made anti-missile system S-300 the government of Cyprus has bought, Foley said "we have no indication that these parts were destined for Cyprus."

    He pointed out that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, "made a statement acknowledging that the missile parts are not destined for Cyprus" but for Egypt.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1997

    [02] Former UN chief blames Turkish Cypriot leader for impasse

    by James Delihas

    New York, Sep 4 (CNA) -- Former UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar has blamed Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in no uncertain terms, for the continuing impasse of the Cyprus problem.

    One basic reason why a settlement has not been reached, de Cuellar concludes in his just published memoirs "Pilgrimage for Peace", is that "the Turkish Cypriot side, especially its leader, Rauf Denktash, has more to loose than to gain from integration into a re-united Cyprus".

    In the chapter of his book devoted to Cyprus which he titles "Labyrinth With No Exit", de Cuellar makes no effort to conceal his personal frustration that the Cyprus problem, in which he "had more direct and continued involvement than with any other issue", remained a "maze in which each promising pathway leads back to the starting point".

    "The present status quo is likely to endure at least until there is a change in the Turkish Cypriot leadership and quite probably into the next century," de Cuellar concludes.

    De Cuellar, who served from 1982 till 1992 as UN Secretary-General, documents repeated instances where Denktash stymied progress, from his declaration of a self-styled, breakaway entity in 1983, which according to de Cuellar made a "solution more, rather than less difficult", to his injection of "sovereignty", "two peoples" and "self-determination" issues into the intercommunal talks.

    The former UN Secretary-General says these terms effectively "eliminated any basis for agreement".

    These concepts, de Cuellar takes pains to point out, "ran counter to the basic Makarios-Denktash guidelines of 1977 and the Kyprianou-Denktash agreement of 1979, the bedrock on which any settlement would have to be built".

    The 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements signed by former Presidents of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios and Spyros Kyprianou, respectively, and Rauf Denktash foresaw a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded the island in 1974. Turkey continues to occupy 37 percent of the island's territory with 35,000 troops, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA DA/MH/GP/1997

    [03] Time works against Cyprus solution, says US envoy

    by Demetris Apokis

    Washington, Sep 4 (CNA) -- New US State Department Special Coordinator on Cyprus, Thomas Miller, has stated that time is working against a solution to the protracted Cyprus issue and said the US wants to focus on the substance of the problem.

    In an interview, Miller pointed to security, constitutional arrangements and the three fundamental freedoms as some of the main issues that should be addressed and supported secret diplomacy in efforts for a settlement in Cyprus.

    He said he will use his experience from the Middle East peace process when dealing with the Cyprus question, noted that neither side will achieve everything it wants and pointed to the importance of rapprochement between Greece and Turkey.

    Miller gave an interview to reporters from the Cyprus News Agency, the Athens News Agency, Anatolia News Agency and the newspaper Turkish Daily News, in view of his upcoming visit to the region, scheduled to take place September 7 - 20.

    The US diplomat, who will work closely with US President's Cyprus Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, said he has "a couple of ideas" about his trip, but his first objective is "to do a lot of listening" as he has just taken up his post.

    Asked what he considers the main obstacles to solve the Cyprus problem, Miller noted that "whenever there is a problem as difficult as the Cyprus problem has been there is usually not just one obstacle" and said "security, constitutional issues, or some of the other categories obviously have to be worked more."

    He referred to the freedoms of settlement, movement, property and sovereignty as issues that must be discussed, noting "the core issues are out there for the two sides to deal with".

    The American diplomat said the experience he gained as executive assistance to the US President's special representative for the Middle East, between 1983-1984, will help him in his efforts in Cyprus.

    "While the elements are very different there are a couple of considerations that I got out of the Middle East peace process that will perhaps be applicable here", he said.

    Miller stressed that one of the considerations is that "in a good compromise, good solution, endurable and lasting, neither side walks from the table with everything it wants."

    Asked if a step-by-step or a comprehensive approach, would be best to solve the Cyprus question, Miller said this is one of the issues he will be exploring during his visit.

    He noted that "over time sometimes the tactical approach will change" and said "what works is what you can get both parties to agree on".

    The US official expressed "full support" to the UN process and clarified that "we are not competing here".

    He refrained from saying if the UN approach in the past decades has worked and supported "sledgehammer diplomacy".

    "You just keep going back... Try a different way and lo and behold, as we discovered with the Middle East peace process, ideas that have been tried and discarded, when tried again perhaps repackaged, somewhat worked," he added.

    The 49-year-old diplomat stressed "you don't give up, you just keep on persisting and that is what we're going to do".

    Miller expressed "tremendous respect" for Richard Holbrooke, noting that with his entry "I'm hopeful that we might be more successful than in the past".

    "When I say 'we', I mean all of us, not just the US because any effort to solve the Cyprus problem would take the efforts of the international community working in close conjunction with the UN efforts," he added.

    Replying to a question, Miller described the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides as "the key actors" in the Cyprus question and said "the other very very essential actors are Greece and Turkey", noting that conditions on the island and between Ankara and Athens are better than in the past for a settlement.

    Miller, who served in Athens both in the 1980's and again in 1994, expressed the view that "public sentiment was much more responsive to rapprochement over the last couple of years than what I experienced in the mid-1980's."

    He also said he "detects a different spirit", noting Greece and Turkey are neighbours and "you can't change your neighbour".

    Asked on the American position on Cyprus' European Union (EU) accession, he reminded that the US had supported the March 1995 agreement.

    "Half of it was that negotiations would begin six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference and (Turkey's) customs union (with the EU) was the other half. This is something we supported back then and still support," he said.

    Miller refrained from replying to a CNA question about how he will deal with the Turkish side's threat over Cyprus' EU accession course, as he believes "secret diplomacy works best", adding this is one of the issues he will be discussing.

    He said he understands Turkish concerns over a Cyprus government decision to buy the Russian anti-missile system S-300.

    "We made our concerns about the S-300 missiles known publicly at the highest levels of the Cypriot government and we talked to the Russian government about this. So I think our record on this is pretty clear," Miller added.

    He refrained from replying to a question if Turkey has the right to threaten to attack Cyprus if the S-300 are deployed on the island and said both he and Holbrooke want to "focus on the substance of the Cyprus problem."

    "I'd say that the Cyprus problem is something in which time is working against (all of) us. We'll continue to do what we can," the American diplomat said, adding his goal is "to try to fix the problem and defuse tensions..."

    He pointed out that the two sides in Cyprus have agreed to a bi- communal, bi-zonal federation, even though "there are differences of interpretation" as to what that means.

    Asked if there is a possibility of deploying a multinational or other force in Cyprus to replace the UN peacekeeping force, Miller said the issue of future guarantees is a key element in negotiations and discussion on this issue is premature. He stressed that "UNFICYP had done a very good job over the years".

    Miller expressed US support to direct talks between the two sides, but said the UN is responsible to decide on another round of talks, after the two rounds held July and August.

    The UN-sponsored talks ended in failure after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash' refusal to negotiate a settlement because of the European Union's decision to start membership talks with Cyprus next year.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1997

    [04] Euro Parliament must ask for start of EU-Cyprus accession talks

    Brussels, Sep 4 (CNA) -- The European Parliament must ask from the European Council for the immediate start of accession negotiations between Cyprus and the European Union, Dutch Euro MP Jan Willem Bertens has said.

    Bertens stressed this during his presentation to the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee on Cyprus' application for EU membership.

    According to the Athens News Agency, the Dutch Euro MP said Cyprus' application for EU membership is different in every way from those of central and eastern European states because Cyprus does not share the problems suffered by those states.

    Regarding the Cyprus problem, Bertens stressed that the EU has decided to start accession negotiations with Cyprus in spite of the fact that the problem remains unresolved.

    The Euro MP also criticised Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's intransigent stance in recent direct negotiations with President Glafcos Clerides.

    He told the Foreign Relations Committee that Denktash refused to discuss the substance of the Cyprus problem and set as a precondition to any discussion the freezing of the start of EU-Cyprus accession negotiations.

    Bertens said that this unacceptable position by Denktash at the direct talks was accompanied by a threat of war issued by the Turkish Cypriot leader against the Republic of Cyprus, while Turkey simultaneously moved to enact the partial political integration of the occupied areas.

    Direct talks between President Clerides and Denktash last month in Montreux, Switzerland, ended in stalemate after the Turkish Cypriot leader refused to discuss substantial issues of the Cyprus problem and threatened to walk out of the peace process if Cyprus-EU accession talks went ahead.

    The Euro MP reiterated that the European Council must ask for the immediate start of EU-Cyprus accession talks based on decisions made by the EU on the matter.

    He noted that the European Parliament considers the island as a whole and that the EU must undertake initiatives to involve the Turkish Cypriots in accession negotiations.

    Bertens added Turkey must not be allowed to use Cyprus as a lever of pressure on the EU for its own purposes.

    He said Turkey should become an EU member, but that its application does not currently meet EU criteria.

    CNA MH/GP/1997

    [05] Germany backs Cyprus' EU entry

    Nicosia, Sep 4 (CNA) -- German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, has stated that negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU) will begin as agreed, six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference.

    Kinkel also called on the two sides to do all they can and continue with direct talks to settle the Cyprus question, which is of great importance for Cyprus' European Union accession.

    In statements after meeting his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides in Bonn yesterday, Kinkel noted "we have decided to start negotiations with Cyprus and this will happen".

    However, he added he told Kasoulides that "it is to Cyprus' benefit to have the northern part of the island (Turkish Cypriots) involved in all negotiations held".

    The German Foreign Minister said his country will contribute towards efforts to defuse tensions between Greece and Turkey, a factor he described as important to reaching a settlement in Cyprus.

    Kinkel said he will discuss the issue in the upcoming talks he will have with his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem and Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz.

    The German Foreign Minister expressed regret over the fact that the UN- sponsored direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, were not successful and stressed that "the momentum of these talks cannot be lost".

    "We have to do our utmost to help both sides begin these talks again, before (next year's presidential) elections in Cyprus," he added.

    Asked to comment on war threats made by the Turkish side against Cyprus and indirectly against the EU, Kinkel described them as "non wise", adding that such threats should not be taken seriously.

    The German Minister said he has accepted an invitation from his Cypriot counterpart to visit the island in spring.

    On his part, Kasoulides noted that Germany is in a position to fully understand the Cyprus situation, as it is a country which was divided.

    He said he reiterated the Cyprus President's dedication to negotiations for a settlement to the Cyprus problem and "that on our part we will do whatever we can for a political settlement to the problem the soonest possible".

    "We will handle developments and UN efforts to this effect with an open, positive and constructive mind, and, as we did during the talks in Switzerland and New York we will prove that we have the political will and we sincerely wish for the reunification of our country and reconciliation of our people," the Cypriot Foreign Minister added.

    Kasoulides stressed the Cyprus government considers the island's entry into the EU as "absolutely necessary" in order to help and urge the parties towards a speedy solution to the political problem.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MA/GP/1997
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