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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-25

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Police seize largest drug haul
  • [02] US sees "window of opportunity"
  • [03] US analyst on Cyprus settlement and Greco-Turkish relations
  • [04] Brill: Start of constructive dialogue on security important

  • 1050:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Police seize largest drug haul

    Larnaca, Sep 25 (CNA) -- Police have seized over 8.000 grams of drugs, the largest haul ever imported into Cyprus.

    Four Cypriots will appear before Larnaca District Court later today in connection with the case.

    Police located the drugs (7.439 grams of marijuana and 1.148 cannabis resin) after being tipped off, in the luggage of 20-year-old Nikos Nikolaou, from Yeri village, near the capital Nicosia, who was returning to the island from the Netherlands, via Athens.

    Nikolaou was detained and police will today request a remand order to investigate the case.

    Three other people, all from Nicosia area, will also appear before the court in connection with police inquiries.

    CNA MM/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1130:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US sees "window of opportunity"

    New York, Sep 25 (CNA) -- The US believes there is now a "window of opportunity" to help move the Cyprus peace process forward and called on all parties involved to facilitate a settlement.

    "US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, reiterated the view that a window of opportunity is now open. She urged all the parties to use their influence to find a solution and refrain from actions that increase tension, " James Rubin, State Department spokesman has said about Albright's meetings with the Greek, Cypriot and Turkish Foreign Ministers in New York.

    Rubin said Albright repeated to each of the leaders that "now was the time for statesmanship" and explained the window of opportunity in the European Union accession and the general progress towards resolving such disputes warrants for statesmen to be statesmen and act with statesmanship.

    On the content of discussions, Rubin said talks "tended to be a discussion of ways to get some of the bilateral irritants and potential problems between Greece and Turkey behind us, rather than focus on Cyprus."

    He said the US had hopes that Friday's talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on security issues "will bear fruit."

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said in New York Wednesday he discussed the Cyprus peace effort with Albright as well as security issues which would form part of Friday's talks and humanitarian concerns.

    President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will meet tomorrow afternoon in Nicosia to discuss the thorny issue of security.

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

    Describing his talks as "interesting and useful", the Minister reiterated the government's view that it wishes to see a Cyprus solution before the Republic joins the EU, if possible.

    "If our accession course is in doubt, then Turkey is given the opportunity to exercise the right of veto on a solution and on EU membership," Kasoulides said.

    He pointed out the Cyprus issue, the dispute in the Aegean and Turkey's security concerns are three separate things, although they affect each other.

    The Cypriot Minister said US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke is still examining ways to facilitate the Cyprus question but has not yet decided how to go about it.

    "The talks we are having with him may help him clarify how to approach the problem," he added.

    He noted the US "is very much interested to see a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible and to see the negotiations taking place in a appropriate environment that does not create tensions and of course this remains our own goal."

    CNA JD/MM/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1240:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] US analyst on Cyprus settlement and Greco-Turkish relations

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Nicosia, Sep 25 (CNA) -- A senior analyst with the US think-tank RAND, believes that a detente in Greco-Turkish relations will help settle the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Ian Lesser, senior analyst at the RAND International Policy Department, said Turkish threats to bomb Cyprus if the surface-to-air missile system S300 is deployed here must be taken seriously and that the US will try to prevent such a move.

    In an interview with CNA, he stressed the importance of US involvement in order to solve the Cyprus question and pointed to security as one of the main issues of concern.

    "The US remains committed to a solution of the Cyprus problem. There is an increasing tendency in terms of thinking about the problem, not necessarily policy but to see it in the context of other things that matter to the US in the Eastern Mediterranean," Lesser said.

    He added that if US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, or others become involved there will be a tendency, they will try to work on Greek-Turkish relations.

    "There is a growing belief that it would be unlikely to bring about a Cyprus settlement without having some kind of detente in Greek-Turkish relations generally," Lesser said.

    Asked if the UN has failed in efforts to settle the Cyprus question, he said "everybody has been trying for the past 23 years, I'm not sure the UN is any more responsible."

    However, he added that "if there is going to be a settlement or significant movement towards a settlement it is not going to come strictly from UN efforts."

    "It's going to come because the US commits itself to the process, as it is, and if the parties themselves and Greece and Turkey are willing to take a step forward," Lesser said.

    Referring to last week's stop-over in Cyprus of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, during which she announced an agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to discuss security issues, he said this might be "a clear signal that there was some judgement that it was time to be engaged" on the Cyprus issue.

    The former member of the State Department policy planning staff in the Clinton administration said he believes "the conditions around Cyprus have changed in a way that makes a settlement more of a possibility."

    The changes he sees are the introduction of Cyprus' bid to join the European Union (EU) and the situation in Turkey which has "perhaps changed" the way some Turkish Cypriots think about what closer relations with Ankara would mean.

    "Also I think that after this period of instability in Turkish politics it may be that the Turkish government grudges that it would be time to repair its image in the west on a number of key issues, and this (Cyprus) could be one of them."

    He said if Holbrooke takes an initiative in Cyprus he's likely to "work first and foremost on improving the security climate" which has been in the US interest for the past years.

    "Ultimately the solution has to be a political one but in the meantime we have to do something reducing the military tension in and around Cyprus, " Lesser said.

    Lesser said he would take Turkish threats to bomb Cyprus if the S300 are deployed "seriously".

    Even though he thinks it is very unlikely they would come to pass he pointed out that nothing can be guaranteed as Turkey acts in its own interest.

    He added "it would clearly be a very bad development for Turkey to do this, very bad for Cyprus, regional stability, it could have consequences on European security, NATO..."

    The American analyst stressed that if Ankara attacked Cyprus "it would be a crisis of significant proportions.

    "From an American interest perspective we would certainly not like to see Turkey do that. It would be a disaster."

    He expressed his personal view that "you can expect the US government to be very heavily engaged in making sure that does not happen.

    I think the US government would have to make very clear to Turkey, as we have already, that this would be disastrous and that if they object there are other ways of working on the problem," he added.

    "From an American point of view we would probably prefer not to see the delivery of any new weapons system to the region when one is trying to bring about a settlement," Lesser said.

    He said there are various formulas the Greek side could undertake to accomplish its security objectives, instead of deploying the S300.

    The American analyst acknowledged the Russian-made S300 "is an air defence system and given the very strong position of the Turkish Air Force in terms of the military bounds in the Eastern Mediterranean I don't think it's destabalising."

    Asked if he sees a shift in Turkey's position on Cyprus' EU accession prospect, Lesser said Ankara finds it "deeply bothersome for reasons which also have to do with Turkey's own position and relations with the EU.

    I don't think that's going to change very much but I do think that there is a strong desire in Turkey to have a more moderate policy on a lot of issues that affect their relations with Europe, and in fact with the US, " he added.

    Lesser said Ankara will try to consolidate the relations it already has with the EU even if its prospect of membership is "distant or impossible" and there may be a certain relaxation on its position towards Cyprus' accession.

    He said if the EU "is serious about" the Republic's accession it will have a stronger role in settling the Cyprus question as it would not like to have to deal with it after it becomes a member.

    With regard to Greco-Turkish relations Lesser said a declaration signed between the two countries in Madrid is in itself significant and expressed certainty it will move on.

    Asked about the upcoming joint US - Israeli - Turkish military exercise in the region, he said it does not affect Greece or Cyprus.

    He said he understands why there may be discomfort in Athens and Nicosia, but expressed the belief "you would rather have us there with them, than see them exercising by themselves."

    CNA MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1420:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Brill: Start of constructive dialogue on security important

    Nicosia, Sep 25 (CNA) -- What is important is to get a constructive dialogue on security matters going, US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, stated today.

    The US diplomat had a meeting this morning with Cyprus House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou.

    Brill refused to comment on reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will not discuss demilitarisation during tomorrow's meeting on security matters with President Glafcos Clerides.

    "My position is that what is important is what the two leaders say to each other in the meeting, as opposed to what others may say about it outside the meeting", Brill said.

    He added "what is important is that we get a dialogue started that is constructive and engaged."

    The US Ambassador said his country will not be involved in the dialogue on security issues, but it will be as supportive as it can.

    On his part, Kyprianou said the US active involvement in efforts towards a Cyprus settlement was reaffirmed.

    The House President said he pointed out that US involvement should be in the direction of a settlement that would secure the fundamental rights of the people of Cyprus.

    CNA RG/MCH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
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