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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 97-10-11

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

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


  • [01] President to chair Summit session
  • [02] Russia, Greece warn Turkey
  • [03] President's address to Council Summit
  • [04] Foreign Minister sees Italian Deputy FM
  • [05] President on Russian missiles, Cyprus question
  • [06] Yilmaz on Russian missiles

  • 0930:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] President to chair Summit session

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Strasbourg, Oct 11 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides will chair the first morning session of the Council of Europe Summit, which ends here later today.

    Clerides is one of five heads of state to chair a session during this second Council Summit. The first took place in Vienna five years ago.

    The President will address the second and last part of today's proceedings, attended by presidents or prime ministers of the 40 member states, candidate countries and observers from the US, Canada and the European Commission.

    The Summit is expected to adopt a final declaration reaffirming the fundamental principles of the Council and outlining a plan of action on practical measures to achieve its goals.

    Clerides leaves for London later today to attend a dinner marking 75 years of the Archbishopric of Theatiron. On Monday he flies to Athens for talks with Greek premier Costas Simitis on the latest developments in Cyprus.

    He returns home Tuesday.

    CNA MA/MM/1997

    [02] Russia, Greece warn Turkey

    Nicosia, Oct 11 (CNA) -- Russia and Greece have threatened Turkey with war in case that the latter attacks Russian or Greek ships carrying Russian S- 300 surface-to-air missiles to Cyprus.

    The Russian warning came from Moscow's Ambassador in Nicosia Georgi Muradov, who in a televised interview Friday night said his country would consider "casus belli" (cause of war) a Turkish attack on Russian ships carrying the anti-aircraft missiles to Cyprus.

    In Athens, Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas told the press when invited to comment on Muradov's statement that Greece would act in the same way if a Greek ship was attacked by Turkey.

    The Russian diplomat told the CyBC television that his country would honour the contract it signed with Cyprus for the sale of S-300 surface-to- air missiles to Cyprus.

    He said the missiles would come to Cyprus unless there was an agreement on the island's complete demilitarisation or progress was reached in the Cyprus peace talks.

    In a front page article, the local newspaper "Alithia" says Saturday that Muradov's statement has a "political leverage".

    It attacks Turkey's intransigent policy against Cyprus, in flagrant violation of international law and calls for more international warnings towards Turkey.

    Another daily newspaper, "Phileleptheros", says in an article that the Russian stand could not be ignored as this affects developments in the Cyprus problem.

    The Cyprus government signed a contract with Russian manufacturers earlier this year for the purchase of S-300 surface-to-air missiles expected to be deployed in Cyprus in mid-1998.

    The Cyprus government had urged the United States, Britain and other big powers to intensify their efforts for a Cyprus settlement during the 16- month period, until the arrival of the missiles in this East Mediterranean island, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    At the same time, the Cyprus Republic defended its right as an internationally-recognised state, member of the United Nations, to bolster its defences, particularly when its northern third is occupied by Turkey.

    Washington has expressed opposition to the purchase of the Russian missiles by the Cyprus Republic but at the same time, it welcomed Nicosia's promise that no missiles would be deployed within 16 months.

    Turkey has reacted strongly to the Cyprus government's decision, threatening for a pre-emptive strike to prevent the missiles' deployment, fearing that the military balance in the area would change.

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

    CNA GP/1997

    [03] President's address to Council Summit

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Strasbourg Oct 11 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides has called on the Council of Europe to "act promptly" in condemning human rights violations and providing assistance to redress them.

    Addressing the second Council Summit, the President welcomed the upcoming establishment of a new singe European Court of Human Rights as well as the introduction of a Commissioner for Human Rights.

    "The survival of the organization depends on how influential it is in assisting governments to change policies and practices in order to conform with the standards set by the Council of Europe," he told the 40 heads of states or governments attending the meeting.

    Noting efforts to make the Committee of Ministers more intrusive in its examination of the performance of each member-state, President Clerides said "we expect it to become result-orientated by designing programmes of assistance to the states concerned in order to improve their standards in the respect of human rights."

    President Clerides stressed the responsibility of each state to honour its commitments and said "in this very moment gross violations of human rights and freedoms are committed in some member-states which are a disgrace to our civilisation."

    "The Council must act promptly in condemning such situations and act swiftly in providing assistance to them," he added.

    Referring to the establishment of the new Court, in November 1998, the President said it will "further improve the present high quality of human rights protection."

    The new Court, he said, will make the citizens of Europe have confidence that "their rights and freedoms are guaranteed by a supra- national judicial body, offering them appropriate remedies, in case national systems failed to do so."

    In the Action Plan of the final Declaration, to be adopted today, heads of states are expected to welcome the establishment of the new Court.

    President Clerides underlined the importance of increasing citizens' awareness of the possibilities of the new Court or other CoE institutions in their pursuit for justice.

    "The organ of the Council best suited to undertake this informative task will be the Commissioner for Human Rights" he said, and expressed Cyprus' support to the immediate creation of this institution.

    The heads of state are expected to welcome also the proposal to create an office of Commissioner for Human Rights and instruct the Committee of Ministers to study arrangements for its implementation.

    President Clerides pointed out that the summit decisions address issues which affect the everyday life of the individual, such as racism, social exclusion, corruption and organised crime, drug abuse, child maltreatment and exploitation.

    "Our decisions aim at alleviating grave social problems and strengthening social cohesion," he said, noting that the effectiveness of the policies and decisions adopted by the summit "require the imput of the Parliamentary Assembly."

    Their success at local level, he said, depends primarily on the activities of the Congress of local and regional authorities.

    He also noted the Council should continue to work together with the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    "Undoubtedly the Council plays an essential role in building strong unbreakable links that hold together our greater European family," he said.

    "The protection of our common European heritage and the respect of cultural diversity are the pillars of our common European future," he concluded.

    CNA MA/MM/1997

    [04] Foreign Minister sees Italian Deputy FM

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Strasbourg Oct 11 (CNA) -- Italian deputy Foreign Minister Piero Franko Faccino has expressed his country's support for the accession negotiations Cyprus will have with the European Union next year.

    He also said Italy wished to see a settlement in Cyprus.

    Speaking after a meeting here with FM Ioannis Kasoulides, Faccino said he discussed the "strategy of EU enlargement" and added "I expressed Italy's support for the accession talks and my country's interest in a solution of the Cyprus problem."

    Faccino hopes for "good results" in the ongoing peace effort for a settlement.

    Kasoulides, who accompanied President Glafcos Clerides to the Council of Europe summit, was due to leave Strasbourg today for London.

    Cyprus is scheduled to begin membership talks in April 1998.

    Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, Italian premier Romano Pronti reminded his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz, whom he met here today, that a Cyprus solution is one of the prerequisites for Turkey's EU membership.

    CNA MA/MM/1997

    [05] President on Russian missiles, Cyprus question

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Strasbourg Oct 11 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side is ready to outline its views on all aspects of the Cyprus problem but is not ready to prepare legal texts at this stage, President Glafcos Clerides said here today.

    The President welcomed Russia's position that it would consider casus belli any strike by Turkey against Russian vessels transporting to Cyprus parts of surface-to-air missiles the country has bought.

    Speaking to Cypriot journalists at the close of the second Council of Europe summit, President Clerides said "we are ready to express our views on all the aspects of the Cyprus question but we are not ready at present to prepare legal texts."

    The President's comments came in response to a statement Britain's envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hannay made in Brussels on Thursday that the UN will now undertake, in consultation with the parties, in preparing the legal texts on which a comprehensive settlement would be based.

    Clerides said the Turkish side has not given any commitment to prepare legal texts and maintains it will not negotiate for a solution until the European Union clarifies its position on the start of accession talks with Cyprus, due to begin early next year.

    Replying to questions about Russia's position on Turkey's attempts to prevent the deployment of Russian missiles on the island, the President said "this position is very correct because Turkey is not allowed to act as the policeman in the region, and the Convention on the transit through the Straits is crystal clear on the matter."

    Russian ambassador to Cyprus, Georgi Muratov, told Cyprus television on Thursday Russia would consider as casus belli any strike against its ships passing through the Straits.

    Asked by CNA to say if any of his interlocutors had raised the issue of the deployment of the missiles, the President said "I raised the issue myself because I believe we should inform others about the matter, and not allow the Turkish side to present freely its own propaganda."

    "I also explained that Turkey has turned down our repeated proposals for the reduction of forces (in Cyprus) and our proposal for the demilitarisation of the island," he told CNA.

    The President also said he explained that Cyprus needs the missiles as a defensive weapon.

    "Turkey cannot claim the missiles are an offensive weapon against either Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots unless Turkey intends to launch an air attack. In such a case, we shall make use of these weapons," he said.

    Referring to a visit to Ankara by US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke this weekend, Clerides said Holbrooke had mentioned to him in New York last week he would visit Turkey to discuss the Cyprus question on the highest level.

    CNA MA/MM/1997

    [06] Yilmaz on Russian missiles

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Strasbourg Oct 11 (CNA) -- Turkey's Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz dismissed Russia's warning against Turkish attempts to strike Russian ships carrying missiles to Cyprus.

    Asked by CNA how Turkey would respond to such a move from Russia, Yilmaz said "casus belli is something serious, no country in the world would do it through an ambassador."

    He was responding to comments by Russia's ambassador to Cyprus Georgi Muratov that his country would consider casus belli any strike against Russian ships in the Straits.

    On Cyprus' European Union prospects for accession, Yilmaz told a press conference here, from which foreign journalists were excluded, it would be impossible for Cyprus to join the EU unless the Cyprus question is resolved.

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ismail Cem warned Europe that if the surface- to-air missiles are deployed on the island, Europe will have a problem in its hands because of Turkey's ties with the EU and Cyprus' prospects for accession.

    The 50-minute long press conference heard that Turkish officials raised the issue of the missiles at every single meeting they had in this French town, on the sidelines of the second Council of Europe Summit.

    Some of their interlocutors consider the missiles' deployment unhelpful to efforts to settle the Cyprus problem and others believe it would be a handicap towards this goal.

    Asked if Turkey has any proof that Greece backs the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), Yilmaz said he would take up this issue during his forthcoming meeting in Crete with Greek Premier Costas Simitis.

    CNA MA/MM/1997

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