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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-03

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Clerides meets UN envoy
  • [02] Defence Ministry dismisses Turkish reports about gunshots
  • [03] Politicians wish success to Simitis-Yilmaz meeting
  • [04] Simitis-Yilmaz meetings a "window of hope", says spokesman

  • 1110:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clerides meets UN envoy

    Nicosia, Nov 3 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides has replied in writing that he is willing to exchange information on the location of graves of people from the island's two communities listed as missing persons.

    "I received a letter from Mr. Clerides saying that he was now ready to exchange that information on his side," UN Resident Representative Gustave Feissel said today after meeting the President.

    President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met here in July and agreed to provide each other immediately and simultaneously all information already at their disposal on the location of graves of Greek and Turkish Cypriots missing.

    The exchange of information was scheduled to take place by the end of September, as a first step in resolving this humanitarian issue.

    Feissel said the Turkish Cypriot leader "has continued to indicate that he was going to deliver on his end of the deal."

    "It has taken them a little bit longer because they needed to do some work," he said, expressing hope that the information would be exchanged "very soon".

    On his 50minute meeting with the Cypriot President, Feissel said they discussed a letter sent by the UN Secretary-General proposing a visit by his special advisor on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez scheduled for November 18.

    Kofi Annan wrote to the two sides in Cyprus, as well as the governments of Greece and Turkey, proposing a visit by Cordovez to investigate whether they would be willing to participate in open-ended talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    "I will also discuss the matter with Denktash when he comes back. I expect a meeting hopefully on Friday," Feissel said.

    Cordovez chaired two rounds of Cyprus peace talks this summer, in the US and Switzerland, which reached a deadlock because Denktash refused to negotiate unless the European Union (EU) withholds its decision for accession talks with Cyprus next Spring.

    Feissel refrained from commenting on what could be expected from Cordovez's visit in view of Denktash's public statements that he would not be able to meet the UN envoy.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader said he would be in Turkey for medical examinations on November 18 when the UN advisor is expected to visit the island.

    Denktash also said he would not participate in peace efforts until December when the EU will discuss a report dubbed "Agenda 2000", on enlargement, in which it reiterates Cyprus' accession talks will begin.

    "Let's see what happens. I don't think we should anticipate things and today Mr Denktash will meet with the Secretary-General and I will see him after his return," he added.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader is in the US for meetings on the Cyprus issue and today he is scheduled to meet Kofi Annan.

    Asked if UNFICYP is worried by a Turkish military exercise code-named "Taurus '97", that began today and includes manoeuvres in the Turkish- occupied part of Cyprus, Feissel said "UNFICYP does what it is supposed to do in the context of its mandate. It keeps its eyes open all around."

    He also reiterated UN and Security Council concern with the military situation in Cyprus and reminded of resolutions calling for a reduction of troops and a freeze in the military build up.

    Feissel added that "unfortunately until now this hasn't been heeded by anybody" and said that if the situation remains as it is today it has the potential of worsening and creating tensions.

    "We are concerned about all kinds of military exercises and I think it would be much better if none take place because it would certainly not help in creating the right kind of climate and reducing tensions," Feissel said.

    Turkey invaded and occupied 37 percent of Cyprus' territory in 1974.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [02] Defence Ministry dismisses Turkish reports about gunshots

    Nicosia, Nov 3 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Defence Ministry today dismissed Turkish claims that there was an exchange of fire on the demarcation line Sunday night.

    "There was no exchange of gunfire. Shots were heard about 500 metres within the Turkish-occupied area," a Defence Ministry official told CNA.

    The French New Agency and the Turkish Cypriot daily "Kibris", quoting a Turkish military official, reported there was an exchange of fire among troops in the area of Ayios Kassianos, on the eastern part of the walled city of Nicosia.

    They claimed the "incident" occurred when a Greek Cypriot soldier approached an occupation army outpost and a Turkish Cypriot soldier fired warning shots.

    Reuters, also quoting a Turkish Cypriot official, today reported a Turkish Cypriot soldier fired warning shots into the air after seeing "suspicious movements".

    "There were no shots either from a National Guard or a Turkish occupation army outpost," the Republic's Defence Ministry official said.

    Asked if the shots might be connected with a Turkish military exercise dubbed "Taurus '97", beginning today, that includes manoeuvres in the occupied part of Cyprus, the official said "the Turkish side seems to want to create some kind of tension."

    Meanwhile, the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was investigating the matter.

    UNFICYP Spokesman, Waldemar Rokoszewski, told CNA that "a number of shots were heard around 10 o'clock (2000 GMT) last night in the area of Ayios Kassianos", in the old part of the capital.

    "We are in touch with military and police authorities on both sides in order to find out what really happened," he said.

    UNFICYP patrols a 180-kilometre long buffer zone across the island since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [03] Politicians wish success to Simitis-Yilmaz meeting

    Nicosia, Nov 3 (CNA) -- Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties today expressed the wish that a meeting later today in Crete, between the Premiers of Greece and Turkey will be successful.

    Leaders and representatives of six Greek Cypriot and four Turkish Cypriot parties met today at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel in Nicosia "in a friendly and constructive atmosphere and had a general exchange of views", on the Cyprus problem.

    A joint communique says "they have expressed the wish that the meeting between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey, Costas Simitis and Mesut Yilmaz, respectively, will be successful."

    The leaders of Greece and Turkey are scheduled to meet later today in Crete, on the sidelines of the first Balkan Summit.

    The meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriot parties are held at an initiative of the Slovak Republic embassy in Nicosia, in a bid to restore confidence between the two sides.

    The Slovak Charge d' Affaires Dusan Rozbora was present at the meeting.

    The Greek and Turkish Cypriot political leaders will meet again on December 3.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory in 1974.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [04] Simitis-Yilmaz meetings a "window of hope", says spokesman

    Nicosia, Nov 3 (CNA) -- Cyprus believes an improvement in the relations between Greece and Turkey would positively reflect on Cyprus, Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said here today.

    Christofides told his daily briefing Monday that today's meeting in Crete between the Prime Minister of Greece Costas Simitis and his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz and their Madrid meeting last July open a "window of hope" for Cyprus.

    He pointed out, however, this would entirely depend on how sincere the Turkish side would be about these meetings.

    Simitis and Yilmaz are due to meet during a two-day summit of Balkan leaders that began today on the Greek island of Crete. On the sidelines of last July's NATO Madrid summit the two Premiers initialised a non-agressive pact.

    "We look forward and wish that an improvement in the relations between Greece and Turkey will be achieved as this would also reflect on Cyprus," Christofides said.

    Asked whether the Greek Premier will among other issues separating the two countries would raise to Yilmaz the Cyprus question, the spokesman said this was a consistent policy by all Greek diplomats in their meetings with Turkish officials.

    "We know that in every meeting with Turkish officials, Simitis puts at the top of the agenda Greece's views regarding the promotion of a Cyprus solution," he said.

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

    CNA KN/AP/GP/1997
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