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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-11-21

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cypriot minister comments on Turkey's EU aspirations
  • [02] UN envoy calls on parties to settle Cyprus problem
  • [03] Off-season tourism from Britain - Scandinavia up
  • [04] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [05] Turks destroy Cyprus culture
  • [06] Cyprus protests Turkish arms build up
  • [07] Experts' meeting on Law of the Sea opens

  • 1430:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cypriot minister comments on Turkey's EU aspirations

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has expressed certainty that the Greek government "will do whatever has to be done" as far as Turkey's European aspirations are concerned.

    Kasoulides added that he is in touch with the Greek government, beyond the diplomatic channels.

    Asked to comment whether Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker had sounded his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis on the issue of strengthening European Union ties with Turkey, Kasoulides said Athens is handling the issues as a member of the EU and calls for the implementation of the Union declarations regarding Turkey.

    He said the four conditions set by the EU are clear and were stressed recently both by the Chairman of the European Council, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos, and EU Commissioner for External Relations Hans Van den Broek, during their visits to Turkey.

    Kasoulides said the "upgrading of the relations between Turkey and the EU passes through actions Turkey must make on Kurdish minority human rights issues, the Cyprus problem and its relations with Greece".

    Replying to a question whether the United States had asked Nicosia to take action so that Athens does not veto Turkey's participation in the European Conference, at the December Summit, the minister acknowledged "they tried to say it would be to the benefit of Cyprus if Turkey is satisfied in some way, in its efforts to strengthen its relations with the EU".

    Kasoulides stressed that the answer given by Nicosia was that "for Turkey to be satisfied, it must assist itself by complying with what the EU had asked for".

    CNA KN/RG/GP/1997

    [02] UN envoy calls on parties to settle Cyprus problem

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor on the Cyprus problem today warned that increased international interest in a Cyprus settlement will diminish if a solution is not reached in next year's peace effort.

    Diego Cordovez, who concluded his first visit to the island since his appointment early this year, welcomed US interest in a settlement in Cyprus and said he depends on both the US and the European Union (EU) in his mission.

    He said there is "historic distrust" between the two communities and expressed the hope this will be overcome as soon as negotiations begin and they agree on certain issues.

    Cordovez said the "international community is now extremely concerned to a degree that has no precedent", noting that foreign governments have appointed Cyprus envoys and are active in a Cyprus settlement.

    "The two leaders have to understand that this concern of the international community is not going to last forever," he said.

    "If there is no agreement and these people (President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash) do not negotiate seriously the international community will become very cynic," Cordovez warned.

    He added that if no agreement is reached the international community will say "forget it, it's over".

    Cordovez said that both he and the UN chief want to reach a comprehensive settlement which will establish a bizonal, federated state.

    "We have to cover all the aspects so that the agreement works and for that it has to be comprehensive," he added.

    "I feel that there is determination but there is tremendous distrust... One of the problems is that neither side believes that the other wants an agreement," he said.

    Asked if he feels the two leaders, whom he met during his three-day stay, are ready to compromise, Cordovez said "the worst enemy of an agreement is distrust and distrust is very high in this case."

    The UN official said he will visit the island in March, immediately after February's presidential elections, to begin his efforts for a settlement.

    He noted that today the two leaders cannot express clear political views because of the election period and Denktash's wish to see if an EU meeting, in December, reaffirms accession negotiations with Cyprus will begin in spring next year.

    Both the Turkish Cypriot leader and Ankara are against Cyprus joining the EU before a settlement is reached and before Turkey becomes a member.

    Cordovez said both President Clerides and Denktash agreed "very strongly" on his March visit during which he will discuss the modalities of the negotiations.

    The UN envoy described the appointment of Richard Holbrooke as the US President's emissary for Cyprus as "one of the most positive developments."

    He said Cypriots have been complaining "quite rightly in the past" for a lack of US interest in a settlement and described Holbrooke as the American "top negotiator" with "experience".

    "We are developing a very good relationship to work together (with Holbrooke) in this (Cyprus problem) and he has so far helped in developing an interest in his own country and other countries about this problem," Cordovez noted.

    "I am depending on the EU members and in a government as powerful today in world affairs as the US to help me..."

    Regarding Denktash's threats not to negotiate unless his unilaterally declared state is recogised, Cordovez said he "cannot become involved in the status of a state or whatever entity."

    He clarified the UN does not recognise states and that it is the Security Council which agreed on a resolution requesting the governments to take a position on the issue.

    Security Council resolution 541 (1983) deplores the November 15, 1983 unilateral declaration of independence in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974 and considers this declaration as "legally invalid".

    It calls on all states not to recognise or assist this secessionist entity. Only Turkey has recognised it.

    Cordovez noted that Clerides and Denktash participate in negotiations in their capacity as the leaders of the two communities.

    The UN envoy recognised there was a failure in previous procedures followed for a Cyprus settlement, by which the Secretary-General prepared a package of ideas concerning the various aspects of the problem.

    "What the Secretary-General has now suggested is that we go directly to the negotiations on the actual texts that will constitute the comprehensive settlement," he explained.

    He added these texts will be submitted to the people of the two communities in a referendum.

    Cordovez admitted to following the wrong methodology during the two rounds of peace talks he chaired this summer, in the US (July) and Switzerland (September).

    "It should have been a merely procedural decision to start after the elections the negotiations in this, that or the other way," he said.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [03] Off-season tourism from Britain - Scandinavia up

    by George Yiannakis

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- Bookings from the UK for the current winter season in Cyprus are up by 29 per cent, compared to the previous year, Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) sources told CNA today.

    Though bookings are not always turned into actual arrivals, they consist a reliable indication of the demand for a country's tourist product, the CTO sources pointed out.

    According to CTO statistics, British bookings in the total of European tourist destinations for the five months to March 1998 are up by 20 per cent, compared to the previous winter season. The respective increase for Cyprus, however, is 29 per cent.

    The increase in the number of Britons leaving their country for off- season holidays in Cyprus is attributed to the favourable exchange rate of the British pound, and the attractive prices offered by the island's hoteliers, the sources noted.

    It is also due to the increased CTO 1997 marketing budget, they added.

    The number of arrivals from the Scandinavian countries is also expected to rise this winter, as four new flights from four different towns of the region are to be introduced on a weekly basis, the CTO sources said.

    These will result in 33.000 Scandinavian holidaymakers more, compared to the previous winter period, according to the Scandinavian tour-operator who organises the packages to Cyprus.

    Referring to the high season prospects, the CTO sources are optimistic that the off-season upturn is expected to continue.

    The CTO sources said 720 thousand Britons visited Cyprus in 1996, but this year the number is expected to reach 770 thousand.

    In 1996, 1,95 million holidaymakers from around the world visited Cyprus, while this year the number is expected to reach 2,05 million.

    Foreign earnings from tourism, the number one money earner in Cyprus, reached 780 million Cyprus pounds in 1996, while the amount predicted for this year is about 825 million pounds (one Cyprus pound is equal to 1,97 US dollars).

    CNA GG/GP/1997

    [04] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    75.10 (-0.24)
    Highest: 82.46 (2/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  86.56 (-0.32)
    Approved Investment Companies          58.82 (-0.24)
    Insurance Companies                    55.03 (+0.15)
    Industrial Companies                   72.67 (+0.04)
    Tourist Industries                     62.22 (-0.26)
    Commercial Companies                   39.32 (-0.03)
    Other Companies                        58.91 (-0.62)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 301010.250
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MA/1997

    [05] Turks destroy Cyprus culture

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- The loss of the cultural "treasures of Cyprus is not just a very complex legal issue but it represents a loss to all of humanity of these unique arts", said Tasoula Georgiou-Hadzitofi, Cyprus Honourary Consul in The Hague.

    She was speaking in Poland during a meeting of the Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on "Cultural issues and cultural identities in Europe".

    Providing specific evidence, Hadzitofi said 20.000 Byzantine icons and some 15.000 Cypriot works of art have been removed from the Turkish- occupied part of Cyprus and have travelled worldwide over the last twenty years.

    Hadzitofi said that following the Turkish invasion of 1974, 500 Christian Orthodox churches full of religious artefacts were left behind.

    She described the method in which the artefacts are plundered from the churches. Hadzitofi said photographs are taken of the artefacts which are subsequently shown to potential buyers to negotiate prices.

    Once that is agreed, then if it is a fresco it is cut from the wall of the church and if it is an icon, it is brutally removed from the iconostassis of the church.

    "More than half of the 12th century wall paintings have been destroyed forever because they were not removed properly from the walls", Hadzitofi said.

    The surviving ones are placed in a carton box or a suitcase together with many other pieces of mistreated artefacts, and are exported or smuggled abroad, where they are exchanged for cash in luxury hotels worldwide.

    Hadzitofi told delegates about the strategy she adopted to recover a large number of missing artefacts in Germany, where the key player was based.

    With the help of the German Police and a Dutch art dealer, two operations took place in Munich in September and October leading to the discovery of 150 stolen artefacts from the occupied areas of Cyprus and the arrest of Turkish national, Aydin Dikmen.

    During her speech, Hadzitofi gave examples of the looting of churches after the Turkish invasion.

    She said the majority of the 500 churches have been sold, or converted to hotels, entertainment centres, stables for animals, while 98 per cent of the icons, frescoes and mosaics were destroyed or sold worldwide and are now hidden in private collections.

    The art dealers, she said, only intermediate on sales and they never buy art on their name which makes it very difficult to incriminate them. At the same time, some of the countries have laws that favour the possessor rather than the legal owner.

    CNA EC/GP/1997

    [06] Cyprus protests Turkish arms build up

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- Cyprus has strongly protested to the UN General- Secretary over the recent illegal increase of the Turkish occupation forces on the island with military equipment and men.

    In a letter, dated November 20, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Sotos Zackheos, said Turkey has additionally brought new tanks, automated firearms, personnel carriers, and mobile artillery units to the areas it occupies since its 1974 invasion of the island.

    The additional arms and men were brought under the pretext of Turkey's military exercise code-named "Toros 1997", illegally held last month in the occupied areas.

    Zackheos said that according to information, "Turkey has not withdrawn the additional equipment and men it brought in."

    "These actions constitute a violation of repeated General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and are in complete disregard of international law and the UN Charter," he said.

    Zackheos also protested the participation of a Turkish delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, and Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem, at the so-called "celebrations" marking the 14th anniversary of the illegal declaration of the pseudostate in the occupied areas.

    On November 15, 1983, the occupation regime unilaterally declared the occupied areas an "independent state", which is recognised only by Ankara.

    Security Council resolution 541, of 1983, considers the unilateral declaration of independence as "legally invalid" and calls on all states not to recognise any other state than the Republic of Cyprus.

    "The government of the Republic of Cyprus requests that all urgent and necessary measures be taken so that Turkey abandons its intransigent positions and complies with the will of the international community," Zackheos said.

    "We believe that it is time the Security Council examines alternative ways and means to promote the implementation of its resolutions," he added.

    The Cypriot diplomat enclosed a list of the new military equipment brought to the occupied area, based on reliable information of the Cyprus Republic:

    On September 24, Turkey brought eight automated firearms 155 klm (type M-52TS) and on October 14, 28 advanced armoured personnel carriers (AAPC) type M113.

    On October 23, 17 M48AST2 tanks were brought and on November 10 and 11 a number of transport and tank landing ships illegally docked at Famagusta port. New weaponry was also unloaded.

    During the same period about 3.000 Turkish soldiers, including special commando forces, arrived in the occupied areas and a relevant amount of ammunition was also delivered along with more than 200 auxiliary vehicles.

    About 35.000 heavily armed Turkish soldiers equipped with more than 350 tanks occupy 37 per cent of Cyprus's territory for more than 23 years, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal. CNA/RM/MA/EC/GP/1997


    [07] Experts' meeting on Law of the Sea opens

    Nicosia, Nov 21 (CNA) -- A three-day meeting of experts on the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law from Cyprus and Greece, began today in Nicosia aimed to find answers to relevant legal issues.

    Addressing the seminar, Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides said the two big maritime countries, Cyprus and Greece, are facing common challenges, therefore it is necessary to coordinate action.

    He said Cyprus should seek answers to problems of profound significance, and which threaten the island's economy.

    Kasoulides said Turkey is so concerned about the Cyprus registry's success that it prohibits Cyprus-flagged ships to approach Turkish ports.

    In addition, Cyprus ships face a number of problems when approaching the Bosporus Straits.

    He said "Turkey is the only country in the world, which has not accepted the provisions of the Convention of the Law of the Sea and this is another manifestation of its disregard of the principles of international law".

    Kasoulides said the governments of Greece and Cyprus expect the experts to examine these issues and provide the necessary arguments which will allow both governments to handle the new Turkish expansionist policy.

    Taking part in the Nicosia meeting are some 25 Greek consultants and Cypriot representatives from government and other departments.

    It will deal with Cyprus' harmonisation process with the Law of the Sea, Turkish restrictions on free passage through the Straits and the Cypriot shipping industry.

    CNA EC/GP/1997
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