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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-05

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus signs convention against landmines
  • [02] Cypriot ministers to meet EU counterparts
  • [03] Cyprus ready to join EU, says Euro MP
  • [04] Liberals International re-elect Rolandis to vice-presidency

  • 1200:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus signs convention against landmines

    Nicosia, Dec 5 (CNA) -- Cyprus is among the countries that signed the convention against landmines, as it believes it could help in removing some 16.000 landmines placed on the island since the Turkish invasion.

    Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Alecos Shambos, signed the Convention on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Landmines and on Their Destruction, yesterday, in Canada.

    Speaking during the signing ceremony, organised on the initiative of the Canadian government, Shambos pointed to Cyprus' sensitivity on the landmines issue.

    "It is estimated that since the 1974 Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of 37 percent of Cypriot territory and the forcibly imposed division of the country and its people, well over 16.000 landmines have been laid on the island, mostly in the buffer zone," he said.

    Shambos noted that even though this area in uninhabited, a number of people still farm their land adjacent to the buffer zone and some have fallen victims to these landmines.

    He added the government decided to sign the convention as it "is fully aware of the urgent need to remove all these weapons of death and destruction from the island."

    The Cypriot official said the government decision was taken despite the fact that Turkey continues to violate international law and maintains over 35 thousand troops on the island.

    "My government sincerely hopes that the Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines will have a positive effect on our efforts to stop more innocent lives from being lost so senselessly," he added.

    Shambos described the government's decision to sign the convention as "clear evidence of our sincere efforts to reduce tension and promote mutual confidence".

    He added it directly linked to a proposal by President Glafcos Clerides, to the UN chief, for the complete demilitarisation of the island.

    "Our signing must therefore be seen as a gesture of goodwill on our part and as a unilateral contribution to the objective of complete and eventual demilitarisation of the Republic of Cyprus," Shambos said.

    The demilitarisatiobn proposal provides for the disband of the Republic's National Guard and delivery of its arms to a numerically increased UN peace-keeping force.

    At the same time, the proposal provides for the simultaneous withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops from the island and the disband of the Turkish Cypriot armed forces.

    He praised the governments, international organisations and non- governmental bodies which contributed towards establishing this convention and welcomed efforts to establish an action plan to promote its enforcement.

    CNA MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1210 CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Cypriot ministers to meet EU counterparts

    Nicosia, Dec 5 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Justice and Interior Ministers, Nicos Koshis and Georgios Stavrinakis, will meet their European Union (EU) counterparts in Brussels today.

    The meeting is held within the framework of the structured dialogue between Cyprus and the EU and on the sidelines of the EU Council of Ministers' meeting.

    It is the sixth meeting the Cypriot ministers will have with their 15 EU counterparts to discuss issues such as money laundering, illegal immigrants and asylum, and legal cooperation, with emphasis on extradition.

    Progress on the Republic's conformity with EU regulations in relevant fields will also be discussed, in view of Cyprus' accession talks with the EU, due to begin in spring next year.

    CNA MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1340:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Cyprus ready to join EU, says Euro MP

    Nicosia, Dec 5 (CNA) -- A British Euro MP, visiting Cyprus within the framework of a report he is preparing on European Union (EU) relations with Turkey, has said Cyprus is ready to join the Union.

    Edward McMillan - Scott was received today by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and had meetings with European Commission Delegation Head, Ambassador Gilles Anouil, and the EU - Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee.

    "The European Parliament takes a close interest in the accession discussions with Cyprus, as part of the EU enlargement," he told CNA after meting the Foreign Minister.

    "Yesterday in Brussels we voted to encourage this process in a fairly flexible way, but there is a very strong feeling that Cyprus must belong very soon to the EU. It is ready to do so economically and politically," the Euro MP added.

    Noting that "there are difficulties to be resolved", he said "we look forward to play our part in seeking a solution which would accommodate both the traditions of Cyprus, but in a democratic framework which is accepted by all."

    Asked if he considers the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the EU - Cyprus accession talks as one of the difficulties, he said "that's one of the issues".

    "Obviously it is one of the fundamentals in finding a solution for the long-term. The Turkish community should be adequately represented and this is to be worked out," he added.

    EU accession talks with Cyprus are scheduled to begin in spring 1998.

    The government has proposed that Turkish Cypriots participate in the official delegation to hold the talks.

    McMillan-Scott described Cyprus' EU accession as "long overdue" and said "Cyprus is an European country and its traditions make it absolutely right that it should be a member of the EU."

    Asked if the European Parliament should set some conditions before accepting Turkey to next year's European conference, he expressed the view that this conference "is an umbrella framework which must embrace all those who have an aspiration to EU membership."

    He pointed out that the EU should "make sure that Turkey's customs union relationship is positive for her, as well as for the EU and to that extent I think we need to enhance the customs union with Turkey."

    "If we lose the sense of momentum in any direction then certain countries might feel let down by the process and we don't want that to happen," he added.

    During his four-day stay the British Euro MP will meet the committee of relatives of Greek Cypriots missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 percent of Cyprus' territory.

    CNA MK/MA/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1450:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Liberals International re-elect Rolandis to vice-presidency

    Nicosia, Dec 5 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Liberal party leader Nicos Rolandis has been re-elected Vice-President of Liberals International.

    The former Foreign Minister was re-elected to Liberals International vice-presidency at this body's 48th congress, held in Oxford, England, a Liberal party press release said Friday.

    Liberal party's international relations officer, Costas Zachariades, represented his party at the Oxford congress.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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