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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-24

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] UNFICYP mandate renewed
  • [02] US: Turkey to take long-term look of its European prospects
  • [03] Captain of "Blue Breeze" rescued
  • [04] Cyprus welcomes UN resolution

  • 1120:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] UNFICYP mandate renewed

    Nicosia, Dec 24 (CNA) -- The Security Council has renewed the 1998 mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), expressing full support to UN plans to resume talks in March (after the February presidential elections on the island), aimed at ending the division of the island.

    In a unanimous resolution, the Council also reiterated its grave concern at the "continuing excessive and increasing levels of military forces and armaments" in Cyprus and the rate at which they are being "expanded, upgraded and modernised".

    According to Reuters, it called on "all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and a reduction in the number of foreign troops" in Cyprus.

    The resolution, adopted without any debate, also urged early agreement to measures proposed by the UN to reduce tension along the cease-fire lines in Cyprus.

    It noted that "only one side has so far accepted this package" - a reference to the Turkish Cypriots.

    The northern part of Cyprus, almost half of the island, has been under Turkish occupation since 1974, when Turkey invaded under the pretext of protecting the Turkish Cypriots, after a coup to overthrow the government of Archbishop Makarios.

    CNA RG/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1125:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US: Turkey to take long-term look of its European prospects

    Washington, Dec 24 (CNA) -- The US encourage Turkey to take a long-term look of its European prospects and reiterate their support to a negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "Turkey's disappointment with the European Union's decision is no secret", US State Department Spokesman, James Foley told the Press, referring to the recent decision in Luxembourg not to include Turkey in the group of countries eligible to start accession talks.

    "We encouraged Turkey to take a long-term look. We reiterated our view that Turkey does have a European vocation and should move toward eventual full membership in the EU", he added.

    He also said Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, confirmed during his recent meeting in Washington with US President Bill Clinton "he has not closed the door on those discussions, despite having some real disappointments".

    Answering to questions Foley said he was not aware Yilmaz made threats of permanent partition of Cyprus and integration of the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island into Turkey.

    "But I can tell you that, if it did come up, we would have said that our view, of course, is to oppose any moves in that direction", he said.

    The State Department official remarked "we believe in a negotiated solution (of the Cyprus problem), which would result in a bizonal, bicommunal federation and we fully support UN efforts in this regard".

    Foley also pointed out that during the meeting President Clinton reiterated the importance of the two sides in Cyprus re-engaging under the aegis of the UN into fruitful negotiations, following the February presidential elections in Cyprus.

    CNA MCH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1040:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Captain of "Blue Breeze" rescued

    Nicosia, Dec 24 (CNA) -- The British Captain of a Panamanian-flagged ship has been rescued by the Cyprus marine police, following an alleged mutiny on board.

    Ian James Wilkinson, from Lancashire, was taken safely to Limassol late last night and according to police reports he is in good health. He has already left Cyprus for Britain.

    The "Blue Breeze" continued its trip in the direction of Syria.

    According to press reports the mutiny broke out yesterday afternoon when the ship's crew, in their majority Syrians, and its former Captain, who is also a Syrian, defied Wilkinson's orders to go to Gibraltar and took over the ship.

    The 16.500-ton "Blue Breeze" was some 22 nautical miles off the coast of Limassol when marine police intervened.

    Wilkinson embarked on the container vessel at Lagos, Nigeria, having instructions from a European bank, which holds the mortgage on the ship to sail it to Gibraltar.

    The crew objected and set sail for Latakia, Syria.

    The bank is apparently in dispute with the ship's Syrian owners and was seeking an arrest warrant for the ship.

    CNA MCH/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1415:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus welcomes UN resolution

    Nicosia, Dec 24 (CNA) -- Cyprus has expressed satisfaction with the UN Security Council resolution 1146, which reiterates the Council's support to the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General.

    In a written statement here today, Cyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides pointed out that the resolution also refers to Security Council resolution 367 (1975), which states that the negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem should be carried out between the two communities, and not as Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, wishes.

    It also supports the decision of the UN Secretary-General for negotiations to resume in March 1998, after the presidential elections on the island, stating that the solution should be based on a single sovereignty and international personality.

    Kasoulides emphasised that the Security Council considers the Luxembourg European Union Summit decision for the start of membership talks with Cyprus on March 30, 1998, as being an important development in the efforts towards a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The Cypriot Minister said the resolution adopted yesterday refers to the July 31, 1997 agreement between President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash on the missing persons in Cyprus.

    He stressed that it was the first time that a Security Council resolution for the renewal of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate mentions the humanitarian issue of the missing.

    Referring to the measures to reduce tension along the demarcation line, especially in the framework of the military dialogue, Kasoulides clarified that "the priority of the government is the security of the inhabited areas of Nicosia, rather than the international parchments."

    Kasoulides expressed the hope that discussions on the Cyprus problem would resume, taking into consideration the above position, a possibility provided for in the resolution.

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

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