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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-27

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Top UN official assesses 1997, comments on 1998 prospects
  • [02] Kasoulides on EU relations with Cyprus - Turkey
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot decision to halt talks an "extortionist move"
  • [04] Murder suspect taken to mental hospital

  • 1005:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Top UN official assesses 1997, comments on 1998 prospects

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Dec 27 (CNA) -- The UN believes 1998 offers a unique opportunity to settle the Cyprus problem and warns of negative consequences, if this opportunity is not seized.

    It considers that the lack of political will is perhaps the single most important hurdle in the race for a settlement in Cyprus, but hopes this will change as all concerned realise it is in their interest to work out a settlement.

    The UN also believes there was no "missed opportunity" in 1997 to clinch a deal between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, but points out that in a sense every day that goes by without a settlement in Cyprus could be described as a "missed chance".

    In an interview with CNA, UN Chief of Mission Gustave Feissel said "we are approaching a defining moment after the presidential elections and 1998 will be a very important year."

    The period immediately after the elections in Cyprus, to be held February 1998, is "very, very important for Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and beyond," he added.

    If peace talks, scheduled to begin March 1998, were to end inconclusively, as the two round of UN-led talks in the summer did, "it would be much more serious."

    Feissel explained that conditions, which perhaps did not exist in 1997, would induce everyone to become very focused on the Cyprus question.

    He said the start of accession talks with the European Union (EU) is one such condition, and marks an important factor which should impel everybody to display the necessary resolve to reach an overall agreement, which has eluded them for decades.

    Everybody, he underlined, recognises that it would be much better if membership negotiations were to take place on the basis of a solved Cyprus problem rather than have the situation as it is.

    The top UN official in Cyprus refrained from commenting on Turkish views that accession talks would signal the permanent division of the island, but noted that neither Turkey nor the Turkish Cypriots are happy with the EU decision.

    "This however, if anything, also underlines that that event is important, one way or the other, and I am sure they would also agree. If we had significant progress in the Cyprus question, no doubt their reaction would be very different."

    Replying to questions, Feissel stopped short of saying that progress towards an overall agreement in the UN-sponsored talks expected to begin in March next year, would encourage Denktash to reassess his position on the EU.

    Feissel also noted that the overall concern on military developments in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey "is another indication that things are not staying the same" and a factor that could create conditions inducing work towards a solution.

    "The existing differences between the positions of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides are not insurmountable, if the political will is there to clinch a deal," he explained.

    Feissel pointed out that "if there is a settlement or progress towards a settlement, then we will go up one kind of road. If not, we will go up a different kind of road, a bad road which is bad news for everybody."

    This means that there are consequences for all concerned, he added, noting that "making progress or not will have significant repercussions for Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Greece and Turkey."

    "As we approach the spring of 1998 (when EU accession talks are due to begin) I believe that everybody will conclude that they have to solve the Cyprus problem for their own interest."

    Asked if there was any point in 1997 that he thought the two leaders were ready to put their signatures on the dotted line, Feissel said: "No, there were no missed opportunities in the sense that something occurred that we did not take advantage of, but, in a sense, every day is a missed chance because they should reach an overall settlement."

    Feissel noted that when Kofi Annan took over at the beginning of the year, he underlined the urgency of reaching a settlement but "unfortunately 1997 was not that year."

    Asked if there was any danger in seeing the next round of Cyprus peace talks ending "inconclusively" as they did in the negotiations between the two sides held in July and August, Feissel said there is no guarantee about how they will conclude.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974 and UN-led efforts to reach a settlement have so far failed.

    On the issue of missing persons, Feissel said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash gave assurances that work to gather information about the location of graves continues.

    "We hope the information will be exchanged by the two sides by the end of the year, and arrangements will be made for the return of remains of persons buried in various sites to determine their identity," he added.

    Feissel also indicated that, should the need arise, additional expertise may be called for to assist the process of dealing with this issue.

    In a UN-sponsored meeting in July, President Clerides and Denktash agreed to exchange information on the location of graves of missing persons, by the end of September, and to proceed with the return of the remains.

    The Greek Cypriot side has already prepared the relevant information, but the Turkish Cypriot side has said it needs more time to gather the information.

    CNA MM/MA/1997

    [02] Kasoulides on EU relations with Cyprus - Turkey

    Nicosia, Dec 27 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government believes that the view of Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, to create special ties with the pseudo state in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, has prevailed in Turkey.

    Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, said Yilmaz had supported the development of special ties between Ankara and the illegal regime in the north while Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, wanted integration of the occupied north with Turkey.

    In statements to the Athens News Agency (ANA), today, Kasoulides also pointed to a change in the Turkish stance and said that it is clear that Ankara is not abandoning its efforts to join the European Union (EU).

    He was commenting on statements Yilmaz made before the Turkish National Assembly, that Europe should prove that it is not a Christian club by including Turkey among EU's future members.

    The Luxembourg European Council, on December 13, decided to exclude Turkey from the list of 11 future members, including Cyprus.

    Speaking on private TV station ANTENNA, Friday, Kasoulides reiterated the EU is scheduled to start accession negotiations with the Cyprus Republic in spring 1998.

    He said the EU - Cyprus negotiations will "progress in an evolutionary manner" and that the participation of Turkish Cypriots in these talks "will be related with progress in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem."

    The Cyprus government welcomes the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the accession negotiations, provided they accept the principle of accession and that the negotiations will be held between the EU and the Cyprus Republic.

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

    The internationally recognised government of the Cyprus Republic applied for EU membership in July 1990.

    CNA EC/MA/1997

    [03] Turkish Cypriot decision to halt talks an "extortionist move"

    Nicosia, Dec 27 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides described a decision by the Turkish Cypriot side to halt the UN sponsored bicommunal talks, aimed at reaching a settlement in Cyprus, as an "extortionist move".

    On Friday Taner Etkin, so called "foreign minister" of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied north, announced that the Turkish Cypriot side was halting the Cyprus bicommunal talks.

    He announced the decision was taken to give the occupation regime time to study the Luxembourg European Council decision, taken earlier this month, to begin accession talks with the Cyprus Republic in spring 1998.

    Kasoulides told "Delini" (Afternoon) newspaper that the decision is part of the well known extortionist moves of the Turkish side.

    Obviously, he said, they will reason when the start of the Cyprus - EU negotiations approaches.

    The minister said that when the negotiations start "everyone will undertake their responsibilities" and noted that "a negative policy on the part of Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will prove damaging for them."

    After the Luxembourg EU summit Denktash had proclaimed the bicommunal negotiations "dead".

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 percent of the island's territory and UN efforts to solve the problem have so far failed.

    Two rounds of talks held this summer between President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash failed, because the Turkish Cypriot leader refused to negotiate unless the EU withholds its decision to start accession talks with Cyprus.

    UN-sponsored talks are expected to resume in March, immediately after the presidential elections to be held in the Republic.

    CNA EC/MA/1997

    [04] Murder suspect taken to mental hospital

    Nicosia, Dec 27 (CNA) -- A 26 year-old man arrested in connection with the murder of his father on Christmas Day, was taken today to a mental hospital, after recommendations by two psychiatrists.

    Athos Neocleous, who was receiving psychiatric treatment for problems relating to his drug addiction, entered his parents' home in the coastal town of Larnaca around 09.30 p.m. on Thursday and attacked his father, Arhimides.

    Despite efforts by Neocleous's mother and a policeman, friend of the family, who were at the scene, to control him, the suspect grabbed a knife and stabbed his father to death and seriously injured his mother.

    He was arrested some hours later in the mountain resort of Troodos.

    Appearing before Larnaca District Court, Neocleous said he was innocent, that his parents were murdered in Britain and the two persons he had killed were not his parents. He was remanded in custody for eight days Friday.

    Government psychiatrist, Kyriakos Veresies, who was treating the suspect, told reporters that Neocleous became a drug addict while studying in the US.

    He said the young man was possessed with paranoid ideas, due to the combined use of drugs and alcohol.

    CNA EC/MA/1997
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