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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-02

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] US, UN want resumption of bicommunal meetings

  • 1150:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US, UN want resumption of bicommunal meetings

    Nicosia, Jan 2 (CNA) -- The United States believes that although bicommunal activities cannot solve the Cyprus problem, without them the problem cannot be solved.

    US Embassy Spokeswoman, Judith Baroody, in a statement to the Cyprus press, expressed the US view that "without those kinds of people-to-people contacts, the problem cannot be solved".

    Baroody was commenting on the suspension of all Turkish Cypriot participation in bicommunal activities, by edict of Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, in reprisal for the European Union's mid-December rebuff of Turkey's membership bid.

    At the same time, the EU summit confirmed its decision to start membership talks with the Cyprus government on March 30, 1998, a move that angered Turkey and Denktash.

    The Spokeswoman pointed out that "bicommunal activities will not solve the Cyprus problem", but stressed that the "free association" that they permit "is what civil society is all about".

    Baroody added that "restrictions on these kinds of activities are incompatible with democracy and a free society".

    She added "we expect, therefore, that the Turkish Cypriot authorities' review of bicommunal activities be prompt, and that these activities, which are of such value to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and the future of Cyprus, will resume shortly and without restrictions".

    The Cyprus government described the Denktash act as "unfortunate and devious", noting that it "serves other purposes and expediencies."

    Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said "the bicommunal meetings and gatherings serve the good intention of the Cyprus people. Rapprochement requires more deeds and less words. We believe in rapprochement."

    Britain also criticised the Turkish move. A British High Commission spokesman told CNA that "we regret the decision to suspend activity but we very much hope that it will resume."

    He said Britain considers bicommunal activity as "positive and constructive", because it helps Greek and Turkish Cypriots to get to know each other.

    The United Nations are making efforts to persuade the Turkish Cypriots to resume bicommunal contacts.

    Waldemar Rokoswewski, the spokesman for the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), told the local "Cyprus Weekly" that "we believe that Turkish Cypriot authorities should not isolate their Turkish Cypriot community from either Greek Cypriots or the outside world."

    He said there is a generation of people on both sides of the divide, who do not know the other.

    That is why, he said, "UNFICYP has traditionally supported, sponsored and arranged virtually hundreds of bicommunal activities, both in the buffer zone as well as on both sides of the divide."

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

    CNA RG/GP/1998
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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