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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-07

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Russia backs "fair" solution
  • [02] US does not blame EU for impasse in Cyprus
  • [03] New Zealander expected to head UNFICYP
  • [04] Britain on EU-Cyprus relations
  • [05] Greek Americans protest to Clinton over S-300
  • [06] Monitoring of social rights discussed in Cyprus

  • 0950:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Russia backs "fair" solution

    Nicosia, May 7 (CNA) -- Russia seeks to find a solution to the Cyprus problem that would be "fair" to both the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots, Foreign Ministry spokesman Valery Nesterushkin, has said in Moscow.

    He also said Russia's recent proposal for the demilitarisation of the Republic of Cyprus is "highly topical" in the current complex situation.

    According to an Itar-Tass dispatch from the Russian capital, Nesterushkin said Russia's approach to the Cyprus problem is motivated by the striving to promote the quest, under the UN auspices for such a comprehensive solution to the long-drawn out problem that would be fair to both the Greek and Turkish communities of the island.

    "We believe Russian proposals advanced in April 1997 for basic principles of the Cyprus settlement and the recent proposal for the demilitarisation of the Republic of Cyprus and ensurance of its citizens security are highly topical in the present complicated situation in and around Cyprus," the spokesman added.

    He also said Russia "vigorously supports the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General to Cyprus, entrusted to him by the UN Security Council."

    The spokesman pointed out that Russia "more than once advanced initiatives towards progress in the quest for the Cyprus settlement on a basis of the principles coordinated in the UN."

    In April 1997 Russia outlined its position on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, stressing that it shall be based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation to ensure the existence of an independent and territorially integral state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, single international legal personality and a single citizenship.

    The federation, the proposal said, should reflect the political equality of the island's two communities.

    It also stressed that the security of a federal Cyprus shall be insured by international safeguards.

    The Russian proposal for the demilitarisation does not envisage federal armed forces except for a coastguard corps and a police force for each component of the federation.

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

    CNA MM/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1000:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US does not blame EU for impasse in Cyprus

    Washington, May 7 (CNA) -- The US government has reiterated it only recognises one government in Cyprus and supports a bicommunal, bizonal federation on the island.

    State Department Spokesman Jim Foley also told his regular news briefing yesterday that the American government does not believe the European Union bears responsibility for the impasse in efforts to reach a settlement.

    Foley emphasized that "we only recognize, of course, the government of Cyprus in Nicosia, that is a fact, but it is also a fact that the two 'peoples' on the island are isolated from each other, alienated from each other."

    Asked if it is possible for the US to change its position with regard to the internationally recognised government of Cyprus, he said "the fact of the matter is that we recognise one government of Cyprus".

    Foley added that "it is also a fact though that not all the people of Cyprus see themselves reflected in that government."

    The State Department spokesman pointed out that the US is "trying to achieve a bizonal, bicommunal federation in which all the citizens in Cyprus, without exception, will feel at home as part of a single unified island."

    In two agreements reached in 1977 and 1979, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides decided on a bizonal, bicommunal federation. Since the EU decided to open accession talks with Cyprus in March, the Turkish side is refusing to return to the negotiating table unless the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus is recognised and the EU withholds Cyprus' application.

    Asked if the US government believes that the EU bears responsibility for the impasse in Cyprus because it did not include Turkey among countries with which it opened accession talks, Foley replied: "No we do not".

    "We believe that primary responsibility lies with the parties most directly involved. That said, we have never disguised our views concerning the importance of Turkey's relationship to the EU."

    He said, however, that the US is not an EU member and can therefore only offer "friendly advice, but we can't substitute our judgement for their.".

    Foley repeated the US view that "Turkey has a European vocation" and said "we've encouraged both Turkey and the EU to work constructively with each other."

    "We believe that a perspective on Turkey's involvement in Europe and economic integration in Europe is vital, given Turkey's strategic importance to NATO, to the US and our long-time friendly relations with Turkey," he added.

    At a press conference here Monday after three days of inconclusive talks to resume peace talks, the US Presidential Emissary said the EU is also to blame for the temporary impasse in Cyprus.

    Richard Holbrooke, who was appointed last year, said that the "imbalance" created by the EU by not inviting Turkey to open accession talks "has contributed so substantially to what I consider a temporary impasse, but a serious one."

    His statements prompted strong disagreement from the EU and member states.

    EU External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek, is reported to have said the Turkish Cypriot side and the preconditions set by its leader Rauf Denktash to participate in talks is to blame for the impasse.

    Denktash had told Holbrooke he would not engage in meaningful negotiations unless his illegal regime was recognised and Cyprus' EU application was withdrawn.

    The EU Commissioner said Denktash's preconditions cannot be accepted and pointed out that his stance reconfirms his intransigence.

    Foley reassured of continued US interest to facilitate a settlement in Cyprus, but underlined that it cannot impose a solution on Cyprus. "It cannot want a solution on Cyprus more than the two parties involved. That remains a fundamental fact. But we're willing to keep at it."

    Asked about Turkish threats against Cyprus if the government goes ahead with its decision to deploy the Russian-made S-300 defence missile system, Foley said the US "strongly advise all parties in the Eastern Aegean to avoid threats and hostile rhetoric, let alone actions which can disturb stability in that region and undermine efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement."

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1010:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] New Zealander expected to head UNFICYP

    Nicosia, May 7 (CNA) -- A former New Zealand minister, diplomat and parliamentarian is expected to be appointed as the next UN resident representative in Cyprus.

    Quoting UN sources, Reuters news agency said Dame Ann Hercus would succeed Gustave Feissel, 60, who has held the post since 1993.

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan needs the approval of both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots before announcing her appointment.

    Annan's decision is in line with his policy to increase the number of women in senior UN posts.

    Hercus served as Minister of Social Welfare, Minister of Police and Minister of Women's Affairs between 1984 and 1987 and New Zealand's UN Permanent Representative.

    If appointed she would be responsible for a 1,250-strong UN peacekeeping force that controls the 180-kilometre long buffer zone dividing Cyprus since Turkish troops invaded the island in 1974.

    Hercus, 56, would be taking over at a time when the UN and foreign governments are stepping up their efforts to reach a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded the island in 1974 and continue to occupy 37 per cent of the Republic's territory.

    UN troops have been stationed here since 1964, after clashes between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides and only four years after the island gained its independence from Britain.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1130:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Britain on EU-Cyprus relations

    Nicosia, May 7 (CNA) -- Britain, current president of the European Union, has warned that a worsening of the situation in Cyprus may trigger worse developments elsewhere.

    Britain believes that improved EU-Turkish relations would benefit Cyprus and said it is working "very hard" in this direction.

    The EU six-monthly rotating president also considers that the Turkish Cypriots have used the start of accession negotiations to press on with their demand for equality "outside the UN process."

    "We want to remove centres of instability and we hope that progress would reduce instability in this region," he said in a lecture given at the Cyprus College here last night.

    He said progress would also contribute towards a lasting improvement of difficult relations between Greece and Turkey.

    "We are actively pursuing a Cyprus settlement, the Cyprus problem has not been forgotten by the international community as there is always the danger of it getting worse or something worse happening, or triggering worse developments elsewhere," Madden warned.

    He pointed out that the right framework is "undoubtedly the UN Secretary-General's good offices mission", noting that individual countries can contribute to a solution as everybody has an interest.

    Commenting on Cyprus' EU course, Madden said the immediate effect of the start of accession talks on the peace effort has been "unfortunate" in the sense that the Turkish Cypriots have not shown any interest in joining the negotiating team.

    The Turkish Cypriots, he explained, "have used the issue to demonstrate that there needs to be a change in the UN process."

    This, he said, means that the Turkish Cypriots want to see "the equality seen in the two communities within the UN process should be brought into a general equality outside the UN process as well. We will just have to see how we are going to get out of that," he told his audience.

    Referring to ties with Turkey, Madden said it reacted to its exclusion from the enlargement strategy because "it was treated as a separate case, on its own."

    "The UK wants to see improved relations with Turkey and we are working very hard at this," the High Commissioner said.

    He expressed hope that the forthcoming EU-Turkey Association Council meeting on 25 May would be a success, whose "positive results would be reflected in the summit conclusions in Cardiff from 15-16 June. It is often a matter of building something, from document to document," he noted, and stressed that "improved Turkish-EU ties would be beneficial to Cyprus."

    Asked if he thought Cyprus would soon be a member of the EU, Madden said "it is important not to run too far ahead, the answer is we do not know, it is much easier to have a settlement followed by accession."

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

    CNA MM/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1140:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Greek Americans protest to Clinton over S-300

    Washington, May 7 (CNA) -- The American Hellenic Institute has protested to President Bill Clinton a statement by the White House Spokesman with which Mike McCurry criticised Cyprus for its decision to purchase an anti- aircraft missile system.

    In a letter to the US President, dated May 6, the Institute defends every country's right to self-defence under international law and the UN Charter.

    The Russian-made S-300s, expected to be deployed later this year, are defencive anti-aircraft missiles, it explains.

    The Institute says there is no offensive threat to anyone from the S- 300s, least of all Turkey, adding that for anyone to suggest otherwise is a deliberate misstatement of fact.

    The Republic of Cyprus, a country with a population of 600 thousand, has ordered the system not to invade any of its neigbours, but because it faces continuing aggression and belligerence from Turkey, it adds.

    It points out that Turkey has an "overwhelmingly larger population, maintains the area's largest land army and represents the largest defence expenditure in NATO as a percentage of its GDP."

    The Greek American organisation describes the US administration's position that the S-300 deal is "destabilising" as "a distortion of Orwellian proportions".

    "The Turkish forces and the Turkish attitude of belligerence represent the destabilising elements in Cyprus and the region," it underlines.

    It points out that "Cyprus is reacting to the threat of a vastly more powerful country by implementing a modest increase in its defencive capability."

    The Cyprus government has repeatedly stressed that it would be willing to re-examine the January 1997 order for the S-300 if there is substantial progress in efforts for a settlement or if the demilitarisation of the island is agreed upon.

    In its letter to Clinton, the American Hellenic Institute notes that with Richard Holbrooke's (the Presidential Emissary for Cyprus) mission, the US administration is engaging on a major initiative to solve the Cyprus problem.

    "As Mr. Holbrooke discovered during his visit to Cyprus from May 1-3 his mission faces deeply entrenched Turkish intransigence. The administration's continuing failure to recognise the underlying realities simply stiffens this intransigence," it adds.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash told Holbrooke he would not engage in meaningful negotiations unless the illegal entity in the Turkish- occupied areas of the island is recognised and Cyprus' application for European Union membership is withdrawn.

    The Institute stresses that if the US administration continues to refuse to recognise that Cyprus is the victim and Turkey the aggressor "there will be no progress on the Cyprus problem."

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1400:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Monitoring of social rights discussed in Cyprus

    Larnaca, May 7 (CNA) -- Labour and Social Insurance Minister, Andreas Moushouttas, today underlined that the Cyprus government "has ratified all the major instruments of the Council of Europe which protect human rights and fundamental freedoms."

    Moushouttas was addressing a three-day meeting of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE), that got underway today in the southern coastal town of Larnaca.

    Stressing that Cyprus greatly values the CoE work in the domain of standard setting, he referred to the relevant conventions, charters and protocols that it has ratified.

    "The philosophy of the Government of Cyprus has always been that good social and labour standards are an important factor of economic development, " he said.

    Moushouttas added that the "guarantee of these rights and their implementation in practice is of utmost importance, particularly in the context of a globalised economy."

    He underlined that in formulating its policies and programmes Cyprus "takes seriously into account the recommendations, resolutions and opinions of the Parliamentary Assembly."

    The minister said that in the field of social protection "Cyprus compares very well with other European states" and said the government gives emphasis on dialogue and consensus with its social partners and the voluntary sector.

    He cited as an example the fact that the working class accepted "painful measures" taken by the government in the wake of the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, in order to save social institutions.

    About 42 MPs from 39 out of 40 CoE member-states are participating in the meeting, that will deal with issues such as the monitoring of commitments as regards social rights.

    Acting chairperson of the meeting, Lara Margaret Ragnarsdottir, told the press that the name of the committee reflects its work.

    She said they are now campaigning for the ratification of the Social Charter by all CoE member-states in the next couple of years, because "fifty per cent of the countries have not ratified it."

    During their stay the MPs will meet with the Cyprus House of Representatives standing committee on labour and Social Insurance, will visit Nicosia and meet the divided capital's mayor Lellos Demetriades.

    Cyprus House representative to the meeting MP Doros Christodoulides said the MPs will have the opportunity to meet the people of Cyprus and visit areas affected by the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    CNA MAN/MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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