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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-06-11

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Finnish envoy: Cyprus solution, EU accession "affect each other"
  • [02] Cyprus hails Russian statement on current impasse
  • [03] Canada supports Cyprus' demilitarisation
  • [04] Cyprus to host meeting of Med news agencies
  • [05] Defence Minister briefs European Socialists on Cyprus
  • [06] Famagusta and Greek Salamis to be twinned
  • [07] Britain reaffirms position on EU applicants
  • [08] UN chief recommends extension of UNFICYP mandate

  • 1545:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Finnish envoy: Cyprus solution, EU accession "affect each other"

    Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Finland supports UN efforts in reaching a peaceful Cyprus solution and the island's course for European Union accession, a Finnish official said here Thursday.

    He added however that the two courses "affect each other", but noted that a solution under UN aegis would facilitate the accession of Cyprus.

    He also expressed the hope that UN-led Cyprus peace talks will soon be resumed and the Turkish Cypriot community will finally be represented in the accession negotiations, Cyprus started in March with the EU.

    Jaakko Blomberg, Special Representative of Finland for Cyprus was this morning received by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, Blomberg said his visit here aimed at preparing for the Finnish EU six-month rotating presidency, starting on July 1, 1999.

    "For Finland the question of Cyprus has of course two basic meanings," he said.

    These, he explained, are the UN framework for a peaceful Cyprus settlement and the EU context for Cyprus' accession process, both of which Finland is supporting.

    Asked to comment on how these two frameworks work together, he said "they are important by themselves."

    He clarified that the EU is working on the assumption that the accession of Cyprus could facilitate the settlement of the question between the two communities.

    "Therefore the Union has expressed the determination to assist both communities to be represented in the accession negotiations.

    For that to happen the UN process should also be effectively restarted. So they are both, we believe, supporting each other but there isn't any mechanical connection," he noted.

    The Finnish envoy on Cyprus was asked whether his country considers the solution of the political problem as a precondition for the accession of Cyprus to the EU.

    "We certainly hope that there is a settlement and of course irrespective of the accession negotiations. The early settlement would of course make the Union accession negotiations so much less complicated," he said.

    He added that if a settlement is not reached before the accession, the EU "will then have to decide its position with the view to the accession of Cyprus."

    When a journalist pointed out that this means there is a link between the two courses, Blomberg said:

    "Of course they affect each other. Of course there is no position of the Union other than what I said. The settlement of the question under the UN aegis would facilitate the accession of Cyprus."

    Blomberg said EU enlargement is of "major importance" for his country, which is "very keen to follow closely and assist the process of the six countries that are approaching the negotiations."

    He said his present mission "is to listen and learn from the parties their assessment of the current situation."

    Asked whether the Cyprus government proposal for Turkish Cypriot participation in the Republic's negotiating team is satisfactory, he expressed hope this "will lead to the participation of the Turkish community" in the accession talks.

    He said the implementation of a proposal by President Clerides for the island's complete demilitarisation "will be a constructive part of a settlement, but realistically speaking only as a part of a settlement and not before."

    The Finnish envoy, who will leave Cyprus this afternoon, later on crossed to the Turkish-occupied areas of the island for a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    CNA MK/AP/MCH/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1755:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Cyprus hails Russian statement on current impasse

    Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Cyprus welcomed today a statement by a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman saying that the unacceptable status quo on the island is the cause of deadlock in the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides described the Russian statement as a "correct position", a view that President Glafcos Clerides had also expressed last night.

    Responding to reports in the foreign press against the deployment of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed the defensive nature of the system and pointed out:

    "We are convinced that the reason for the deadlock in efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem is not the contract for the S-300 but the maintenance of the unacceptable status quo on the island."

    "The Republic of Cyprus has the undeniable sovereign right to have the exclusive responsibility for its own defences, since it is a victim of international law violations due to the Turkish invasion and occupation of a part of its territory," he stressed.

    Stylianides said the statement "reaffirms the solid position of the Cyprus government that the issue of its defence is an exclusive right of the Republic of Cyprus, something it exercises on a daily basis because of the maintenance of the unacceptable status quo."

    The Russian spokesman had said Cyprus "has the undeniable right to defend itself in case of attack and the sovereign right to decide on how to organise its defences."

    Stylianides reiterated that the government will only cancel the deployment of the Russian-made S-300 defensive system if considerable progress was reached towards a comprehensive Cyprus settlement or an agreement for the island's demilitarisation.

    "These two alternatives are before the international community which can promote them in case it wants to," he said.

    He also said the government "does not accept any blackmail from Rauf Denktash", commenting on the Turkish Cypriot leader's theats yesterday.

    Denktash repeated Wednesday his provocations of a final halt to bicommunal talks if the defensive system is delivered.

    "We will announce that the Cyprus problem is closed and invite Turkey to fully establish itself in the northern part of the island," Denktash told journalists in Constantinople.

    Stylianides was adamant that the Cyprus government will exercise its foreign policy for the benefit of all Cypriots and reiterated that Denktash's threats "will in no way affect the Cyprus Republic's sovereign rights."

    Meanwhile, Russia today called on all those who try to present the Cyprus problem as an S-300 issue to turn their attention to the decades of illegal presence of foreign troops on the island.

    Vladimir Rahmanin, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry told "NOVOSTI" news agency if the current status quo in Cyprus is changed it would cause the prerequisites for the island's demilitarisation, thus making the deployment of the missiles later this year "unnecessary".

    He said efforts towards cancelling the deal aim at exerting pressure on the Cyprus government and described them as an "open attempt" to exercise economic and political blackmail both to Cyprus and Russia.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since their 1974 invasion, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal. CNA MM/CG/AP/MCH/1998

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1815:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Canada supports Cyprus' demilitarisation

    Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy described today President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of Cyprus as a "major step forward".

    Speaking after a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, Axworthy also expressed Canada's desire to "lend whatever support we can to find a solution to issues that provide serious stalemate over the past few years."

    He pointed out, however, that Canada does not have "a specific role as a broker or any particular initiative."

    "We are here to underline the importance of finding a way of engaging in a dialogue and developing a serious examination of the issues," the Canadian Minister said.

    Making special note of good relations between the two countries he pointed to the long-standing history of Canada in the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and to the "very active Cypriot community in Canada."

    Asked to comment on President Clerides' proposal for the island's demilitarisation, Axworthy said:

    "Certainly I think that would be a major step forward to demilitarise and download the confrontation areas."

    He said he also discussed the issue during a meeting in the Turkish- occupied part of the island with Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash.

    "There has to be a form of guarantee of security because of the past history which perhaps the international community can provide," he added.

    Axworthy stressed the importance of Cyprus as a stable entity "not just in the region but also internationally."

    He added that through his role as a member of the G8 Foreign Ministers "it is also something (the Cyprus problem) we will be having the opportunity to discuss."

    For this reason, he explained, he wanted to be "fully briefed and fully understand exactly what the circumstances are."

    On his part, Kasoulides described the meeting as "productive and interesting" and expressed appreciation for the Canadian Minister's interest in Cyprus, its problem and efforts towards its resolution.

    He also noted Canada's contribution in UNFICYP.

    Asked whether the construction of a nuclear plant in Turkey's southern coast was raised, Kasoulides answered positively.

    A Canadian company has made a bid for the sell of a nuclear plant in the earthquake-prone area of Akkuyu, which is only 125 kilometres from the capital Nicosia.

    He stressed that the issue is of great importance to Cyprus, both for environmental reasons and in relation to the spread of nuclear armaments.

    The Canadian Foreign Minister, who arrived here late last night, left the island earlier this afternoon.

    CNA GG/MCH/AP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1830:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus to host meeting of Med news agencies

    Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Cyprus will play host to the seventh General Assembly of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN) between 15- 18 June 1998.

    The General Assembly to be held in Limassol, is organised by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), which will assume AMAN's presidency.

    The meeting will be attended by 35 representatives of the national news agencies of Mediterranean countries.

    AMAN was set up during a meeting in Tunis in 1991 and the adoption of a Declaration founding the Alliance. CNA became a full member in 1993.

    The Alliance has today 17 member-agencies, namely AFP (France), ANSA (Italy), EFE (Spain), ANA (Greece), LUSA (Portugal), CNA (Cyprus), AA (Turkey), ATA (Albania), MENA (Egypt), SANA (Syria), TAP (Tunisia), MAP (Morocco), APS (Algeria), NNA (Lebanon), JANA (Libya), AMI (Mauritania), and WAFA (Palestine).

    There are also two news agencies, which have observer status. They are the Inter Press Service (IPS) and the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA).

    The opening ceremony of the General Assembly will take place on Monday (June 15) at the "Amathus Beach Hotel" in Limassol.

    It will be addressed by Cyprus' Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, CNA Board Chairman Anthos Lykavgis and outgoing AMAN President, Mahfuz Al- Ansari, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of MENA.

    The meeting will mainly deal with matters of cooperation among the member-agencies, the use of modern technology and training.

    During their stay, the foreign delegates will visit various archaeological sites in the districts of Limassol and Paphos and visit the capital Nicosia. CNA/GP/1998

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1835:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Defence Minister briefs European Socialists on Cyprus

    Brussels, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou today briefed here a European Socialists' Party meeting on Turkish intransigence in efforts to solve the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Omirou, who is also first Deputy President of government coalition EDEK Socialist Party, told his European counterparts Turkey's intransigence and that of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash were to blame for the failure of a recent initiative by US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke.

    Denktash said he would not attend further UN-led peace talks unless his illegal regime, unilaterally declared in November 1983 in the Turkish- occupied areas of Cyprus is recognised and the Cyprus government freezes the accession talks it has started with the European Union in March.

    The Defence Minister described these conditions as a "most audacious provocation" to Cyprus the EU and the international community.

    Omirou called on the European Socialists, most of them members of their governments, not to yield to Turkish blackmail.

    He also denounced Turkey for increasing its armaments in the occupied areas of Cyprus, noting that its tanks and cannons are set in an offensive order.

    The Defence Minister referred to President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation, adding that Cyprus desires to become a bridge of stability, peace and cooperation between a united Europe and the region.

    On the sidelines of the meeting Omirou met with his Greek counterpart, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and the leader of the European Socialists' Party in the European Parliament, British Euro-MP Pauline Green.

    CNA NB/AP/MCH/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1930:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Famagusta and Greek Salamis to be twinned

    Nicosia, June 11 (CNA) -- The Turkish-occupied city of Famagusta and the Greek island of Salamis will be twinned in a special ceremony to be held on the Greek island.

    A delegation, headed by Famagusta Mayor, Andreas Pougiouros flies to Greece tomorrow for this purpose.

    Great historical ties exist between Famagusta and the Greek island of Salamis.

    An ancient city bearing the name of the Greek island, built in the Famagusta district, was one of the most important city-kingdoms in Cyprus.

    It was built by the ancient Trojan hero Tefkros who named it after his homeland Salamis an island in the Saronic gulf near Pireues, Greece.

    During his visit to the island the Mayor of Famagusta will give a press conference where he will speak about the occupied city of Famagusta and explain the situation of the Cyprus problem.

    CNA DP/MCH/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2040:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Britain reaffirms position on EU applicants

    London, Jun 11 (CNA) -- British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, reaffirmed today that all applicants for European Union membership should abide by the same rules, pointing out however that no countries should be discriminated against.

    Speaking to European correspondents on the Cardiff EU summit next week, the British Premier was asked about his country's position in relation to the case of Turkey, whose application was withheld. He said "the position has been the same all the way through, which is that we should not change the rules for any country that is an applicant for the EU."

    He added, however, that "we shouldn't discriminate against people either. The same rules that apply to one country applies to everybody and if we keep it like that it will be fine".

    Replying to questions on Ankara's relations with the EU the sources said that there will be some discussion on Turkey.

    Ankara had made clear that it was disappointed with the decision taken in the Luxembourg European Council held in December 1997, the sources said and added:

    "The EU has made efforts to redefine the relations with Turkey. It has prepared a document on a new strategy on those relations. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook went to Ankara on behalf of the British presidency and the result of that visit was that Ankara has recognised the efforts made by the EU."

    Asked why applicant countries have not been invited to the Cardiff meeting, the sources said that this is not a rule.

    "One should take into account that the British presidency had a meeting with the applicant countries last March and is also planning a special meeting in Brussels on June 29 at Foreign Ministers' level," the same sources added.

    CNA KT/MCH/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2105:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] UN chief recommends extension of UNFICYP mandate

    Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today recommended to the Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further period of six months, until December 31, 1998.

    In his report on the UN operation in Cyprus, released today, the UN Chief noted "the presence of UNFICYP on the island remains indispensable to maintain the cease-fire between the two sides, which is a prerequisite for achieving the settlement of the Cyprus question, sought by the international community."

    Furthermore, Annan said he will report to the Security Council separately on his Mission of Good Offices.

    The report, which covers developments on the island from December 8, 1997, to June 8, 1998, noted that both sides continued major military construction works, especially in the area of the capital, Nicosia.

    "Such military construction tends to increase tension along the cease- fire lines" he remarked, noting that despite strong protests by UNFICYP these are continued.

    The UN chief referred to the number of overflights in Cyprus by Turkish aircraft and an incident when a Cyprus Police helicopter landed at the Athienou UN-controlled buffer zone, despite UNFICYP's denial of its request to enter.

    "Both sides continued to upgrade their military capabilities. It is estimated that there are over 30.000 Turkish Forces and some 4.500 Turkish Cypriot troops on the island. The Turkish Forces continued to modernize their equipment by replacing M48A5T1 tanks with M48A5T2 tanks," the report said.

    At the same time it added "the National Guard's strength is approximately 14,500."

    "During the period under review, the government of the Republic of Cyprus reconfirmed its plan to deploy S-300 surface-to-air missiles, unless there was progress in negotiations towards an overall settlement or towards the demilitarization of the island," he added.

    He also noted that the military airbase in Paphos has been declared operational, although it has not yet come into use.

    The UN Chief pointed out that no agreement has been reached on an UNFICYP package of measures to reduce tension along the cease-fire line.

    Annan said there were numerous instances of property being removed from buildings in the fenced area of Varosha by Turkish personnel, which UNFICYP protested to the Turkish Forces.

    "UNFICYP's freedom of movement in the northern part of the island continued to be restricted and the force remained subject to stricter limitations than those imposed on tourists and foreign diplomats," the report said.

    The UN Secretary General referred to the decision by the Turkish Cypriot regime to suspend bicommunal contacts after the European Union decided that Cyprus would start accession negotiations with the EU.

    He also referred to the apprehensions of several Greek Cypriots and Greek civilians by the Turkish forces, when they crossed the buffer zone and the efforts by UNFICYP to secure their release.

    The report gave details of the visits by Greek and Turkish Cypriots to the occupied and free areas respectively, but noted that the pilgrimage at the Apostolos Andreas Monastery, in April, was cancelled due to new measures by the Turkish Cypriots.

    It also said an expanded and automated telephone connection between the two sides was inaugurated on May 4 at the Ledra Palace Hotel.

    Annan' s report included the new regulations and fees for entry to and exit from the occupied areas, imposed by the Turkish Cypriot side in mid- February, which resulted in significantly reducing the number of Greek Cypriots and Maronites visiting their enclaved relatives in the north.

    The report said "there are now 460 Greek Cypriots in the Karpass area, 2 in Kyrenia and 173 Maronites on the Kormakiti area. Some 340 Turkish Cypriots on the southern part of the island have made themselves known to UNFICYP."

    He also referred to the agreement between the leaders of the two communities in July 1997 regarding the exchange of information about the location of graves of Greek and Turkish Cypriot missing persons.

    He noted that the T/C representative stated on April 30 that he was not prepared to discuss the necessary arrangements leading to the exhumation and return of the remains of the missing.

    He also announced in his report that he is appointing Jean-Pierre Ritter as the new Third Member of the Committee on Missing persons for an 18-month period and urged both sides to fully cooperate with him.

    In regard to UNFICYP's personnel Annan said that "as of 30 April 1998, UNFICYP comprised 1,226 troops and 34 civilian police".

    The UN Chief said Diego Cordovez remained his special advisor in Cyprus, while Ann Hercus will replaced his Deputy Special Representative in Cyprus Gustave Feissel, who will relinquish his post on 30 June 1998.

    In his observations the UN Secretary-General urges "both sides and in particular the Turkish Cypriot side, to facilitate arrangements within which the bicommunal contacts can take place uninterrupted and without formalities."

    CNA AP/MCH/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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