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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-06-19

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] UN chief welcomes Holbrooke's appointment
  • [02] UN holds Turkey responsible
  • [03] US says Greek, Turkish Air Force activity not promoting peace
  • [04] US urges Cyprus parties for diplomatic action
  • [05] Holbrooke: Hard to see progress in immediate future
  • [06] Militarisation doesn't help anyone, says US ambassador
  • [07] US to help Cyprus overcome water shortage problem

  • 1020:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] UN chief welcomes Holbrooke's appointment

    United Nations, Jun 19 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said that he looks forward to welcoming Richard Holbrooke to the international organisation.

    Speaking yesterday after Holbrooke was appointed Ambassador to the UN by President Bill Clinton, Annan said Holbrooke is "a good personal friend and an experienced and dynamic diplomat".

    Annan added that he can "almost call him an old colleague", as they had worked "a lot on Bosnia, on Cyprus and more recently on Kosovo".

    The UN chief also said that he looks forward "to working with him on other issues".

    Holbrooke was President Clinton's emissary for Cyprus.

    CNA JD/RG/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1030:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] UN holds Turkey responsible

    United Nations, Jun 19 (CNA) -- The United Nations confirmed yesterday that there is no change in its position of holding the Turkish government responsible for "violations" committed by its armed forces in the fenced area of Varosha (Famagusta).

    The question of whether Turkey was still being held "accountable" for the misbehaviour of its troops became an issue when the Secretary-General's six-monthly report on UN peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, issued last week, failed to include customary reference to the responsibility of the Turkish government for preventing looting by its troops in the area.

    But the Secretary-General's spokesman confirmed to CNA yesterday that "there has been no change in our position", adding that "we saw no reason to include mention of the Turkish government" in the section on Varosha, "but we still hold the Turkish government responsible".

    The Cyprus government made strong representations to the United Nations over the omission.

    As did previous reports, the current report of the Secretary-General notes that "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".

    However, the current report omitted a phrase found in previous reports, namely that the "UN holds the government of Turkey responsible for maintenance of the status quo in the fenced area of Varosha".

    Varosha is a part of the greater seacoast city of Famagusta which was extensively looted by Turkish troops in the 1974 invasion.

    As early as 1979, a ten-point agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides made the resettlement of Varosha under UN auspices a priority and first step towards reaching a settlement.

    UN Security Council resolution 550 adopted in 1984 "considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations."

    CNA JD/RG/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1100:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] US says Greek, Turkish Air Force activity not promoting peace

    Washington, Jun 19 (CNA) -- The US believes that recent activity by Greek and Turkish warplanes in Cyprus is an activity that does not help promote peace, State Department spokesman James Rubin has said.

    He also pointed out that the US had made it clear to both countries that the situation is assisted by this type of activities and urged them to put an end to such actions.

    "The view of the US is that recent activity by both Turkish aircraft and Greek aircraft is the kind of activity that we do not think it helps promote peace," Rubin told the State Department regular briefing Thursday.

    Rubin added that "we have made it clear to both countries that the situation is not assisted by this kind of activities."

    He said both actions by the Greeks and the Turks "have unnecessarily raised tensions on Cyprus and in the region."

    "They also undermine international efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, " the State Department official said and urged Greece and Turkey "to cease such actions."

    Asked about yesterday's nomination of Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, as US Ambassador to the UN, Rubin said "no decision has been made on who to replace the role."

    "But resolving the Cyprus dispute is high on the priority list for the administration," he said.

    He said Holbrooke will take the opportunity of his private visit to Athens on Monday to meet Greek officials.

    The Greek government announced yesterday that Holbrooke and Thomas Miller, State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, will during their informal visit in Athens Monday meet with the Foreign Ministry political leadership.

    The same day Holbrooke will give the commencement address at the Athens- based American College.

    Rubin said Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, had a meeting with Holbrooke in New York on Wednesday and mostly discussed the situation in Kossovo, but assured that the US will continue to look at him for special expertise and advice on Cyprus.

    Six Turkish F-16 fighters violated the Republic's airspace Thursday and then landed at the illegal Lefkoniko airport in the Turkish-occupied areas.

    Turkish officials said the violations came in retaliation for the landing of Greek warplanes at the military base "Andreas Papandreou" in Paphos, earlier this week.

    The Cyprus government condemned the new provocative violations of Cyprus airspace by Turkish military aircraft and pointed to the relevance of President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the island's demilitarisation.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1105:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] US urges Cyprus parties for diplomatic action

    Washington, Jun 19 (CNA) -- The US believes the appropriate move in Cyprus at this stage is a diplomatic response and not a military one, a spokesman for the Pentagon has said.

    He also said the deployment of armed F-16s in Cyprus by Greece and Turkey is destabilising to the area and an indication of how tensions can mount because of military deployments.

    Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon was Thursday replying to questions during the Defence Department regular briefing.

    Asked whether the US has taken any action, diplomatic, military, or otherwise in response to the recent deployment of armed F-16s by Greece and Turkey, Bacon said:

    "I don't believe we have taken any action whatsoever. We think it is destabilising to the area. It is not necessary, we believe, and it's an indication of how tensions can mount because of military deployments onto that island."

    He refrained to comment whether the US Eisenhower carrier is on an accelerated deployment to the Mediterranean.

    "I don't anticipate that we're going to have a US military response to what's happening in Cyprus at this stage," Bacon said and went on to explain:

    "I think the appropriate response is a diplomatic response and the appropriate goal is to try to get people to take actions to reduce tensions, not increase them."

    He said however the Eisenhower carrier is not in the Mediterranean but will get in on Saturday and be closer to the Adriatic sea and available for any needs she has to meet.

    Asked whether Defence Secretary William Cohen will speak to the Greek or Turkish defence ministries about the mounted tension, the Pentagon spokesman said he was not aware of that.

    He pointed out that the US position on the issue was "very clear" since President Bill Clinton had appointed his emissary, Richard Holbrooke, to try and negotiate a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem.

    "We have assigned a special envoy to try to negotiate a resolution to the Cyprus issue," he said.

    He pointed out, however, that Holbrooke has just been named Ambassador to the UN, "so presumably he will stop doing this and somebody else will take over."

    Noting that he didn't know if the issue has been sorted out, Bacon said Holbrooke will remain interested in the topic.

    The Pentagon spokesman reiterated that the US is against destabilising deployments in the Aegean and particularly on Cyprus.

    "I think Secretary Cohen had discussed this already with both the Greek and the Turkish Defence Ministers, when he visited those two countries a couple of months ago," he noted.

    The Pentagon spokesman said he was not aware of any movement on the delivery of Russian-made defencive missile system S-300 to Cyprus, scheduled to be deployed later this year.

    Six Turkish F-16 fighters violated the Republic's airspace Thursday and then landed at the illegal Lefkoniko airport in the Turkish-occupied areas.

    Turkish officials said the violations came in retaliation for the landing of Greek warplanes at the military base "Andreas Papandreou" in Paphos, earlier this week.

    The Cyprus government condemned the new provocative violations of Cyprus airspace by Turkish military aircraft and pointed to the relevance of President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the island's demilitarisation.

    In a written statement Thursday the government said "is taking the necessary diplomatic action," on the issue and "is calmly monitoring Turkish attempts to create artificial tension."

    The governments of Cyprus and Greece agreed to adopt a joint defence pact, in November 1993, providing that Greece will go to Cyprus' aid in case of a new Turkish attack. Within this framework, Greek warplanes will be using the newly constructed airbase.

    Turkish fighters have repeatedly violated Cyprus' air space and the Nicosia FIR (Flight Information Region) over the past 24 years, since Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third in 1974.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1150:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Holbrooke: Hard to see progress in immediate future

    Washington, Jun 19 (CNA) -- The situation in Cyprus is not progressing very positively at this stage, US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke has said.

    He also assured that despite his nomination yesterday as US Permanent Representative to the UN, the administration will continue its efforts for a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The US negotiator, who brokered the Dayton accords on Bosnia, was speaking Thursday at a National Press Club luncheon.

    Holbrooke was asked to give a status report about what is happening in Cyprus and whether he will continue his function as Cyprus envoy. "The situation in Cyprus is not progressing very positively right now," he said.

    He referred to his two trips to the island in the last three months, noting he had made it clear that there was "a dramatic change in the position of the Turkish side."

    He explained that the Turkish side has "now changed to conditions precedent the very issues which had previously been under negotiations, by demanding that before any negotiations resumed, the northern Cyprus be recognised as a sovereign country," noting that the US, the EU and the UN "can't do that."

    Secondly, he added, the Turkish side demands that "Cyprus withdraw its application to the European Union, and that also won't happen," he said.

    "So, under these circumstances, it's hard to see progress in the immediate future towards the stated American, UN, European goal of a bizonal, bicommunal federation on Cyprus," he noted.

    Holbrooke, however said "nonetheless, we will still continue to work on it. We have a high commitment to try to reduce tensions and to do everything we can do to resolve the problem."

    Meanwhile, White House spokesman, Mike Mccurry, told the press Thursday Holbrooke has done a "significant" work on Cyprus and tried to bring the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides together.

    "This is something hat we will want to build on in coming months," he said, noting that "we have not found the formula yet to move forward in these negotiations."

    Mccurry said Holbrooke will take the opportunity of his Monday speech at the Athens-based American College "to say some things that will reflect upon the work he did on the Cyprus issue, as he begins to think about transferring the portfolio to someone else."

    Commenting on the recent deployment of Greek and Turkish warplanes in Cyprus, the White House spokesman said "we have, as we always do, encouraged both government to limit the tensions and limit actions that the other side will see as provocations."

    He expressed the belief that these two NATO allies will finally work together to this direction.

    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 DA/AP/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1235:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Militarisation doesn't help anyone, says US ambassador

    Nicosia, Jun 19 (CNA) -- "Militarisation" of the Cyprus issue doesn't help anybody so everyone has to focus on negotiations and the political process to resolve the problem, US ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill said here Friday.

    He also reiterated the US view that Greek and Turkish military activities in Cyprus are unhelpful.

    Brill was commenting on yesterday's violations of Cyprus' airspace by six Turkish F-16 fighters, which then landed at the illegal Lefkoniko airport in the Turkish-occupied areas.

    He cited a comment by Washington earlier this week that "it is very unhelpful for these kind of activities to take place."

    "Cyprus is a political issue and everything done to militarize it whether is visits in Paphos or visits in the north by military aircraft we do not think is helpful," Brill added.

    The US ambassador pointed out "we need to keep the focus on the Cyprus issue on negotiations and the political process. Militarisation of the problem doesn't help anybody."

    Brill refrained from commenting whether there is difference between the arrival of Greek warplanes at the invitation of the government of Cyprus and the violation of the airspace of Cyprus by the Turkish Air Force.

    "I am not going to get into theology today is Friday not Sunday," he remarked, noting that the US "had consistently urged both sides to do things politically and not militarily."

    He expressed the view that these have undermined the efforts of those who are trying to promote a political process.

    "They raised tensions in the area needlessly and we think that is very bad and we would like to see it stopped," he said.

    Turkish officials said the violations came in retaliation for the landing of Greek warplanes at the military base "Andreas Papandreou" in Paphos, earlier this week.

    The Cyprus government condemned the new provocative violations of Cyprus airspace by Turkish military aircraft and pointed to the relevance of President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the island's demilitarisation.

    Replying to questions the US ambassador said "we think that this should be a summer of peace, of blue skies, warm sun, and beaches full of tourists. That's what we like to see in Cyprus this summer."

    He said he did not have any information about any further armament of the Turkish occupation forces and that he was not aware whether the US carrier Eisenhower would sail in the area.

    Brill used the Greek expression "den xero" (I don't know) when asked to comment on the replacement of US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, who was nominated yesterday as his country's ambassador to the UN.

    CNA KN/AP/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1330:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] US to help Cyprus overcome water shortage problem

    Nicosia, Jun 19 (CNA) -- The US is looking into ways of contributing towards solving the acute water shortage Cyprus is experiencing due to the prolonged drought, US ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, said here Friday.

    Brill had a meeting today with Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Costas Themistocleous and discussed water-related issues.

    He said the US is cooperating with senior officials of the ministry and the minister himself "in exploring some areas where our expertise and our experience in the water issues in the US can contribute to the situation here and the government's efforts to deal with the water situation in Cyprus."

    He said that they had a good discussion about some areas on which the two countries are cooperating, noting "we hope to do some more work together."

    On his part, Themistocleous said their meeting aimed at discussing ways on how to take advantage of US expertise on the best handling of water resources.

    The US ambassador was also asked to comment on claims by the international environmental organisation Greenpeace that Israel-based US- owned Haifa Chemicals, is dumping toxic sludge into international waters off Haifa.

    He said he had only seen the press reports this morning about a ship from Israel that was photographed by Greenpeace "doing some things", noting he knew nothing on the issue.

    "I don't know who is behind that ship or who owns it, but obviously the US government would not be supportive of any pollution in the Mediterranean, " Brill assured.

    The Cypriot minister said he would be briefed by the ministry's experts on the issue.

    "What we are investigating is whether there are any effects on Cyprus" from the nearby toxic sludge dumping, Themistocleous said, but stressed that "assurances so far indicate that no such effects exist."

    Greenpeace announced yesterday that an Israeli ship was intercepted earlier this week while it was dumping toxic sludge into international waters off Haifa.

    A Greenpeace spokesman said they photographed and filmed the procedure to "show to the world how reckless the US-owned Haifa Chemicals is when it comes to the Mediterranean Sea."

    CNA KN/AP/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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