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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-06-20

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Annan makes new appeal to cool tension
  • [02] EU Middle East envoy outlines views on Cyprus, ME
  • [03] President calls for intiative on security matters

  • 0955:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Annan makes new appeal to cool tension

    Nicosia, Jun 20 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has appealed once again to the parties in Cyprus to avoid increased tension after the visits of Greek and Turkish warplanes.

    A UN spokesman read a statement by Annan which said "in recent days, there have been signs of increased military activity in Cyprus and in the region."

    "The Secretary-General reiterates the appeal he made in his good offices report of June 16 and trusts that all parties involved will abstain from any action which could add to the tension", the statement added.

    Earlier this week, in his report, Annan urged the parties to "abstain from any action which could further exacerbate tension".

    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 to the landing of Greek warplanes at the military airbase "Andreas Papandreou" in Paphos earlier this week.

    Cyprus has been divided by Turkey since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    CNA EC/MM/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1200:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] EU Middle East envoy outlines views on Cyprus, ME

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Jun 20 (CNA) -- The European Union Special Envoy to the Middle East peace process has called for action to move the process out of its present impasse and stressed the need for more active EU involvement in the peace effort.

    He advocated the convening of an international conference on the stalled Middle East talks, if there is no movement towards progress in the next month.

    In an interview with CNA, Miguel Angel Moratinos, who is based in Cyprus, also pointed out that the Middle East issue and the Cyprus question, though "two different problems", have certain "common denominators".

    He disclosed that he settled here "with a view to getting the Cyprus government involved in my work and to show the role Cyprus can play for the EU."

    Moratinos underlined the importance of confidence building measures, the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and two-track diplomacy in peace efforts in these two regional problems, a tool he believes will be applied again in future negotiations in the Middle East process.

    Furthermore, he said lack of trust is the greatest obstacle in making headway with the ME peace effort and added that there is "interaction of conflict", noting that progress towards peace in any regional dispute would inadvertently affect other problems.

    "The Cyprus question and the Middle East issue are two different problems but there are certain common denominators," he told CNA, and referred to the need to see UN resolutions implemented and have confidence building measures promoted in both disputes.

    Invited to give Cyprus some advice, Moratinos called on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to engage in "political dialogue with a view to creating confidence and exchange experiences together in order to solve the problem."

    Moratinos also said people "should look to the future but always respecting principles and UN resolutions."

    The Turkish Cypriot side refuses to return to the negotiating table unless its self-styled regime in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus is recognised by the international community and Cyprus withdraws its application for accession to the EU.

    In a word of warning to both sides, Moratinos said any compromise, whether in the Middle East or Cyprus, should be "fair and just and should aim at bringing lasting peace and consolidate any agreement reached."

    Referring to his decision to reside in Cyprus, the former Spanish Ambassador to Israel thanked the government for the assistance they afforded him over the past twelve months and explained "I settled here with a view to announce the role of Cyprus in the EU, to show that Cyprus is going to have an EU presence here through me."

    The Republic's good relations with Israel and the Arab countries render the island a "good platform for my work", he noted.

    "The second reason I settled here is to get President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides involved in my work," he added.

    Replying to questions, he said he has already discussed with the government "certain initiatives" including meetings or seminars Cyprus can host to promote trust between the Israelis and the Arabs.

    "Here we are talking stability, security and prosperity for the Eastern Mediterranean and there is in all sense interaction of conflicts, as regional disputes are related," he said, noting that progress in one would create a "better atmosphere" for the rest.

    Assessing the present situation in the Middle East peace process, Moratinos said "we are at a turning point and the current impasse cannot continue for ever".

    "We have to put the process back on track and the sooner the better," he stressed, noting that the US proposal for a second Israeli redeployment from the West Bank providing for the return to the Palestinians of 13 per cent of land is "a fair compromise."

    Outlining the reasons of the current impasse, Moratinos said "the main problem is lack of trust" and noted this is an area where the EU could serve a very useful purpose.

    He strongly backed the idea of convening a conference on the peace process "if nothing moves in the next month because such a meeting would create a new political momentum similar to the momentum the Oslo agreement and the Madrid conference created."

    Asked why the EU has failed to persuade the Israeli government to accept the US proposal, he pointed out that "peace does not come only in maps or diplomatic documents but in the hearts and minds of people."

    Commenting on the importance of confidentiality in dealing with complex issues, the EU envoy said it is a necessary tool to "break the ice".

    "We will probably use this again when we are going to start definitive negotiations to sort out the problems of Jerusalem, settlements and border problems," he told CNA.

    "In all difficult negotiations, you have to have this type of double negotiations, you need public diplomacy but also discreet diplomacy," he said.

    Referring to the EU role in the Middle East peace effort, Moratinos said "the EU cannot be the payers only, they must also be the players".

    He urged the Union to "believe in its own capacity and potential" to play a more active role in establishing an agenda and sharing responsibilities.

    "What happens in this region affects the EU and its interests and we are going to see the EU changing gradually and steadily as interest in the peace process is increasing," he added.

    He said five years ago, it was impossible for the EU to contemplate the appointment of an envoy to the Middle East.

    CNA MM/EC/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1420:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] President calls for intiative on security matters

    Nicosia, Jun 20 CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides has urged UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan to intervene personally to achieve progress in reducing military tensions.

    The President has also reiterated his commitment to review the import of new weapons to Cyprus provided there is progress towards eventual demilitarisation of the island.

    In a letter to Annan, the President asked the UN chief to "undertake a personal initiative" in line with a UN resolution with encourages the Secretary-General to continue to promote efforts to achieve progress in reducing military tensions.

    Security Council resolution 1146 of 1997 calls upon all concerned to commit themselves to a reduction in defence spending and a reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus to help restore confidence between the parties.

    This is described as a "first step towards the withdrawal of non- Cypriot forces...stresses the importance of eventual demilitarisation of the Republic of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement."

    The President's appeal comes at the end of a week which witnessed Turkish attempts to create tension in Cyprus, with the illegal dispatch of six fighters to the Turkish occupied north of the island, in retaliation to the legal arrival earlier this week of four Greek fighters.

    Clerides said the resolution "offers a sufficient framework for a comprehensive discussion aimed at a package agreement on all fundamental aspects of the security situation in Cyprus, both of a short term as well as a long-term nature."

    The President notes in his letter that two meetings he had with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash with an open agenda did not yield any result.

    "The reciprocal measures for reducing tension along the cease-fire line proposed by UNFICYP as well as the idea put forward by the Canadian Foreign Minister, while visiting Cyprus last week, for an initiative on demining of the buffer zone could constitute a component of these discussions with immediate application," he added.

    President Clerides repeats in his letter his "commitment to reconsider the issue of non-importation on new weapons systems to Cyprus provided that progress is made on a schedule which includes a number of measures and steps leading towards the eventual goal of demilitarisation."

    The President expresses the conviction that the members of the Security Council "will lend all possible support to such an undertaking" and urges everybody to "consider how implementation of this part of resolution 1146 may be achieved."

    President Clerides recalls his letter of December 1993 to the then UN chief which outlined a detailed proposal for the total demilitarisation of Cyprus, a proposal which Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have turned down.

    The President notes that "I have continuously called for a substantive discussion with the Turkish side along these lines".

    He also reminds Annan that he submitted at last summer's UN sponsored talks with Denktash, a non paper on reducing tension in the military field through serious dialogue on resolving security matters of concern to all sides.

    As the President said at the end of one week of talks in Glion, Switzerland, in August 1997, "we did not negotiate" and Denktash refused to hold any discussions claiming that Cyprus' European course for accession was an obstacle to the peace effort.

    CNA MM/EC/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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