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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-21

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Britain's Conservatives - Cyprus
  • [02] SPORT: Commonwealth Games - Cyprus
  • [03] Convention to Combat Desertification - Cyprus
  • [04] Cyprus - Ireland - Defence Ministers
  • [05] Cyprus - UN - Violations of Cyprus airspace
  • [06] Kasoulides - Van den Broek

  • 1450:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Britain's Conservatives - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Sep 21 (CNA) -- Britain's Conservative Party assured that it supports the establishment of a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus.

    The position is outlined in a reply letter from the office of the leader of the opposition, William Hague, to a letter by the President of the National Cypriot Federation, Haris Sofoklides on the recent proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash calling for a confederal solution to the Cyprus problem.

    In the letter, the Conservative Party said Hague has "carefully noted" Sofoklides' comments.

    "I can assure you that the Conservative Party supports the creation of a bizonal, bicommunal federal government on Cyprus" and stressed "we do not favour measures which would perpetuate the present division of the island".

    The office of the leader of the opposition also included a reference on Cyprus which was made in the "Conservative Statement on Europe", which will be published in the Party's Conference.

    It said "we want a wider rather than a deeper Europe that will see the European Union expand to accept members from central and eastern Europe and Cyprus, in order to promote peace, prosperity and stability."

    The office said Hague "looks forward" to meeting Sofoklides and other members of the Cypriot federation during the Conservative Party's "Listening to Britain" exercise.

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

    The island has applied for EU membership in 1990 and began accession talks last March.

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1530:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] SPORT: Commonwealth Games - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Sept 21. (CNA) -- Cyprus has gained today its third medal in the Commonwealth Games in Langkawi, Malaysia.

    Michalis Louca has won the silver medal in the men's shot put, while South Africa won the gold medal and Wales the bronze.

    Cyprus has so far won a gold medal in the men's skeet and a bronze in the men's wrestling.

    CNA DP/EC/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1540:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Convention to Combat Desertification - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Sep 21 (CNA) -- The United Nations' Convention to Combat Desertification is expected to be ratified by the end of the year, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Costas Themistocleous.

    In an address he delivered today at the opening session of the two-day National Awareness Seminar on Desertification and Land Degradation, Themistocleous said that his ministry discussed the issue with other state services and "submitted a proposal to the Council of Ministers for approval and ratification".

    Themistocleous added that the proposal has been approved and will be sent to the Auditor-General's office for legal processing, and "by the end of the year", it is expected that the "House of Representatives will vote the relevant bill into law".

    He furthermore stressed that Cyprus has a series of characteristics which "contribute to the phenomenon of desertification", pointing out the varying climatic conditions, the seasonal droughts, and generally the poor vegetation.

    Also present at the seminar was the delegate of the Secretariat of the Convention, Elizabeth David, who said that Cyprus, as a member, will have all its authorities, including that of voting in the sessions of the Parties' Assemblies.

    David said that a series of important issues are expected to be discussed at the assemblies, which will take the necessary decisions.

    She said that if Cyprus ratifies the Convention, the dynamic of this legal instrument will be positive for the current and future generations on the island.

    Quoting a leader of the Red Indian of America, Chief Seattle, David said: "We do not inherit the earth from our fathers. We borrow it from our sons".

    According to David, the Convention to Combat Desertification came into effect on the 26th of December, 1996, adding that the first Assembly was held in Rome, in September, 1997.

    So far, 139 countries and the European Union have ratified the Convention, which is expected to be ratified by most countries by the second Assembly, to be held on the 11th of December, 1998.

    CNA AA/RG/EC/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1655 CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Cyprus - Ireland - Defence Ministers

    Nicosia, Sep 21 (CNA) -- Ireland supports Cyprus' application for European Union (EU) membership and would gladly offer its assistance and experience to resolve the island's political problem, the Irish Defence Minister Michael Smith said today.

    Speaking to the press after meeting his Cypriot counterpart, Yiannakis Omirou, Smith said his visit primarily takes place on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his country's participation in UN contingents, noting that Irish troops "have been in about 30 countries over that time".

    The Irish contingent of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) comprises 24 troops and 14 civilian police.

    Smith said he discussed with Omirou various issues of mutual interest, such as Cyprus' application for accession to the EU, which "the Irish government supports," he said.

    "We are a small country ourselves, we remember the time when we were applying for membership, we were delighted to receive support from different parts of Europe...and we gladly give that support to your government in its effort to join the EU", the Irish Defence Minister pointed out.

    He said the developments in Northern Ireland, the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, were also discussed at the meeting.

    Referring to Cyprus' division in view of developments in his country, Smith said: "We can't make direct comparisons between countries, but if there were any elements which are part of that agreement, that would be helpful to the resolution of the conflict in this part of the world. Our experiences would be gladly available to your government and to the international community."

    He explained that Ireland has "gained immeasurably...from the involvement of the international community in helping us to come to the stage we are at now."

    Noting it is not possible to make absolute direct comparisons, Smith said there are things which are necessary everywhere.

    "To step beyond the norm, to look for a piece of ground or history which nobody has trotted on before, that takes a lot of courage", he added.

    Instead of emphasising the differences, he said, "we would like to emphasise the strengths and...things that we have in common", adding that "one of the things that everybody wants is peace".

    "There is no greater prize than peace and there is no greater price to be paid sometimes and it has to be paid in compromise and in co-operation to make that happen", the Irish Defence Minister noted.

    Explaining that "not everything that has happened in Ireland could be replicated here", he stressed the need for creating new structures, so that people can build new relationships for the future, "rather than spending an enormous amount of time and money on division and armaments".

    On his part, Omirou said he presented to Smith the government's views on the need for a political settlement on the island, because the Cyprus problem "remains a destabilising factor in the region".

    Omirou said he outlined the government's views on the Republic's right to upgrade its defence, stressing however Cyprus' commitment to demilitarisation, under the relevant proposals made by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Omirou thanked the Irish Minister of Defence for his country's support to Cyprus' course towards EU membership.

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

    The government applied for EU membership in 1990 and began accession talks last March.

    CNA GG/EC/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1730 CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Cyprus - UN - Violations of Cyprus airspace

    Nicosia, Sep 21 (CNA) -- Cyprus strongly protested to the UN about the new violation of its national airspace and Nicosia FIR by a Turkish military aircraft earlier this month.

    In a letter dated September 15, which circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Sotos Zackheos, said one Turkish B-200 military aircraft entered the northern Nicosia FIR on September 14.

    The aircraft flew over the area of Mesaoria and landed at the illegal airport of Tymbou in the Turkish occupied north of the island, "in violation of international air traffic regulations and of the national airspace of the Republic of Cyprus", he said.

    Zackheos conveyed to UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the "strong protest" of the government of Cyprus "against this new provocative act by Turkey", noting that it is in contravention of the provisions of the Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.

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

    CNA EC/RG/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1950 CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Kasoulides - Van den Broek

    by Myria Antoniadou

    New York, Sep 21 (CNA) -- Cyprus' European Union (EU) course is progressing smoothly, Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, said here Monday after a meeting with EU External Affairs Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek, on the sidelines of the 53rd session of the UN General Assembly.

    The two discussed ways on how to handle developments on the Cyprus problem so that they do not affect the Republic's EU prospects.

    Kasoulides described the meeting as "very interesting and useful" and said they "reviewed political developments on the Cyprus problem, in view of the fact that the Commission will prepare a report for the Council".

    He said that from their discussion he understood that the procedure for Cyprus' accession, which is already underway, is "continuing uninhibited, without any problems and no problems are expected".

    The Foreign Minister said he exchanged views with Van den Broek on Cyprus' accession course which he underlined, "is independent of developments in the Cyprus problem".

    However, Kasoulides, acknowledged that one issue affects the other. Asked how the Commissioner responds to a proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, for the establishment of a "confederation of two states in Cyprus", (which was rejected by the Cyprus Government and the UN), Kasoulides noted that the EU position is known.

    He said the Commission gave emphasis on "how we tackle issues as they develop, to the benefit of the Cyprus question and our accession course".

    Kasoulides said the EU official expressed the hope that the deadlock in the Cyprus peace effort will be overcome.

    He added their discussion focussed on "how we and the Commission handle these developments so that our EU course continues smoothly, rather than how to settle the Cyprus question".

    Asked if Van den Broek raised the issue of Turkish Cypriot participation in the official Cyprus negotiating team, Kasoulides reminded that the EU wishes to see the Turkish Cypriot community participating but knows they have rejected a proposal put forward by President Glafcos Clerides.

    "Therefore this is not an issue to be raised with us", he said, adding that President Clerides' proposal, described by the EU as generous and responsible, still stands.

    Replying to questions, the Foreign Minister said he does not know the content of a recent visit to Brussels by US State Department Coordinator, Thomas Miller.

    However, he said the American diplomat may participate in a meeting later today between President Clerides and US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, or else he will meet him by Saturday.

    Holbrooke has been nominated by US President Bill Clinton as the US Permanent Representative at the UN, replacing Ambassador Bill Richardson.

    The US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, last week said Holbrooke remains Presidential Emissary for Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, during a briefing today said he did not believe that Holbrooke's nomination "by any means, is dead", adding that the President thinks it is in the national interest.

    CNA sources said Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Theodoros Pangalos, is expected to meet Holbrooke prior to President Clerides' meeting with the US diplomat.

    CNA MA/EC/RG/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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