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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 96-10-18

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

News Update

18/10/96


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus Government ready for military dialogue on unmanning of military posts
  • [02] British Special envoy on Cyprus continues talks
  • [03] EU-Cyprus talks on harmonisation of Transport policies
  • [04] EU SOCRATES Programme begins in Cyprus


[01] Cyprus Government ready for military dialogue on unmanning of military posts

President Glafcos Clerides has accepted a new proposal from the UN Peacekeeping force, UNFICYP, for an indirect military dialogue between the National Guard and the Turkish occupation army. The dialogue would aim at the unmanning of military posts along sensitive points of the 180 kilometre- long ceasefire line across Cyprus, the rules of engagement and the banning of loaded weapons in such posts. A limited unmanning agreement has been successfully implemented since 1989 at certain positions along the line.

Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said Thursday (17.10.96) that the Greek Cypriot side has already responded positively to a relevant proposal made to the Government on Tuesday (15.10.96) by UNFICYP.

This new proposal for a military dialogue through UN representatives came after a proposed face-to-face dialogue between the Commanders of the National Guard and the Commander of the Turkish occupation troops, made by US Ambassador Madeleine Albright in August, failed to take off because the Turkish Cypriot regime insisted that the Turkish Cypriot military Commander participate as well. To the Cyprus Government this would involve tacit recognition of the illegal Turkish Cypriot pseudostate, and thus insisted on talking only to the Turkish occupying military leadership.

Cassoulides said that the government side is ready to take up Madeleine Albright's original proposal anytime.

The unmanning of military posts along the buffer zone, or in areas where Greek Cypriot and Turkish soldiers face each other across a few metres without the intervention of a buffer zone, became urgent following the killing last Sunday (13.10.96) of an unarmed Cypriot civilian, the fourth in recent months.

[02] British Special envoy on Cyprus continues talks

Sir David Hanney, Britain's special envoy for Cyprus ends his 5-day visit here Friday (18.10.96) with another round of talks with President Glafcos Clerides.

After conferring with resident UN Special Representative Gustave Feissel Thursday (17.10.96), Sir David said the meeting focused on "the preparation for a political settlement and the negotiations and contacts beginning after that" and noted that the UN, the European Union and a number of countries closely involved in efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem are coordinating efforts very closely.

On his part, Gustave Feissel said they analysed Sir David's meetings have with leaders of the two sides on the island were discussed as well as "what lies ahead".

"As you know we are trying very hard to bring the two leaders together", Feissel said, noting that Sir David believes "1997 is a good year for that".

He described such a high-level meeting as "a very crucial and determining event", adding it should be made sure "that everything is ready when that time comes".

The UN Representative added:

"Continuing the way things are at the present time is obviously not a solution and is not a future".

The UN official stressed "everybody realises or will realise that the only option they have is to solve the Cyprus problem and, of course, this requires at some point for the two leaders to get together to be part of that process".

Sir David Hannay was also involved in concerted efforts to arrange a military dialogue as a short-term first step prior to talks for a political settlement.

[03] EU-Cyprus talks on harmonisation of Transport policies

The alignment of Cyprus' transport industry with that of the European Union was examined during the visit here of European Commissioner for Transport Neil Kinnock and Ireland's Minister for Defence and the Marine Sean Barrett.

Talks were held Thursday (17.10.96) in Nicosia as part of the Second Meeting of the Structured dialogue on Transport during the island's pre- accession period. They were chaired by Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides.

Speaking at a press conference after the talks Kinnock described the meeting as "frank and constructive" and said the Union is anxious to iron out problems in the shipping industry and air transport liberalisation.

Discussions on Cyprus' maritime policy were of key concern, as Mr Kinnock said, given that the island has the fourth longest fleet in the world and because of "the large number of vessels owned by EU companies that are flying the Cyprus flag".

He noted: "Cyprus is committed to making improvements in this sectors to meet the challengers and the requirements of membership of the Union and that will imply not only opening up of the community's and Cyprus' shipping markets to each other, but also the obligation for Cyprus to comply with what is now a large body of community legislation in the maritime sector, as well as the international conventions which govern maritime issues globally".

Neil Kinnock also underlined that there should be "no possibility of Cyprus admission to the European Union having unfortunate or negative consequences in terms of fair competition in the maritime industry".

Cypriot Minister of Communications and Transport Adamos Adamides admitted that Cyprus "is not yet in a position to check fully the level of safety of its big merchant fleet which exceeds 2.700 vessels". But it has "responded positively with determination and clear plans to implement and remedy the situation", he added.

On air transport liberalisation Adamides said Cyprus will examine all the pros and cons of air transport liberalisation and in about six months' time it would be possible to exchange views with the EU and then sign the relevant agreement. "Our national carrier, Cyprus Airways, does not seem to be ready to face up to competition that would result from liberalisation", he added.

[04] EU SOCRATES Programme begins in Cyprus

Cyprus initiates Friday and Saturday (18-19 October) the European Union's action programme for co-operation in Education "SOCRATES". During a 2-day conference, aspects of the programme will be presented by European Commission Representative Angeliki Verli and Austria's and Holland's representatives.

Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides addressed Friday's opening ceremony in the presence of Minister of Education and Culture Claire Angelidou, EU Ambassador to Nicosia Gilles Annouil, Education Ministry officials, employers and trade union representatives and educationists from the public and private sector.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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