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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-03-07

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

Friday, 07/03/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Albright says Cyprus is "high priority" for US
  • [02] This is the best time for a solution, says Foreign Minister
  • [03] Rifkind says Cyprus will need help to find a solution


[01] Correction

In our Update on 4.3.97 we inadvertently gave the wrong address for the Internet Edition of the Cyprus Mail. The correct address is: http://www.cynews.com

[02] Albright says Cyprus is "high priority" for US

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said yesterday that the United States see the Cyprus problem as a very high priority issue and are highly involved in trying to find a settlement.

Speaking with reporters during a brief question-and-answer session just before her meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Theodhoros Pangalos, Albright said they would be discussing " the opportunities that exist to help promote a settlement among the parties in Cyprus."

Asked what the US was going to do next in terms of resolving the Cyprus dispute, Albright said: "We obviously have a great interest in this, and we have our envoy Mr. Beattie who will continue to work. We consider this a year of opportunity, because of the potential of EU accession, and so we are highly involved in trying to find a settlement. We will continue to see it as a very high priority, because we believe that it is essential to get a proper and just solution there.

Regarding US-Greek relations, Albright said the United State "stands ready to help if we can in resolving the differences between our allies, Greece and Turkey, in the Aegean and elsewhere".

[03] This is the best time for a solution, says Foreign Minister

Efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement must be intensified so that the period between now and the start of Cyprus-European Union accession talks, scheduled to begin early next year, can best be utilised, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides has stressed.

Speaking after a meeting with French European Affairs Minister, Michel Barnier, Mr Michaelides described the present period as one of the "most favourable" for Cyprus.

"For the first time, there is great interest in Cyprus and everyone realises that a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem not only helps Cyprus, but strengthens stability in the region," he added.

Michaelides said that at the meeting he had stressed the need for finding common ground in order to enable talks on a Cyprus solution to have the best possible chance of success. He reiterated the proposal for total demilitarisation of the island.

Mr Barnier expressed his country's support for efforts towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, agreed with the need for more active European involvement and stressed that Cyprus' EU accession process could act as a catalyst to such a solution. He said he would be visiting Cyprus in the near future as part of French efforts towards a Cyprus settlement and Cyprus' EU entry.

[04] Rifkind says Cyprus will need help to find a solution

British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind has said that for progress to be achieved on the island, Cyprus will need the help and support of its friends and those who through many years of contact and involvement have a better knowledge than other parts of the world of the problems that Cyprus faces and the difficulties that have to be overcome.

Speaking at a gathering organised by the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood and the UK branch of the Democratic Rally at the central offices of the Conservative Party in London on Wednesday night (5.3.97), Mr Rifkind said that direct negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides "are likely to take months, not weeks" and will need the backing of the international community.

He said that while the British government has "a strong sense of personal obligation to all the people of Cyprus", because of its very strong links with the island, because of being host to the large Cypriot community in the UK and because of its continuing presence on the island through the sovereign base areas, it is not proposing a separate British initiative. Britain is not competing with other countries to help progress on the island, but accepts that the lead in the matter lies with the UN, he added.

Referring to the discussion that took place in the EU Council of Ministers two weeks ago, over the question of Turkish Cypriot involvement in the accession negotiations, Mr Rifkind said: "It was a matter of some sadness, that at the end of the day 14 countries were unable to agree with Greece as to the precise wording that should be in a particular document".

He stressed, however, that Britain will not, either now or in future, recognise the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

"We are not contemplating, neither the UK and, as far as I am aware of any other government in the EU, any recognition, formal or informal, direct or indirect, with the authorities of Rauf Denktash", Rifkind said.

He said that all EU countries agree that EU accession negotiations must be with the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

He added, however, that membership negotiations "have to be able to take into account the aspirations and interests of all the people of Cyprus" and need to "be aware and respond to the aspirations of all Cypriots because the obvious preferred conclusion is to see a united Cyprus joining the European Union".

Neither Turkey nor any one else, he said, can have any right of veto on the accession negotiations, and their conclusion is a matter for the Republic of Cyprus and the EU to decide.

"A successful negotiation that led to a peaceful reunification of the island would not only be good for Cyprus and for all its people but would also make a significant contribution to peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean", he concluded.


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


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