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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-03-19

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 <>

News Update

Wednesday, 19/03/97


  • [01] Face-to-face talks expected sooner or later
  • [02] Prospect of Cyprus' accession to EU a catalyst for solution
  • [03] Joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot Trade Union Forum continues
  • [04] Foreign Minister: European security is indivisible

[01] Face-to-face talks expected sooner or later

The timing of direct negotiations between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash depends on the outcome of the proximity talks carried out by the UN Resident Representative in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, since last week, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.

"As proximity talks continue, sooner or later issues, which need to be discussed face-to-face, will arise", Cassoulides added in his daily briefing.

He said the Greek Cypriot side will wait for the outcome of the proximity talks to decide whether a productive direct dialogue can be carried out.

"We have said we will enter into proximity talks in the hope that they will pave the way for face-to-face talks between President Clerides and Rauf Denktash", the Spokesman added.

Cassoulides said it seems "reasonable" to assume that direct talks will start towards the end of May or beginning of June.

He noted these will be based on the UN resolutions regarding the Cyprus question and the high level agreements reached between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides in 1977 and 1979.

Moreover, when asked if the government will agree to a US proposal for a moratorium to flights by Greek and Turkish military aircraft over Cyprus, Cassoulides said the government has not decided yet, but he pointed out that no military exercises with Greek military airforce participation are planned in the near future.

[02] Prospect of Cyprus' accession to EU a catalyst for solution

The prospect of Cyprus' EU membership "offers an opportunity to find a politically viable and lasting solution to the Cyprus question this year", Ron Van Dartel representing the EU Dutch presidency said while addressing the 11th Meeting of the Joint Cyprus-EU Parliamentary Committee in Nicosia yesterday. He added that "Cyprus remains a high priority on the agenda of the presidency for the coming months".

The Dutch representative stressed the importance of co-ordination within the international community in support of UN efforts towards a solution and underlined the EU's potential as "a catalyst for a settlement".

The EU, he said, "has a legitimate interest in the shape of any settlement in Cyprus given that this will have to be reconciled with the acquis of the Union".

The Dutch representative also stressed the importance for the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides "to encourage steps designed to create genuine mutual confidence between them and to avoid any actions which will increase tensions".

Addressing the opening ceremony of the same meeting, co-chairman of the EU- Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee, Tassos Papadopoulos, stressed that the process for Cyprus' accession to the European Union will not be easy but no third country has the right to exercise a veto against it.

Noting the role that the EU can play in efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem, Papadopoulos described as "unthinkable" the fact that in the case of Cyprus there will be derogation from the acquis communautaire.

He referred to the postponement of the Cyprus-EU structured dialogue, last month, due to the "insistence", as he said, of certain countries to a wording that could lead to the participation in accession negotiations of the illegal Turkish occupation regime, in the northern part of the island.

Pointing out that membership talks take place with the legal governments of applicant countries, Papadopoulos stressed that there could be no exception in the case of Cyprus.

Co-Chairman of the Committee Philippe Monfils, said the "main objective is to facilitate Cyprus' accession to the EU" and expressed the hope the Cyprus Republic will become the 16th member state of the Union.

The Belgian Euro-MP made special reference to the humanitarian problem of Greek Cypriots enclaved in the Turkish-occupied part of the island and expressed his disappointment with Denktash's negative stance which did not allow a meeting with the enclaved to take place.

During the same meeting, EU presidency representative Kester Heaslip said that the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities are committed to achieving direct negotiations but continue to mistrust each other. He called on the EU to "find ways of improving the atmosphere between the two communities on the island" and "encourage their leaders to approach one another with trust and in a spirit of compromise".

[03] Joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot Trade Union Forum continues

Representatives from 15 Greek and Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions attending the second day of a 3-day All-Cyprus Trade Union Forum sponsored by the European Union, expressed on Tuesday (18.3.97) their common hope for a quick solution to the Cyprus problem at this opportune time and said trade unions can and should play a leading role in the process.

"The liberation of Cyprus can only be achieved through peace. Our priority is peace and we are willing to do our part to achieve it", Turkish Cypriot Municipal Employees Trade Union representative, Gulev Sidal told delegates.

Turkish Cypriot Professors' Trade Union representative, Ali Alnar, said Cyprus suffers the contradiction of division at a time when borders are being torn down all across Europe.

"The two communities are in complete isolation from each other and have developed separate economies. This is not in harmony with global change. The two communities have lost so much as result of division. The free movement of capital and labour between the two communities will make up for time lost", Alnar stressed.

General Secretary of the Greek Cypriot Civil Servants Union PASYDY, Glafkos Hadjipetrou shared this view and asked the question of why Cyprus remains divided when Europe continues to shatter borders.

Secretary-General of the Cyprus Turkish Teachers' Trade Union, Cemal Ozyigit, stressed a solution to the island's problem should stem from its own inhabitants and that trade unions in Cyprus must contribute to that end.

He called for an end to actions that led to tension and also called on the EU for substantial economic aid to the occupied areas "which are getting poorer by the day".

Gulef Sidal, a representative of the Municipal Employees' Union in the north, said a solution must be found to the Cyprus problem to prevent the "extinction of the Turkish Cypriots". She said Turkish Cypriots were being replaced with illegal workers from Turkey and had no choice but to emigrate.

Main points of the agenda at Tuesday's session were the Maastricht Treaty and the Free Movement of Capital and Labour.

Anne Raulier, Researcher with the Brussels-based European Social Observatory said that although free labour movement is now a reality in Europe, there is concern that while the EU seeks the new markets of Eastern Europe, "EU officials seem to hold back on accepting an influx of new labour from that region".

The All-Cyprus Trade Union Forum continues today (Wednesday 19.3.97) and will close with a joint declaration.

[04] Foreign Minister: European security is indivisible

"Security in the European region is indivisible. The EU cannot ignore what is going on around it. Consequently, the Cyprus problem is not one to be faced from a distance but with effective involvement. It can neither be solved with pressure on our side but with determined action towards the country which has caused and supports this problem".

This was stressed yesterday by Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides in his address to the 4th "Greece-Balkans: Business Co-operation in Southeastern Europe" Conference in Thessaloniki.

Moreover, Mr Michaelides said that "quite often people call upon us to solve the Cyprus problem thus giving the impression that it is up to us to do so. When they refer to Turkey, however, they tend to underestimate the fact that this country occupies part of Cyprus for 23 years and when resolutions are adopted, they make sure that the wording chosen is so ambiguous so as not to disturb Turkey".

Referring to the important geopolitical position of Cyprus in the Southeastern Mediterranean, Mr Michaelides explained that this is the reason for trying to make Cyprus a bridge of the European Union to the Middle East. He stressed that the Cyprus Government has established friendly relations with all Middle East countries and that now it is embarking on the next step which is the accession of Cyprus to the EU.

The Thessaloniki Conference on "Greece-Balkans: Business Cooperation in Southeastern Europe" is a two day meeting attended by Balkan countries ministers and by senior officials from international organisations and banks from Europe, the US and the Balkans.

From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

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