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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-06-09

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

Monday, 09/06/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Albright assures of US commitment for Cyprus settlement
  • [02] Cyprus wants tangible results from the negotiations as soon as possible
  • [03] Kasoulides: Pressure should be put on Turkey if Cyprus problem is to be found
  • [04] British envoy on Cyprus arrives
  • [05] New DISY leadership elected
  • [06] Cyprus signs treaties with Georgia and the Czech Republic


[01] Albright assures of US commitment for Cyprus settlement

US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, assured Cyprus' Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, "of America's interest in seeing the people of Cyprus achieve a lasting settlement to the inter-communal dispute on their island".

In a joint appearance, during a photo session before their meeting in Washington on Friday (6.6.97), Albright said there could be "no more dramatic a demonstration of that commitment" than President Bill Clinton's decision to assign Richard Holbrooke, as his emissary for Cyprus.

"We believe that the division of the island is unacceptable," she added.

The Secretary of State said her country's goal "remains to encourage a Cyprus settlement that establishes a stable, bizonal federation with adequate security guarantees for all". She pointed out that a solution "is a task for the people of Cyprus themselves to accomplish" but pledged "the US will do all it can to help them find the right path."

Speaking after the 40 minute-long meeting, Kasoulides said they discussed ways with which the US could help efforts for a Cyprus solution, as well as prospects for a settlement.

Describing the meeting as "particularly interesting" the Foreign Minister said he had reiterated the government's commitment to attend UN- sponsored direct talks aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue "in a positive spirit."

He also expressed the hope that Ankara would convince Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, to attend the talks in the same spirit and expressed the understanding that the US would be meeting with Turkish officials.

The Foreign Minister also said the government expects US and Holbrooke's involvement in UN efforts for a solution and stressed that he did not put forward any proposals during the meeting.

Describing the meeting between Albright and Kasoulides as "excellent", US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns said at his daily briefing that evidence of the US' commitment to a resolution of the Cyprus problem is the appointment of Richard C. Holbrooke as the new presidential emissary to Cyprus.

"That is a very strong manifestation of our interest in helping the United Nations and helping the Cypriot government and the Turkish community achieve a resolution of that problem", Burns said.

He added that Mrs Albright emphasised the importance of the upcoming talks that the United Nations will be sponsoring between President Clerides and Mr. Denktash.

"The United States strongly supports these talks. I know Ambassador Holbrooke intends to work very closely with the new UN special negotiators and with the UN system in general", he said and added that the Cyprus government had indicated their very strong agreement to Holbrooke's appointment, as did the Greek and Turkish governments.

The State Department spokesman added that Kasoulides and Albright discussed in detail the nature of the Cyprus problem, its history, as well as some of the issues that have to be resolved in the weeks and months and perhaps even years ahead, if there is to be a comprehensive settlement.

Burns also said that the issue of the Cypriot government's recent decision to purchase the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles was also discussed at the meeting.

"The Secretary noted our long-standing disagreement with the decision by the government of Cyprus to acquire the SA-10 missile system from Russia. We think it is destabilising. And frankly, we are interested in the security of Cyprus. And we do not believe that acquiring the system will add to the security," Burns said.

He added that the US hopes that Holbrooke's appointment and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's initiative "will move the Cypriots, the Cypriot government, the Turkish community, the Greek and Turkish governments to a resolution of the Cyprus problem that will make any kind of acquisition of a weapons system like this unnecessary in the future. That is essentially the point of view that the Secretary put across today".

The US official pointed out that Holbrooke does not intend to participate in the UN talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, but that he will be monitoring the talks. He said Holbrooke will not travel to the region for "at least several weeks, and perhaps even beyond that".

"He understands, as does Secretary Albright, that this is a manifestly complex and difficult challenge. It is not going to be resolved in three weeks. It may require years to resolve it. So he is prepared to be patient, take a longer-term view, spend a lot of time thinking about our strategy, and then beginning his own talks working very closely with the United Nations", Burns added.

[02] Cyprus wants tangible results from the negotiations as soon as possible

Speaking before the National Press Club in Washington on Friday 6.6.97 before his meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, said that the Cyprus government desires to see tangible results in the negotiating process as soon as possible.

He stressed that despite the fact that during the latest proximity talks, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Denktash, remained inflexible, sticking to the positions he has held for the past 22 years, the Greek Cypriot side "will go to the face to face negotiations with an open mind, having the political will to be constructive and positive and ready to negotiate a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem in a spirit of give and take".

If the Turkish Cypriot side comes to the negotiations with the same attitude, then peace and reconciliation could at last be achieved in Cyprus, he stressed.

He added that the Cyprus government "would have preferred if the forthcoming negotiations were to have been better prepared in advance and common ground narrowing the gap between the positions of the two sides were to have been established."

If negotiations were to collapse, he said, this would increase the people's frustration and would erode faith in the negotiating process, giving an opportunity to hard-liners from both sides to gain an advantage."

The Foreign Minister said recent developments in Cyprus have helped make the atmosphere in which the negotiations are expected to take place more conducive. He said the tension produced by the events of last summer is receding, while a series of bicommunal events have taken place bringing people together from various sectors of the two communities.

Also contributing to the improved atmosphere, he said, were the decisions of the Cyprus government to avoid military overflights by the Greek airforce and to negotiate seriously on UN proposals for disengagement along the demarcation line.

Looking ahead, Mr Kasoulides said that the difficulties that need to be overcome relate to "opposing priorities for both communities and certain misconceptions created over the past."

"The government of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot community understand fully the anxieties of the Turkish Cypriots. Our aim is not to dominate," he stressed.

"If the Turkish side acknowledges that the legitimate concerns of the Greek Cypriots must also be met and that in all aspects we have to find mutually acceptable solutions that assuage the concerns of both communities, then a lasting settlement will be in sight", he said.

[03] Kasoulides: Pressure should be put on Turkey if Cyprus problem is to be found

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides speaking on his return to the island from Washington yesterday, stressed that during his contacts abroad he had tried to persuade his interlocutors of the Greek Cypriot side's genuine readiness to find a solution to the Cyprus problem through the process of negotiations.

He dismissed domestic criticism against statements he made while in the US that the Greek Cypriot side would negotiate in a spirit of "give and take", saying that the way he sees it, this is what negotiations entail.

He added that he had concentrated all his efforts on persuading that, in view of our side's positive and constructive position, pressure should be exerted on Turkey to change its stance.

"The effort was aimed at convincing those powers who are able to do so that they should put positive pressure to bear on Ankara in order to pave the way for a solution to the Cyprus problem", he said.

Kasoulides said he had told Albright the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles would arrive as scheduled unless the Cyprus problem is solved or an agreement on the island's demilitarisation is reached, or such progress is made in efforts towards a solution to meet the security needs of the Greek Cypriots.

[04] British envoy on Cyprus arrives

British Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, arrived in Cyprus yesterday for three days of talks on the Cyprus problem.

He is due to meet with President Glafcos Clerides today and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash tomorrow.

He will also have meetings with Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, and UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel.

Speaking on arrival Sir David said there was common ground for the start of direct talks, describing as positive the fact that the Greek and Turkish sides were both seeking the establishment of a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus.

Mr Hannay will leave for Athens on Wednesday morning, for talks with Greek government officials and from there he will travel to Ankara.

[05] New DISY leadership elected

Nicos Anastasiades was yesterday elected new leader of the ruling right- wing Democratic Rally (DISY) party to replace Yiannakis Matsis, who decided to step down earlier this year.

Addressing the DISY party conference on Saturday (7.6.97), President Clerides said the Greek Cypriot side will go to the forthcoming direct negotiations determined to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

He stressed that if he judges that the outcome of this cycle of talks will be to the benefit of Cypriot Hellenism and that it will safeguard the people's future, he would not hesitate from doing his duty, despite any criticism levelled against him, in the belief that it is in the national interest.

[06] Cyprus signs treaties with Georgia and the Czech Republic

Cyprus' Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Kyriacos Christofi, signed treaties on Trade and Tourism with Georgia during a recent visit there between 5 - 8 June.

Moreover, co-operation treaties in the agricultural and veterinary fields were signed between the Cyprus Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Costas Petrides, and his Czech counterpart Josef Lux.


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


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