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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-06-10

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

Tuesday, 10/06/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Holbrooke says that instability in Cyprus could affect Balkans
  • [02] Hannay believes there are points of "convergence" between the two sides
  • [03] Convergence of views exists on the issues making up the Cyprus problem but not their content, says Spokesman


[01] Holbrooke says that instability in Cyprus could affect Balkans

The newly-appointed US Presidential Envoy for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, said yesterday in an interview on the BBC's World Service that the long standing stalemate in Cyprus is not stable and it is very important that people make an effort to solve it and added that the tense situation on the island could explode at any moment.

He said the greatest hurdle he faced was the political situations in the two communities in Cyprus and in Turkey and Greece.

"I think that the political situation, particularly in Turkey, makes it rather difficult right now and I would not raise anyone's expectations. This is going to be a tough haul. It's not going to be a short, intense negotiation like Dayton was," he said.

Holbrooke, who was the architect of the Dayton agreement which led to the end of the civil war in Bosnia, said that while structurally the problems are quite similar between Cyprus and Bosnia, the big difference is that the last time serious fighting took place in Cyprus was 23 years ago and that as a result the position of the two sides have become entrenched.

Asked how he intends to make a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot single administration workable, Holbrooke said he did not know but would talk to David Hannay and Kofi Annan . He added he was not going to go into the region until after the direct negotiations due to take place between President Clerides and Mr Denktash but that the US would support Kofi Annan's efforts.

Holbrooke added that Cyprus' possible accession to the European Union was "the biggest new factor in this 30 year stalemate".

"The EU is going to make membership a critical variable in the negotiations as a lever towards a federation of the two communities," he said.

Asked by the interviewer if he was worried that the Cyprus problem was solved by the Turkish invasion in 1974, Holbrooke disagreed.

"I just don't think that the division can last forever. I think it is unnatural. It's possible Cyprus can go on like this forever. It is also possible it could explode," he said.

He added that if this were to happen it would not only be tragic for Cyprus, but could have a catastrophic domino effect for the entire region, which could spread to Skopje, Bulgaria and Albania, and not just Greece and Turkey.

[02] Hannay believes there are points of "convergence" between the two sides

Britain's special representative on the Cyprus problem, Sir David Hannay, said that "it is very clear what the two leaders will be asked to discuss when they go to negotiations - a bicommunal, bizonal federation encapsulating political equality as defined by the UN Secretary-General with provisions on security which assure both sides, these are the areas of convergence."

Sir David who was replying to a question whether he still maintains that there is common ground between the two sides in Cyprus, added that he prefers to use the term convergence rather than common ground because the latter implies that agreement has been reached.

"No deals have been struck", he said, while "there is convergence and there is a rather clear framework in which all this is taking place."

Sir David told the press after a meeting yesterday with President Clerides, that their discussions had focused on how it should be possible for the negotiating process to bring what he called "an early harvest, some early progress to demonstrate the credibility of the process and also to start moving things forward, off the point where they have been stuck for many years."

He welcomed the Cyprus government view that it attached a lot importance to making progress in next month's UN-sponsored talks.

"There are a number of aspects of this problem on which there is sufficient convergence to mean that there should not have to be a discussion from first principles from the very beginning (of the talks)," he said.

"The amount of convergence means the negotiations should be able to get their teeth into real issues, which we know divide the two communities, and the problem is how to crack those difficulties," he added.

The British envoy stressed that the British government and the UN are working as a team on the Cyprus peace effort and not separately. He added that from what he gauged from relevant announcements by the USA, this also applies to the activities of Mr Holbrooke, which he said he believed would turn out to be beneficial.

Sir David also held talks with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou.

The British diplomat was due to cross into the occupied areas for a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, but Denktash cancelled the meeting, as a protest at Sir David not meeting the so-called president of the parliament in the occupied north after he had met House President Spyros Kyprianou.

Denktash claimed this was necessary in order to show respect to the principle of political equality of the two communities.

However, a meeting between Sir David and Denktash scheduled for today is to go ahead.

Sir David will meet with President Clerides again today, on board the latter's yacht and is due to leave for Athens on Wednesday from where he will also visit Ankara.

[03] Convergence of views exists on the issues making up the Cyprus problem but not their content, says Spokesman

Cyprus Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides, asked to comment yesterday on Sir David Hannay's statements, said: "There is convergence of views about the list of the fundamental issues of the Cyprus question, but there is no convergence on the content of these issues."

"The government believes we must have progress on both the list of these fundamental aspects of the Cyprus problem as well as their content," he said, noting that the government wants to see "practical approaches and solutions which comply with international law and order and serve Cyprus and its people".

"There is no issue on which there is convergence on both the issue itself and the contents," he added.


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


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