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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-06-11

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

Wednesday, 11/06/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] UN chief urges backing for reconciliation
  • [02] Sir David Hannay calls for "realism and a spirit of give and take" in negotiations
  • [03] Cyprus Foreign Minister on official visit to Japan
  • [04] Senior US Senators welcome Holbrooke's appointment


[01] UN chief urges backing for reconciliation

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges the two sides in Cyprus to make a renewed effort to reach agreement on measures to reduce tension along the ceasefire line across the island and reiterates his concern over the level of military forces and armaments.

In his report to the Security Council recommending a six-month renewal, until December 31, of the 1,200-member UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Annan also asks President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to promote tolerance and reconciliation and facilitate contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The UN chief expresses regret because "there has been no change in the excessive levels of military forces and armaments in Cyprus... nor have the military authorities accepted the package of reciprocal measures proposed by UNFICYP to reduce tension along the ceasefire lines".

Furthermore, he strongly urges both sides to reconsider their positions and cooperate with UNFICYP to reach an agreement.

In his seven-page report, Annan also refers to UNFICYP efforts to improve the overall atmosphere in Cyprus through bicommunal activities.

The UN chief notes it would be desirable if such contacts could take place "without formality on a regular basis" and adds that "from time to time, those who promote or participate in bicommunal events encounter pressure and even threats within their own community".

Mr Annan urges the two leaders to send clear messages of tolerance and reconciliation to their publics and to facilitate and encourage direct contacts between the two communities.

The Secretary-General also refers to consultations held in Nicosia by his representatives to prepare the ground for direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, on which he will inform the Security Council at a later stage.

The negotiations are expected to take place around 9 July in New York.

[02] Sir David Hannay calls for "realism and a spirit of give and take" in negotiations

Britain's special representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay said yesterday that "there is a lot to be done and compromises made" in the forthcoming UN-led negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides as there are "very substantive differences" on fundamental issues of the Cyprus question.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia, Sir David added that "there is greater common ground between the positions of the two sides than anyone is willing to admit". He also said he did not believe that a settlement would be reached which would include maintaining 30,000 Turkish troops on the island.

Sir David rapped Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, for cancelling a meeting with him on Monday, saying Denktash's pretext was "quite unjustified".

Hannay was due to meet Denktash informally last night and expected to "cover a lot of ground and have lengthy discussions with him".

Sir David had two meetings with President Glafcos Clerides, a working breakfast on Monday and lengthy private talks aboard the President's yacht "Katy II" yesterday morning.

During his press conference Sir David called on President Clerides and Mr Denktash to "approach the negotiations with realism and a spirit of give and take".

The British envoy refused to identify the areas in which "give and take" can take place, but pointed out "this is going to be a genuine negotiation in which neither side can come out with its opening positions intact". "There will have to be some compromises", he stressed.

"If there could be a settlement, there would be a federated Cyprus which would be a member of the European Union, whose people would be less troubled, more prosperous and less under threat than they are now", he added.

Sir David is going to Athens today for talks with the Greek government and later this week he will have contacts in Ankara.

[03] Cyprus Foreign Minister on official visit to Japan

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides flew to Japan yesterday for a three-day official visit at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Yukihiko Ikeda.

During his visit, Kasoulides will also be received by the heir to the Japanese throne, Prince Naruhito.

Making statements on his departure at Larnaca airport, the Minister underlined the urgent need for a settlement to the Cyprus question, likening the problem to a dormant volcano which could explode at any time.

The Minister also acknowledged that the Greek Cypriot side will be under pressure in next month's UN sponsored talks but noted that "our stand is based on the principles of international law and order".

He said the complacency which prevailed over the years and the indifference towards the need for a settlement must be dealt with "because the Cyprus question is a factor of instability in the Eastern Mediterranean". This, he said, has now been accepted, and was also stated by US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke.

He added, that "this reassures us that the international community will be interested more actively than in the past in the need for a settlement".

From Japan, Mr Kasoulides will fly to Moscow for an official visit and contacts with Russian officials.

[04] Senior US Senators welcome Holbrooke's appointment

A group of 11 key foreign policy senators has signed a letter to Richard Holbrooke welcoming his appointment as US Presidential Emissary to Cyprus.

It was circulated by Senator Edward Kennedy following his meeting with Greek-American leaders and Cypriots from around the world at the 8th annual conference of the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), held last week in the American capital.

The letter noted "this decision indicates the high priority the (US) administration is giving to the resolution of the Cyprus problem".

It continued: "Many of us in Congress have long supported a peaceful and just solution of the Cyprus issue".

The eleven Democratic and Republican senators stressed in their letter to Holbrooke "your appointment, the imminence of the accession negotiations (to the EU), and recent positive developments in the relationship between Greece and Turkey give us all hope that we stand on the threshold of genuine progress".


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


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