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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-06-12

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

Thursday, 12/06/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] UN Secretary-General invites Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to direct talks
  • [02] Holbrooke says there is no downside and no time frame to Cyprus talks
  • [03] Give and take is common sense for reaching agreements, says Hannay
  • [04] British Minister says Cyprus solution is more urgent than ever


[01] UN Secretary-General invites Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to direct talks

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has officially extended invitations to President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to participate in direct negotiations on the Cyprus problem, to begin July 9, near New York.

The invitations were handed yesterday to the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities by UN Resident Representative Gustave Feissel.

Speaking after his meeting with President Clerides, Feissel said it was important that progress was made as "this requires both sides to co-operate and to show that they are ready to make their contribution to an overall settlement."

"No settlement is possible if one side or the other side says this or that is out of bounds," Feissel said. "If you're going to discuss and try to reach an agreement on the subject both sides have to move."

Confirming receipt of UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan's, invitation for direct negotiations on the Cyprus problem, President Clerides told reporters the talks would begin on July 9 and end on July 13 at a location close to New York.

"They (the UN) have not decided where they will take place," Clerides said. "We will find out in a few days."

He said the invitation was written in very general terms and did not refer to the basis on which the dialogue would be conducted.

The UN Secretary-General will host a dinner for President Clerides and Mr Denktash on the eve of the talks

Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said yesterday that the Secretary- General will chair the start of the talks and then his Special Representative for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, will take over. During the talks, Annan will be available for the two interlocutors when needed, he said.

"This is the beginning of a new effort towards finding a Cyprus solution and it will last as long as necessary," Christofides said, noting that more meetings will follow.

In statements today the Spokesman announced that, in vew of the fact that the invitations from the UN had now been officially conveyed, the National Council would convene on 23 June.

[02] Holbrooke says there is no downside and no time frame to Cyprus talks

US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, believes July's talks between President, Glafcos Clerides, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, do not have "a downside" to them and there is no "time frame" within which to achieve progress.

"If the talks make progress it gives us a little momentum to build on. If not, at least we will have a clearer picture where the issues are, so there is no downside to this meeting," Holbrooke said in an interview with CNN International yesterday.

Replying to questions, he described the current division on the island as unacceptable and said he has "no time frame" in which to clinch a deal.

"It will take some time. The first month will go to the UN to play with and then we will see what to do next," he added.

He indicated the US may take over the peace effort after the UN has had "the first month to play with."

Holbrooke also said the US is working for a "federal, bicommunal, bizonal Cyprus" where the rights of both communities will be respected, and not for two separate states on the island.

Asked how optimistic he was about the July talks, Holbrooke said they were important because it was good for the two leaders "to get together face-to- face, and it shows new activism on the part of the UN Secretary-general."

"We do not expect to go into the region until the middle of the summer and I am in extensive talks with the Greek and Turkish leaders, the UN and my own colleagues," he added.

Describing the situation here as an "unstable equilibrium", Holbrooke warned "it would be a disaster if this explodes". He said that the US' aim is to prevent such an eruption and that their interests in the area are driven by "the fact that Greece and Turkey are NATO allies".

"If we can contribute to a solution, it will be a major plus for stability all across South-eastern Europe," he added.

Holbrooke also said the US would use its influence to "encourage a settlement", but stressed it would not impose a solution on the island. "In that regard, there is a tremendous difference with Bosnia," he said.

"There is no war in Cyprus, but an unresolved problem of great tension and we will do what we can to resolve it, working very closely with the UN," he said.

Holbrooke explained that his assignment involves Cyprus only and noted that "there is not a real direct linkage between the Aegean (disputes between Greece and Turkey) and Cyprus."

[03] Give and take is common sense for reaching agreements, says Hannay

Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay stressed yesterday that the only way for the negotiations to show results was for both sides to approach the talks in a spirit of give and take.

He said "give and take" was not a method but "common sense".

"It's the only way that any negotiation I have ever noticed, or participated in, can be brought to a conclusion... it's a means of reaching agreements," Sir David said.

In statements before leaving for Athens for talks with the Greek government, after a three-day visit here, Sir David remarked that the solution to the Cyprus issue will take time, because the "subject matter is complex and the issues sensitive".

He said he hoped that it will "be possible to make progress in the early rounds, possibly of a limited kind, what I like to call an early harvest" and that later on there will be "gradual progress" to bring to an end what he described as a "long saga" and arrive at a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

"What I think is most important is that the process gets off to a good start and that both sides approach it with realism and determination if possible, to bring it to a successful conclusion," the British diplomat said. "This is an opportunity for Cyprus".

Sir David said he was pleased that after a long negotiation process, "we have now reached a point where the UN Secretary-general is resuming the effort to get a formal negotiated solution through face-to-face negotiations."

He said he was particularly pleased that the leaders of the two communities "are clearly happy to go along with that".

Referring to his meeting on Tuesday night with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Sir David described it as "useful", noting that they covered regular ground.

He said they concentrated on the important issues, namely how to make a success of the direct talks scheduled for next month, what will be the main subjects covered, what the main pre-occupations on the Turkish Cypriots are and how to overcome these problems.

[04] British Minister says Cyprus solution is more urgent than ever

The British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Doug Henderson, has said that a solution to the Cyprus problem is more urgent than ever.

In a written reply to a question in the House of Commons on 10.6.97 he said: "I urge both sides to work constructively with the UN for face-to- face negotiations leading to a comprehensive political settlement".

He said Britain will continue to work actively to support that process.


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


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