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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-06-26

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, 26/06/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Details of Cyprus peace talks announced
  • [02] British PM stresses leading role of Britain over Cyprus issue
  • [03] Sir David Hannay: "Ankara holds the key to the negotiations"
  • [04] US aid for Cyprus approved


[01] Details of Cyprus peace talks announced

The venue for the direct talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides due to be held next month was announced on Wednesday (25.6.97) by Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides. They are to take place at Troutbeck, Dutchess Country, near Amenia town, north of Manhattan, between July 9 and 13.

According to the UN programme, on July 8, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, will host a dinner for President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, and the participation of representatives of the three guarantor powers (Britain, Greece and Turkey), and the special representatives for Cyprus of Canada, the US, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden.

Also participating will be China and France and the representatives of the presidency of the European Union and the European Commission. Italy and Norway will also be invited to send a representative to the dinner.

The talks will open with a special ceremony on July 9 with a statement by the UN Secretary-General in the presence of all those who attended the dinner on the eve of the talks. The opening ceremony will be followed by a private lunch, attended by Annan, Cordovez, Clerides and Denktash.

In the afternoon of the same day, there will be a meeting between Clerides and Denktash at which Cordovez will present the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities with a UN document.

"We have neither oral nor written briefing about the contents of this document", Christofides told the press.

Later the same day, Cordovez will brief the rest of the delegates about the document.

The programme for the remaining days, Christofides said, will be decided on site.

Access to the site of the talks will be restricted but President Clerides and Denktash will be able to consult their advisors and confer with them outside the location where the talks will take place.

Meanwhile, UN chief of Mission in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, responding to journalists questions said "one should not expect some magic thing coming out of this first meeting". "It does not serve any purpose to prejudge or anticipate what will happen, nor should one pay too much attention to what people say now, because the proof of the pudding is going to be what (the leaders) say there. That is what they are going to be accountable for", he said.

Feissel added that the international community expects both sides to proceed to the direct negotiations "with a very serious intent" and to make "a real concrete contribution" towards a comprehensive settlement. The UN official said that although representatives will be closely monitoring the talks from nearby, the meeting will be "strictly between the two sides and the UN".

[02] British PM stressed leading role of Britain over Cyprus issue

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stressed that the recent G8 Denver summit has "underlined the importance that the international community attaches to" the effort for a Cyprus solution. Replying to a question in the House of Commons on Tuesday (24.6.97), Mr Blair noted that Britain will have a leading role to play when it will hold both European Union and the G8 Presidency at the beginning of 1998.

"We support the EU commitment to open accession negotiations with Cyprus six months after the end of the intergovernmental conference, which will be during our presidency, so we will have a leading role to play", he said.

He also stated: "On the question of Cyprus, the possibility of accession negotiations taking place makes it all the more important that a settlement is achieved. The United Kingdom fully supports the UN-led search for a settlement. The prospects of EU accession and the need to reduce tension make that settlement all the more necessary".

[03] Sir David Hannay: "Ankara holds the key to the negotiations"

Britain's special representative for Cyprus Sir David Hannay has stated that Ankara is the key to Cyprus peace negotiations. Asked during an interview with London Greek Radio (LGR) on Wednesday (25.6.97) to comment whether Ankara holds the key to any progress in the Cyprus problem, the British diplomat said "well, I always thought that ... Ankara is the... key to the negotiations".

However he said "there are several keys that have to be turned, in order to open this door, and some of them, probably the most important, are in the hands of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus".

Referring to the upcoming UN-led negotiations, Sir David said: "I don't underestimate the distance that remains to go" and said nobody should expect that "all of a sudden we are going to discover we have the comprehensive settlement which we are all working for".

"I believe it will take a lot of hard work and a lot of political will on both sides, from the leaders of the two communities, and a good deal of help from those outside, who are working for a settlement, to get to a desirable conclusion", he added.

The British diplomat elaborated on the talks, saying: "This time, we are looking for a solid and more durable, mainly a comprehensive settlement itself. So, it is important, this first meeting, but it is not going to be a make-or-break meeting", he noted.

He said it is the first step along an important road, whose length and duration are actually quite impossible to predict at this stage.

[04] US aid for Cyprus approved

The US Senate Appropriations Committee decided on Tuesday (24.6.97) to approve 15 million dollars for aid to Cyprus for 1998.

The decision stresses that the funds should be used for the promotion of bi- communal projects aiming at a better understanding between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The Bill said the funds are to "be used only for scholarships, administrative support of the scholarship programme, measures aimed at reunification of the island and designed to reduce tensions and promote peace and cooperation between the two communities on Cyprus".


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


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