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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-09-15

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, 15/09/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] US Cyprus Coordinator arrives for talks
  • [02] Foreign Minister says his European tour was successful
  • [03] National Council meeting
  • [04] Cypriot parliamentary delegation at IPU conference
  • [05] UNESCO to do all it can to protect island's cultural heritage
  • [06] Friends of Cyprus delegation and Australian delegation arrive in Cyprus


[01] US Cyprus Coordinator arrives for talks

The US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, arrived in Cyprus on Friday (12.9.97) for his first visit since his appointment a couple of months ago.

He told the press on arrival at Larnaca airport that this was a critical period for the Cyprus problem, and stressed that any solution must involve "give and take".

"No one gets everything they want - that is the definition of a successful negotiation," Miller said.

Miller said he came here "to do a lot of listening" and that the US, which is very interested in finding a settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem, will persist with its ideas on how this should be brought about.

The American diplomat said Clerides' proposal for the demilitarisation of the island, was an excellent objective but that Cyprus' intention to deploy Russian-made surface-to-air missiles was not constructive or helpful to the peace process nor were Turkish threats to strike the missiles.

He said that he would be discussing issues such as security, constitutional arrangements and international troop presence.

Replying to questions, he said he had "very productive discussions in Ankara" and "excellent" talks in Athens before coming to Cyprus, but refrained from disclosing anything about the contents of his discussions.

On Saturday Miller had a working breakfast with UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel, at which US Ambassador Kenneth Brill and British High Commissioner David Madden were also present.

In statements after the meeting he said he brings "specific ideas" on the Cyprus problem which he will be discussing during his visit.

Today he will be received by President Clerides and have a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

The American diplomat's visit to the region and to European capitals heralds the expected arrival in November of US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke to the island.

[02] Foreign Minister says his European tour was successful

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides arrived back on the island yesterday after a seven-nation Baltic and European tour.

Speaking on arrival from Athens at Larnaca, he said the purpose of his visits was two-fold. On the one hand it was to strengthen Cyprus' ties with Baltic countries which are also EU applicants and, as regards his visit to the European capitals Luxembourg, Bonn and Rome, it was to further the island's position in talks with member states.

"I believe the purpose of these visits has been fulfilled and I would like to stress once again that we have to prioritise our goals according to a time hierarchy," he said.

Kasoulides said that during his trip he had outlined the importance of accession negotiations in relation to UN efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

"We want accession talks to run smoothly in order to act as the catalyst that would lead Turkey to weigh the pros and cons and finally come to the conclusion that a solution in Cyprus prior to EU accession is to its advantage."

Kasoulides added that it is important EU member states understand the significance of Cyprus' membership to a settlement of the political problem.

He said that his EU counterparts have made it clear "there is no connection between Cyprus' and Turkey's application for EU membership", but acknowledged there is a kind of "indirect and unavoidable link".

He said he had explained to his European counterparts that President Clerides has already invited Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to join the Cyprus delegation which will negotiate EU accession and that the government has also proposed that Turkish Cypriots be kept fully informed once accession negotiations begin early next year.

[03] National Council meeting

President Glafcos Clerides today chaired a meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body on the Cyprus problem.

Speaking after the meeting Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said that the President briefed the Council members about what he had discussed with Mr Feissel and Mr Miller, while the Foreign Minister Mr Kasoulides briefed them about the various meetings he had had on his European tour.

He said that President Clerides also told Council members about his letter to the Greek Prime Minister Mr Simitis in which he sets out alternatives as to the handling of the Cyprus problem.

The Spokesman added that the post-Montreux period and strategy will be discussed at an all day session of the National Council on Thursday.

[04] Cypriot parliamentary delegation at IPU conference

A Cypriot parliamentary delegation is currently in Cairo attending the 98th meeting of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) being held from 11-16 September.

The Deputy President of the House of Representatives, and Chairman of the ruling right-wing Democratic Rally Party (DISY) Deputy Nicos Anastasiades, who is heading the delegation, briefed the IPU's Monitoring Committee on Cyprus about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem, including the recent UN-led talks in New York and Montreux referring also to the recent Turkish provocative actions.

Replying to a question by the Finnish committee president on whether the Greek Cypriot side respects democracy in the occupied part of Cyprus, as well as the views of the Turkish Cypriots, Mr Anastasiades reminded him that the international community recognises only the Republic of Cyprus as the sole legitimate government on the island and therefore his question was inappropriate.

He stressed, moreover, that there is no democracy in the occupied part of Cyprus but an illegal entity which is supported by the Turkish occupation army.

The Cypriot delegation to the Cairo meeting also includes Andreas Philippou, of left-wing AKEL party, Stathis Kittis, of the Democratic Party, Yiannakis Omirou of Socialist EDEK, and Androulla Vassiliou of the United Democrats.

Speaking during the plenary session on human rights issues, AKEL deputy Andreas Philippou, said that the continuing occupation of part of Cyprus by Turkish occupation troops poses a serious obstacle in consolidating democratic values.

"Their presence and that of some 100.000 illegal Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus impedes free speech, even for the Turkish Cypriots who want to speak out for a peaceful settlement of the protracted Cyprus question," Philipou said.

Another Cypriot deputy, Androulla Vassiliou of the United Democrats, addressed the issue of unemployment. Noting that while the rate of unemployment in Cyprus ranges between 3 - 3,5 per cent, for the Turkish Cypriot the absence of opportunities and the artificial isolation of the occupied areas have pushed unemployment to very high levels.

"We must reunite Cyprus if we want to tackle unemployment for all Cypriots and turn Cyprus into one of the biggest business and services centres in the world and a bridge between East and West," Mrs Vassiliou said.

[05] UNESCO to do all it can to protect island's cultural heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will do everything in its power to help in the preservation and protection of Cyprus' cultural inheritance, UNESCO Deputy Director-General Lourdes Arizpe said.

Arizpe gave this assurance to the Mayor of the Turkish-occupied village of Lapithos, Nicos Evangelou, who in a letter to the UN body expressed his strong protests over the conversion of the village's historic church of Saint Anastasia and surrounding area into bars, a nursing home and a hotel complex.

The conversion, already underway, was ordered by the occupation regime which has a long track record of pillaging historic sites in the occupied areas and converting them mainly into tourism-oriented complexes.

[06] Friends of Cyprus delegation and Australian delegation arrive in Cyprus

A delegation from the British "Friends of Cyprus" group and a group of Australian deputies arrived separately over the weekend for five-day visits to the island.

Heading the "Friends of Cyprus" delegation is the President of the group Lord Bethel, accompanied by Group Vice-Presidents Labour MP Robin Corbett and Conservative MP Roger Gale, and group members Labour MP Valerie Davey and Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock.

The Australian delegation consists of Australian Federal MP and Labour party Shadow Foreign Minister Laurence John Brereton, along with Federal Senator and Labour Party Shadow Attorney-General Nick Bolkus


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


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