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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-09-16

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, 16/09/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Albright in Cyprus announces Clerides and Denktash to discuss security issues
  • [02] Clerides to enter dialogue in a constructive spirit
  • [03] EU Council reconfirms decision on Cyprus' accession
  • [04] Cyprus protests to UN over illegal lease of Greek-Cypriot properties
  • [05] Arab Bank PLC to establish a Cyprus Offshore Banking Unit


[01] Albright in Cyprus announces Clerides and Denktash to discuss security issues

US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright came to Cyprus yesterday to announce that President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had agreed to meet soon to discuss security issues.

Paying a quick stop-over visit to Cyprus from Lebanon before returning to Washington, Albright said both President Clerides and Mr Denktash have informed State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller and US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, of "their willingness to meet soon to discuss security issues".

Congratulating both leaders for "their wisdom and foresight", Albright described the development as "a substantial step", that would help "reduce tensions and improve the overall atmosphere for serious negotiations to tackle the core issues of the Cyprus problem".

The announcement came after Mr Miller had separate meetings in Nicosia with President Clerides and Mr Denktash.

"Today's agreement represents a significant step in the right direction", Albright said, adding that it "symbolises the same spirit to settle differences peacefully and not through the threat of force", citing as a similar example the agreement reached between the leaderships of Greece and Turkey in Madrid earlier this year.

Albright said the US looks forward to the further reduction of tensions through the talks that herself, Ambassador Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary Marc Grossman, and Miller will be conducting next week in New York with officials from the region.

Miller left the island for London later in the afternoon and on Thursday he is scheduled to meet European Union External Relations Commissioner, Hans van den Broek, in Brussels.

Moreover, speaking on CNN yesterday, the US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke said that this agreement "is a significant step towards lowering tensions".

He said that while these talks will be under UN auspices, Secretary Albright 's personal involvement in the announcement and the fact that they would be both meeting with the Greek and Turkish leaders in New York in the next two weeks, is another indication of the aggressive engagement of the United States in solving the security problems of this region.

"Instability in this region is a direct threat to America's national interests", he added.

Furthermore, the Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives, Mr Ben Gilman, also welcomed the announcement.

While Congressman Gilman cautioned against raising expectations too high, he expressed the hope that with goodwill on both sides the leaders would make some progress on agreeing to concrete measures to achieve greater security for all the people of Cyprus. He urged Clerides and Denktash to make the most out of the occasion.

[02] Clerides to enter dialogue in a constructive spirit

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides issued a written statement yesterday saying that President Clerides will enter the dialogue with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on security issues in a constructive spirit.

"President Clerides, has today accepted the proposal by US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, to start a dialogue with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in Nicosia, under the auspices of UN Resident Representative Gustave Feissel, to discuss all issues concerning security, without any pre-conditions or a set agenda, " the statement said.

The Foreign Minister recalled that President Clerides had proposed, during last month's second round of UN-sponsored direct talks in Glion, Switzerland, that he and Mr Denktash enter a dialogue in Nicosia on security issues as a first step for the complete demilitarisation of Cyprus.

[03] EU Council reconfirms decision on Cyprus' accession

The Foreign Ministers of the 15 European Union (EU) member states reconfirmed yesterday that talks on Cyprus' accession to the EU will start six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference and are not connected with the Cyprus problem.

This was stressed in a joint statement of the EU General Affairs Council issued after a discussion in Brussels regarding Cyprus' accession process, that took place at the initiative of Greece.

In their statement, the Foreign Ministers condemn Turkish threats against the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus if it proceeds with EU accession.

Pointing out that accession should be to the benefit of both communities on the island, the Foreign Ministers, welcome the invitation extended by the Cyprus government to the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the Republic's delegation that will take part in the negotiations.

Regarding the Cyprus problem, the Foreign Ministers express regret that there has been no progress despite two rounds of direct talks between Clerides and Denktash and call for the resumption of the talks.

They also call both sides to refrain from actions that could endanger negotiations.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said his country recognises only one government in Cyprus and described statements he made earlier referring to "two governments" on the island as a "misunderstanding".

[04] Cyprus protests to UN over illegal lease of Greek-Cypriot properties

Cyprus has protested to the UN over the illegal action of the Turkish occupation regime to lease Greek Cypriot properties to Turkish companies, calling for the immediate intervention of the international organisation.

In a letter, circulated earlier this month as a document of the UN General Assembly and Security Council, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Nicos Agathocleous, points to the agreement by the illegal regime to lease the "Salamis Bay Hotel" in the occupied area of Famagusta to "Istanbul Airlines", a Turkish company, for a period of 49 years.

"Such properties belong to their legal owners and thus their transfer to others is illegal and in violation of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the relevant UN resolutions on Cyprus," he underlines.

[05] Arab Bank PLC to establish a Cyprus Offshore Banking Unit

The Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, Mr Afxentis C. Afxentiou, yesterday granted a banking business licence to Arab Bank PLC of Jordan, to carry on offshore banking business from within Cyprus through a Cyprus Offshore Banking Unit (OBU).

Arab Bank is today the leading bank in Jordan.

Its Cyprus Offshore Banking Unit will deal only in foreign currencies and transact business only with other offshore and non-resident companies as well as non-resident persons. Arab Bank's Cyprus OBU will be subject to the supervision and inspection of the Central Bank of Cyprus, in addition to the supervision of the Central Bank of Jordan.

The decision of Arab Bank to carry on banking business from within Cyprus on an offshore basis, in addition to its onshore operations, is another indication of the island's success in attracting international banks and financial institutions and of Cyprus' growing recognition among such institutions as a reputable offshore financial centre.

So far, 32 offshore banking business licences have been granted to a respective number of international banks and 8 permits have been issued for the establishment of representative offices of foreign banks in Cyprus.


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


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