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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-09-25

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, 25/09/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] Madeleine Albright sees window of opportunity in Cyprus settlement
  • [02] Holbrooke reiterates US active interest in Cyprus problem
  • [03] Foreign Minister Kasoulides holds more contacts in New York
  • [04] Pangalos and Holbrooke discuss Cyprus issue
  • [05] US Senator Joseph Biden sends clear message to Turkey
  • [06] National Council meeting


[01] Madeleine Albright sees window of opportunity in Cyprus settlement

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had a meeting in New York yesterday with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Kasoulides and Albright discussed issues relating to efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem, the forthcoming talks on security issues, the dialogue on humanitarian issues and Cyprus' accession to the European Union. Bilateral relations were also discussed during the meeting which was also attended by officials from both countries.

The US Secretary of State reassured Foreign Minister Kasoulides of her country's active interest and involvement in efforts towards a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Replying to foreign correspondents on the role of the US in the efforts for a solution, Mr Kasoulides said after the meeting: "It is obvious that the US is very much interested to see a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible and to see the negotiations taking place in an appropriate environment that does not create tensions and of course this remains our own goal".

Briefing the press in the afternoon, US State Department Spokesman James Rubin said that the Secretary of State had separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

"These meetings reflected the kind of high level attention the administration places on addressing the problems in the region", he said.

Mr Rubin added that "on Cyprus the Secretary reiterated the view that a window of opportunity is now open and urges all the parties to use their influence to find a solution and refrain from actions that increase tension". Moreover, he said that Ms Albright repeated to each of the leaders in those three meetings that now is the time for statesmanship. "There has been plenty of time over recent months and years for discussion why one side is right and why the other side in wrong. Now with the window of opportunity that we see in the EU accession and the general progress toward resolving such disputes, it's time for statesmen to be statesmen and act with statesmanship".

Replying to a question on Cyprus' EU accession, Mr Rubin said: "Again the focus of this discussion today tended to be a discussion of ways to get some of the bilateral irritant potential problems between Greece and Turkey behind us rather than a focus on Cyprus. The first meeting that was announced at that famous press conference at the Larnaca airport was discussed and there will be such a meeting and we have hoped that the opportunity to discuss the security issues between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders will bear fruit but again the focus today was primarily on bilateral Greek/Turkey issues including the Imia/Kardak dispute".

[02] Holbrooke reiterates US active interest in Cyprus problem

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides also had a meeting in New York yesterday with US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke, in the presence of US State Department Special Coordinator on Cyprus Thomas Miller.

The latest developments on the Cyprus problem, the prospects for a speedy solution to it as well as Cyprus' EU accession were the main issues discussed in the meeting.

Mr Holbrooke reassured to Mr Kasoulides of the US active interest and involvement in the efforts for a speedy solution to the Cyprus problem.

In statements after the meeting Mr Holbrooke welcomed the agreement by both sides to discuss security issues in Nicosia tomorrow.

"It is a sign that everyone is trying to find ways to reduce tension, although I won't mislead you, they haven't addressed the issues, but the fact that they are talking is procedurally important".

He also said that now everyone, including the Governments of Athens and Ankara is in a more productive mood than they were at the beginning of this year. Both (Athens and Ankara) have been trying to make positive statements, Mr Holbrooke said.

However, the US official added: "I think all of you should keep the expectations very low among the people. We are not on the edge of a historic breakthrough. We are not in the middle of a Camp David or Dayton type negotiation. We're just trying to define the issues".

Referring to Cyprus' bid to join the European Union, the American President's Emissary reiterated US support but said it is up to the 15 member states to discuss modalities.

[03] Foreign Minister Kasoulides holds more contacts in New York

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides who is in New York heading the Cyprus delegation to the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly, is having contacts with his foreign counterparts, briefing them on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue and on the positions of the Cyprus Government.

Yesterday afternoon Mr Kasoulides had a meeting with EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek with whom he discussed Cyprus' accession to the EU.

Mr Kasoulides also held separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Austria, Portugal, Spain and the Slovak Republic.

[04] Pangalos and Holbrooke discuss Cyprus issue

Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had successive meetings with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke in New York yesterday.

After the meetings Mr Pangalos said that both the Governments of Greece and the US have the conviction that issues must be resolved peacefully with reference to international law and using international organisations and mechanisms which are anticipated for this purpose.

Mr Pangalos added that his meeting with Mr Holbrooke primarily concerned the Cyprus issue.

On his part Mr Holbrooke said that he thinks that we are on the eve of important developments inside Europe. He said: "The US is not a member of the European Union but we support the accession of Cyprus to the EU, the details to be worked out by the EU, and we support the lowering of tensions in the Aegean which Minister Pangalos has been discussing with Secretary of State Albright".

Mr Holbrooke also referred to the security talks due to start tomorrow and said: "We're very pleased that President Clerides and Mr Denktash are starting security talks this week, an action that Mr Miller helped stimulate during his trip to Nicosia last week".

Mr Holbrooke added that he has no plans of his own personal travel to the region but he stressed that the United States is and will continue to remain heavily engaged in this issue.

[05] US Senator Joseph Biden sends clear message to Turkey

During the confirmation hearing on 23.9.97 for the new US Ambassadors to Greece and Turkey, Nicholas Burns and Marc Parris respectively, Senator Joseph Biden (D) warned both Ambassadors regarding US policy on the Cyprus issue and at the same time he sent a clear message to Turkey.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden said:

"The Deputy Prime Minister (of Turkey Bulent) Ecevit has emerged as the primary foreign policy spokesperson. And he was the same fellow who was the Prime Minister when Cyprus was invaded in 1974. And as I understand, from what I've read and been told he remains very proud of, 'that accomplishment' which I don't know why he should be".

Senator Biden added that Ecevit issued a "Joint Declaration" with occupation leader Rauf Denktash last July in which he called for partial integration of the occupied part of Cyprus to Turkey.

The US Senator expressed the hope that none of the two new Ambassadors suffer from the bizarre notion of evenhandedness and he explained: "Evenhanded means to be fair. And it is our policy, has been our policy, that the invasion of Cyprus was a violation of international law". He noted that according to US policy the invasion "was illegal". In implementing our policy we should say (to Turkey) 'you do not have the right to have troops in Cyprus', Senator Biden added.

Stressing that the Cyprus question is a major US foreign policy priority, new US Ambassador to Turkey Marc Parris noted that Ankara strongly supported Richard Holbrooke's nomination as US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus.

On his part, Nicholas Burns said "the other side of the coin from Cyprus, of course, the other great crisis, is Greco-Turkish misunderstandings and differences in the Aegean".

He also told the Committee: " I think it is time for us as Americans to remind ourselves of the importance of Greece to the American people - as a valued NATO ally, an increasingly prosperous member of the European Union, a leader in the Balkans, and as a force for peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean".

He said "the challenges are many: to seek a peaceful resolution of disputes between Greece and Turkey, to resolve the problems afflicting Cyprus..."

[06] National Council meeting

The National Council (top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus issue) yesterday rounded up discussions on latest developments in efforts to solve the Cyprus question and upcoming talks between the two sides on security issues.

Yesterday's meeting was the third one held over the past two weeks to discuss the post-Montreux period and strategy as well as the agreement for a dialogue on security issues between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

The first meeting on the security dialogue will be held tomorrow.

Party leaders supported the President's decision to meet the Turkish Cypriot leader to discuss security issues. They decided that the meetings should address fundamental matters.


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


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