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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-10-13

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 <>

News Update

Monday, 13/10/97


  • [01] President Clerides addresses Council of Europe Summit
  • [02] Cyprus Foreign Minister's contacts in Strasbourg
  • [03] Foreign Minister on Russian missiles
  • [04] Russia and Greece warn Turkey
  • [05] Holbrooke and Miller due to visit Ankara

[01] President Clerides addresses Council of Europe Summit

President Glafcos Clerides has called on the Council of Europe to "act promptly" in condemning human rights violations and providing assistance to redress them.

Addressing the second Council Summit on 11 October in Strasbourg, the President welcomed the upcoming establishment of a new single European Court of Human Rights as well as the introduction of a Commissioner for Human Rights.

"The survival of the organisation depends on how influential it is in assisting governments to change policies and practices in order to conform with the standards set by the Council of Europe," he told the 40 heads of states or governments attending the meeting.

President Clerides stressed the responsibility of each state to honour its commitments and said "at this very moment gross violations of human rights and freedoms are committed in some member-states which are a disgrace to our civilisation."

"The Council must act promptly in condemning such situations and act swiftly in providing assistance to them," he added.

Referring to the establishment of the new Court, in November 1998, the President said it will "further improve the present high quality of human rights protection."

The new Court, he said, will make the citizens of Europe have confidence that "their rights and freedoms are guaranteed by a supra-national judicial body, offering them appropriate remedies, in case national systems failed to do so."

President Clerides chaired the first morning session of the Summit on Saturday, one of five heads of state to chair a session during this second Council Summit. The first took place in Vienna five years ago.

Later that day the President flew to London to attend a dinner marking 75 years of the Archbishopric of Theatiron. He is expected to fly to Athens today for talks on the Cyprus problem with Greek premier Costas Simitis, returning home tomorrow.

While in Strasbourg President Clerides had a meeting with the President of the European Commission, Jacques Santer.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Santer expressed the belief that the European Council will endorse in December a recommendation for accession talks to begin with Cyprus and that he expected these talks to begin in the spring of 1998.

President Glafcos Clerides also had a meeting with the Council of Europe's Secretary-General Daniel Tarschys. Their talks focused on how the CoE could help the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, especially the young people, in Cyprus come closer together.

[02] Cyprus Foreign Minister's contacts in Strasbourg

Cyprus' Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had a meeting in Strasbourg with Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Piero Franko Fassino and Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen.

Mr Fassino said after the meeting that he had expressed his country's support for the accession negotiations Cyprus will have with the European Union next year and its interest in a solution of the Cyprus problem.

With the Danish Foreign Minister, Mr Kasoulides discussed Cyprus' accession course to the EU and how it can help efforts for a Cyprus settlement as well as issues concerning the Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Mr Petersen is currently the chairman in office.

Mr Petersen expressed the belief that it is imperative that a political solution is found in Cyprus.

"I hope there is a window of opportunity. I see signs of this," Petersen said.

Petersen noted that the "status quo is not really acceptable to anybody."

He described as a "step in the right direction" which is "very much welcomed by the EU" the inclusion of representatives from the Turkish Cypriot community in Cyprus' accession delegation.

Moreover, while in Strasbourg, Mr Kassoulides had separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of the Netherlands, Hungary and Moldavia Hans van Mierlo, Laszlo Kovacs and Nicolae Tabacaru respectively.

[03] Foreign Minister on Russian missiles

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said that Turkey's threats against Cyprus make the deployment of Russian anti-aircraft missiles on the island all the more imperative.

In an interview with the Greek Cypriot daily "Phileleftheros" yesterday, the Minister said "the substance of the Cyprus question will be discussed after February's presidential elections and on our part, the government does not wish to make any commitment at present."

Mr Kasoulides also said that if British and American influence on Turkey are combined in the right direction, they would help efforts for a solution.

Referring to a military co-operation agreement between Israel and Turkey, the Minister said despite Israeli assurances this agreement is not against Cyprus, "there is some kind of concern and sensitivity, not because there are any military repercussions emanating from the agreement but because regional balance should seriously take into account the continuing Turkish occupation of Cyprus."

[04] Russia and Greece warn Turkey

Russia and Greece have threatened Turkey with war if it attacks Russian or Greek ships carrying Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Cyprus.

The Russian warning came from Moscow's Ambassador in Nicosia, Georgi Muradov, who in a televised interview on Friday night said his country would consider such an attack as a "casus belli".

In Athens, Greek Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas told the press when asked to comment on Muradov's statement, that Greece would act in likewise if a Greek ship was attacked by Turkey.

The Russian diplomat told the CyBC television that his country would honour the contract it signed with Cyprus for the sale of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Cyprus. He said the missiles would come to Cyprus unless there was an agreement on the island's complete demilitarisation or progress was reached in the Cyprus peace talks.

Moreover, speaking to Cypriot journalists at the close of the second Council of Europe summit in Strasbourg, President Clerides welcomed Russia's position, saying that Turkey cannot be allowed to act as the policeman in the region, and the Convention on the transit through the Straits is crystal clear on the matter.

He recalled that Turkey has turned down Cyprus' repeated proposals for the reduction of forces in Cyprus and demilitarisation of the island.

"Turkey cannot claim the missiles are an offensive weapon against either Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots unless Turkey intends to launch an air attack. In such a case, we shall make use of these weapons," he said.

However, Turkey's Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz dismissed Russia's warning against Turkish threats to strike Russian ships carrying missiles to Cyprus.

He said "casus belli is something serious, no country in the world would do it through an ambassador".

Mr Yilmaz told a press conference in Strasbourg that it would be impossible for Cyprus to join the EU unless the Cyprus question is resolved.

[05] Holbrooke and Miller due to visit Ankara

US State Department Spokesman, James Rubin announced on Friday that Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, and State Department Co-ordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, would visit Ankara on 12-13 October, where they will "continue discussions with Turkish leaders they began in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly".

"They will discuss the full range of issues relating to our efforts to promote a settlement of the Cyprus dispute", Mr Rubin said, and emphasised that the visit "is not a negotiation" but a "continuation of discussions."

He described it as a "natural follow up to discussions" which Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Assistant Secretary Marc Grossman, Holbrooke and Miller had with Turkish officials in New York.

"We are engaged in an active process of discussions to see what assistance we can provide the parties in coming to a conclusion," he said.

Rubin said Holbrooke and Miller "look forward to meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash when he visits the US later this month."

The State Department Spokesman said the US believes "now is the right time to continue the process in Ankara."

He said Miller will then go to Athens but the trip will not include Cyprus.

From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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