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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-10-23

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, 23/10/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] US State Department in new statement finds Turkish overflights provocative and disturbing
  • [02] New protest at Turkish air violations at the UN
  • [03] Council of Europe Committee replies on demographic changes in Cyprus


[01] US State Department in new statement finds Turkish overflights provocative and disturbing

The Spokesman of the US State Department James Rubin has amended his earlier (20.10.97) non-committal statement on Turkish overflights of Cyprus and the air harassment of the Greek Defence Minister's aircraft, saying "obviously I didn't do my job as well as I should".

The full statement on the issue was as follows on Wednesday 22.10.97.

"The public accounts we have seen of these - this incident - and I guess there were two incidents - are indeed disturbing. And I must say, looking at it, it's clear that flying provocatively close to the Greek defence minister's aircraft would not be consistent with Turkey's stated desire to reduce tension with Greece.

In the last 24 hours, very senior American officials have raised these events with the Turkish government. We have made clear to our Turkish allies the seriousness with which we view the information we have received and the need to ensure that any future Turkish activities do not contribute to an atmosphere of tension between Turkey and its neighbours. We believe it is important that Turkey and Greece both ensure that the Turkish military exercise scheduled for early November not occasion any new confrontation. We continue to urge a return to a moratorium on overflights of Cyprus by combat aircraft. That is what I intended to say on Monday, but obviously didn't do my job as well as I should.

The dangers inherent in the cycle of exercise and reaction should be apparent to all. It is now time to focus on the future. The United States remains committed to working with Athens and Ankara to improve relations.

So we did indicate our views directly to the Turkish government. We do find that kind of flying close to the airplane of the Greek defence minister disturbing".

Responding to a question, Mr Rubin added he sees no problem with the Greek Defence Minister's visit to Cyprus. "That happens regularly", he said.

[02] New protest at Turkish air violations at the UN

The Republic's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mr Nicos Agathocleous has addressed a new letter to the General Assembly which was circulated as a UN document, in which it protests further violations by Turkish military aircraft of Cyprus's airspace and Nicosia's flight information region (FIR) on September 15, 1997.

It was noted that 16 Turkish aircraft entered Nicosia's FIR without permission. Turkish reconnaissance airplanes flew around the island repeatedly.

The UN Representative underlined in his letter, dated October 20, 1997, that such provocative actions are in contravention of Security Council resolutions which stress that such overflights increase political tension and undermine efforts towards achieving a settlement

[03] Council of Europe Committee replies on demographic changes in Cyprus

The Deputy Ministers Committee of the Council of Europe adopted during its session of 22.10.97 a reply to Parliamentary Assembly recommendation (No 1197/1992) on demographic structures of the Cypriot communities.

In its reply the Committee states the need to support proposals aimed at solving the Cyprus problem put forward by successive Secretaries-General of the United Nations, including confidence - building measures designed to create a new climate, more favourable to the negotiating process.

It reminds that "a study session bringing together young people from both Greek and Turkish Cypriot Communities took place in the European Youth Centre - Budapest from 8-13 June 1997. This activity followed a series of similar bi-communal workshops for university students organised by the Cyprus Fullbright Commission and which had already taken place on the island. The aim of the Budapest study session, also co-ordinated by the Fullbright Commission, was to allow young Cypriots from both Communities to meet, get to know each other and develop relations on a "neutral ground", with a perspective of future co-operation".

Another paragraph of the reply underlined that "Promoting respect for human rights, tolerance and mutual understanding are the essential elements of the vocation of the youth sector of the Council of Europe".

On the issue of the demographic changes which have taken place in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus by the importation of settlers-colonisers from mainland Turkey, the reply said:

"The Committee of Ministers is aware that an artificial change in the demographic structure of the island, with a political objective, could only delay the prospects for an equitable solution of the present deadlock".

It added that the Committee willing to examine the Assembly's proposal for organising a population sensus covering the whole of the island if there is a consensus among the parties concerned.

Finally the Committee's reply repeated that the situation prevailing in Cyprus is "increasingly anachronistic in an era characterised by the breaking down of barriers and the search for greater unity in Europe".


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


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