|Sunday, 19 May 2019|
Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-11-05
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 National Council discusses UN Chief's letterThe National Council (top advisory body to the President on the national issue) met this morning chaired by President Clerides.
After the meeting, Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides stated that in today's meeting the National Council studied the letter sent to President Clerides by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on 25 October 1997 and drafted the framework for a reply aiming at a substantive and productive dialogue.
The UN Chief wrote to the two sides in Cyprus as well as the governments of Greece and Turkey, proposing a visit by his special advisor on Cyprus Diego Cordovez to investigate whether they would be willing to participate in open-ended talks to solve the Cyprus problem.
Moreover, the Spokesman said that President Clerides briefed members of the National Council today on the latest developments in the issue of the missing.
 DIKO party withdraws from coalition governmentThe five Democratic Party (DIKO) ministers in the DISY-DIKO coalition government this morning tendered their resignations to President Glafcos Clerides.
The decision to break up the alliance was taken by DIKO's Central Committee yesterday which unanimously endorsed a proposal by the party's Executive Bureau.
The five DIKO ministers who tendered their resignations are the following:
Minister of Interior, Dinos Michaelides Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kyriacos Christofi Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Costas Petrides Minister of Defence, Costas Eliades Minister of Labour and Social Security, Andreas Moushiouttas.
 Robin Cook: Cyprus should not be barred from EU accessionBritain wishes to see a solution to the Cyprus problem before the island's EU entry, but in case a solution is not found before accession negotiations are completed, the Republic of Cyprus should not be barred from entering Europe, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said yesterday.
The British Foreign Secretary, who appeared before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, was replying to a relevant question by Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay during the discussion on EU enlargement.
Mr Robin Cook said that Britain supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem which will lead to a federal, bizonal state in which political equality between the two communities will be safeguarded. It is possible, he added, that during the accession negotiations opportunities may arise for such a solution. We have the view, Mr Cook added, that the Turkish Cypriots have a lot to gain from Cyprus' accession to the EU.
Moreover, he stressed that in case no solution is found before accession negotiations are completed, Cyprus should not be barred from entering Europe. This is the policy of this government, he said.
 Cyprus Foreign Minister comments on Simitis-Yilmaz meetingFollowing the meeting on 3.11.97 between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey in Crete on the sidelines of the first Balkan summit, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said the climate of detente is probably the only positive development out of the meeting as far as Cyprus is concerned.
Mr Kasoulides reiterated the view that improved Greco-Turkish relations would have a positive effect on Cyprus, stressing that these ties can only improve after a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Speaking to the press at the close of the Balkan summit, Greek Premier Costas Simitis described the talks with his Turkish counterpart as useful and positive.
"The worst thing is silence and confrontation", Simitis stressed, adding that he would take Yilmaz up on his invitation to visit Turkey "only if the prerequisites exist for a successful outcome", clarifying that by this he did not mean just a lessening of tension in the Aegean "but also other matters".
On the Cyprus problem, Simitis said that during the meeting "it was ascertained that it is a problem which creates tension in the region".
Simitis said he had reiterated to Yilmaz Greece's longstanding position that Athens was not opposed to cooperation between Turkey and the European Union for political, religious and cultural reasons.
But, he continued, this presupposes the settlement of certain major problems, including respect for international law and human rights, and for Turkey to recognise "all the rules emanating from international treaties".
On his part, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, who was also speaking to the press after the Balkan summit in Crete rejected a proposal by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides for the island's demilitarisation. He said he is not interested in this proposal, but in more "realistic" ideas.
The Turkish Premier also said that everybody is interested in solving the complex and long-standing Cyprus problem.
 Germany's keen interest in Cyprus solution continuesGermany continues to show a keen interest in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Detlev Graf zu Rantzau, Germany's envoy for Cyprus said yesterday.
The German official had separate meetings with President Glafcos Clerides and House President Spyros Kyprianou and stated that his presence in Nicosia "is meant to manifest and document the continued strong interest my government has in working together with the Republic of Cyprus to find a solution".
He described his talks with President Clerides as "extremely interesting", adding that he learned something new but made no further comment. He said that they also discussed the prospects for Cyprus' EU accession.
Rantzau, who leaves the island tomorrow, has already had a meeting with UN envoy in Cyprus Gustave Feissel and will also have contacts in the occupied areas.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/