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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-11-11

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

Tuesday, 11/11/97


  • [01] US Presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke arrives in Cyprus for talks
  • [02] President Clerides had talks with Richard Holbrooke
  • [03] Talks in Cyprus will continue, Holbrooke says

[01] US Presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke arrives in Cyprus for talks

United States special presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke arrived in Cyprus on Monday evening (10.11.97) on a cautious note, saying he "did not expect any breakthroughs" at this stage.

Speaking to the press at Larnaca airport Ambassador Holbrooke said he was glad that president Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had agreed to meet him and to attend a joint meeting at the Ledra Palace hotel this morning, saying the fact that "both men are willing to continue talking about issues of immense complexity" was positive.

He added that the US "is committed to using whatever influence it has to assist the two communities" in the search for a solution.

Mr Holbrooke also stressed the fact that his visit had come about after five meetings with Denktash in Washington and three telephone calls to Clerides.

He also denied that the visit had anything to do with the upcoming Cypriot presidential elections, noting that there "was always" a pre-election campaign in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey or the US.

Asked about the purpose of his visit to Moscow, from where he flew to Nicosia, Holbrooke said it had nothing to do with the S-300 missiles, and that he had been in Moscow on personal business. He had not met any Russian officials, he said, and was only now "wearing the hat as the President's emissary".

On the subject of European Union accession prospects for both Cyprus and Turkey, Mr Holbrooke said he was "delighted" by the prospects of Cyprus' accession and repeated the US position on Turkey's accession saying "Even though we (the US) cannot tell the EU who should join, we believe that Turkey should ultimately be a member".

He concluded by repeating the position that for confidential talks to bring about results, they should remain confidential and repeated that "there would be no final solutions in the coming hours".

[02] President Clerides had talks with Richard Holbrooke

President Glafcos Clerides had talks Monday night (10.11.97) at the presidential palace with President Clinton's emissary Richard Holbrooke.

Mr Holbrooke went straight into the talks with Mr Clerides, immediately after his arrival at Larnaca airport. At the hour-long meeting, US State Department's special Cyprus co-ordinator ambassador Tom Miller and ambassador to Nicosia Kenneth Brill were also present.

From the Greek Cypriot side present at the talks were Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Attorney General Alecos Markides, Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides and Under-Secretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.

No statements were made after the meeting, following which President Clerides had another meeting with his advisers.

Earlier on Monday (10.11.97) Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides welcomed Mr Holbrooke's visit and also stressed that no statements would be made on the contents on the talks.

Christofides welcomed international interest, especially on behalf of the US, in a settlement to the Cyprus problem.

"It is the first time there is so much international interest, on behalf of the US, the UN, the European Union and many others", he noted.

The Spokesman added "American interest in a settlement is expressed at the highest possible level, from President Clinton to the Secretary of State and other officials".

He expressed hope that Turkish intransigence would be overcome and a settlement to the protracted Cyprus question would be reached.

[03] Talks in Cyprus will continue, Holbrooke says

The highlight of US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke's visit to Cyprus has been taking place from nine this morning (Tuesday, 11.11.97) until one o'clock at the Ledra Palace Hotel, the former jewel of the crown among the island's hotels in pre-invasion Nicosia, now the decrepit base of UN soldiers in the buffer zone dividing the city.

It has been a three-way meeting between Richard Holbrooke, President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

The four-hour meeting has been shrouded in mystery as no indication had been given about Mr Holbrooke's mission, whether he was focusing on specific points of convergence that would help Cyprus negotiations to continue in a more fruitful manner than in the past.

The most recent stumbling block in the process happened during the UN- sponsored direct talks in Montreux, Switzerland, last August, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to discuss the Cyprus question unless the European Union froze the date for EU-accession negotiations with the Republic of Cyprus.

After the meeting with the Cypriot leaders ambassador Holbrooke made a brief statement in which he thanked them for their availability and willingness to talk but did not reveal anything about the subject matter of the talks.

Replying to questions Mr Holbrooke said the mere fact that this meeting took place is very positive and he underlined that both leaders assured him of their commitment to continue to be available for talks.

Both Mr Clerides and Mr Denktash were very candid and open in their talks, Mr Holbrooke said, but their positions on vital aspects of the problem are contradictory.

The American envoy stressed that the talks will continue either through visits by himself or by Ambassador Tom Miller but also through US Nicosia Ambassador Kenneth Brill.

One point the American envoy revealed was that the European Union will not on December 13 change its decision to start accession negotiations with Cyprus next spring.

The American team of officials will travel to Ankara for meetings with the Turkish government and will then fly to Brussels for talks with the European Union. A trip to Athens was not scheduled yet due to logistic difficulties.

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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