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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-11-12

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

Wednesday, 12/11/97


  • [01] Richard Holbrooke's Press Conference in Cyprus
  • [02] Five new Ministers appointed by the President

[01] Richard Holbrooke's Press Conference in Cyprus

Richard Holbrooke, President Clinton's special emissary for Cyprus, left the island on Tuesday, 11.11.97, "with a very much improved understanding of the views of the two leaders".

No spectacular announcement came after a four-hour joint meeting between US special envoy Holbrooke, President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash at the Ledra Palace hotel in Nicosia's UN-controlled buffer zone. That was in keeping with a pledge of a complete news blackout about the talks.

Several points emerged through Mr. Holbrooke's responses during a joint press conference for the Greek and Turkish Cypriot reporters.

Ambassador Holbrooke acknowledged that "on their publicly stated positions, the two sides have incompatible positions on two or three absolutely central issues."

He insisted on calling the meetings talks and not negotiations on substantive issues, while saying that he expects no early breakthroughs.

"We have to keep talking to create opportunities, the conversation was candid and confidential and was conducted in a very positive atmosphere. This is in my mind a positive fact", he said.

"Today's discussions", he added, showed a "willingness to try to address the problems of the future."

Expressing satisfaction at the two leaders' commitment to continue the talks, Mr. Holbrooke said: "The two men are fully accesible to the US government and they are tenacious and articulate defenders of their points of view".

The American envoy urged the two sides to look to the future, after having observed on the legacy of distrust and a great concern for painful events of the past: "the past is an ever present factor in Cyprus and it puts a very heavy legacy on the future. And I don't think we should ignore the past, we should learn from it but we cannot be imprisoned by the past. And we cannot be imprisond by history, particularly history which is disputed and turns myths into historical facts. But, these differences are very profound and they range from very small details, like exactly what was in such and such a document in Zurich or London, to very basic issues like how could you deal with the right of the refugees to return. It's a very profound set of disagreements - remember now, I am not talking about what we talked about this morning. I am making a general statement about the situation in Cyprus and why it's defied over 30 years of negotiators of the United States, the United Nations and other countries", he sa id.

Ambassador Holbrooke said he believes that the problem of Cyprus is the core issue that has to be dealt with before other Greco-Turkish differences are resolved. Explaining how he sees the role of the United States in the region, the US presidential emissary said:

"American history in this area is not entirely clean. There are some things that previous American Administrations did in this area, particularly between the mid-1960's and 1974 which I think were shameful. I don't need to go into details, because then I begin fighting history. There are certain things that happened, that the United States should not have done. I publicly spoke out and wrote about them at the time. This Administration is committed to close relations and supportive democracy in all the countries in the area. It was not so clear in the 60's and early 70's, and so we bear a certain responsibility for our own role in contributing to certain events here which were tragic. But, our long-range historical interests are clear, and that's why we are in the region."

Mr. Holbrooke said the dialogue will continue on "a less visible level on a regular basis" through the US Ambassador to Nicosia Kenneth Brill, without ruling out further visits to the area by himself or the State Department special co-ordinator for Cyprus, Ambassador Thomas Miller.

From Cyprus the American envoys went to Ankara where they had talks with Turkish deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem on Tuesday night (11.11.97).

[02] Five new Ministers appointed by the President

Five new Ministers took office on Wednesday (12.11.97) following a ceremony at the presidential palace. President Clerides appointed the new ministers to his eleven-member Cabinet in the wake of the resignation of the five Democratic Party ministers who shared equal seats in the Cabinet with his own party, the Democratic Rally, according to the two parties' co- government arrangement since Mr. Clerides's election in February 1993. Democratic Party (DIKO) leader Spyros Kyprianou - himself a presidential candidate for the elections of next February - decided to break the partnership agreement last week when President Clerides announced his own candidacy.

A furore ensued with the DIKO ministers being ordered by their party to withdraw from the government and feeling their loyalties divided between party and the government in which they have served for over four years.

President Clerides finally accepted their resignations on Monday (10.11.97), a few days earlier than he anticipated in order to defuse the situation.

The President decided to appoint non-party personalities as ministers for the last four months of this government's term. Three of them have served in senior civil service posts and two come from the business community. They are:

George Stavrinakis: Minister of the Interior Andreas Charalambides: Minister of Defence Efstathios Papadakis: Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Michael Michaelides: Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Andreas Mantovanis: Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment.

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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