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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-01-15

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, 15/01/98


CONTENTS

  • [01] Robin Cook: Cyprus' EU accession progress not conditional on solution
  • [02] Cyprus and Estonia promote bilateral relations
  • [03] Russia reiterates support for UN efforts towards Cyprus solution
  • [04] Cyprus protests to UN over cultural heritage destruction by Turks
  • [05] President Clerides presents "Cyprus Export Awards"


[01] Robin Cook: Cyprus' EU accession progress not conditional on solution

British Foreign Secretary and current President of the EU Council of Ministers, Robin Cook, said that the European Union has the opportunity to contribute to a Cyprus settlement, through the prospect of the Republic joining its ranks.

Mr Cook, who was addressing yesterday the European Parliament in Strasbourg, reiterated that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a condition for progress on the Republic's accession.

He stressed EU support for the UN Secretary-General's efforts for a political solution in Cyprus and expressed the hope that peace negotiations will begin after next month's presidential elections in the Republic.

The British Foreign Secretary also welcomed "the willingness of the government of Cyprus to include Turkish Cypriots in the delegation for the accession negotiations" scheduled to begin in April.

Mr Cook stressed that "Cyprus is entitled to have its application for membership considered on its own merits and its progress must not be conditional on a solution to the division of the island.

"We would like to see a bizonal, bicommunal, federal Cyprus join the EU. We will now work hard to take forward the accession of Cyprus," he said.

Referring to Turkey, Mr Cook inter alia said that all countries wishing to join the EU must meet the criteria laid down and stressed they will be judged by the same criteria.

Moreover, Mr Cook will today discuss the Cyprus issue with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Cyprus question will be among the issues to be discussed in the first 1998 EU-US ministerial meeting taking place in Washington DC today among top US and European Union officials.

[02] Cyprus and Estonia promote bilateral relations

Agreements on the abolition of visas and the establishment of air services were signed yesterday between Cyprus and Estonia. The two agreements were signed in Nicosia by the Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Estonia, Ioannis Kasoulides and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, respectively.

These accords are expected to boost bilateral relations and help people from both countries to get to know each other.

Minister Kasoulides also exchanged views with his Estonian counterpart on how their two countries can cooperate in their bid to join the European Union (EU).

Mr Kasoulides said his counterpart's visit "demonstrates the close ties that are developing between our two small countries, with similar histories and parallel problems, and particularly with the common goal of joining the EU."

Mr Ilves pointed out that Cyprus and Estonia "understand each other" and said "the role of small countries in the wider political scene of the world is important."

He added that he expects "a good deal of cooperation and exchange of ideas and experiences in the years to come, leading to the time when both countries will join the EU."

The Estonian Minister was also received yesterday by President Glafcos Clerides and had a meeting with House President Spyros Kyprianou. After his contacts Mr Ilves said that Cyprus is "well on its way" for European Union (EU) accession, but Estonia needs to do some catching up.

In statements after visiting Kyprianou, the Estonian Minister said they decided to have exchanges between parliamentary groups because "it is very important to have as well parliamentary participation in the negotiation process and the preparations for joining the EU".

Moreover, the Estonian Minister inaugurated yesterday afternoon the Honorary Consulate General of his country in Nicosia. Estonia's Honorary Consul General is Michael Zambelas.

[03] Russia reiterates support for UN efforts towards Cyprus solution

Russia has reaffirmed its support for the UN Secretary General's efforts towards a solution to the Cyprus problem.

According to a Russian Foreign Ministry press release, the Cyprus problem was discussed during a meeting on 13.1.98 in Moscow between UN Special Advisor to the Secretary General Diego Cordovez, and high ranking Russian Foreign Ministry officials, including Russian envoy for Cyprus Vladimir Tchizhov.

Both Cordovez and the Russian officials described the continuation of the status quo in Cyprus as unacceptable and stressed the need for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to show the necessary political will and readiness for a compromise at the resumption of direct negotiations for a settlement.

Cordovez also pointed to Russia's important positive role in resolving international problems and expressed gratitude for its continuous support to UN efforts for a Cyprus settlement.

[04] Cyprus protests to UN over cultural heritage destruction by Turks

Cyprus has protested to the UN over the continuing destruction by the Turks of the churches in the occupied parts of the island.

In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Sotos Zakheos, denounced Turkish policy of religious intolerance of Christian worship places in the occupied areas.

Mr Zakheos stressed in his letter that "while the Cyprus government zealously protects places of worship belonging to all faiths in Cyprus, Turkey not only has refused to adhere to international law and the relevant UN resolutions but has been steadfastly continuing its policy of religious intolerance in the occupied areas," the letter said.

The letter was circulated as a General Assembly and Security Council document, and includes a list of the large-scale destruction of over 500 churches that continues unabated.

Some of the churches have been converted into museums, others were transformed into mosques, while a number of Christian Orthodox churches were desecrated, looted and left to deteriorate and are in danger of collapse, it is noted in the letter.

Mr Zakheos called on the UN to respond effectively and in a timely manner to such gross violations of international law.

Moreover, he noted with satisfaction that the Secretary-General has included in his latest report to the Security Council Cyprus' protests on the destruction of churches and other religious property, as well as his assurances that the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) "is pursuing the matter with the Turkish side."

[05] President Clerides presents "Cyprus Export Awards"

Presenting the "Cyprus Export Awards" in a ceremony in Nicosia yesterday, President Clerides stressed that the promotion of trade exports is a top priority for the Cyprus government.

He also said the government aims at strengthening Cyprus' economy to make it more competitive in the European Union and reiterated his government's policy to further promote Cyprus as a regional economic and business centre.

Mr Clerides expressed the certainty that Cyprus' business people will be able to take advantage of all opportunities opening up, to achieve their goals and consequently contribute to the development of the economy.

The President reassured that "until Cyprus' accession to the European Union, the government will assist all sectors of economic activity to update them, help them increase their productivity and be able to face the challenges ahead."

"KEO Brewery" received the award for companies employing over 50 persons, and the award for companies with less than 50 employees was given to "PETA LTD" that manufactures paint brushes. The EU award was given to "S.G.C. Stylla Bros Ltd", that produces shirts, most of which go to EU countries.

The Special Award for the export of a new product was awarded to "Hellenic Copper Mines Ltd", the Agricultural Products Award was given to "Kourtellaris Imports and Exports Ltd" and the Services Award went to "L. Joannides and Co" for its accountancy services.


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


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