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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-01-16

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

Friday, 16/01/98


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Clinton reports on US efforts for Cyprus settlement
  • [02] Cyprus issue on Albright-Cook agenda in Washington
  • [03] Members of US Congress on Cyprus visit
  • [04] Tourism and trade relations between Estonia and Cyprus promoted
  • [05] Cyprus protests to UN on alteration of geographical names in occupied areas.
  • [06] Amendment to electoral law on vote counting


[01] President Clinton reports on US efforts for Cyprus settlement

President Bill Clinton said that US diplomacy aimed at advancing progress towards a Cyprus settlement continued at an intense pace during the months of October and November 1997.

In his bimonthly report to Congress on progress towards a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question, the US President refers to the American officials' contacts, both in the US and overseas, with key participants in the process.

"Ambassadors Holbrooke and Miller met extensively with Cypriot President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash during their visits to the United States. The two US Envoys also travelled to the region in October to meet with the Turkish and (in the case of Ambassador Miller) Greek leadership to follow up on discussions begun with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright at the UN General Assembly in September, and again in November when Ambassador Holbrooke brought the two Cypriot leaders together in the buffer zone for an informal exchange of views on achieving a Cyprus solution", says President Clinton in a letter submitting his report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign relations.

President Clinton also refers to the privately sponsored conference between business leaders from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, which Ambassador Holbrooke moderated last November in Brussels.

Moreover, the US President refers to his administration's efforts in the issue of Cyprus' EU accession prospects and in encouraging stronger EU- Turkish relations. "Senior US officials met extensively during the reporting period with officials of the European Union, EU member states, and others to support Cypriot EU accession prospects and to encourage stronger EU Turkish relations," Mr Clinton says.

The US President also reports that "tensions rose on the island during the October and November (respectively) Greek/Greek Cypriot military exercise NIKIFOROS and the Turkish/Turkish Cypriot military exercise TOROS."

He noted that "the exercises effectively ended the May 9 moratorium on overflights of Cyprus by combat aircraft. Interceptions by Turkish fighters of the Greek Defense Minister's transport aircraft during the NIKIFOROS exercise further exacerbated tensions in the region."

[02] Cyprus issue on Albright-Cook agenda in Washington

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her British counterpart Robin Cook discussed yesterday in the American capital ways of coordinating their efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

According to a Cy.B.C. report from Washington, the Cyprus question was among the issues discussed in the first 1998 EU-US ministerial meeting. Current EU President Robin Cook and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright prepared the ground for the meeting in a few days in Washington between President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Cy.B.C. report adds.

In comments prior to the meeting yesterday, Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides said "coordination between the US and the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus question, which will be stepped up in March, will be useful." He also expressed the view that the EU and the US could substantially contribute to a settlement in Cyprus.

Moreover, in a speech entitled "Europe and America: The Decisive Partnership" delivered by the British Foreign Secretary to the European Institute in Washington yesterday, Mr Cook said that "on 30 March we are launching the Accession Process for the ten Central and East European countries together with Cyprus".

Referring to Turkey, Mr Cook stressed that "we have laid down criteria for all states wishing to join the EU - the need for a market economy, democratic governance and observance of human rights. Turkey's candidacy for membership of the EU will be judged by the same objective criteria as any other country".

Furthermore, replying to press questions, the British Prime Minister emphasised that there is no legal bar to Cyprus seeking to be a member of the European Union. "On the contrary, we regard Cyprus as one of the strongest candidates for membership. Among all the applicant countries, it has the highest standard of living and the best-developed market economy. And it has made very substantial progress in reforming its laws to bring them into line with the European acquis communautaire", he said.

Mr Cook added that it would be very much better if Cyprus were to come into the European Union as one single island. "And that is why we are encouraging the Republic of Cyprus to include Turkish Cypriots in its negotiating team."

The British Premier also said that "nobody has more to gain from Cyprus entering the European Union than those who live in the Turkish Cypriot part of the island, because their standard of living is at a quarter of the level of that in the Greek Cypriot sector of the island, and they would gain immensely from the economic and structural fund support of the European Union".

[03] Members of US Congress on Cyprus visit

A four-member US Congress delegation is on a two day visit to Cyprus to look into recent developments and try to assist efforts for reuniting the island.

Head of the delegation, Congressman John Edward Porter said yesterday upon arrival: "In Cyprus, our purpose is to try to do whatever we possibly can do to aid the cause of reuniting this country and bring its people back together".

Mr Porter added he was hopeful that the US can add to efforts towards a Cyprus solution under Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke.

The delegation will be received today by President Clerides and will also have meetings with UN officials, the US embassy and other authorities, as well as citizens and some non-governmental organisations regarding developments in Cyprus.

[04] Tourism and trade relations between Estonia and Cyprus promoted

Estonian Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves, currently on an official visit to Cyprus, said yesterday that Cyprus constitutes a popular tourist destination for Estonians and could be especially so during the winter period.

After a meeting with Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Michalakis Michaelides, the Estonian Minister also said that the agreement signed on 14.1.98 abolishing visas between the two countries will help increase economic relations and travel between Estonia and Cyprus.

[05] Cyprus protests to UN on alteration of geographical names in occupied areas.

Cyprus has protested against the alteration of geographical names in the occupied areas by Turkey.

The protest was lodged on 14.1.98 at the seventh UN Conference on standardisation of geographical names, taking place in New York between 13- 22 January 98.

In his address to the Conference, Cyprus representative Prodromos Vassiliou stressed that though previous conquerors over the centuries had not touched local names, Turkey was now doing so in an "organised and systematic" manner.

"Since the invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus", he said, "Turkey has systematically tried to change internationally recognised place names... which have existed for centuries".

Such actions be added, were an outright violation of international law and should be condemned.

[06] Amendment to electoral law on vote counting

The House of Representatives yesterday unanimously approved an amendment to the electoral law, whereby votes in the forthcoming presidential elections of 8th February will be counted at district counting centres and not at individual polling stations.

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


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