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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-06-26

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, 26/06/98


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek President to address House of Representatives Special Session
  • [02] Greek President: "we envisage a free and truly independent Cyprus"
  • [03] Greece will stand by Cyprus in its struggle for freedom and justice
  • [04] Solving Cyprus problem is high priority for US
  • [05] Conference of Twinned Towns opens
  • [06] Australia appoints Special Envoy for Cyprus
  • [07] Turkey aims to create artificial tension


[01] Greek President to address House of Representatives Special Session

Greek President Konstantinos Stefanopoulos will address the Cyprus House of Representatives' special session this evening.

On the second day of his official visit, the Greek President will visit a number of archaeological sites and places of interest.

In the morning Mr. Stefanopoulos and his party will visit the Cyprus Museum. At the entrance of the Museum, he will be met by the Minister of Communications and Works Mr. Leontios Ierodiaconou.

The Director of the Department of Antiquities will guide the Greek President and his party through the museum, where they will have a chance to see artefacts from the Neolithic to the Roman periods including some of the Early Christian period.

The Cyprus Archaeological Museum was built at the beginning of British Colonial Rule in Cyprus and includes a fascinating collection of Cypriot antiquities and treasures from the Neolithic age to the Early Byzantine Period.

Mr. Stefanopoulos will also visit the Kykko Monastery, which is situated in Troodos mountain region, 50 km west Nicosia. The monastery, which is the richest and most famous in Cyprus, was founded in 1100 AD and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It possesses one of the three surviving icons, ascribed to St. Luke.

Mr. Stefanopoulos will attend a church service and will visit the ecclesiastical museum of the Monastery. The museum was recently inaugurated by President Clerides. It is an important institution which houses Byzantine icons books, church treasures and artefacts 9000 years old.

Later, the Greek President will visit the burial ground and will lay a wreath at the grave of the first President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, at Throni, 3 km West of the monastery.

At around mid-day the Abbot of the Monastery will host a lunch in honour of the Greek President.

In the afternoon Mr. Stefanopoulos will receive the Heads of the Cyprus political parties at the Hilton Hotel.

President Clerides will then escort the Greek President to the Cyprus House of Representatives, at the entrance of which they will be welcomed by the President of the House Mr. Spyros Kyprianou.

Mr. Stefanopoulos will address the special session of the House of Representatives immediately after the House President's speech.

He will also have meetings with the House of Representatives Parliamentary Committees and with committees of the Union of Municipalities and Communities.

Tonight Mr. Stefanopoulos will attend a reception given by the Greek Ambassador on behalf of the President of the Hellenic Republic in honour of the President of Cyprus and Mrs. Clerides at the Greek Ambassador's residence.

[02] Greek President: "we envisage a free and truly independent Cyprus"

Greek President Mr. Konstantinos Stefanopoulos appealed yesterday to the Turkish Cypriots to seize the opportunity offered by Cyprus' accession to the European Union and to proceed towards a better and peaceful future. He urged Turkey to stop denying the Turkish Cypriots what it seeks to achieve for itself. President Stefanopoulos, who was speaking at an official dinner given in his honour by President Clerides, reiterated his country's support for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the accession negotiations between Cyprus and the European Union.

Explaining his country's future vision for Cyprus, the Greek President stated that "we envisage a free and truly independent Cyprus where its citizens will be absolutely equal and where their different national, cultural and religious traits will enrich their country....A federation where the two federated areas will constitute the unifying elements of a unitary state and not the seeds of confrontation". This vision can be realised by the prospect of Cyprus' joining the EU. Reiterating his country's firm position on Cyprus, Mr Stefanopoulos, stressed the need for respect of international legality for a solution to the Cyprus problem through bicommunal talks and on the basis of Security Council Resolutions and stated that Cyprus' course to the EU is not negotiable.

Greece will never stop to work for "Cyprus' accession to the EU, regardless of developments in the political problem of Cyprus" he added.

In a strong criticism vis-a-vis the international community's attitude on Cyprus, President Stefanopoulos said that the policy of equidistance, practised by the international community, "is making the victimiser even more insolent. The policy of prevarication reduces the relevance of the system of international security, he noted and urged the international community to take the necessary initiatives to put an end to the unacceptable situation in Cyprus.

Speaking at the same dinner, Cyprus President Mr. Glafcos Clerides, underlined that Greece and Cyprus share a common vision "for a lasting peace in the region, from the Balkans to the Middle East through the just resolution of current problems". President Clerides stated several efforts undertaken by the Republic towards this end making special reference to his detailed proposal for the reduction of tension, submitted recently to the UN Secretary General. "I understand that my proposal has been well received by the international community" he said.

On Cyprus' accession to the EU, President Clerides reminded that "our fervent desire is that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots benefit immediately, at the same time as us"

He described the government proposal for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the Republic's negotiating team as "demonstrative of our good intentions towards them".

In conclusion, President Clerides appealed to the international community and particularly to the Permanent Members of the Security Council to "take a more decisive stand" on Cyprus.

He called upon the international community to proceed to coordinated action in order to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, "a solution that would consolidate peace and security on the island"

[03] Greece will stand by Cyprus in its struggle for freedom and justice

Greek President Mr. Konstantinos Stefanopoulos reaffirmed yesterday that Greece stands by Cyprus'side in its struggle for freedom and justice.

Speaking at a meeting with the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos, the Greek President pointed out that the Cyprus problem is a disgrace not only to those who created it but also to those who tolerate its existence.

The principles of international law imply that international disputes should be settled in accordance with the provisions of international law, reminded the Greek President and noted that the violent separation of Greek Cypriots from Turkish Cypriots, the increasing Turkish demands and threats constitute violations of the international legal order.

Neither Greece nor Cyprus have expansionist designs, continued the Greek President, but the victims of aggression have a duty to make preparations to defend themselves, he concluded.

On his part, Archbishop Chrysostomos welcomed the Greek President describing his visit as telling proof of Greece's support in Cyprus' struggle.

[04] Solving Cyprus problem is high priority for US

The US continues to place a high priority on resolving the Cyprus problem, US State Department Spokesman James Rubin has said.

Speaking at a foreign policy briefing at the Foreign Press Centre in Washington yesterday, Mr Rubin said that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke will not be able to perform the duties of special presidential envoy on Cyprus, and the US administration has not yet selected a new person for that task.

"We continue to support the UN in its efforts to achieve a settlement based on a bizonal bicommunal federation. We fully support Cypriot accession into the EU, which can offer important economic and security benefits", he said.

Asked whether the US would be willing to recognise the self-proclaimed state in the occupied areas, Mr Rubin said "that, in our view is not on the cards".

After Mr Holbrooke's visit to Cyprus in May, Rubin said it became clear that the Turkish side's call for recognition became a precondition and that the Turks were not prepared to begin serious negotiations.

"It's not a serious proposal", Mr Rubin said. "And when it becomes a precondition, it suggests that the talks are precluded and that the proposal is being made in an unrealistic fashion - it's simply not in the cards".

[05] Conference of Twinned Towns opens

The sixth Conference of the Twinned Towns of the Mediterranean opened yesterday in Paphos with the participation of more than 230 delegates from 10 Mediterranean countries.

The Conference will be dealing with co-operation among Mediterranean countries, with special emphasis on European Union programmes, the role of twinned towns' possibilities and prospects in the economic field and matters such as xenophobia, racism, and common cultural heritage.

In his opening statement read by Minister of Justice and Public Order, Nicos Koshis, President Clerides said co-operation between Mediterranean local administration institutions is a decisive factor for stability, peace and prosperity in the region.

[06] Australia appoints Special Envoy for Cyprus

The Australian government has decided to appoint Mr John Spender as Australia's Special Envoy for Cyprus.

According to an announcement by the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, the principal role of the Special Envoy will be to support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to broker a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Mr Spender, who is also Australia's ambassador to France, will convey Australia's views directly to the parties involved and encourage them to co- operate with the UN to reach a final agreement.

He is expected to meet a range of officials including the US Presidential Emissary , Mr Richard Holbrooke, and the UN Secretary- General's Special Advisor of Cyprus, Mr Diego Cordovez, as well as with senior officials in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.

Mr Spender will evaluate the situation on behalf of the Australian government and identify ways in which Australia can further assist the search for a settlement.

The Australian Foreign Minister says that his government has always been committed to helping find a solution in Cyprus and expressed concern that recent weeks have seen adverse developments on the island.

"While recognising the reality of the current deadlock, the international community must continue to assist the parties towards a negotiated solution. Ultimately, of course, any final agreement depends on the necessary good will of the major parties. Australia fervently hopes they will show that necessary goodwill", Mr Downer says.

[07] Turkey aims to create artificial tension

Turkey's aim is to stir up and maintain a climate of artificial tension, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Sotos Zakheos, said in a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

Replying to a letter of the Turkish Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Zakheos said that the enhancement of the defensive capabilities of the National Guard is an expression of the exercise of the right to self- defence, particularly in view of the long standing illegal occupation of the northern part of the island by Turkish forces, numbering around 35, 000.

Mr Zakheos pointed out that the tension on the island is only caused by the strong and threatening presence of the Turkish occupation troops who are in an attack formation and who have the capability to get early reinforcements from Turkey.

"We have not seen even the slightest effort on Turkey's part towards reducing tension or supporting return to the negotiating table for finding a principled and sustainable solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions", Mr Zakheos said. "On the contrary, Turkey encourages and directs the unacceptable demands and preconditions of the Turkish Cypriot leadership which the international community has found unrealistic and in contravention of international legality."

He says that Turkey could dispel the fears of the Greek Cypriots that she wants to keep the island as its perpetual hostage and under its domination. if it were to accept President Clerides' detailed proposal for the total demilitarisation of the island as well as his non-paper on reducing tensions in the military field.

"Its acceptance would pave the way towards a comprehensive and lasting solution of the Cyprus problem", he said.

Mr Zakheos concludes by saying that President Clerides is committed to reconsider the issue of non-importation of new weapon systems to Cyprus provided that progress is made on a schedule which includes a number of steps leading towards the eventual goal of demilitarisation.

"Turkey's supposed concern about regional stability will be judged by their response to President Clerides' genuine proposal which safeguards the interests of all sides", he says.


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


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