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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 99-07-22
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Thursday, 22 July 1999
 President Clerides: missing persons issue of "primary importance" for the governmentThe solution of the problem of the missing persons since the 1974 Turkish invasion, is of "primary importance" for the government, President Glafcos Clerides, stated in his address to a rally for missing persons held in Nicosia last night.
In his address, which was read out by Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Takis Christopoulos, the President pointed out that the issue cannot go on for ever. "It is our duty , and especially that of the international community, to undertake our obligations regarding this unacceptable situation", he said.
"We stand in awe before the patience of the families and we shall make every effort to meet their justified right to be informed of the fate of their loved ones," the President said, adding that special working group has been set up to examine all possibilities that could help promote and solve the problem.
Referring to the ongoing process of exhumation and identification of remains of Greek and Greek Cypriot war dead of the 1974 Turkish invasion, he said he expected the process would be appreciated and point to the need for initiatives leading to substantial progress on this humanitarian matter.
 Cyprus Foreign Minister holds talks in AthensThe latest developments in the Cyprus problem, including the initiative of the Group of Eight and the recent UN Security Council resolutions, were the main issues discussed in talks between the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Cyprus, in Athens yesterday afternoon.
In a statement to the press after the meeting, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, said that Greece and Cyprus are harmoniously co- operating and are vigilantly waiting for the invitation of the UN Secretary- General for both sides on the island to attend peace talks in autumn 1999.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, stated that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to negotiate constructively with the Turkish Cypriots, based on the decisions of the Security Council for a mutually acceptable settlement.
"What we are not prepared to do or accept, he added, are efforts which are outside the UN framework or conditions which the Turkish side will impose for recognition of his illegal regime in the occupied areas."
Earlier in the day Mr Kasoulides, who visited Athens after attending the European Conference in Brussels, held talks with Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis. Their discussions focused on the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' relations with the European Union.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Kranidiotis said that "Greece and Cyprus will struggle united to overturn the faits accomplis of the invasion and occupation of the island."
He stressed that everyone should make an effort for the settlement of the Cyprus problem based on the United Nations principles. This, he said does not depend on the Cyprus Government or the Greek Government and underlined that in no circumstance will Cyprus be punished for Turkey's intransigence.
"It must be made clear to Turkey", he added "that it has no veto on Cyprus' European Union course."
 "Hands across the Capitol" rally to observe the anniversary of the Turkish invasionWith the participation of more than a thousand people and a large number of Congress people and Senators, an anti-occupation rally took place on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C on July 20th, to observe the 25th anniversary of the Turkish invasion.
The speakers at the "Hands across the Capitol" rally stressed that pressure must be exerted on Turkey to abandon its intransigence in efforts to find a just solution to the Cyprus problem.
The President of the organisation "Human Rights Alliance" Kathryn Porter, who co-ordinated the event, stressed that "25 years have been too long."
"We are here to encircle the Capitol with the reminder to Congress that will resonate within the walls of the White House, that Cyprus must be divided No More!"
Senator Paul Sarbanes described the island's dividing line as "a scar across the face of Cyprus" and added: "we will not give up until we return to occupied Cyprus, until we bring back peace and justice."
Republican Congressman Ben Gilman said "it is time for the Turkish occupation forces to go home." He stressed that "the impasse in Cyprus is caused by Ankara and Denktash," and
underlined the need for the Turkish side to abandon its intransigence.
Democrat Congressman Ron Klink said "Ankara still stands alone on the Cyprus issue, but Cyprus has the whole world around it as witnessed by the Security Council resolutions that call for a single state, sovereignty and citizenship on the island."
Congressman Rob Andrews sent President Bill Clinton the message that he should bring the same effort to Cyprus that he "showed in bringing Arabs and Jews together in the Middle East and Protestants and Catholics together in Ireland."
Republican Congressman John Porter described Turkey as a "military dictatorship" and criticised the American government for not putting pressure on Turkey.
Congressmen Bob Menendez pledged that "we will not rest until the last boot of the last Turkish soldier has left Cyprus and until justice and peace are a reality for all of the people of Cyprus".
"Cyprus will not be "a prisoner to Turkey's objections and threats. It will not postpone its well deserved entry into the European Union over Turkish objections," he said, adding that "if European integration is good for Turkey, then it is also good for all of the Cypriot people."
Similar statements were made by Frank Pallone, Caroline Maloney, Joseph Crowley, Joseph Hoeffel, Shelley Bergley, Michael Bilirakis, Congressional candidate Mike Taylor, and others.
After the speeches a human chain was formed around the Capitol and the event ended with a march to the White House and a gathering at a nearby park where Tony Blinken, the US President's special Assistant spoke.
Mr Blinken said the US will do its utmost for peace talks to resume and assured that the solution of the Cyprus problem remains one of Bill Clinton's highest foreign policy priorities.
"This is something that the President thinks about on his own because he is personally committed to it. This is not just a policy, he feels it", he said.
Mr Blinken said the US is committed to doing all it can in the weeks and months ahead for negotiations to begin.
Getting the two parties in Cyprus at the table and finding a settlement that would meet the needs of both sides, is not a simple matter, he said, adding that only the two sides themselves "can make the tough decisions it will take to reach an acceptable agreement."
 Britain fully supports the start of negotiations without preconditions"We and our EU partners are in regular contact about Cyprus and continue to give strong support to the United Nation Secretary General's efforts towards a settlement in Cyprus", the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mrs Joyce Quin stated on 20 July, in reply to a question on Cyprus in the House of Commons.
"The members of the G8 which met on 20 June and the UN Security Council , which met on 29 June, have urged the Secretary General to invite the leaders involved in Cyprus to enter without preconditions comprehensive negotiations starting in autumn," Mrs Quin said, adding that both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary "have assured" the Secretary General that he will have their "full support in efforts to get those negotiations under way".
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/