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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 00-02-01
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 1 February 2000
The UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan had a meeting first with President Glafcos Clerides and then with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktash. Each of these meetings began with a one on one session followed by a session with the full delegation.
The talks will focus on substance and there will be in depth discussions of the core issues that had been raised in the first round of proximity talks in New York. They are expected to go on for about ten days and will resume in May, at which point efforts will be systematic and continuous until a settlement is reached.
The Secretary General has asked both parties to maintain the news blackout regarding the substance of the talks in the interest of ensuring the seriousness of the effort. His Special Adviser Mr Alvaro de Soto will be chairing the meetings as from the 1 February.
Speaking to the press yesterday, the UN Secretary General said that he had very useful meetings with the leaders of the two parties.
"We are looking at a process which is likely to be complex and difficult. We are hoping to work in earnest with the parties on a continuous basis over the coming months toward the goal of a comprehensive settlement" he said.
Mr Rann criticised the Commonwealth for its lack of real action on Cyprus. Taking into consideration Australia's credentials in utilising the good offices of the Commonwealth, he said he was "bitterly disappointed" that Australia failed to take a leadership role at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting over the Cyprus issue.
"Australia continues to treat Turkey with kid gloves and is at the moment, in my view, only paying lip service to pushing Turkey about human rights and on its clear obligations in international law in regard to Cyprus", he said.
Mr Rann called upon the Australian government to assist Cypriot refugees, who are now Australian citizens, to take the Turkish government to the European Court of Human Rights, in a similar way to the Loizidou case, for the loss of their land, property and homes in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.
This would be an effective way of putting the Turkish government under pressure in a key European Forum. By doing so Australia could demonstrate its bona fides towards a fellow Commonwealth nation that has been illegally occupied for so long in defiance of international law, he said.
Mr Rann expressed the hope that the year 2000 we will see a genuine initiative on Cyprus by the super powers and the UN.
"Australia can play an important role by acting as a goad to action over Cyprus and by publicly raising human rights issues at every international forum," he concluded.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/