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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 01-11-13
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Tuesday, 13 November 2001
 Press Conference by the President of the Republic of Cyprus to the United NationsThe President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Glafkos Clerides gave, on 11 November 2001, a press conference in the framework of the UN General Assembly. The conference was presided the Secretary General's Spokesman, Mr Fred Eckhard.
The President replied to questions put forward by journalists as follows:
Question: At the end of your speech to the General Assembly you said that you reiterate your readiness for the talks. Since a week ago the Turkish Cypriot Leader Mr. Denktash made a proposal to talk to you face to face and meet with you which it was some sort of quantum jump with regard to the talks. These proximity talks were to prepare the two leaders face to face talks. Why did you reject the proposal?
President Clerides: I did not reject it. I said it will be necessary for us to meet once we both accept to return to the negotiating table. Because Mr. Denktash wanted to bypass the good offices of the Secretary General and to go to direct talks when it was he who was insisting for proximity talks. Now, I said that I'm quite happy many times to meet with you tete-a-tete but let's first say yes to the Secretary General that you are going to continue the negotiating process. Not to substitute the negotiating process with the Secretary General by direct meetings between myself and Mr. Denktash. And I don't mind if in those meetings nobody else is present except Mr. Denktash and myself. I don't want an opportunity for Mr. Denktash to put aside the good offices of the Secretary General because without the good offices it will not be possible to find a solution.
Question: How the Cyprus problem fits in the post September 11th environment. Is it going to be in the blackburner, has it better chances for a solution or what?
President Clerides: One must be a realist. Obviously the international attention will now be focused on the new situation created by the terrorist attack against the United States and the possibility of being extended in other countries. However, we have been told by those governments which were helping the Secretary General in promoting a solution, that the fact that this thing happened will not stop their interest and their activities in the search for a solution of the Cyprus problem. And of course as we all know, we had the visit of Mr. Weston to Ankara, Greece, Nicosia, we had of course immediately after the visit of Mr. de Soto, we had the visit of Lord Hannay, who is coming to Cyprus and in the area again. But we have been given assurances that their interest will continue and their efforts to assist the Secretary General in his task to find a solution will continue.
Question: Mr. President, a couple of things on the issue of Israel and Palestine. How concerned or disappointed are you about the UN Security Council's inability to reach a consensus on any kind of resolution or perhaps action on that region. What would like to see the UN do in terms of monitors or some kind of statement and also do you think it was a mistake of President Bush to not meet with President Arafat while both were in New York?
President Clerides: On the last one I will not comment. It is not my job to comment of what other Presidents do. But let me say this: We feel very sorry about this circle of violence that exists between the Palestinians and Israel. We believe they will not find a solution through this method. The only possible way to find a solution is through negotiations. And of course it is better to negotiate in a climate where there are no clashes, no killings to poison the atmosphere, but it also must be understood that there will be a state of Palestine and the quicker Israel negotiates with the Palestinians on that basis the better it will be.
Questions: Back to the Cyprus issue Mr. President, it's been a long time since the Secretary General and the Security Council of the United Nations are giving more and more time, more and more opportunities to Rauf Denktash to come back to the negotiating table. Until when do you expect this to last and what do you expect after that the Secretary-General and the Security Council to do when they run out of time and patience?
President Clerides: I'm a patient man, but I've put that question to the Secretary General and if they can give us an indication of the period of time they will need to bring Mr. Denktash to the negotiating table. And of course they were not in a position to give me a timetable. Let us assume that Mr. Denktash does to return back to the negotiating table, there is anissue that we are considering, others are considering also, but it is not the time now to speak publicly of what we intend to do.
Question: Mr. President, this morning in your speech before the UN General Assembly you called upon Turkey to understand the benefits of Cyprus solution and urged them to get back to the negotiating table. This is a call that has been repeated many many times. What in your opinion will make Turkey realize what you explained this morning and change its stance on Cyprus and negotiating for a solution?
President Clerides: You are asking me what will change the mind of Turkey? My simple answer is: a reasonable assessment of the benefits and liabilities of what I had explained.
Question: As you remember the Turkish Cypriots recently made a statement declaring that they are ready to establish a new partnership between the two sides. Since the previous partnership has failed don't you think that it is now high time to create a new partnership between the two entities?
President Clerides: Well, you were very careful not to define who would be the partners, you said entities. The 1960 Constitution was a bicommunal Constitution between two communities but it was for a unitary state, if we are moving from a unitary state to a federal state then there would be a new partnership of the communities, that is not what Mr.Denktash wants, Mr. Denktash wants a new parthership between two sovereign states. The first one we accept, the second one we reject.
(.)Question: One of the most important elements of the negotiations conducted last year was the Secretary General's statement on the 12th of September on the equality of the parties. We know that the Greek Cypriot parliament rejected this statement, what is your position on that?
President Clerides: The House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus discussed that issue and in their majority they said that that statement of the Secretary General was misinterpreted by Turkey. It was Mr. Ecevit that said this is the beginning of a process of recognition. I reacted to that and I asked from the Secretary General to give me explanations, which he gave me that did not agree with the interpretation of Mr. Ecevit or Mr.Denktash. But I did not put before the House of Representatives the interpretations that were given to me because they were given to me and not to the House of Representatives. Had I put those interpretations, I am sure they would have not been critical of this statement.
Question: Were you surprised or upset that the Turkish seats in the General Assembly were empty during your speech?
President Clerides: No I am used to it, I have been eight years President of the Republic of Cyprus, I spoke every year to the General Assembly and I haven't seen the Turkish delegation. Their seats were empty through the eight years I was doing it. So I would have been very surprised if they were present.
Question: What role, if any, would you like to see the United Nations specifically play in trying to bring about and further the pursuit of peace between Israel and Palestine?
President Clerides: Of course the U.N. has certain parameters which have been set by the Security Council resolutions and by which they are bound and within which they are bound to negotiate. The Palestinian problem cannot be solved by the use of force, therefore the only way it can be done is by the negotiating process. Indeed you need a climate within which to negotiate and of course that having a form of a ceasefire agreement may be a prerequisite. The U.N. could play an important role in creating the condition of no further clashes or as little as possible in the search for a solution, creating a conducive climate for serious negotiations. I believe that negotiations should be carried out, perhaps outside Israel and we have offered in the past that they can use Cyprus as a basis, as a place in which to conduct their negotiations. It has been used even recently for meetings without publicity and I believe it would be easier to negotiate outside the environment of the Palestinian territory and Israel. We are always very happy to provide that ground.
Question: In the conclusion part of your statement, you were saying that neither Mr. Denktash or you is getting any younger.
President Clerides: Well I'm not. But I took it that the normal conditions of life apply both to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Question: Do you realistically expect the Cyprus problem will be solved during yours and Mr. Denktash's lifetime?
President Clerides: Well of course I am not yet prepared to leave tomorrow, I am now 82, soon I will be 83. I have not decided when I am going to leave this planet and I don't think Rauf Denktash has decided also so let us utilize the time which we have.
 Cyprus will become an economic and financial bridge to three continents with its forthcoming accession to the EUIn his speech to the 4th Ministerial Conference of World Trade Organisation, which was read by the Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, the Minister, Mr Nicos Rolandis, stated the following:
"Cyprus' political, economic and social objective to join the EU will increase even further these challenges. Positioning our economy within the European Union will act as a catalyst to even greater openness and cooperation at the multilateral level. Cyprus will be a bridge between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East".
In the speech it was noted that: "The new round of multilateral negotiations should be broad and inclusive reflecting the interests of all WTO members, large or small, developed or developing in a balanced way. Our approach to the WTO' s work program should reflect a mutual understanding and realism embodying the principles of international cooperation and justice. We need an agenda in which every WTO member has a stake in the outcome. There should be no princes and beggars in the new world economic order. We view favourably the incorporation of trade and competition into the agenda of the future work of the WTO, putting in place a basic infrastructure of competition law and policy, and establishing mechanisms for cooperation among national competition authorities".
In addition, the Minister concluded in his speech, Cyprus, welcomed the upcoming entry of China into the World Trade Organization, while it was expressed that soon other trading partners, like Russia, would be included making the WTO a truly global organization.
 Reference to Cyprus by the Maltese Foreign MinisterThe Foreign Minister of Malta, Dr Joe Borg, in his speech on 12 November 2001, to the UN General Assembly, stated, inter alia, the following with regard to Cyprus: "Also in the Mediterranean, the situation in Cyprus has remained a cause for concern for over twenty-five years. We earnestly augur that an early settlement of the Cyprus question will be found and in this connection reiterate our full support for efforts to find a solution on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions".
 Statement by the Foreign MinisterThe President of the Republic of Cyprus, Glafkos Clerides, met on 12 November 2001 with the British Special Representative on the Cyprus Problem, Lord David Hanney. The meeting was also attended by the Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides and the Cypriot Permanent Representative to the UN, Sotos Zakheos.
After the meeting, Mr Kasoulides made the following statement to the press: "Today the President of the Republic had a meeting with Mr de Soto and later on with Lord Hanney. Their discussion was centred on the continuation of the UN Secretary General's efforts to continue the dialogue procedure as it is defined by the UN resolutions. The President reiterated his position that he is willing to respond positively, as he has done on 12 September 2001, to an invitation put forward by the Secretary General. Therefore, we consider that all efforts should be directed towards the Turkish side. I would like to add, so as to avoid any misunderstanding, that nothing is asked from our side, either by the Secretary General or by anyone else who supports the Secretary General's efforts, in the sense that we must make any moves or compromises in order for Mr Denktash to return to the negotiating table".
Thereafter, Mr Kasoulides replying to a question concerning his contacts, he stated that he had met with a number of his counterparts from other countries. "I have met with Foreign Ministers from a group of countries who belong to the Islamic Conference and I put forward the problem created by Turkey's effort to present a false picture concerning these countries' intentions. I have no doubt of these countries' intentions, in other words that they respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, they recognise only one government and that they will never accept the so-called "realities" to create a precedence for the acceptance of separating the island, something which will of course turn against all these countries, because they themselves have their own problems".
Mr Kasoulides added that he was pleased with the presentation of the President of the group of the states of small islands, Prime Minister of Samoa, for the group's activities and a special reference was made for Cyprus' contribution for which Cyprus received German Foreign Minister's congratulations.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/