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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-01-29

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/>

  • [01]Wednesday, 29 January 2003 Top US government involvement on Cyprus problem possible, says Weston
  • [02] Issue of settlers a major obstacle to solution, says Jaakko Laakso
  • [03] President Clerides receives credentials of new Ambassadors
  • [04] Australia renews Cyprus Envoy's mandate

    [01] Top US government involvement on Cyprus problem possible, says Weston

    The US State Department's Special Coordinator on Cyprus, Ambassador Thomas Weston, spoke yesterday before members of the Greek American Community in Astoria, New York, on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem, particularly in light of the decision on Cyprus' EU accession taken at Copenhagen last December, and the present phase of the efforts to reach a settlement by 28 February on the basis of the revised UN solution plan. The US envoy emphasised the significance of achieving a settlement by the aforementioned deadline, since only then could the elements of a solution be incorporated into the Accession Treaty, to be signed on 16 April, signifying that such a settlement would be guaranteed by the European Union. Following the February deadline, Mr. Weston added, would also leave ample time for the conduction of referenda. "In order to have democratic referenda, you need to have some period of time before the referenda, in which voters can examine what the settlement is, and make an important decision - yes or no - on that settlement…", he said. Mr. Weston expressed the hope that a settlement by that date would be achievable and pledged that Washington would do everything possible to help towards the attainment of that goal. "That includes the involvement at the highest levels of the American Government", he noted, adding that private diplomatic exchanges would "continue to go on to make the maximum effort possible to get to where we want to be". Referring to the two ad hoc technical committees, he said that the willingness by both sides to keep working was "encouraging". Also encouraging, Mr. Weston said, was "Greece's very concerted attempts to resolve with Turkey outstanding issues in the security elements of the settlement". He noted that Greece had been very "forceful" in trying to resolve security questions with Turkey, citing the Greek Foreign Minister's visit to Ankara this week, together with Enlargement Commissioner Verheugen and Mr. Javier Solana, the High Representative of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

    On the direct talks, the US diplomat said that "the core issues are being discussed in a sense that both sides are making their views known in what they believe needs to be changed in the plan, to make it rather acceptable or more acceptable". He added that there was an awareness by both sides of the time constraint to reach a settlement, and reiterated the US commitment to provide assistance to the peace process.

    [02] Issue of settlers a major obstacle to solution, says Jaakko Laakso

    The Finnish MP, Mr. Jaakko Laakso, speaking yesterday before the Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, expressed his certainty that the issue of Turkish settlers was a major obstacle to the efforts for resolving the Cyprus problem. The Rapporteur of the CoE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on the issue of Turkish colonization of occupied Cyprus, said that during his recent visit to the island, the Denktash regime did not allow him - for a second time - to enter the occupied areas in order to gather data on Turkish settlers for his report, something that he called "unacceptable". Referring to the Annan solution plan, Mr. Laakso said that it contained specific provisions on the issue of settlers, and said that he would try again to visit the occupied areas of the island, as well as Turkish Anatolia, before submitting the final draft of his report on Turkish colonization in occupied Cyprus. Moreover, during yesterday's meeting of PACE, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Walter Schwimmer, made special reference to his recent visit to Cyprus, and said that the UN plan constituted a "unique window of opportunity" for finding a lasting settlement to the Cyprus issue. Mr. Schwimmer also referred to his meeting with political leaders from both communities on the island, saying that the message coming out of that meeting was encouraging.

    [03] President Clerides receives credentials of new Ambassadors

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, received yesterday, during separate official ceremonies at the Presidential Palace, the credentials of the new Ambassadors of the Republic of Hungary and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and of the new High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Cyprus. Presenting his credentials, the new Ambassador of Hungary, Mr. Janos Kisfalvi, referred to Cyprus' and Hungary's parallel roads towards EU accession and expressed hope that the two countries would strengthen their ties even further, as full members of the EU, integrated in European institutions and practices. The Hungarian Ambassador also expressed his country's support of a lasting, peaceful solution based on the relevant UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire. "I think the positive role the Hungarian contingent has played in the ranks of the UNFICYP is a proof to this", he added. Receiving the credentials, President Clerides expressed the Government's gratitude for the principled stance and the support of the Hungarian government in the efforts for resolving the Cyprus issue, and assured the new Ambassador that the Greek Cypriot side would do its utmost to achieve the reunification of the island, within the time-frame set by the UN Secretary-General. "Provided that the other side will display the necessary political will to negotiate meaningfully, we are hopeful that a just, viable and long-lasting solution can be reached", the President noted. The new Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Seyed Reza Hadj-Zaryabashi, who also presented his credentials to the President yesterday, said inter alia that Iran supported the settlement of the Cyprus conflict on the basis of internationally accepted rules as well as the will and interests of the people living in the island. He also congratulated Cyprus for concluding accession talks with the EU, noting that this development was seen as a good omen, since Cyprus' EU accession would add to the number of friends of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the EU. President Clerides, on his part, expressed hope for closer-cooperation between the two countries, adding, "The strategic location of Cyprus, at the point where three continents meet, as well as that of Iran, as a guarantor of peace and stability in the wider region of the Persian Gulf, are encouraging factors that allow us to surge ahead". "We aspire that the imminent accession of Cyprus to the EU will provide Iran and the wider area of the Persian Gulf with improved access to important markets of Europe and the West", he added. He also expressed Cyprus' profound appreciation and gratitude for the consistent support Iran had offered over the years in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. In addition, the new High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Mr. Mahmood Hasan, also presented his credentials to the President yesterday. Mr. Hasan said that relations between the two countries had been growing over the years and expressed his country's desire to further consolidate those friendly ties, in the framework of the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. He also mentioned his country's full support of all UN Resolutions and initiatives aimed at protecting the independence, territorial integrity and reunification of Cyprus, and welcomed the decision of the Copenhagen European Council to extend EU membership to Cyprus by 2004. On his part, President Clerides assured the new Bangladeshi High Commissioner that the Cyprus Government looked forward to the continuation and strengthening of bilateral cooperation, particularly in fields like culture, communications, transport and commerce. He also expressed the Government's commitment in reunifying the island, through substantial negotiations on the basis of the revised UN solution plan.

    [04] Australia renews Cyprus Envoy's mandate

    The Australian Foreign Minister, Mr. Alexander Downer, announced last week the decision to renew the mandate of Australia's Special Envoy for Cyprus, Mr. Jim Short, for a six-month term. In June 2003, the situation on Cyprus will be reassessed in order to decide if another renewal of the Cyprus Envoy's mandate will be necessary. The Australian FM, in his announcement, made reference to the unsuccessful efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue at the Copenhagen European Council of last December, and stressed the need for the involved parties to enhance their efforts for reaching a settlement. The mandate of Australia's Special Envoy for Cyprus provides for supporting the UN Secretary-General's Good Offices Mission, and meeting with the interested parties in Australia and abroad, with a view at reaching a viable and peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem.

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


    Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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