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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-07-31

Cyprus News Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <>


  • [01] UN contiunes work on military chiefs meeting
  • [02] UN calls for respect of Buffer zone
  • [03] EU envoy finds willingness to work towards a solution
  • [04] EU Cyprus envoy would disappoint now, says Irish presidency by Maria Myles
  • [05] Bikers gather in Barlin for ride to Cyprus
  • [06] Government appeals to anti-occupation bikers

  • 1245:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] UN continues work on military chiefs meeting

    Nicosia, Jul 31 (CNA) -- The UN aims at working for the realisation of a meeting between the commanders of the National Guard and the Turkish occupation forces, UN Secretary-General's Resident Representative Gustave Feissel has said.

    Speaking after a 40-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides here today, Feissel said the UN ''are trying to have this meeting'', but stressed he considered it best ''not to talk about anything in public.''

    The meeting, proposed by US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright during her recent visit to Cyprus earlier this month, seems to have encountered some problems because of the insistence of the Turkish Cypriot side to have its self-styled commander of the Turkish Cypriot illegal army at the meeting.

    Feissel said the Americans had told him after their visit here, that ''this was a meeting between the National Guard and the Turkish forces commanders.''

    Noting that no invitations have been sent out yet by the UN to either party, he added that the UN ''still hope that this meeting will happen because it is good to have it.''

    ''It serves a very useful purpose and I do not think it serves any useful purpose to go over all the details in public'', he added.

    Asked if another option would be considered should an agreement on the meeting fail to materialise, Feissel said the UN are ''not looking for something else. What I said is that we are looking to have this meeting'', he stressed.

    The UN envoy once again welcomed the government's willingness to discuss the sea-line security issue in an effort to avoid abductions of Greek Cypriots by the Turkish occupation forces and repeated that ''it is a very good idea and it is one of the things that can usefully be discussed.''

    Other issues that can be discussed, he added, are those mentioned in UN Security Council 1062 (June 1996) which calls upon the military authorities on both sides to ''respect the integrity of the UN buffer zone.''

    The resolution urges both sides to ''enter immediately into discussions with the UN Peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)'' to reach agreement on the prohibition of live ammunition along the cease-fire line, to clear minefields and to cease military construction in the immediate vicinity of the buffer zone.

    It also calls upon the military authorities on both sides to ''enter immediately into intensive discussions with UNFICYP with a view to extending the 1989 unmanning agreement to cover all areas of the buffer zone where the two sides are in close proximity to each other.''

    CNA MCH/AP/MM/1996

    [02] UN calls for respect of buffer zone

    Nicosia, Jul 31 (CNA) -- Everybody has to respect the buffer zone and warned against unforeseeable consequences if the contrary prevails, UN Secretary General's Resident Representative in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, stressed here today.

    The call is clearly aimed at some 7,000 motorcyclists from all over Europe who start on Friday a ten-day ride from Berlin to the Turkish occupied northern coastal town of Kyrenia. The motorcyclists are now in Berlin.

    Speaking after a forty-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides Feissel said he and the President ''took up miscellaneous things'' including the motorcyclists' ride from Berlin to Kyrenia, scheduled to conclude on 11th of August.

    Feissel said that ''everybody has to respect the buffer zone'' under the arrangement which gives UNFICYP temporary responsibility of the area.

    ''It is absolutely vital that everybody throughout the island respects this fact and plays the game according to the rules. Because if people start disregarding the rules of the game this could have consequences that we may not be able to foresee'', Feissel noted.

    The UN envoy said he was satisfied with the assurances given by President Clerides to secure respect of the buffer zone. ''I do not know what the measures are but I am certainly satisfied with what I heard.''

    Asked whether similar assurances have been given by the Turkish Cypriot side, Feissel said the UN is asking ''everybody to keep cool and obviously this means first and foremost those who are involved in demonstrating.''

    ''The action is over here (government controlled areas) and not over there (Turkish occupied areas),'' he said.

    CNA MCH/MM/1996
    1445 :CYPPRESS:03

    [03] EU envoy finds willingness to work towards a solution

    Nicosia, Jul 31 (CNA) -- The European Union (EU) Irish Presidency Representative for Cyprus, Ambassador Kester Heaslip, believes the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides are determined to address the Cyprus problem and, if possible, solve it, to enable a united Cyprus to begin EU accession negotiations.

    Heaslip was speaking after a meeting today in Nicosia with the representatives of EU member-states resident in Cyprus, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece. EU ambassador in Nicosia Gilles Anouil and Ireland's ambassador to Cyprus, based in Athens, Liam Rigney, also attended the two hour-long meeting.

    The Irish former diplomat said he briefed his colleagues on his meetings with the Cyprus government and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Heaslip described his mission to Nicosia, Athens and Ankara as ''fact finding'' and said he is gathering information, suggestions and advice the Irish EU presidency would ''benefit from'' when dealing with the Cyprus question, during its six month rotating chair.

    He noted the question of Cyprus, ''is of course always an important issue for the EU Council and particularly now during this period when we hope that the problems of Cyprus will be solved in time to allow a united Cyprus to begin negotiations with the EU for accession.''

    Asked if he believed the Cyprus problem would be solved before the island joins the EU, Heaslip said he ''is convinced that on both sides there is determination to address the problem and if possible to solve it.''

    Replying to questions, he said that during his talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader he expanded ''on the benefits that membership to the EU would inevitably bring to the north of Cyprus, the south of Cyprus and the united Cyprus.''

    ''I also urged him and his colleagues to lose no opportunity to acquaint themselves with the policies of the EU and to acquaint themselves ever more closely with the practical advantages, as well as the more general benefits that membership would bring to a united Cyprus,'' he added.

    He said the Turkish Cypriot leader ''is interested in the benefits that membership of the EU would bring to his community and indeed to all of Cyprus'' and listened ''with great interest''. CNA MA/MM/1996

    1705 :CYPPRESS:04

    [04] EU Cyprus envoy would disappoint now, says Irish presidency

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Jul 31 (CNA) -- The appointment of a European Union special envoy for Cyprus at this stage would create such expectations in Cyprus that would end up disappointing the parties concerned because the EU does not have enough to offer, EU Irish presidency representative for Cyprus, Ambassador Kester Heaslip, has told CNA.

    Heaslip, who leaves tomorrow for Ankara via Athens to meet Turkey's Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller on Friday, has also expressed the view that the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides find it difficult to see what more they can do to move things forward towards a dialogue for a negotiated settlement.

    Envoys involved in the Cyprus question, Heaslip said, have established a ''network'' and are working together with the UN to help make headway in the protracted Cyprus problem.

    In an exclusive interview with CNA, the first since his appointment as EU presidency representative, Heaslip, who has concluded his meetings on the island, said he had ''very instructive meetings and learned a great deal more about the complexities of the problem.''

    ''I acquired a certain degree of optimism because, although all the people I have talked to, stressed the difficulty of finding a solution, nevertheless I was convinced that on both sides there is preparedness to make yet another effort to find a solution,'' he said.

    Both sides, he continued, intend to make efforts ''although both sides have said they have already made these efforts and they have even suggested they are at a loss to see what more they can do.''

    They are not necessarily all that optimistic but they are determined to make further effort, he explained, and both agree there is a new factor now in the equation, namely the prospect of Cyprus joining the EU.

    The Irish diplomat considers that the new element in the Cyprus situation is the EU and its relations with Cyprus and Turkey.

    Last year's EU decision to start membership talks and Turkey's Association Council, due to be set on track in October, are also matters under consideration.

    Turkey, he said, cannot avoid the question of Cyprus and its human rights record, which are raised at a negotiating table.

    Heaslip said accession negotiations between the EU and a united Cyprus would be certain to succeed.

    On the possible appointment of an EU special envoy for Cyprus, Heaslip said he saw a risk in such a move at this stage because ''if the EU were to appoint a special representative for Cyprus, this would build up expectations in Cyprus and would suggest to both sides that EU is taking up a separate initiative.''

    ''Such expectations at this stage would be inevitably disappointing because such a representative would be expected to be able to tell you about concrete plans he has formed and the ideas he has put to the parties and their reaction and we have not reached that stage,'' he explained.

    The EU, he said, has assessed the position as of now and believes ''we cannot appoint a special representative because we have not enough to offer at this stage.''

    He said the situation would be assessed from time to time and ''when and if it is judged that it would help the peace process to appoint a representative you can be sure it will be done.''

    Commenting on yesterday's statement by French Alternate Minister for European Affairs, Michel Barnier on EU thoughts about such a move, Heaslip explained that the French official must have referred to a long standing French demand for a Foreign and Security Person (known as FRS among European circles) in response to criticism over the EU's inability to deal decisively with various conflicts including the one in former Yugoslavia.

    The French demand seems to have limited ground of support since major member-states such as Germany and the Britain are not favourably inclined towards the proposal.

    Commenting on the plethora of Cyprus envoys in Europe and the US, Heaslip said he is in contact with ''other facilitators, particularly with special UN envoy Han Sung-Joo to assist UN efforts.''

    ''We have established a network among ourselves, we meet and correspond. There is no clash of interest among us and we are acting in transparency,'' he added.

    Heaslip told CNA he will report to Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring on the result of his Cyprus talks who will then brief the EU Council.

    Tomorrow he leaves for Athens only to return towards the end of the week for a meeting on Monday with Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Heaslip, a retired diplomat, will be in New York in September where he expects to meet UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, his special envoy Han Sung-Joo and US Presidential Emissary Richard Beattie.

    Later in the month, he will return to Cyprus for another round of talks, he said. He hopes to pay a third visit here before the end of his tenure of office.

    Prior to his arrival here, he met with Han two weeks ago in Dublin and British representative for Cyprus Sir David Hannay. He also had talks with Carey Cavanaugh, Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department.

    During his five-day visit to the island, Heaslip met, among others, President Glafcos Clerides, US ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and his son, Serdar Denktash.

    CNA MM/EC/1996

    [05] Bikers gather in Berlin for ride to Cyprus

    by Rebekah Gregoriades

    Berlin, Jul 31 CNA - Twenty-two Cypriot bikers arrived in Berlin today to join around one hundred bikers from Europe, ahead of Friday's start of the ride from Berlin to the Turkish occupied northern coastal town of Kyrenia.

    The Cypriot bikers are expected to collect their bikes tomorrow, which arrived by air in this German city.

    Cypriot bikers are meeting today in Berlin to arrange last minute organisational details, and tomorrow they will be joined by 102 European bikers to coordinate their moves in view of Friday's start of the ride from the once divided city of Berlin to the occupied town of Kyrenia.

    Only one Cypriot woman, Rebekah Gregoriades, a leading member of the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation, (CMF), participates in the Cypriot group, made up of people of all ages.

    The ride, starts in Berlin on August 2 and will pass through the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece. The 120 motorcyclists will board a ship at Pireaus and will arrive in Cyprus on August 10.

    Around 7.000 motorcyclists are expected to take part in the Cyprus leg of the rally and will attempt to cross, through the UN controlled Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia, the only divided European capital, and then ride to Kyrenia.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA EC/MM/1996

    [06] Government appeals to anti-occupation bikers

    Nicosia, Jul 31 (CNA) -- The government has appealed for respect of the status of the UN controlled buffer zone, which cuts the island into two.

    The call came from Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides who said the government ''is concerned'' about next week's ride from Berlin to the Turkish occupied town of Kyrenia, on the northern coast, because of information it has received about the intention of the Turkish occupation forces.

    Cassoulides did not disclose any details about the nature of the information the government has had but he said this will be conveyed to the National Council, the top advisory body on the handling of the Cyprus question, tomorrow's meeting.

    ''The Republic of Cyprus will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens and to maintain the existing agreement which renders UNFICYP (UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus) responsible for the 180-kilometre long buffer zone,'' the Spokesman said.

    The Republic, he added, is responsible for the protection of the UN peace-keepers.

    ''UN peace-keepers are here to maintain the ceasefire, they are not our enemies or our opponents and it is imperative that we respect UNFICYP's mandate,'' he told his press briefing.

    UNFICYP, he remarked, does not wish to allow violation of the buffer zone at this stage.

    Cassoulides said the government wants to be reassured that ''anybody participating in this event will comply with this position.''

    Asked if the government is advising the estimated 7,000 bikers not to attempt to ride to Kyrenia, Cassoulides replied ''what is important is to see that bikers are prevented from riding to Kyrenia by the Turkish occupation regime.''

    This would be achieved when UNFICYP conveys a request from the bikers to the Turkish Cypriot regime.

    ''If the reply is yes, then the bikers will go to Kyrenia through the UN controlled Ledra Palace check point, in the buffer zone,'' he added.

    The occupation regime has more often than not refused permission to Greek Cypriot to visit the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Cypriot bikers are already in Berlin ready for Friday's start of the Berlin-Kyrenia ride, scheduled to end on 11 August in Kyrenia.

    CNA MM/EC/1996

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