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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-01-23

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] USA: Progress on Cyprus depends on the parties
  • [02] President Clerides receives British shadow Foreign Secretary
  • [03] British Labour Party hopes for solution in 1997
  • [04] Labour assurances to Cyprus
  • [05] British MPs join Greek Cypriots outside Turkish Embassy
  • [06] Cyprus main topic of discussion Socialist International meeting
  • [07] Intercommunal political party meeting not out of the question
  • [08] Government favours bi-communal party meetings

  • 0945:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] USA: Progress on Cyprus depends on the parties

    Washington, Jan 23 (CNA) -- US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns has stressed that progress on Cyprus and stability in Eastern Mediterranean depends on the parties involved.

    He described as ''successful'' the recent mission to the region of Carey Cavanaugh, Director of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department.

    ''We think he had a successful mission, because we think we've identified some ways to try to defuse tensions and to create more cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean,'' the Spokesman said.

    But, ultimately, he added, ''this is up to (Cyprus) President (Glafcos) Clerides and up to the Turkish and Greek leadership to decide if there is going to be a new era where progress is made on the Cyprus question, where steps are taken, we hope, to agree to a moratorium on flights over Cyprus, where steps are taken and agreed to under the rubric of the United Nations to limit the conflict along the 'boundary' lines, and where we hope that in general the hot rhetoric of the last couple of weeks can subside.''

    On the issue of the Russian surface-to-air missiles purchased by Cyprus and their connection to the military balance, Burns said the purchase of the missiles ''is not a good idea not because it affects the military balance but because it affects the politics and symbolism.''

    He repeated the US position that the Turkish government ought not to resort to the threat of violence against Cyprus because of the decision regarding the missiles.

    The US official said the decision of President Clerides not to deploy the system for the next 16 months is a very good decision which provides some time for this problem to be worked out.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA DA/GP/1997

    [02] President Clerides receives British shadow Foreign Secretary

    Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) -- British Shadow Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has assured Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides that a Labour government would be willing to assist in any way it can in finding a settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after an hour-long meeting with President Clerides Thursday Morning, Cook expressed support for Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU) and described accession negotiations as an opportunity to solve the Cyprus issue.

    Cook said he discussed the prospect for a settlement of the Cyprus problem with the Cypriot President and was ''very interested'' to hear what President Clerides had to say.

    ''I assured him a Labour government would be very willing to assist in any way we can to ensure that we do find a settlement that is fair and provides confidence to both communities,'' he added.

    Asked to clarify how the Labour Party intends to push the Cyprus question higher up in the international agenda, as he stated on arrival yesterday, Cook noted ''Britain will be President of the EU in the first half of 1998.''

    This is the period in which negotiation for Union enlargement will commence and accession talks with Cyprus are expected to begin.

    ''The Labour Party is very anxious that Cyprus should become a member and we believe it is a high priority as a candidate for membership,'' he added.

    The Shadow Foreign Secretary noted those discussions ''plainly give us the opportunity to see if we can find some solution that would resolve the dispute within the island, and give both Europe and Cyprus greater confidence of this membership.''

    Present at the Presidential Palace meeting were Pantelis Kouros, Under- Secretary to the President, and British High Commissioner in Nicosia, David Madden.

    After meeting President Clerides, Cook went on to the Foreign Ministry for a meeting with Minister Alecos Michaelides.

    He will also be meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Greek and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders.

    CNA MM/MA/GP/1997
    1440 :CYPPRESS:03

    [03] British Labour Party hopes for solution in 1997

    Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) -- Britain's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, expressed hope that 1997 will see a solution of the protracted Cyprus question, which has been so elusive in the past.

    Speaking after meeting here today House President Spyros Kyprianou, Cook said ''I very much hope that this year we will be able to achieve a solution, which has evaded us so far.''

    Noting that he now had a better understanding of the many difficulties on the road to a solution, Cook reiterated his position that a Labour government would be ''very anxious to give priority to try and find a solution along side the accession of Cyprus to the European Union.''

    He said he had a very friendly and useful meeting and now has a ''very full understanding of the background to the situation in Cyprus.''

    In his remarks, Kyprianou said he was pleased with the discussions he had with Cook and said he may be in London to continue his talks there.

    Cook suggested Kyprianou visits Britain after the general elections, due before May this year, to receive him in his capacity as ''Foreign Secretary''.

    CNA KN/MM/GP/1997

    [04] Labour assurances to Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) -- The Cyprus problem and Cyprus' accession prospects to the European Union were the focus of a meeting here between Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides and British Shadow Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

    Speaking afterwards, Cook said he reassured the FM of Labour's desire to push forward Cyprus' accession course as speedily as possible, when Britain assumes the EU presidency in January 1998.

    ''We discussed issues around the accession of Cyprus to the EU and I assured him, as a Labour government, president of the EU, we want to make sure that every possible speed is going to Cyprus accession,'' he said.

    Describing his talks as ''very full, friendly, useful and lengthy,'' Cook said he explored the problems that exist and the solutions available.

    ''I have assured him that Labour is determined and will continue to show close interest in trying to raise the priority of finding a solution to the Cyprus question,'' he told the press.

    In his remarks, Michaelides said he underlined the need to exploit the period between now and the start of membership talks, due to begin in January 1998 when Britain will take the chair of the rotating EU presidency.

    ''We need to have proper planning and coordination among those who wish to help. This effort should begin with such moves and with such a speed to make it effective,'' the Minister said.

    He said if the Cyprus problem is not settled by the start of accession talks, ''efforts during these talks must be intensified to reach a solution when they are concluded.''

    ''It would be wrong if Cyprus were to be punished, if the Turkish side refuses to cooperate in efforts for a solution,'' he added.

    Replying to questions, Michaelides said Cook wanted to hear the government's views and be better informed about how Cyprus' sees Britain's role.

    Britain together with Greece and Turkey were the guarantors of Cyprus' independence under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment of the Cyprus Republic.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MM/GP/1997

    [05] British MPs join Greek Cypriots outside Turkish Embassy

    London, Jan 23 (CNA) -- British Members of Parliament added their voice to that of Greek Cypriots protesting non-stop since last summer outside the Turkish Embassy in London against the violent murders of four of their compatriots by Turkish occupation troops.

    The British MPs, including both Conservative and Labour members of the House of Commons as well as members of the House of Lords, took the place of the Greek Cypriot protestors in a symbolic gesture of support to their just cause.

    Early this morning, Roger Gale and John Marshall of the Conservative Party, Perry Grant of the Labour Party and Lord Ted Graham of the House of Lords stood in front of the Turkish Embassy protesting against Turkish brutality that caused the lives of three civilians and an unarmed soldier last summer.

    Later on, they were replaced by Labour Party MPs Tom Cox, Eddie O'Hara and Jeremy Corby.

    Meanwhile 120 British MPs have so far signed an Early Day Motion, tabled in the House of Commons on January 13, 1997, which expresses support to the continuous peaceful vigil, outside the Turkish Embassy.

    ''This vigil'', the Motion notes, ''is a clear expression of the anger of the Greek Cypriot community at the invasion and continuous occupation of their country and the ongoing denial of human rights and is an example to all people on how to protest with dignity and honour against the murder in cold blood of its citizens in their own country.''

    CNA KT/RG/MCH/1997

    [06] Cyprus main topic of discussion Socialist International meeting

    Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) -- The Cyprus issue inadvertently became the main topic of discussion during the meeting of the Council of Socialist International held in Rome over the past two days, as a result of a speech given by Turkish Socialist Party leader, Deniz Baykal.

    Baykal referred to Cyprus extensively in his speech, but was rebutted on numerous points by Cyprus Socialist Party Leader (EDEK), Vassos Lyssarides, who also attended the meeting.

    Speaking to reporters here, upon his arrival from Rome, Lyssarides stressed the particular importance to Cyprus of the fact that its problem concerned the meeting to such extent.

    He also expressed his ''gratitude'' towards the Turkish party leader because '' with his depressingly negative interjection, he granted me the opportunity to say things that I would otherwise not be able to say had the matter not been referred to.''

    Lyssarides added that the entire matter evolved into a ''slap in the face'' for Baykal, and said the majority of the participants at the meeting congratulated him, saying that finally things have been said that should have been said a long time ago in the language befitting the Socialist International.

    The Cypriot socialist leader said he is certain Baykal's speech was written by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, because it entirely reflected Denktash's long-held positions.

    The speech claimed that the Cyprus problem was created in 1963 and not 1974 and that the island is inhabited by two peoples with different languages and religions who were equal partners in the Republic.

    In his own speech, Lyssarides asked how it was possible that the voice of Islamic fundamentalism was heard at such an event since socialists, by their ideological nature, do not make distinctions on a religious basis and stress that all are equal.

    Lyssarides said further that Baykal's attempt to make racial distinctions under the guise of socialism constitutes an insult to the meeting's participants since his claims are irrelevant to socialism.

    Moreover, in response to Baykal's assertion that the Turks will never accept one community imposing its will on the other in Cyprus, Lyssarides said that socialists can never accept this anywhere and that this is not the case in Cyprus either.

    ''What we have in Cyprus is the imposition of the Turkish occupying forces on the Greek and Turkish Cypriots'', he stressed.

    The Turkish party leader also mentioned that under no circumstances should the European Union allow Cyprus' accession, that the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles are offensive weapons aimed against Turkey and the Joint Defense Pact between Greece and Cyprus translates into union between the two countries.

    Lyssarides rebutted this by saying that both Baykal and Turkish Prime Minister, Necmetin Erbakan seemingly want to tell the EU what decisions to make and added that if Turkey has no intention of bombing Cyprus, then the Russian missiles are useless.

    The Cypriot socialist leader also said that Greece has the right to defend Cyprus as a guarantor power, according to the Treaty of Guarantee signed between Britain, Greece and Turkey in 1960 to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic.

    ''Turkey lost this right because it has become an occupying force'', he remarked.

    Lyssarides further accused Baykal of misrepresenting the truth and added that the Turkish politician's reference to the existence of two equal democracies on the island and his claim that the Cyprus government does not have the right to represent the island, insult the whole of the international community, since it recognizes the Republic of Cyprus as the sole, legitimate government on the island.

    CNA MH/MCH/1997
    1925 CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Intercommunal political party meeting not out of the question

    Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) -- Socialist Party EDEK, leader Vassos Lyssarides, does not rule out the possibility of a meeting with his Turkish Cypriot counterparts, but stressed he did not want to attach a parliamentary dimension to such a meeting.

    Lyssarides made the comment after meeting today with UN Secretary General's Resident Representative Gustave Feissel, to review the Cyprus problem, which he describes as ''very useful and constructive''.

    The socialist party leader said his party does not refuse to meet with Turkish Cypriots, and noted that such meetings have taken place in the past.

    He pointed out, however, that EDEK does not wish ''to institutionalize anything that may mean recognition of a parliamentary dimension for the other side.''

    The UN has suggested the meeting takes place while UN Secretary-General Special Representative for Cyprus, Han Sung Joo visits the island next week.

    The matter, EDEK leader said, ''will be examined along with all the other parties to see how we can come up with the correct approach.''

    Feissel said the main reason for Han's visit here is to meet with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, ''to see whether or how we can move things forward so that the two leaders can get together for direct negotiations in a manner that will yield results.''

    CNA MH/MCH/1997

    [08] Government favours bi-communal party meetings

    Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government favours meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders, Government Spokesman, Yiannakis Cassoulides, said here today.

    ''The Cyprus government was never against meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriot party leaders,'' Cassoulides stated. ''To the contrary, it encouraged meetings of this kind.''

    The Government Spokesman made the statement in response to a question regarding a UN suggestion that such a meeting take place during the visit here next week of UN Secretary-General Special Representative for Cyprus, Han Sung Joo.

    Reminding however, that political parties conduct such meetings on their own initiative, Cassoulides added that ''if the Secretary-General's representative wants to attend such a meeting, it is a matter for the political parties to decide.''

    He also expressed the belief that the political parties ''will decide positively.''

    Meanwhile, UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel met with centre- right Democratic Party (DIKO) leader, Spyros Kyprianou and Socialist EDEK leader, Vassos Lyssarides to discuss the possibility of such meetings.

    Even though both leaders did not rule out the possibility, they expressed certain reservations and said the matter will be discussed further during a meeting of the country's top advisory body, the National Council, next Monday.

    CNA MH/MCH/1997

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