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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-02-27

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Foreign Minister meets Finnish envoy on Cyprus
  • [02] EU commissioner urges for progress on political solution
  • [03] Cyprus Republic sole interlocutor in accession talks
  • [04] Senior US official on Cyprus
  • [05] Van den Broek meets Kyprianou
  • [06] Rifkind to address a meeting on Cyprus

  • 1520:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Foreign Minister meets Finnish envoy on Cyprus

    Nicosia, Feb 27 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said the Cyprus problem is entering a new phase and for this reason Cyprus needs the support and the political will of all those who would like the implementation of the UN resolutions.

    The Minister was speaking after a meeting here today with Finnish Special Envoy for Cyprus, Kalevi Sorsa, who is on a fact-finding mission in Cyprus to prepare a report for his country's Foreign Ministry by May.

    Noting that they exchanged views on the Cyprus problem, the Minister said that Cyprus encourages the Finnish initiative.

    On his part, Sorsa said they discussed the question of Cyprus' entry into the European Union.

    Earlier today, the Finish official had a meeting in the Turkish- occupied part of Cyprus with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Yesterday, he was received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. After Cyprus, he will travel to Greece and Turkey for similar talks.

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

    CNA RM/EC/GP/1997
    1820 CYPPRESS:02

    [02] EU commissioner urges for progress on political solution

    Nicosia, Feb 27 (CNA) -- Progress towards a Cyprus solution should be achieved prior to Turkish Cypriots involvement in the island's accession talks with the European Union (EU), EU External Relations Commissioner, Hans van den Broek, said here today.

    "I certainly feel what has priority right now is to get something started on a political solution," Van den Broek told the press, following a meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister, Alecos Michaelides.

    The EU Commissioner said Turkish Cypriots involvement in the accession process would have to take a back seat to some real progress in efforts to find a solution.

    "I wouldn't see how we can get (Turkish Cypriot involvement in accession talks) without any movement on the political side," he added.

    However, the Commissioner reaffirmed earlier that Cyprus-EU accession talks would begin as scheduled, six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    He added the EU would urge the Turkish Cypriot side to make "a reasonable contribution" to progress on a solution to the island's protracted problem.

    "We would call upon on the flexibility and some sort of compromise certainly on the side of the Turkish Cypriots," Van den Broek said, stressing that "one-sided solutions do not exist, or, when they exist, they are unstable."

    Van den Broek reiterated EU's strong support of United Nations initiatives towards a solution of the Cyprus question.

    "I hope after a preparatory phase we will witness negotiations could really get started in the first half of this year," the Commissioner said.

    He pointed out the EU would like to see Cyprus-EU accession talks in the context of a unified Cyprus and with the involvement of both communities on the island, "but there is something needed for that, that is not simply a condition which you can put on the table," he noted.

    On his part, Michaelides said he is satisfied the EU Commissioner saw the whole picture on Turkish Cypriot involvement in accession talks, since a necessary precursor to any such move would have to be real progress towards a solution.

    "Our position is that emphasis must be given to efforts on solving the Cyprus problem, just like Mr. Van den Broek rightly said," he noted.

    "When accession talks roll around, then it's our wish that conditions are such, that everyone will play their role, but my interpretation is that certainly there must be at least substantial progress in finding a solution, " Michaelides said.

    The Foreign Minister justified however, Greece's and Cyprus' objection to the idea of a joint statement by the European Council of Ministers urging Turkish Cypriot involvement in Cyprus-EU accession talks.

    "Such a joint statement would possibly be misinterpreted by some. So, between accepting something we would have concerns about and postponing the EU-Cyprus structured dialogue, we made the more logical choice," Michaelides explained.

    The Foreign Minister said he will travel to Europe next week to meet with the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Britain, France and Italy to parlay Cypriot positions on various matters.

    CNA MH/AP/1997
    1845 CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Cyprus Republic sole interlocutor in accession talks

    Nicosia, Feb 27 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides repeated today that the sole interlocutor in accession negotiations between Cyprus and the European Union is the Cyprus Republic.

    He also noted that the government would gladly accept Turkish Cypriot participation in the Republic's accession negotiations with the EU, after a solution to the Cyprus problem is found.

    Commenting on statements made by EU External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek, the Spokesman said, the intention of Britain, Germany and France was to express the hope that there would be such progress in the Cyprus problem to enable Turkish Cypriot participation.

    If this is so then the text could have been amended accordingly, he added, expressing the hope that a way out will be found.

    Van den Broek who is currently visiting the island, stated, earlier today, that most EU member states have expressed a wish to see Turkish Cypriots involved in accession talks.

    The Cyprus government does not object to Turkish Cypriot participation as part of the official delegation of the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus, which, according to an EU 1995 statement, is "the sole interlocutor".

    On Monday, February 24, the EU Council of Ministers failed to agree on a common communique regarding participation in accession talks and as a result the ongoing structured dialogue scheduled to take place the following day, was postponed.

    Cassoulides said that President Clerides and the EU Commissioner discussed exclusively the Cyprus problem and efforts to resolve it.

    CNA RG/EC/MCH/1997
    1900 :CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Senior US official on Cyprus

    by Demetris Apokis

    Washington Feb 27 (CNA) -- A high ranking US State Department official believes that it might not be fruitful to proceed with a US initiative on Cyprus to push the peace process forward.

    The official, who requested anonymity, has also warned that, should problems continue to erupt, any negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides are doomed to fail.

    Asked if this is the right time for the US to proceed with an initiative on Cyprus, the official told CNA in an exclusive interview "it might not be fruitful."

    He said it may not be impossible to hold talks but noted that existing differences between the two sides would put these talks in jeopardy.

    "I am not saying it is impossible to have talks without those (differences), but they (President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash) have said these are problems that need to be addressed," he said noting that it would not be "wise" to go into talks with a whole series of things that need to be done the first day.

    "It would be much simpler to have done them ahead of time," he added and explained that President Clerides and Denktash have made it clear that it would be hard to have negotiations "if problems continue to erupt."

    One such problem, the official said, was the overflights of Greek and Turkish military aircraft in Cyprus.

    "President Clerides was frank to say that talks will break down if a Turkish fighter flies over Nicosia, even though the talks are productive," the US official acknowledged.

    He also said the decision of Cyprus to purchase Russian-made surface-to- air anti-aircraft missiles was a "setback towards diplomatic efforts and made it more difficult to achieve the kind of progress we want to see in Cyprus."

    Referring to a US-backed proposal for a moratorium on overflights in Cyprus, the official expressed regret that an agreement on the matter was not concluded and added "President Clerides did not agree to the overflights moratorium."

    The President made it clear at the time that Cyprus could not enter into an agreement with Turkey on a moratorium on overflights, because this would mean Cyprus cedes the right to fly military aircraft to Turkey, which occupies illegally part of the Republic of Cyprus for the past 23 years.

    President Clerides also underlined that flights by Greek fighters over the island are lawful, as they are invited by the internationally recognised government of Cyprus, whereas Turkish military aircraft violate the Republic's air space in contravention of international law and order.

    Asked if the US is ready to guarantee a moratorium on overflights, the official said: "We are already prepared to do that, but the guarantee is a front word", and added "can we guarantee that a Greek plane won't fly over Cyprus? No. But of course we are ready to point the finger."

    Invited to assess a common Greco-Cypriot defence pact, the US official said this "complicated the situation" as it brings Greek-Turkish tensions "even more on to the island."

    "Problems between Athens and Ankara that had nothing to do with the situation on Cyprus now could spill over there and vice versa," he said.

    The Cyprus problem, he added, and Greek-Turkish disputes are on a separate but parallel track.

    Replying to questions, the State Department official said the US backs Cyprus' EU accession but also "understands European concerns" about bringing into the Union a divided Cyprus without a settlement.

    "I think it is hard for many Europeans to envision how that works," he noted.

    CNA DA/MM/AP/1997
    1925 CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Van den Broek meets Kyprianou

    Nicosia, Feb 27 (CNA) -- The European Union will support UN efforts towards direct negotiations between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, EU External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek said today.

    Speaking after a meeting with House President, Spyros Kyprianou and parliamentary party leaders, Van den Broek said seeks "to support as much as possible the UN in its work, preparing for negotiations" noting that for the realisation of this aim "co-operation from the Turkish side will be absolutely necessary."

    Describing the meeting as "a very fruitful and open exchange" the EU Commissioner said they discussed prospects regarding a Cyprus settlement and the preparations for accession to the EU.

    Van den Broek referred to the disappointments of the past and the lack of progress for a Cyprus settlement but expressed the hope that "with the help and the backing of the international community" there will be "some light and justice" this year.

    Referring to EU's relations with Turkey, the Commissioner said "they deserve attention as well" noting at the same time that it is for the EU to decide how far the relations between the two will go.

    "The EU remains very much attached to the idea that our relationship with Turkey should develop towards normalisation", he added.

    Describing the meeting as "useful", Kyprianou said he pointed out to the EU Commissioner that the recent British-German and French proposal regarding Turkish Cypriot involvement in EU-Cyprus accession negotiations, gave Turkey the wrong message.

    He said, the message was that Turkey can remain intransigent and the Greek Cypriot side should further compromise to secure EU accession.

    "This decision constitutes violation of UN Security Council resolutions and surely implies recognition of the illegal regime", he said.

    All parliamentary party leaders held the position that Turkish Cypriots should benefit from the Republic's accession to the EU but noted their opposition to anything that would imply recognition of the illegal entity unilaterally declared in the northern Turkish occupied part of the island, Kyprianou said.

    CNA MK/EC/MCH/1997

    [06] Rifkind to address a meeting on Cyprus

    Nicosia, Feb 27 (CNA) -- British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind will speak to members of the Cypriot Community in Britain on efforts towards a lasting solution of the Cyprus problem.

    A statement issued by Conservative MP Ian Twinn said Rifkind accepted the invitation to speak to members of "the Cypriot community in Britain about our hopes for a just and lasting solution".

    The statement says "1997 presents us all with both hopes and opportunities to pave the way for European Union membership and an end to the division of the island after 23 years" of Turkish occupation.

    The meeting, which will take place on March 5, is supported by more than 20 Conservative MPs who are members of the Conservatives for Cyprus group which includes Ian Twinn and Defence Secretary Michael Portillo.

    It is organised in collaboration with the British branch of the Cyprus ruling right wing Democratic Rally Party and the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood.

    CNA DP/EC/MCH/1996
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