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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-04

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU a better arbitrator in Cyprus, says former diplomat
  • [02] Charity Radiomarathon 1997
  • [03] Germany reiterates interest in Cyprus
  • [04] President to announce election decision on Saturday

  • 1100:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] EU a better arbitrator in Cyprus, says former diplomat

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Nov 4 (CNA) -- Europe is much better placed than the US to act as an honest broker in the Cyprus dispute, but those involved in it need to see it as an "unbiased" third party, former ambassador of France to Turkey Eric Rouleau has told CNA.

    He believes the US is not in a position to exercise pressure on Turkey because of "domestic and strategic reasons."

    The former diplomat, a columnist with Le Monde Diplomatique, thinks Turkey appears complacent with the current status quo in Cyprus as it believes, wrongly, it suits its objectives.

    Rouleau called on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to "compromise" if they want peace on the island but acknowledged that their views are "far apart, but not as far as they were in the past."

    Rouleau was speaking to CNA on the sidelines of a two-day seminar on the relations between "Political Islam and the West", attended by distinguished personalities from the world of academia.

    Referring to American involvement in the Cyprus peace effort, he recognised the US is "the first superpower in the world but unfortunately it is unable to exercise that power on Turkey or Israel for that matter because of domestic and strategic reasons."

    "Europe is better placed to help the two sides reach an agreement but the Europeans have not been asked by either the US or Turkey to make such a move," he said.

    Rouleau noted the Cyprus government welcomes EU engagement in the Cyprus peace process but neither Turkey nor the Turkish Cypriot side share this view primarily because they regard the EU as favouring the Greek Cypriot side in its aspirations.

    "We need both sides to see the Europeans as unbiased observers to help the Cyprus peace process and until Turkey accepts this role for Europe, it would be difficult for us to move in," he added.

    "The Cyprus problem has never been a purely local problem, it is also an international problem which involves Greece and Turkey as well as Europe, " he said.

    Everybody agrees they want peace in Cyprus but they disagree on how to go about securing peace on the island, he explained during the interview.

    "Compromise is the key to finding peace and should be the fruit of free negotiations between the two sides," Rouleau said, noting that accepting the idea of a federal state is a compromise the Greek Cypriot side made in the past.

    The Greek Cypriot side, he explained, wishes to see a "strictly federal state" established on the island whereas the Turkish Cypriot side wants "a loose confederal state" and the Turkish view envisages for two fully- fledged states.

    "The two positions are far apart, but less far apart than they were in the past. I would say the European perspective is closer to the Greek Cypriot view in that it wants to see a Cyprus with one single identity and personality," Rouleau said.

    Commenting on Turkey's policy on Cyprus, he said "I would say the Turks like the status quo in Cyprus because it is not threatening to them."

    His assessment of the Turkish view is that Turkey does not consider the status quo as threatening, it sees no real danger of war in Cyprus, they have the Turkish Cypriots under their protection and they maintain a base on this east Mediterranean island.

    The French diplomat indicated Turkey is wrong in thinking along those lines because "they cannot bridge the gap with the European Union and meet EU recommendations for progress in Cyprus, respect of human rights, respect of the rights of the Kurdish people and improved economic performance."

    Furthermore, he said, the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus has not been recognised by anybody but Turkey and moreover, Turkey must realise that maintaining the current situation costs in terms of money.

    "Turkey is not up to the standards of the European club," Rouleau pointed out.

    Assessing the outcome of the Islam-West conference held in Nicosia, he said the exchange of views about the differences between Islam and the West was helpful and "more such meetings should take place."

    He also welcomed the frank exchange of conflicting views from so many distinguished personalities and said "Cyprus opened its arms to this venture, thus proving the Cyprus question is not a religious problem."

    The former ambassador regretted however that no Greek or Turkish Cypriots addressed the meeting.

    Rouleau has served his country from many posts, including ambassadorial posts in Tunisia and Turkey. He also worked as editor with the French News Agency, reported for Le Monde in the Arab countries, and was a visiting professor at the University of California, in the US.

    CNA MM/GP/1997

    [02] Charity Radiomarathon 1997

    Nicosia, Nov 4 (CNA) -- The seventh Radiomarathon, a two-day charity in aid of children with special needs, starts Monday, November 10, with the participation of Cypriot and Greek artists, and Greek Olympic medalists.

    The programme of Radiomarathon 1997 was presented at a press conference today.

    The charity event is geographically expanded this year, particularly in Greece and the UK, while its co-organisers, the Cyprus Popular Bank and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, expect a record in funds raised.

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will host aboard his yacht "KAITI 2" a number of big contributors.

    The Greek super-marathon runner Yiannis Kouros, the Greek Olympic medalists in weight-lifting, and the cyclist Kanellos Kanellopoulos will participate as well.

    Top Cypriot and Greek artists, including composer Yiannis Markopoullos, are also expected to take part.

    The total funds raised in the previous six charity events reached more than 5 million Cyprus pounds, the press conference heard (one Cyprus pound is equal to 1,9 US dollars).

    CNA GG/GP/1997

    [03] Germany reiterates interest in Cyprus

    Nicosia, Nov 4 (CNA) -- Germany's envoy for Cyprus, Detlev Graf Zu Rantzau, said his country continues to have a keen interest in efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus question.

    "My presence here today is meant to manifest and document the continued strong interest my government has in working together with the Republic of Cyprus to find a solution," Rantzau said after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides.

    Describing his talks as "extremely interesting", he said he learned something new but made no further comment.

    Rantzau said their discussion also focused on Cyprus' prospects for accession to the European Union but avoided to comment on Turkish Cypriot participation in membership negotiations at this stage.

    "As far as I am concerned a decision to open negotiations with all candidates for membership will be taken in December by the European Council, " he said.

    Cyprus is among the first group of candidate countries due to open accession talks early next year.

    Rantzau has already seen top UN envoy in Cyprus, Gustave Feissel and will have contact with Turkish Cypriots in the northern Turkish occupied part of the island.

    He leaves on Thursday.

    CNA MM/MA/1997

    [04] President to announce election decision on Saturday

    Nicosia, Nov 4 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides said today he will announce his decision whether he will seek re-election or not on Saturday, November 8.

    "I have already taken my decision and will make it public on Saturday," he told reporters today.

    Political analysts expect the President to declare his wish to seek a second term in office, a view backed by the leader of the ruling rightwing Democratic Rally party Nicos Anastasiades.

    "Current developments in Cyprus dictate that President Clerides should remain at the helm of the state," Anastasiades said today.

    Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said the President would make his announcement in writing on November 8.

    Clerides' coalition partner, Spyros Kyprianou, leader of the centre- right Democratic Party and President of the House of Representatives, has already made it clear he will run for the presidency.

    The Democratic Party's Central Committee was due to meet this afternoon to decide whether the five cabinet ministers coming from this party will resign.

    Already the party's Executive Bureau has decided to suggest to the Central Committee the resignation of the party from the eleven-member cabinet.

    CNA MM/GP/1997


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