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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-07

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] UN, US to intensify efforts for Cyprus solution
  • [02] Ancient monuments in occupied Cyprus under destruction
  • [03] Discussions with no specific agenda
  • [04] China and Cyprus sign cultural agreement
  • [05] Kasoulides comments on Holbrooke's visit

  • 0030:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] UN, US to intensify efforts for Cyprus solution

    Nicosia, Nov 7 (CNA) -- In the year 1998, the United Nations and the United States will concentrate their efforts to promote a Cyprus settlement, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has said.

    He stressed that he considers necessary to be present during this time. Clerides announced tonight his decision to seek re-election for a second five-year term. The elections will be held in February 1998.

    President Clerides gave a two-hour press conference on the achievements of his government in the past five years.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, the President said the Turkish positions have remained unaltered since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the island's northern third.

    "There has not been any move on the Turkish positions on issues such as sovereignty, rotating presidency, territory, and guarantees", he said.

    President Clerides noted that although the Turkish positions remain unchanged, "we now witness a substantial international reaction" to promote a Cyprus settlement.

    He referred to recent statements in Ankara by European External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek, who called for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops and statements by German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, that Turkey can enter the EU only if there is progress in Cyprus.

    "We have indications that other countries are pressing Turkey to realise that it must proceed with a Cyprus settlement before approaching the united Europe", the President pointed out.

    Clerides referred to the great international interest in a Cyprus solution, something which is evidenced by the appointment of a large number of envoys monitoring developments in the Cyprus problem, who express support to the UN Secretary-General's efforts.

    "We also have an indication that the US are now entering the process with (Presidential Emissary Richard) Holbrooke leading the way", the President said.

    President Clinton's Emissary for Cyprus will arrive on Monday in Cyprus for talks with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Clerides said after the 1998 presidential elections, "there will be activity on the part of the UN, with a simultaneous move by the American factor", he added.

    For this reason, he said the government must be ready because the international community finally realises that the status quo on the island cannot continue and "that they should concentrate their efforts to promote a Cyprus settlement in 1998".

    Asked whether he is "afraid" of Holbrooke's involvement in efforts for a Cyprus settlement, Clerides said it is not his character to be afraid.

    On the contrary, he said Holbrooke's presence "implies the start of the US initiative".

    He stressed that the US is the only country which can exert pressure on Turkey.

    Regarding the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Clerides said the reason for the purchase of the surface-to-air missiles expected to be deployed in Cyprus in mid 1998 was that the Republic's land forces needed adequate air cover.

    The Cypriot President also referred to the construction of an air base near the western town of Paphos, as part of the joint defence dogma agreed with Greece in 1993.

    Clerides repeated that the missile issue can be discussed within the framework of "an agreement for the reduction of armaments and the withdrawal of foreign troops", eventually leading to demilitarisation.

    The missiles, he added, "are not a negotiating weapon. They are a weapon we need for our defence and we do not accept anyone to question our right to defend ourselves and the weaponry needed for our defence".

    Clerides said one of the facts which will make Turkey achieve political will, is the island's accession course to the European Union.

    "Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community must realise that it is to their interest to adjust their policy in order to enter the united Europe", the President added.

    This, he said, can act as a "leverage" against Turkey because it wants to enter Europe and it cannot survive without Europe.

    However, he said in order to do this, Turkey must show that it is willing to contribute to a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Referring to cooperation with the Greek government, President Clerides said despite the ideology of the parties ruling either Greece or Cyprus, what matters is that the cooperation should be based on mutual policy on the national issue.

    At this point, he described as "excellent" the cooperation of his government with the government of Greek Prime Minister, Costas Simitis.

    CNA EC/GP/1997

    [02] Ancient monuments in occupied Cyprus under destruction

    By Myria Antoniadou

    Nicosia, Nov 7 (CNA) -- Cyprus' monuments and ancient sites in the Turkish-occupied areas, some dating to prehistoric times, will be completely destroyed in a few years, the Acting Director of the Antiquities Department, has warned.

    In an interview with CNA, Sophoclis Hadjisavvas said Turkey aims to obliterate any sign of the Greek and Christian culture in the areas it occupies since it invaded Cyprus in 1974.

    At the same time, he noted with regret the inability of international organisations to practically help end this destruction.

    "Turkey follows a policy of ethnic cleansing in the occupied areas. People may be able to return to their homes but if the destruction continues at the same rate there will be nothing left of the island's heritage," he warned.

    "You can never rebuild 12th century churches and ancient sites."

    Hadjisavvas said archaeological sites dating back to 1700 BC, like the ancient town of Engomi in the Famagusta region, are not protected. No restoration work has been done since the Turkish invasion.

    Before the Turkish invasion, Cypriot and French archaeologists were excavating in the Bronze Age site in Engomi, where they unearthed buildings, roads, metallurgy facilities, Mycenean jars and other artefacts.

    "The Turks aim at changing the ethnic character of the occupied areas. To leave behind nothing Greek and Christian," Hadjisavvas told CNA.

    "If we return to the occupied areas soon then we could restore monuments, churches, icons and frescos that have not been completely destroyed."

    According to information gathered by the Cypriot authorities and the Church of Cyprus, churches have been turned into mosques, others are used as storehouses or coffee-houses and galleries, while some are even used as stables.

    At the same time priceless icons, frescos and ancient artefacts were smuggled abroad and sold on the international black market, especially in rich countries such as Britain, the US, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

    The Antiquities Department official expressed disappointment because international organisations cannot help put an end to the destruction of Cyprus' 9000-year-old heritage.

    "Unfortunately the political situation in Cyprus makes our efforts more difficult, as the occupation regime is trying to take advantage of it to gain recognition," Hadjisavvas said.

    He said Cyprus has tried to involve UNESCO and other international organisations in efforts to salvage its cultural heritage.

    "We want experts to visit the occupied areas, examine the state of monuments, write a report and then we will find the funds needed to start restoration work," Hadjisavvas said.

    He noted that UNESCO, as a UN body, has to have the consent of both sides in order to act.

    The Cyprus government and Church have repeatedly protested to the United Nations, the UNESCO, the World Council of Churches and other international organisations about the destruction of the island's 9.000- year-old civilisation in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    CNA MA/GP/1997

    [03] Discussions with no specific agenda

    Washington, Nov 7 (CNA) -- A joint meeting between the leaders of the two sides in Cyprus during the visit to the island of US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke will be informal and with no specific agenda.

    This was stated by US State Department Spokesman, James Rubin, who also pointed out that Holbrooke arranged the meeting during the recent visit of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to Washington and New York and over the phone with President Glafcos Clerides.

    "Ambassador Holbrooke and Special Cyprus Coordinator Tom Miller arranged meetings and discussions over the past week with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Washington and by telephone with President Clerides", Rubin said.

    He said "there is no pre-set agenda for these discussions" because they will be "informal" and there is "no specific game plan".

    Rubin repeated that the US are working to bring about a solution "based on the concept of a bizonal, bicommunal federation for Cyprus. These talks are part of those efforts", he added.

    Asked whether Holbrooke is coming to Cyprus because the Cyprus problem is drifting out of control or is nearing a solution, Rubin replied "I can assure that you that Ambassador Holbrooke did not just suddenly come up with this idea".

    He explained that Holbrooke "felt that the time was ripe", as a result of discussions in Washington and in the region, "to bring the two leaders together with no set agenda".

    It was announced that Holbrooke will arrive on the island Monday for a two-day visit. He will be accompanied by Miller, who is expected to arrive in Cyprus on Sunday.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA DA/EC/GP/1997

    [04] China and Cyprus sign cultural agreement

    Nicosia, Nov 07 (CNA) -- China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will make every effort to assist efforts towards a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    This was pointed out today, by Chinese Minister of Culture Liu Zhongde, visiting Cyprus on an invitation by Minister of Education and Culture George Hadjinicolaou, to sign a bilateral cultural agreement.

    Zhongde also said "the government of China believes Cyprus' sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom must be respected".

    Furthermore he affirmed the fervent interest of the people of China in a solution to the Cyprus problem

    "We hope the two communities in Cyprus will solve the problem through negotiations and peaceful means on the basis of UN resolutions and high level agreements reached between them", he added.

    The two Ministers signed today the seventh programme of cultural cooperation between Cyprus and China.

    The programme, covering the period until 1999, stipulates exchanges between the two countries in the fields of practical arts, theatre, culture, cinema, education, mass media and youth issues.

    The Chinese Minister invited his Cypriot counterpart for a visit to China, an invitation which Hadjinicolaou accepted.

    CNA MK/MCH/1997

    [05] Kasoulides comments on Holbrooke's visit

    Nicosia, Nov 7 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides today said the US President's emissary for Cyprus will visit the island to assess how he will contribute to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Richard Holbrooke, who brokered the Bosnian deal, will pay his first visit here since his appointment on November 10 and 11. He will meet the leaders of the two communities and hold a joint meeting.

    Kasoulides said the American President's emissary might want to listen to President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash "exchanging views".

    He said "maybe Holbrooke's visit signals he is at the last stage of investigating into ways of his involvement in efforts to solve the Cyprus question."

    Kasoulides said the government had not been informed of the exact purpose of the visit and that Holbrooke "is keeping his cards closed".

    The Foreign Minister rejected opposition claims that Holbrooke's visit is an indirect involvement in Cypriot politics and aims at backing Clerides' candidature in February's presidential elections.

    Glafcos Clerides announced Thursday nigh to seek re-election for a second five-year term.

    Kasoulides stressed that the American official had announced he was planning to visit Cyprus in September.

    "It seems that after repeated meetings with Denktash (in the US) he thought a visit here would be useful," the Cypriot official said.

    Kasoulides pointed out that the UN Secretary-General's special Cyprus advisor will also visit Cyprus.

    Diego Cordovez, who chaired two rounds of Cyprus peace talks this summer, is scheduled to come to the island November 18 for meetings with both sides.

    The Foreign Minister said both these visits should be seen within the context of the foreign envoys' intention not to stop their involvement in Cyprus peace efforts until after February's elections.

    He added they are backing Kofi Annan's efforts to solve the 23-year-old Cyprus problem.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory.

    Kasoulides leaves this afternoon for Athens where he will hold talks with his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos.

    The main issues expected to be raised in the Greek capital are Holbrooke's visit, the Cyprus problem, the recent meeting between the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey, Costas Simitis and Mesut Yilmaz, held in Crete, and Cyprus' bid to become a full member of the European Union.

    CNA EC/GP/1997
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