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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-09

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Canada hosts bicommunal meeting
  • [02] US coordinator in Cyprus

  • 1330:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Canada hosts bicommunal meeting

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Toronto, Nov 9 (CNA) -- Greek and Turkish Cypriots will be meeting in Nova Scotia, Canada this week to envision what the future may hold in store for their common homeland.

    "They'll meet in an interactive session to talk about scenario building, what the future might look like under different scenarios in Cyprus and to try to brainstorm our way towards some ideas and find solutions," said Canada's Special Representative on Cyprus, Michael Bell, exclusively to CNA.

    A group of Turkish Cypriot academics, business people and others will be meeting at the Peacekeeping Centre in Nova Scotia for a programme initiated by the US group called the Institute for Multitrack Diplomacy.

    The programme, called "The Intractability Project", is being held in conjunction with Canada's Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.

    Bell was in Toronto Friday to meet with leaders of the Cypriot Community of Toronto to discuss Canada's role in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    "Cypriot Canadians have a better knowledge of what the abilities are of Canada, what the historic capacity and the historic record of Canada is in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. They also know the island and therefore, we want to invite them to join us a bit in trying to find the best way that we can contribute," he said.

    The Canadian official said he will be meeting with Turkish Cypriots in Kitchener, Ontario, in December.

    "It think first of all, common ground exists on many of the aspects of the problem on the two sides and the problem is there for the taking if the political will exists,"Bell told leaders of the Cypriot community here.

    The Canadian official however, noted that obstacles do remain in solution efforts, including "the threat that the Turkish Cypriots and (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash wants to get international recognition and simply take a separate state off on its own."

    "Secondly, the fear, I think, of the Turkish Cypriots that the Greek Cypriots would dominate them under any federal arrangement, even with all the protection they could get from a constitution," Bell said.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded the island 23 years ago. More than 35,000 Turkish troops continue to occupy 37 percent of the island's territory.

    Ambassador Bell further noted that Canada's role in the solution efforts is found in two areas, one before and the other after a settlement is reached.

    "Before settlement, we believe we can contribute to the building of consensus within the island through the development and organisation of things like bicommunal projects and the contribution of our expertise in the area of constitutional drafting of the legal documents that we hope will become the basis of the next round of negotiations," he said.

    He said Canada continues to support the UN initiative to find a solution in Cyprus.

    "The UN has some experts working on a draft. I have told the UN Secretary-General that we have Canadian expertise as well," he said.

    After a Cyprus settlement, Bell said Canada could contribute to a multinational force to enforce the implementation of the new political arrangement and guarantee the security of both communities.

    "We have a long-standing reputation as peacemakers and peacebuilders and we would look seriously at any request for involvement in a multinational peace," he added.

    The Canadian official said he has already submitted his report on Cyprus to Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy.

    "I sat down with (Axworthy) and discussed my perception of the problem, the latest initiatives and what I then tried to do is come out and meet with the communities to give them the same sort of discussion," Bell said.

    Commenting on reports that large numbers of Turkish Cypriots emigrate because of economic hardship in the occupied part of the island, Bell said most Turkish Cypriots are concerned about the threat of economic domination by the Greek Cypriots.

    "This is something they're going to have to bring to the negotiating table when we get down to serious negotiations about a constitution and the protection that it can offer," he noted.

    Michael Bell's meeting with Cypriot Community leaders comes hot on the heels of a push by the Canadian government to sell two Candu nuclear reactors to Turkey, a move which is steeped in controversy.

    Opposition leaders accuse the government of circumventing the law in order to win the contract with Turkey. The Canadian government has already put up 1.5 billion Canadian dollars to finance the deal.

    Bell rejected suggestions that the sale of the reactors has anything to do with efforts to find a solution in Cyprus.

    "I have never heard any suggestion that the Cyprus issue is mixed up in the question of the nuclear reactors," Bell said.

    Meanwhile, Cypriot organisation leaders in Canada plan to protest the government's efforts to win the 4 billion Canadian dollar deal from Turkey.

    "We object to Canada helping Turkey and to the idea that Turkey may use the Candu reactors to produce nuclear weapons, in addition to our concerns about the location of the reactors," Constantinos Sophocleous, president of the Canada branch of the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus, told CNA.

    Sophocleous explained that the area where Turkey is planning on building the reactors, in southern Turkey, is a seismic area and in case of an earthquake, the damaged reactors could seriously affect Cyprus which lies just 80 kilometres off Turkey's southern coast.

    CNA MH/MM/1997

    [02] US coordinator in Cyprus

    Larnaca, Nov 9 (CNA) -- US State Department Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, arrived here today ahead of tomorrow's visit by US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke.

    Immediately after landing, Miller was driven away by an embassy car to the capital Nicosia for talks with American ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill.

    US embassy officials had said Miller would not be making any statements at the airport.

    Tomorrow morning he will have talks with President Glafcos Clerides and is expected to see Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    CNA MM/KK/1997
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