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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-14

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus among issues of first 1998 EU-US ministerial meeting
  • [02] Major British role in efforts for Cyprus settlement
  • [03] British bases deny overflights of Turkish aircraft
  • [04] Estonian Ministers visits Cyprus
  • [05] Cyprus protests destruction of over 500 churches by Turks

  • 1050:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus among issues of first 1998 EU-US ministerial meeting

    Washington, Jan 14 (CNA) -- The Cyprus question will be among the issues to be discussed here later this week between top US and European Union (EU) officials.

    Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, as President of the EU Council of Ministers since his country currently holds the Union's six-month rotating presidency, and European Commission Vice-President Sir Leon Brittan will be in Washington tomorrow.

    During their one-day visit here they will have the first of this year's twice-yearly EU-US ministerial meetings.

    Cook and Sir Leon, who is responsible for the EU's political and economic relations with North America, are scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other senior US officials.

    According to a European Commission press release, the US and EU officials will discuss the Cyprus question in connection with Turkey, the Middle East, Algeria, the Asian financial crisis and a variety of trade issues, prior to a joint press conference.

    Earlier the same day, the British Foreign Secretary will give a keynote speech at a special European Institute seminar on his country's priorities at the start of its six-month EU presidency.

    Sir Leon Brittan will meet separately with US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Under Secretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Stuart Eizenstat.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1998

    [02] Major British role in efforts for Cyprus settlement

    Nicosia, Jan 14 (CNA) -- Britain will play a very major role in assisting UN efforts towards a Cyprus settlement, British High Commissioner to Cyprus, pledged today.

    David Madden was speaking after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, during which the Cypriot President received new British Bases Commander Major General, Angus Ramsay CBE, and departing Commander Air Vice- Marshal Peter Miller CB.

    "There is no particular activity on the UN process because of the elections", Madden said.

    He added "our expectation is that after the elections the UN process will resume and, as in the past, Britain will play a very major role in assisting the UN and the Security Council to make progress in solving the Cyprus problem."

    Presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus will be held next month.

    Asked to comment on reports that British Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, is working on some ideas regarding the issue of security, Madden said:

    "Everyone is thinking about security because it is one of the fundamental aspects of the Cyprus problem and is something that had to be thought about in the context of resolving the Cyprus problem."

    The British High Commissioner expressed the hope progress would be made in 1998.

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

    CNA EC/MCH/GP/1998

    [03] British bases deny overflights of Turkish aircraft

    Nicosia, Jan 14 (CNA) -- British bases in Cyprus today denied that there had been overflights of Turkish military aircraft as was reported in the local press.

    Bases Spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones told CNA that there had been no overflights of sovereign base area airspace by any Turkish aircraft this week as reported by local media.

    "There is no substance to any of the media reports of the past 24 hours", he noted.

    Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Cyprus, David Madden told reporters earlier today, he was not aware of any violations.

    Outgoing British Bases Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Peter Miller said "if they did, I know nothing about it and I would not comment on it anyway."

    He said the agreement with the Cyprus government is "that we use the bases for British and Commonwealth forces" and they were never used for anything else.

    The British High Commissioner along with new British Bases Commander, Major General Angus Ramsay CBE and outgoing Commander, Air-Vice-Marshal Peter Miller CB, were received today by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Turkish reconnaissance aircraft (RF-4) violated Cyprus' air space and Nicosia FIR (Flight Information Region) on Monday on two separate occasions.

    The Cyprus government was making the necessary representations.

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

    Under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, Britain has retained two sovereign military areas, on the island's southern coast.

    The local reports suggested that the Turkish jets overflew the British bases on their way to Paphos, where an air base is under construction.

    CNA EC/MCH/GP/1998

    [04] Estonian Ministers visits Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jan 14 (CNA) -- Cyprus is "well on its way" for European Union (EU) accession, but Estonia needs to do some catching up, said here Wednesday, Estonian Foreign Minister, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

    Speaking after his morning contacts on the first day of his three-day official visit, Ilves described his meeting with Cyprus President, Glafcos Clerides as "very good", noting they had discussed the many similarities between the two countries.

    He said his discussions with both Clerides and President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, focused on the two countries' accession negotiations with the EU and cooperation between the two countries.

    Ilves said relations would further develop, especially with the signing of an agreement for the abolition of visas (later today) between the two countries. "Things are moving along in a very good direction", he noted.

    Asked if Cyprus and Estonia would become members of the EU at the same time, Ilves said he hoped so, although he acknowledged that Cyprus had come much further than his country.

    He said Cyprus had already taken over 80 per cent of the acquis communautaire, which was more than several current EU members.

    "We really have to do a little bit of catching up", he said, adding that "certainly Cyprus is well on its way and we hope to be there as well".

    In statements after visiting Kyprianou, the Estonian Minister said they decided to have exchanges between parliamentary groups because "it is very important to have as well parliamentary participation in the negotiation process and the preparations for joining the EU".

    Ilves described the EU accession procedure as one "of our biggest concerns and most difficult tasks".

    "Cyprus and Estonia have had difficult problems in the past, not of their own making but others making and we understand extremely well the problems faced by small countries", he said.

    On his part, Kyprianou said they had a very interesting meeting where they discussed the question of the two countries' accession to the EU.

    "We ascertained the need to have a closer cooperation on this issue, even at parliamentary level", Kyprianou said.

    "With the Minister's meeting, a new chapter between the relations of the two countries opens", Kyprianou added.

    Ilves and his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides were holding official talks at the Foreign Ministry.

    At the end of the talks, the two Ministers will sign Visa Abolition and Air Services Agreements between the two countries.

    In the afternoon, the Estonian Minister will inaugurate the Honorary Consulate General of his country in Nicosia. Estonia's Honorary Consul General is Michael Zambelas.

    Tonight, Ilves will give a lecture on "Estonia's return to Europe" followed by an official dinner given by Kasoulides.

    Cyprus and Estonia along with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia will start membership talks with the EU on March 30, 1998.

    Cyprus applied for membership in 1990. It signed an Association Agreement in 1972 and a Customs Union in 1987.

    CNA EC/GP/1998

    [05] Cyprus protests destruction of over 500 churches by Turks

    Nicosia, Jan 14 (CNA) -- Cyprus has protested to the UN the continuing destruction inflicted by the Turkish occupation regime on the cultural heritage of the occupied area of Cyprus.

    In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN, Sotos Zakheos, denounced Turkish policy of religious intolerance of Christian worship places in the occupied areas.

    "While the Cyprus government zealously protects places of worship belonging to all faiths in Cyprus, Turkey not only has refused to adhere to international law and the relevant UN resolutions but has been steadfastly continuing its policy of religious intolerance in the occupied areas," the letter said.

    In his letter, that was circulated as a General Assembly and Security Council document, Zakheos gave a documented list of the "large-scale destruction of over 500 churches, perpetrated before the eyes of the international community" that "continues unabated."

    Some of them have been converted into museums, others were transformed into mosques, while a number of Christian Orthodox churches were desecrated, looted and abandoned to deteriorate and are in danger of collapse, he noted.

    "The continuous and systematic plundering of the religious and cultural heritage of Cyprus is an act which is contrary to all the principles upon which the UN was founded and upon which international law is based," the letter added.

    The Cypriot diplomat called on the UN to respond effectively and in a timely manner to such gross violations of international law.

    He pointed out that such ability would be "a testament to the international community's commitment to the much-cherished principle of the protection of cultural heritage."

    Zakheos noted with satisfaction that the Secretary-General has included in his latest report to the Security Council Cyprus' protests on the destruction of churches and other religious property, as well as his assurances that the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) "is pursuing the matter with the Turkish side."

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

    CNA AP/GP/1998
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