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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-18

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] International community must act towards Turkey
  • [02] Most Turkish Cypriots wish EU membership, says Annouil

  • 1300:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] International community must act towards Turkey

    Nicosia, Jan 18 (CNA) -- Cyprus President, Glafcos Clerides, called on the international community to act more decisively towards Ankara to open the road for a Cyprus settlement.

    In statements here today, The Cypriot President expressed optimism about the future of the divided island, noting that the months to come after the February presidential elections would be decisive for the future of Hellenism.

    "After the presidential elections, a new initiative is expected to culminate to find a settlement to our national problem and negotiations for Cyprus accession to the European Union will begin", Clerides said.

    However, he stressed that the fate of the new initiative and the result of the negotiations would "depend, to a great extent, on the strategy to be followed".

    For this reason, Clerides said what is required is the greatest "possible unity, responsible handling, determination and boldness".

    He attributed the dramatic interest of the international community in a Cyprus settlement to the Cyprus-Greece joint defence pact agreed in 1993 which, he said, "has given a completely new dimension to our national issue, clearly in favour of the Greek Cypriot side".

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

    UN-sponsored negotiations last summer between Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, failed due to Denktash's opposition to Cyprus' EU accession course.

    The Luxembourg European Council meeting last month included Cyprus in the countries eligible to start accession negotiations in March.

    Clerides said the fundamental elements of a Cyprus settlement should include the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops and settlers, demilitarisation and the deployment of a multinational force with a Security Council mandate.

    A solution, he added, should safeguard the implementation of human rights, and the co-existence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in conditions of permanent peace on an island which will be a member of the EU.

    Speaking yesterday to Turkish Cypriots during a visit to the mixed village of Pyla, Clerides said the future of the island for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, could only be safeguarded with the island's accession to the EU.

    He expressed the hope that 1998 would be the year to mark the start of a settlement.

    "If the international community acts more decisively this time towards Ankara, the road towards a solution to the Cyprus problem will open", the Cypriot President added.

    CNA EC/GP/1998

    [02] Most Turkish Cypriots wish EU membership, says Annouil

    Nicosia, Jan 18 (CNA) -- The overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriots, especially young people, favour the accession of Cyprus to the European Union (EU), even before Turkey's membership, an EU official told a Cyprus daily Sunday.

    In an interview with the local newspaper "Alithia" (Truth) Head of the European Commission delegation to Cyprus, Gilles Annouil, said the EU considered the results of a recent poll regarding Turkish Cypriots' view on the island's accession to the Union as very important indications.

    According to the poll published in the Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Kibris" (Cyprus) only 1,5 per cent of the Turkish Cypriots stood against Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    Another 11 per cent declared ready for immediate entry while 43 per cent favoured the membership after a Cyprus solution, once Turkey would become an EU member.

    The EU official said in contacts with Turkish Cypriots in the Turkish- occupied part of the island, he ascertained young people's trend to look forward at the possibilities the EU could offer them as a "window to the world."

    "I think it's very important that more than 90 per cent of Turkish Cypriots favour Cyprus' accession to the EU, while 54 per cent support EU membership even before Turkey becomes a member of the Union," Annouil told the newspaper.

    "Young Turkish Cypriots feel isolated. They look at the EU as a window to the world and that's what it is. In the EU there's freedom of movement, settlement and employment. This is why the EU is their hope" and vision, he added.

    The EU official reiterated that Cyprus could become an EU member prior to a Cyprus settlement, but noted "the best solution would be if the whole of a federated Cyprus joined the EU."

    "It would be better if the accession process could proceed parallel to the peace process for a Cyprus solution, so that the two could be achieved simultaneously," he said.

    Annouil said the EU had joined forces with the UN and the US to contribute towards a solution, especially mentioning efforts aimed to diminish possible fears by Turkish Cypriots and understand the benefits from an EU entry.

    He referred to the December Luxembourg EU Summit's decision that ways should be found for the involvement of Turkish Cypriots in the accession negotiations, scheduled to start March 30, 1998.

    Asked whether Cyprus is ready to become an EU member, Annouil said "Cyprus, in general, would have no problem to comply with EU regulations and laws." The EU official said there was no specific timetable for the conclusion of accession negotiations.

    Cyprus applied for EU membership in 1990. It signed an association agreement in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    This east Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA AP/GP/1998
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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