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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-05

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


  • [01] Resolution of Cyprus question "a very high priority"
  • [02] EU Commissioner begins talks
  • [03] Spokesman on Clerides-Van den Broek talks

  • 0950:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Resolution of Cyprus question "a very high priority"

    Washington, Mar 5 (CNA) -- The US places Cyprus high on its political agenda and appears ready to re-engage more actively in efforts to resolve the long-standing problem.

    "The administration places a very high priority on resolving the Cyprus dispute, and we are actively engaged from the President down on this," US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

    She said the US assembled a "very strong negotiating team on this" and it is supporting the UN efforts to resolve the Cyprus dispute on the basis of the bizonal, bicommunal federation, through direct talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.

    "With President Clerides re-elected we are now re-engaging very actively to get them to talk to each other," she said.

    Clerides won a second term in office on February 15 with a slight lead of just over 6,000 votes against his rival George Iacovou.

    Albright assured the subcommittee that Cyprus "is high on our agenda, and now that the elections are over, I think we will be able to re-engage more actively."

    Referring to Cyprus' accession to the European Union, she said "part of this issue, as you know, has to do with Cypriot accession to the EU and the various problems in trying to assemble a delegation and trying to get those two processes working together."

    She also noted the US have been working very hard to "create a positive climate in which the UN settlement talks can resume," adding that she has tried to be involved in this.

    Albright's comments came in reply to a question by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who invited the Secretary of State to outline the administration's efforts to resolve the Cyprus question.

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

    CNA DA/MM/GP/1998

    [02] EU Commissioner begins talks

    Nicosia, Mar 5 (CNA) -- Ways and means to push forward with the common goal that Cyprus' membership of the European Union should benefit both communities were at the core of today's discussions between Cyprus and the EU.

    EU Commissioner for External Relations Hans Van den Broek held both private and joint talks with President Glafcos Clerides today, in the presence of EU presidency envoy Sir David Hannay.

    Van den Broek also noted the "vivid and very committed interest of the international community" in assisting Cyprus to have a more united and prosperous future.

    "We had an exchange of views with President Clerides and obviously in view of the upcoming negotiations for membership of the EU, we have explained what can further be done to prepare in the best possible way for this event," Van den Broek said afterwards.

    He said more meetings are on the cards, in London next week at the European Conference and two weeks later when the negotiating process is officially being launched.

    "We have been discussing ways and means to give as much substance and operational significance to the conviction that we all have, that the membership of Cyprus should benefit both communities. That is our common goal and common objective," he added.

    Later today, the EU Commissioner will meet Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides for further talks about preparations for membership, "the programmes that we have together, the further assistance that can be given and other matters," he added.

    The Dutch Commissioner said the prospects of the resumption of UN-led talks on the political problem of Cyprus, "which we all consider to be very important", were also part of the discussions this morning.

    "The number of visits that are taking place during these weeks show very clearly the vivid and very committed interest of the international community, not only the Europeans but also Americans and distinguished UN representatives, to see Cyprus is being assisted from going to a more united and prosperous future."

    Van den Broek refrained from disclosing any details and called for "certain confidentiality" that very much serves the purpose of bringing the whole process forward.

    The EU Commissioner avoided to comment on moves to align rules and regulations in force in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus with those applied within the EU.

    "I will not go into this kind of discussions. We will cross the bridge that you mention when we get there," he said.

    Cyprus divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, applied for EU membership in 1990. It signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [03] Spokesman on Clerides-Van den Broek talks

    Nicosia, Mar 5 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides, said a "useful exchange of views" took place during today's meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and European Union External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek.

    Stylianides said the meeting took place in view of preparations for the upcoming start of Cyprus' accession negotiations with the EU on March 31.

    Avoiding giving additional information, the Spokesman said that tomorrow the National Council will convene to inform party leaders about the outcome of Van den Broek's contacts and those of the Representative of the British presidency of the EU, Sir David Hannay.

    The top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem will also make a preliminary examination on the formation of a National Policy Council.

    Invited to comment on statements made yesterday by Sir David that accession talks can start without the Turkish Cypriots but cannot continue without them, the Spokesman replied:

    "What is important for the Cyprus Republic is that the accession negotiations will definitely start based on the (Luxembourg European) Council decision".

    Stylianides said from what it looks like, the road to Europe, "will be made up of small but positive steps."

    Cyprus applied for EU membership in July 1990.

    CNA MM/EC/GP/1998
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