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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-10

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

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


  • [01] UN envoy to brief Security Council on Cyprus
  • [02] Two Turks defect to free areas
  • [03] Egyptians attack Cypriot fishing boat
  • [04] AHI urges Clinton to seize opportunities
  • [05] Opposition to sale of Canadian nuclear reactors to Turkey
  • [06] Turkish side rejects bicommunal talks for settlement
  • [07] Denktash repeats threats - meets US envoy

  • 1030:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] UN envoy to brief Security Council on Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary-General's special advisor for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, is expected to brief the Security Council on Thursday, prior to a visit to the region.

    UN chief's spokesman Fred Eckhard told the press that Cordovez is scheduled to begin his visit on Tuesday, March 17.

    He also confirmed that UN resident representative Gustave Feissel was in New York and was scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday.

    Cordovez had chaired two failed rounds of Cyprus peace talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides last summer and is expected to visit the island to renew his efforts.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the Republic's territory in 1974.

    UN-sponsored efforts to reach a settlement have so far failed because the Turkish Cypriot side has remained intransigent in its positions.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [02] Two Turks defect to free areas

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Two Turkish nationals defected yesterday to the free areas of the Cyprus Republic, asking to be taken to a local police station.

    Cyprus police identified them as Sarim Mustafa, 26, and Kalal Halih 18, who crossed the dividing line on the western end of the divided walled city of Nicosia.

    They approached a civilian and asked him to take them to the nearest police station.

    Police said the two had arrived in Cyprus from Turkey via the closed port of Kyrenia, occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    CNA EC/GP/1998

    [03] Egyptians attack Cypriot fishing boat

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Crew members of Egyptian fishing boats attacked yesterday a Cyprus-flagged boat while fishing off the coast of Egypt, it was announced here today.

    The "Nemesis" fishing boat is being towed by two other fishing vessels of Cypriot ownership to the southwestern port of Limassol.

    "Nemesis'" captain Panicos Loizides notified yesterday "Kypros (Cyprus) Radio" that a number of Egyptian fishing vessels were approaching his boat with threatening intentions, before their communication was muted.

    Later, other vessels sailing nearby reported to "Kypros Radio" that "Nemesis" had come under attack by crew members of the Egyptian fishing boats, injuring one member of her crew.

    Yiannis Karytzis, a Senior Marine Surveyor of the Department of Merchant Shipping, told CNA today that "Nemesis" was approached by five Egyptian fishing boats while fishing some 25 nautical miles off the coast of Egypt.

    Members of their crews went aboard the Cyprus-flagged vessel, causing damage to the fishing equipment and the engine.

    According to Karytzis, two months ago the "Nemesis" came under attack in the same area by fishing boats, whose crews were throwing incendiary "molotov cocktail" bottles against her.

    "Nemesis" has a crew of seven, five come from India, one from Egypt and her Greek Cypriot captain.

    CNA RM/AP/GP/1998

    [04] AHI urges Clinton to seize opportunities

    by Demetris Apokis

    Washington, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Overseas Greeks living in the US have called on President Bill Clinton to make sure that his government is taking advantage of the positive trends existing in Greece and Cyprus.

    The call was included in a letter submitted to Clinton Monday by Eugene Rossides, of the General Council of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and President of the AHI Foundation.

    "In Athens and Nicosia we have sensible, moderate governments concentrating on improving the welfare of their people and on playing a positive role in world affairs through creative policies, designed to lower regional tensions and to consolidate stability," Rossides said in his letter.

    The AHI official pointed out to the US President "these positive trends extent into the private sector in Greece and Cyprus."

    Business leaders are engaged in dynamic investment plans to foster regional stability, he added, while civic, professional and academic groups are reaching out to their neighbours.

    Rossides urged President Clinton to "refocus US policy in the region to maximise the benefits to US interests of Greece's leadership potential in southeast Europe where, uniquely among regional states, it is a member of both NATO and the European Union."

    The AHI feels that the US has "still not developed an approach to Turkey that is properly calibrated to extract the maximum benefit to US interests from the favourable circumstances in Athens and Nicosia," he added.

    According to Rossides, the "problem is that we (the US) give too much weight to the views of the Turkish General Staff and not enough to more open-minded and forward thinking elements within Turkish opinion."

    The AHI official noted to President Clinton this situation "has the effect of placing our (US) policy in line with the most reactionary and backward-looking elements in Turkey."

    A change of this situation is crucial, he said and warned that "unless this happens, the present opportunity for fostering US interests in the region will be squandered."

    According to Rossides, US foreign policy in the region should take four steps in order to have beneficial effects.

    First, "a reiteration of your (Clinton's) 1992 campaign statement that 'the US has a moral obligation as well a national security interest to see that the illegal occupation comes to an end' and that a Cyprus settlement must ensure the 'sovereign independence and territorial integrity of the state' based on a 'democratic constitution which respects and guarantees the rights of both communities'." Second, Rossides urged the US President to "call for the complete demilitarisation of Cyprus and the establishment of a multinational force to ensure the security of both communities in Cyprus," as set forth in relevant resolutions of the House, the Senate and the Congress.

    A third step, according to the AHI official, would be "a clear statement that the US accepts that the overall territorial disposition in the Aegean has been long-settled by a series of international treaties, that the islets of Imia are sovereign Greek territory and that the US rejects any claims that there are 'grey areas' in the Aegean."

    As a last step, Rossides called for a clear US statement "that the US expects that any state aspiring to join the EU or to participate in any of its institutions should unconditionally abide by the EU's principles and that the US will not urge the EU to accept as a member or grant any benefit to a state that is in violation of these principles."

    Concluding his letter to Clinton, Rossides emphasised that "US policy towards Turkey includes simple, straightforward issues of American values, as well as more down-to-earth considerations of strategy and national interest."

    "What is frustrating for us at AHI is that current policy is causing our nation to miss the potential benefits of the favourable circumstances in Greece and Cyprus," AHI Foundation President added.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1998

    [05] Opposition to sale of Canadian nuclear reactors to Turkey

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Toronto, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Cypriot and Greek Canadians are mobilising to voice their opposition to the proposed sale of nuclear reactors by Canada to Turkey and are rallying behind an MP's motion urging the Canadian government to reconsider such a sale.

    The motion, introduced to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade last month by Brampton Centre MP Sarkis Assadourian, stresses that Canada should think twice before selling nuclear technology to a country with a long record of human rights violations and a history of aggression against its neighbours.

    "My view is that introducing this new element, nuclear technology, to that region is not right," Assadourian told CNA.

    Canada is currently bidding along with Germany, France and the United States, to sell nuclear reactors to Turkey. The announcement made late last year that Canada had put in its bid to sell the multi-billion dollar Candu reactors, raised controversy among Canadian environmental groups.

    One such group, the Sierra Club of Canada, has taken the Canadian government to court because as per Canadian law, no independent environmental assessment on the impact of the sale was conducted before Canada entered into negotiations with the Turkish government.

    "Not only do I have concerns, but many environmental groups are concerned with this sale, because they think that Candu (reactors) are not as safe as we think they are," Assadourian said.

    A court decision in the Sierra Club law suit is expected to come down sometime in June.

    Assadourian explained that despite some "technical difficulties" which might have killed the motion, community groups are expected to appear before the Standing Committee sometime in the next two weeks to voice their concerns over the proposed sale.

    "For the first time in Canadian history, a parliamentary committee is going to have a chance to discuss the relationship between human rights and trade," Assadourian said.

    Cypriot Canadian organizations have already given their full backing to Assadourian's motion.

    International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA Canada) President Constantinos Sophocleous echoed Assadourian's concerns over the introduction of nuclear technology in the area.

    "We oppose the sale because Turkey may be able to manufacture nuclear weapons out of this. It's a destabilising factor in the area," Sophocleous told CNA.

    He explained that if the sale goes through, the proposed site for the reactor sits over a seismic area in south-central Turkey.

    "Question is, what happens when an earthquake hits the area? It's a Chernobyl scenario that might be repeated here," Sophocleous said.

    Those dangers are magnified multifold for Cyprus which lies just 80 kilometres south of the Turkish coast.

    These concerns have prompted PSEKA Canada to undertake a letter-writing campaign expressing the organisation's opposition to the sale to Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, and other Members of Parliament.

    Sophocleous said a petition campaign sponsored by PSEKA Canada, the Cypriot Federation of Canada and the Hellenic Canadian Congress is aiming to have gathered some 90.000 signatures by the end of April condemning the sale of Canadian nuclear reactors to Turkey.

    The petition has already been distributed across Canada to Cypriot and Greek Canadian organisations, including organisations representing Canadians of non-Greek or Cypriot origin.

    Canada's bid to sell its reactors to Turkey is part of an effort to get a bigger share of the very lucrative nuclear technology market. Canada is also trying to sell Candus to China.

    Although the sale of Candus to Turkey is not certain, insiders say the Canadian government is indeed pushing very hard for the deal to go through.

    Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. already won a multi-billion dollar contract from the Turkish government to 1993 to provide over 100 motor and trailer cars for the Turkish capital's recently completed Automated Rail Rapid Transit System.

    CNA MH/GP/1998

    [06] Turkish side rejects bicommunal talks for settlement

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- The illegal parliament in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus approved early today a "resolution" rejecting peace negotiations and Turkish Cypriot participation in the European Union (EU) accession talks.

    The "resolution", supported by right-wing parties backing Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, sets the recognition of the self-declared state in the areas occupied by Turkey since it invaded the island in 1974, as a precondition.

    It echoes previous statements by Denktash who said he will not participate in UN-sponsored negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides unless his illegal regime, set up in 1983, is recognised.

    So far negotiations between the two sides have been held between the leaders of the two communities.

    Denktash stepped up his intransigence in the peace efforts last December when the EU reconfirmed that accession talks with the Cyprus Republic will begin end of this month.

    "From now on the Greek Cypriots should accept that there are two states on the island," the "resolution" supported.

    The international community does not recognise the puppet regime and numerous UN resolutions call on member states not to facilitate it in any way. It is recognised only by Turkey.

    The illegal resolution was opposed by smaller left-wing Turkish Cypriot parties, who accused Denktash of "fulfilling orders from Ankara."

    The Turkish Cypriot side and Ankara support that the Republic cannot become a member of an organisation of which Turkey and Greece are not also a party.

    Greece is already an EU member, while Turkey's accession application has been frozen.

    The Turkish side's position has been rejected by the EU, which has said accession talks will open as scheduled and at the same time called on the Cyprus government to suggest a formula for Turkish Cypriot participation in the negotiations.

    The government is expected to submit its proposals later this month, but has set as a precondition that the accession talks will be carried out by its official delegation and that Turkish Cypriots participating must back the Republic's EU bid.

    Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Kibris" writes that the illegal parliament's decision, taken in the early hours today, "ends the bicommunal talks", while "Vatan" and "Yeni Demokrat" describe it as "historic".

    On the other hand, "Yeni Douzen" says that so-called "internal regulations have been violated".

    "Ortam" publishes a statement by opposition Communal Liberation Party leader Moustafa Akkinci that "with this decision Denktash is trying to gain a few more years."

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [07] Denktash repeats threats - meets US envoy

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, repeated today his provocative statements about the existence of "two states" in Cyprus, blaming the European Union for the deadlock in UN-led intercommunal talks aimed at the resolution of the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Denktash, was speaking after a meeting today in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia with US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller

    "The EU destroyed all chances for a solution", in Cyprus," Denktash claimed.

    He added "the EU application was made in order to destroy the balance between Greece and Turkey in Cyprus", a balance which according to Denktash was the reason for "peace" on the island.

    Denktash also threatened that if Cyprus' EU application proceeds, "then there will be two Cypruses on the map in the future".

    Reminded by the press that the secessionist entity unilaterally declared in the Turkish-occupied areas in 1983 is not recognised by any state other than Turkey, Denktash replied:

    "The fact that Turkey recognises us is our guarantee, it is sufficient for us" and stressed, "we will go on for ever".

    Asked about the future of UN-led peace process aiming for a resolution of the Cyprus problem, Denktash said, "the process, known as intercommunal talks, was destroyed by the EU and by Mr. (Glafcos) Clerides at Glion".

    He said as "new process" is now open, on the condition that we are recognised for what we are", saying that talks should be between "two governments".

    Denktash rejected the proposal for Turkish Cypriot participation in EU accession talks repeating that he does not recognise the internationally recognised government of the Republic of Cyprus.

    He added he does not expect the EU to make any contacts with him because, as he pointed out, "I am not making any contacts with the EU either".

    Replying to questions he said he will not be visiting London for as long as the British government insists on visas for Turkish Cypriots entering the country, who do not hold passports of the Republic of Cyprus.

    On his part, Miller described his meeting with Denktash as "very good and productive" and pointed out that they "covered a lot of ground".

    Refraining from disclosing what they discussed, Miller told the press "the Cyprus problem is a difficult problem and I am not going to make it any more difficult by trying to relay to you the very confidential and frank exchange we had on a number of sessions".

    Commenting on his meeting with Miller, Denktash said all aspects of the Cyprus problem were discussed and the US official was "a very good listener".

    CNA MCH/GP/1998
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