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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-13

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] US recognises obstacles in Turkey's EU course
  • [02] Holbrooke to visit Cyprus when time is right
  • [03] Irish EU experience useful to Cyprus

  • 1030:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US recognises obstacles in Turkey's EU course

    Washington, Mar 13 (CNA) -- The US has acknowledged that there are pitfalls in Turkey's European orientation but called on the European Union to leave the door of Turkish accession open until the country is ready.

    "No one thinks Turkey's full integration into the European Union mainstream will be easy. Turkey has created its own obstacles to integration, from its record on human rights to its share of responsibility for the failure to find a solution to the Cyprus question," US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott has said.

    Talbott also reiterated the administration's support for a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus which would allow all the people living on the island, as he said, irrespective of religion or ethnic background, to "be fully enfranchised and vested citizens of that country."

    That is what federation is all about, he explained.

    In his remarks at a seminar on "A wider Europe: EU enlargement and US interests", organised by the EU British presidency, Stalbott said Turkey has been a part of the European system for 400 years and in the past 75 the country has "consciously and strategically oriented itself Westward."

    Turkey, he added, is still developing its democratic institutions, still trying to strike a balance between secularism and the predominant faith of the citizens.

    "Speaking as friends both of the EU and of Turkey, with a huge stake in the fate of both, the tension and uncertainty I have just described make it all the more important that the EU put the accent on Turkey's potential for inclusion in the new Europe," the US official said.

    He explained that such a move would encourage Turkey to "make the right choices about its own future if the EU makes clear that it is holding a place for Turkey when it is ready."

    Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman James Rubin dismissed reports that its Special Coordinator for Cyprus Tom Miller was snubbed by the Turkish government during his recent visit there.

    "The so-called snub story, as far as we can tell, is inaccurate. There was no snub. Ambassador Miller was received warmly in Ankara as he has always been received," he said and clarified that no meeting was requested with Turkey's Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.

    A meeting with Deputy PM was requested but could not be scheduled, he added, noting however that Miller had a very wide ranging and productive discussions with the country's Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and State Minister Gurel.

    CNA DA/MM/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1440:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Holbrooke to visit Cyprus when time is right

    Nicosia, Mar 13 (CNA) -- US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, said US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, will come to Cyprus when the time is right.

    However, he avoided giving any explanations as to how he interprets this.

    Brill was speaking to reporters after a meeting here today with Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister, Nicos Rolandis.

    Asked about recent talks held in Ankara by US State Department Special Coordinator on Cyprus Tom Miller, the US diplomat said "I think he had a good round of meetings, good discussions and it was a useful visit", he said.

    Regarding Holbrooke, Brill said there are no plans for him to travel at this point. "It is something we have to consider in light of discussions we have had so far", he added.

    The ambassador said they will make sure they "are working all areas that need to be working and when the time is right, Mr Holbrooke will be travelling."

    Asked how he interprets the right time, Brill said "we will see".

    When asked about the question of Turkish Cypriot participation in the negotiating team for Cyprus' accession to the EU, Brill said "we see the EU process as a positive opportunity, not as a problem. If worked properly, it can advance as towards a Cyprus settlement."

    Referring to yesterday's proposal by President Glafcos Clerides on Turkish Cypriot participation, Brill said the people in London are satisfied.

    He added that the US have clearly "been encouraging all sides to look on the EU as an opportunity to move forward and not as a reason not to."

    The ambassador stressed that "a lot of hard work needs to be done" and what is needed is "creative diplomacy" on the part of the US, others involved, the parties involved on the island and Greece and Turkey as well.

    Regarding his visit to Rolandis, Brill said he congratulated the minister on assuming office.

    Noting the "economy of Cyprus is very strong", he said the "business relationship between the US and Cyprus is important, is big and is our intention as an embassy to try to make it grow even bigger to the benefit of both our peoples."

    On his part, Rolandis said they examined the issues of tourism, industry, commercial relations and services.

    "Our wish is to develop relations with the US as much as possible, especially as we are heading towards the EU", he said.

    Regarding tourism, Rolandis noted they will examine at what level Cyprus can attract tourists from the US, starting from Greeks and Cypriots living there and eventually expanding to Americans".

    CNA EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Irish EU experience useful to Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 13 (CNA) -- Some aspects of Ireland's experience in the European Union could serve as an example for Cyprus, the country's Defence Minister Michael Smith has indicated.

    He also called for dialogue as a means to resolve the political problem in Cyprus and Ireland and said solutions can be found without surrendering or compromising fundamental principles.

    Speaking to CNA after a meeting with Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou, Smith said when Ireland, as a divided country, joined the EU, adjustments had to be made to ensure "a sense of equality along the border regions."

    He referred in particular to the tax rates which applied in the two sides of the divide in Ireland and said there existed decisions in the south which could not apply to the UK.

    "It is possible to apply decisions on an island-basis by the communities even though it did not apply to the UK. It is possible to have a difference about how things develop and yet apply similar type of schemes which would have a beneficial effect on the communities," Smith explained.

    The Irish Minister, visiting the Irish contingent of the UN peace- keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), also said Ireland's experience was "most beneficial" and fears that the country's culture and language would be affected were unfounded.

    Commenting on the political problem in Cyprus, Smith said the Cypriot Minister briefed him about efforts to break the deadlock and added "we too know what it is like to have a conflict and we are working towards a resolution."

    He clearly indicated that "taking people around the table to look for solutions and build trust" is a way that ultimately can help communities to live and work together without compromising their fundamental philosophies.

    Asked if Cyprus can learn from the Irish experience, Smith said "we have still to finally solve our problem but we are close to have referenda."

    "The best way to do (solve problems) is not to waste time in conflict but spend resources on time to create peace and that is what we hope will come out of our deliberations and certainly this is what I would wish to happen here," he added.

    Replying to questions, the Minister did not rule out a possible future increase in the number of Irish troops serving with UNFICYP.

    "We would be sympathetic to any application from the UN in this context and particularly in this country," he said.

    Smith, who leaves for Lebanon and Damascus Sunday, will visit the green line, dividing Nicosia into two. Later on today, he will watch a Saint Patrick's parade at the UN headquarters in Nicosia's now defunct airport.

    Earlier he met Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis and discussed trade links between the two countries. Smith said there is an imbalance in bilateral trade and efforts are made to see how this can be rectified.

    Rolandis said 24,000 Irish tourists visit Cyprus and said the objective is to improve the flow and exchanges between the two countries.

    CNA MM/EC/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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