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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-14

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

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


  • [01] Occupation troops abduct G/C fishermen
  • [02] US operation on missing citizens
  • [03] UN confirm abduction of fishermen
  • [04] Cordovez: Determined, but under no illusions
  • [05] Congressmen blast Turkey's effort to infiltrate US universities
  • [06] Clerides expresses optimism Denktash will attend talks
  • [07] T/C visit the Kokkina enclave

  • 1050:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Occupation troops abduct G/C fishermen

    Nicosia, Mar 14 (CNA) -- Two Greek Cypriot fishermen were abducted by Turkish occupation troops who opened fire on them early Saturday.

    A Police spokesman told CNA that the two fishermen are Andreas Constantinou, 58, and George Lefteris Zelou, 65, both from Dherynia.

    The two men were in their fishing-boat in the Kaparis area of Paralimni, in the southeastern coast of the island, near the Turkish-occupied town of Famagusta, when a speed boat with Turkish troops opened fire on the two who were fishing in the area.

    The area is under the control of the Cyprus Republic.

    After the shooting, the Turks towed the boat onto the speed boat and dragged it to the closed port of Famagusta.

    The spokesman said there were no reports that the fishermen were injured in the shooting.

    "Efforts are made through the UN to secure the release the two fishermen," the spokesman added.

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

    CNA EC/AP/1998

    [02] US operation on missing citizens

    By Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Mar 14 (CNA) -- The operation which confirmed, through forensic examinations, the death of an American missing from Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974 is not the end of the story as far as the other four US missing citizens are concerned.

    "The US will continue its efforts to try and ascertain the fate of the remaining four American citizens," well informed diplomatic sources have told CNA, stressing that the whole affair is and should be treated as a humanitarian issue.

    The case of Andreas Kasapis, who was killed at the age of 17 during the summer of 1974, "sets a precedent", they added, and indicated that evidence of the death of the remaining four will be sought.

    A US report on the five missing Americans, who are of Greek descent, whose final draft was ready in July last year, appears to conclude that all of them are dead.

    The July report, due for public release soon, is currently being reviewed to include the latest findings about Kasapis' case.

    Prepared by a team of experts, led by Ambassador Robert Dillon, the report said "the US government concluded that the five American citizens did not survive the events in Cyprus" and that no evidence has been found to substantiate allegations that there are prisoners held in Turkey.

    As the diplomatic sources pointed out to CNA, the 1994 mandate of the US Senate requests the US President to "do everything possible to return to their families the US citizens who have been missing from Cyprus, including returning the remains of those who are no longer alive."

    They welcomed comments from the government of Cyprus and others about the findings of the US investigating team that the outcome of the investigations, however sad, is a positive development.

    Referring to the background of the operation which led to the discovery of Kasapis' bones, they said a five-member team of US experts, and not farmers as previously reported, found the bones in an area Turkish Cypriots had indicated to the team.

    "Once the Turkish Cypriot leader gave the green light to us to dig for the remains, Turkish Cypriots helped us in our efforts," the same sources revealed.

    Neither the Turkish army nor the Turks in the island's Turkish-occupied northern part had anything to do with the operation, they added.

    They said having failed to secure permission from the Turkish Cypriots to look for Kasapis' remains in the past few years, the last request in September was heeded.

    Asked why US efforts on the case of the missing did not yield results earlier, they expressed the view that "the climate was not good for years," and said a UN-brokered agreement on the missing was an important development in attempts to solve this humanitarian issue.

    They paid tribute to the work Deputy Representative of the UN Secretary- General Gustave Feissel has done in clinching the July agreement.

    The agreement calls on the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to exchange information on missing persons of both sides and make the necessary arrangements leading to the return of the remains of Greek and Turkish Cypriots missing.

    The US team, comprising two forensic experts, two archaeologists and a US official, did not have direct contact with people who had information about Kasapis' presumed burial site.

    "The actual work on location started the first week of December and was completed soon afterwards," the same sources said.

    All the bones, found on the spot, were tested in a military lab in Maryland, the only place in the US which can do this kind of DNA tests, they explained.

    It is understood that DNA extracted from a bone of the heel actually confirmed the bone belonged to Kasapis.

    CNA MM/DA/1998

    [03] UN confirm abduction of fishermen

    Nicosia, Mar 14 (CNA) -- The UN Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus said two fishermen who were abducted earlier today by Turks were not injured.

    However, they were taken into "custody" by the so-called regime and the UN is making efforts to see them today.

    Peter Schmitz, UN senior political advisor told CNA that two fishermen were "taken into custody by the other side" in the closed port of Famagusta.

    Asked if the two were injured when a speed-boat with Turks opened fire on them, as they were fishing in the southeastern coast near Turkish- occupied Famagusta, Schmitz said "as far as we know they are not injured."

    Asked if in the speed-boat there were Turkish soldiers, Schmitz said "this is something that the UN cannot establish at this point."

    "We will obviously try to see the two fishermen and talk to them." he said. He clarified that at this point the UN cannot say under what circumstances the two were abducted.

    "The Australian Civilian police are dealing with the issue," Schmitz added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    CNA EC/AP/1998

    [04] Cordovez: Determined, but under no illusions

    by James Delihas

    New York, Mar 14 (CNA) -- Diego Cordovez, the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus, said he had "no illusions" about the difficulties he faces when he travels to Cyprus on Tuesday.

    However, he said he is "determined" to "help the interlocutors overcome the obstacles" and noted that the start of Cyprus' accession talks with the European Union complicates matters.

    Cordovez stopped short of criticising the position of the Turkish Cypriot leader on peace talks but noted that he has adopted a "rigid position."

    The UN envoy also cast doubt on the objectives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides for a settlement and said he would have to establish whether they still want a bicommunal, bizonal federation.

    In an interview with CNA before briefing the Security Council on his imminent trip, Cordovez said the prospects for getting both sides to return to the negotiating table are rather dim.

    Indeed, he added, there would be little pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to commit to immediate talks although eventually any settlement would require extended negotiations.

    Nonetheless, Cordovez said he was "encouraged" by two factors. One is the fact that although Denktash has refused to see other envoys, he has agreed to meet him, leaving at least one door open.

    Secondly, he said he was heartened by the realisation in Nicosia that "this is a time for quiet diplomacy".

    The UN envoy expressed dismay that his efforts in the past have been undermined by leaks, including some from the Greek Cypriot side "that have destroyed a number of possibilities for making progress".

    Cordovez noted that a core issue is whether both sides "want a settlement or not."

    "In the view of the Secretary - General and me, everything has changed significantly in recent months", he said.

    He explained that "both sides had decided years ago on a settlement envisioning a bicommunal, bizonal federation" and wondered whether this was "still their objective."

    "It is important to find out", he added.

    He acknowledged that he now faces a situation in which "Mr Dentkash has taken a rigid position against negotiations".

    The self-styled "parliament" in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus in a "resolution" on Tuesday backed a proposal by the Turkish Cypriot leader that the Turkish Cypriots should not take part in future talks, unless their regime is recognised.

    Asked whether the problem would be on the agenda of his talks with Denktash, Cordovez replied, "absolutely".

    The UN envoy said that like it or not, there is a linkage now between Cyprus' EU accession negotiations and the peace process he is to attempt to reinvigorate.

    The Security Council, according to UN diplomats, is in an impatient mood. It believes that tensions on the island and the region are running at "unacceptably high levels" and that it is time to "move the leaders of the two communities away from discussion of principles by focussing on practical steps to move the process forward".

    Cordovez added that he would probably be taking personal letters from the Secretary - General to President Clerides and Denktash.

    Two rounds of UN sponsored direct talks last summer failed to produce any results in efforts to unite the island, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied part of Cyprus.

    Denktash criticised the European Union for throwing a "bombshell" with its decision to begin negotiations with Cyprus and Clerides said there was no negotiating at the talks because of Denktash's attitude.

    CNA JD/EC/MM/1998

    [05] Congressmen blast Turkey's effort to infiltrate US universities

    Washington, Mar 14 (CNA) -- Two US Congressmen have denounced Turkey's effort to infiltrate American universities by establishing Turkish studies programmes to advance its propaganda.

    Frank Pallone, a Democratic deputy for New Jersey, and Brad Sherman, a Democratic deputy for California, speaking before the US House of Representatives, deplored Thursday the Turkish action.

    The two Congressmen brought to the attention of the US administration and the American people efforts between Turkey and the University of California at Berkeley to establish a Turkish studies programme at the university.

    According to the two Congressmen, Portland State University in Oregon has signed a contract with the Turkish government for the establishment of a similar programme, although Portland State is reviewing the conditions of the grant.

    The two American deputies stressed that these efforts are part of a pattern to set up Turkish studies programmes at major American universities, all funded with strings attached by the government of Turkey.

    A similar programme was established at Princeton University, while an effort last year failed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

    The proposal was rejected by the faculty of the History Department of UCLA because the Turkish government attached some strings to it, which require that whoever sat in that chair would be in favour of the Turkish interpretation of history and the positions of the Turkish government.

    In his speech, Congressman Sherman said the US is the greatest country in the world and explained why Turkey would try to take advantage of its universities.

    "Imagine the US trying to put our propaganda saying slavery never existed. America's greatness is based on truth. The Turkish government should simply recognise the Armenian genocide and the massacres (of Greeks) at Smyrna," in 1922, he said.

    The Turkish government, he noted, instead of telling the truth is "using dollars all around the US to undermine academic integrity here," by funding history departments of universities to "teach from a particular angle."

    Congressman Pallone said "the programmes are not intended to encourage objective research into Turkish history, but rather to further the Turkish government's goal of using a selective interpretation of history to advance official propaganda."

    "The Turkish government is not interested in presenting an accurate, complete or truthful overview of Turkish history, but rather uses cash payments to major universities, as a way of manipulating the teaching of history of the genocide," he added.

    Pallone warned "the consequences are severe, including the denial or white-washing of historically verified genocide of the Armenian people, as well as other dark chapters in Turkish history, such as the ongoing oppression of the Turkish people, the massacres at Smyrna and the invasion and occupation of Cyprus" in 1974.

    CNA DA/AP/EC/1998

    [06] Clerides expresses optimism Denktash will attend talks

    London, Mar 14 (CNA) -- Cyprus President, Glafcos Clerides, expressed the view that there are many possibilities to curb the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, and bring him back to the negotiating table.

    However, he said that this depends very much on the position which the UN Security Council and Europe will adopt.

    In an interview with London Greek Radio, (LGR) Clerides was asked whether he believes the upcoming visit to the region of UN Secretary- General's Special Advisor for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, will be successful.

    The President said if Denktash does not seriously consider the appeal of the Security Council, then the "next step would be both the Secretary- General and the Security Council to consider whether they can continue the Secretary-General's mission of good offices."

    They will also have to consider what measures should be taken against the Turkish Cypriot side, if it does not respond positively.

    The UN Security Council yesterday expressed concern over the "high level of tension" in Cyprus.

    Ambassador Abdoulie Momodou Sallah of Gambia, who chaired a Security Council meeting yesterday, said the members of the Council "call upon both parties to take the practical steps necessary to move the negotiating process forward in an effective manner."

    President Clerides said the Cyprus problem is entering a phase in which Denktash cannot any longer declare he will not negotiate unless his pseudostate is recognised and the UN-led peace talks are held between two "independent states", as the Turkish Cypriot leader has said.

    "This is outside the mandate of the Secretary-General's mission of good offices," he added.

    The Cypriot President attributed Denktash's refusal of a proposal he submitted earlier this week to the British presidency of the European Union (EU) concerning Turkish Cypriot participation to the EU-Cyprus accession talks, scheduled to start on March 31.

    The President said Turkey is upset following the decision of the Luxembourg European Council not to include it in the list of countries eligible to start accession negotiations.

    Because of this, he noted, Turkey trying to create problems to the island's EU course and efforts to solve the long-standing Cyprus problem.

    This is proved by the fact that "following specific orders, Denktash refused to meet Sir David Hannay, who was representing the EU British presidency and EU External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek," the President added.

    The proposal was described as courageous by British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, who called on Denktash to accept it.

    Clerides said that following the Republic's "generous proposal, the government was assured that the argument saying we should wait until the Turkish Cypriot side decides whether to participate in the talks is invalid."

    He pointed out that the Turkish Cypriots will participate as active members in the Republic's delegation and will not be observers.

    Denktash described the proposal as a "Byzantine intrigue and trap" which, he claimed, "eliminated the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, as guaranteed by Britain in 1960."

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Clerides said "the solution is being pursued in another procedure, that of the bicommunal talks."

    The President, who attended the European Conference earlier this week, returns from the British capital tomorrow afternoon.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

    CNA MK/EC/AP/1998

    [07] T/C visit the Kokkina enclave

    Nicosia, Mar 14 (CNA) -- More than 100 Turkish Cypriots visited the northwestern Turkish enclave of Kokkina here Saturday.

    The 103 Turkish Cypriots crossed to Kokkina through the village of Pyrgos, in the Tylliria area.

    They travelled in four buses accompanied by Cyprus police patrols and UN peacekeepers.

    Last week 122 Turkish Cypriot students had also crossed to the enclave.

    Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner, Takis Christopoulos, had told CNA that the visits of Turkish Cypriots to the enclave will continue since they are citizens of the Cyprus Republic.

    He said visits by Greek Cypriots to the Turkish-occupied Monastery of Apostolos Andreas, in the eastern Karpass peninsula, might stop, following a decision of the puppet regime to impose a levy to those visiting the occupied areas.

    CNA EC/AP/1998
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