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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Clerides returns from London
  • [02] Abducted G/C fishermen in good health, UN confirm
  • [03] FM welcomes EU Foreign Ministers' decision

  • 1235:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] President Clerides returns from London

    Nicosia, Mar 15 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides will return this afternoon from London where he attended the European Conference earlier this week.

    Before flying to London last Wednesday, President Clerides paid a three- day visit to Athens, where he had talks with Greek Premier Costas Simitis on the proposal he was to submit to the British presidency of the European Union (EU) for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the Cyprus Republic team during EU-Cyprus accession negotiations.

    An informal EU Council of Ministers meeting unanimously decided yesterday that these negotiations will begin on March 31, as scheduled, irrespective Turkish Cypriot participation.

    Clerides' proposal, submitted last Thursday to the EU British presidency, was described as courageous by British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, who called on Denktash to accept it.

    In an interview with London Greek Radio (LGR) yesterday, 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.

    CNA AP/EC/1998

    [02] Abducted G/C fishermen in good health, UN confirm

    Nicosia, Mar 15 (CNA) -- Two Greek Cypriot fishermen abducted yesterday by Turkish occupation troops who opened fire on them, are in good health, according to a UN spokesman.

    At the same time, the government said it considers the recent Turkish provocation on the cease-fire line as "premeditated actions aimed at creating problems for Cyprus, in view of the start of the Cyprus-European Union accession talks."

    United Nations Peacekeeping Forces Spokesman, Waldemar Rokoszewski, told the daily "Cyprus Mail" that the two were visited by a UN doctor at a so-called "police" station in the southeastern occupied town of Famagusta.

    "They are in good shape and have been medically examined by a UN doctor, " he said.

    Defence Minister, Yiannakis Omirou, told reporters today in the western coastal town of Paphos that the Turks' aim is to cause trouble.

    He assured that any Turkish provocation will be "handled by the Cyprus government with the necessary seriousness and composure."

    The two fishermen, Andreas Constantinou, 58, and George Lefteris Zelou, 65, both from Dherynia, were in their boat fishing off the coast of Kaparis area, Paralimni, in the south-eastern coast of the island, near Turkish- occupied Famagusta, when a speed-boat with Turks opened fire on them.

    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.

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

    CNA EC/AP/1998

    [03] FM welcomes EU Foreign Ministers' decision

    Nicosia, Mar 15 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government welcomed an agreement yesterday by the European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers on the terms for opening accession negotiations with Cyprus as scheduled.

    Commenting on the decision last night, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told a local private TV station the Edinburgh accord helps Cyprus overcome yet another barrier towards a smooth start of accession negotiations with the EU.

    The Edinburgh informal EU Foreign Ministers meeting unanimously decided that Cyprus - EU accession talks will begin as scheduled, on March 31, even if Turkish Cypriots reject an offer to join the Cyprus government's negotiating team.

    Kasoulides thanked his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos and the Greek delegation for helping achieve a "positive result."

    "I firmly believe that accession negotiations will eventually act as a leverage to make Turkey curb its intransigent stand, which has reached its highest levels, and open the road for Cyprus' reunification," Kasoulides said.

    The Foreign Minister warned that any retrogression or sign of weakness on the part of the EU, in using this leverage "would harm the interests of the EU itself."

    Asked to comment on statements to CNA by Diego Cordovez, the UN chief's special advisor for Cyprus, that the island's accession course in a way complicates a Cyprus settlement, the Foreign Minister expressed his disagreement.

    He said "...Cordovez will arrive with a Security Council mandate and this should make him feel stronger," he said.

    Kasoulides noted that what the Security Council should do is to remain firm to its decision that the direct peace talks on Cyprus should start from the point they stopped in Glion, Switzerland, last August.

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