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

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

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


  • [01] Cyprus government's proposal "serious", says EU envoy
  • [02] Mission accomplished, says Clerides

  • 1610:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus government's proposal "serious", says EU envoy

    Athens, Mar 15 (CNA) -- The European Union's (EU) British presidency envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, described as "serious" a proposal by the government of Cyprus regarding the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the Cyprus-EU accession negotiations.

    He stressed that the proposal deserves very careful consideration from the Turkish Cypriot side, but noted it will not affect the opening of the negotiations, if they reject it.

    In an interview today with the Greek daily "Kathimerini", Sir David said the EU's efforts have concentrated on carrying out the mandate from the Luxembourg European Council which is to "ensure that the accession benefits all the population of the island."

    President Glafcos Clerides "handed an offer which in our view is a serious one, which we will convey to the Turkish Cypriot side and we hope very much that they will respond positively," he said.

    "We cannot however be sure about it, indeed, but we speculate that it is unlikely that they will respond positively," he added.

    Noting that the solution of the problem "is not a precondition for the opening of the negotiations," Sir David said he could not speculate with any degree of accuracy what will happen during and at the end of the negotiations.

    Asked if the start of the talks will negatively affect efforts for a Cyprus settlement, Sir David said he hoped not.

    A two-day EU Foreign Minister informal meeting in Edinburgh unanimously decided yesterday 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.

    "There is a very general feeling in the international community that the ideal outcome is for Cyprus to join the EU as a bizonal, bicommunal, federal state, after a political settlement which will give effect to the political equality of the two communities in Cyprus," according to his expression.

    Sir David claimed that "this is the objective which we are all striving to achieve."

    Despite assurances that Cyprus can enter the EU even if there is no political settlement, Sir David supported that the objective of the EU is "not to bring in a divided island" but a "united island, and an island...which gives proper political equality to the two communities."

    Sir David expressed regret that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refuses to continue the dialogue, noting that he has "never heard of an international problem that was solved by not discussing it."

    Asked if Denktash expresses the voice of Turkish Cypriots, the EU envoy referred to the decision, earlier this month, of the self-styled "parliament" in the puppet regime which demanded the pseudostate's recognition to enter EU talks.

    He said the two parties that voted for the "resolution" have the majority and the two parties that voted against have something like 40 percent of the so-called "seats", something which clearly expresses the people who spoke against it.

    Sir David said he preferred a policy of persuasion should be followed instead of pressure, noting that "perseverance and persistence are the qualities that are necessary" and should be set as the objective.

    If they fail then different conclusions have to be drawn, he said.

    Only Turkey recognises the puppet regime and the UN itself has called on all states "not to recognise" the self-styled entity and "not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity."

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

    CNA KI/EC/AP/1998

    [02] Mission accomplished, says Clerides

    Larnaca, Mar 15 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides said the objectives of his week-long trip to Athens and London was fully accomplished.

    The Cypriot President was speaking to the press this afternoon on his return from London, where he attended the European Conference.

    Prior to his London trip, President Clerides paid a three-day visit to Athens, holding talks with Greek Premier Costas Simitis and other officials.

    President Clerides discussed in Athens the proposal he was to submit to the British presidency of the European Union (EU) for the Turkish Cypriot participation in the Republic's accession talks delegation.

    "Returning from my Athens and London trip, I would like to publicly thank the Greek government and especially Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who successfully won the Edinburgh 'battle', despite France's strong objections that eventually had to be dropped," the President said.

    "The objectives of my trip were fully accomplished, since our proposal to the Turkish Cypriots to join the government's negotiating team was favourably accepted," he said.

    President Clerides expressed regret that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had rejected the offer.

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

    "However, I am satisfied with the fact that all countries have appreciated our gesture, describing it both in private and in public as courageous and imaginative, giving the opportunity to the Turkish Cypriot side to respond positively," he added.

    Clerides noted there were "negative comments against Ankara," in the European Conference, following information that the negative decision was not only taken by Denktash, but in cooperation with Ankara.

    The Turkish Cypriot side has rejected Clerides' proposal to join the Cyprus government's negotiating team. Denktash described it as a "Byzantine intrigue and a trap."

    "It looks the way we handled the case was fruitful, since we were told by everyone, with the exception of just one country (France), there will be no problem in our accession course, if the T/C insisted on their negative stance."

    A two-day EU Foreign Ministers informal meeting in Edinburgh unanimously clinched a deal yesterday on terms for opening Cyprus-EU accession talks, after France dropped its objections.

    It also decided the negotiations will begin on March 31, as scheduled, irrespective of Turkish Cypriot participation.

    Replying to questions, President Clerides said "it is obvious that Denktash's stance will be negative" to a UN proposal asking the two sides to resume the soonest direct peace talks.

    The proposal will be conveyed by UN chief's top envoy for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, who arrives in Cyprus on Tuesday.

    "In such a case, it will be up to the Security Council and the Secretary-General to decide on future steps, if Denktash rejects resumption of talks," he said.

    He noted that a discussion on the Cyprus problem by the Security Council will be of "paramount importance".

    President Clerides recalled that the Security Council had decided that the Cyprus peace talks should continue from where they stopped in Glion, Switzerland, last August.

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

    CNA AP/GP/1998
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