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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-03-19

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

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


  • [01] Clerides returns from private trip to Israel
  • [02] Defence Minister: Turn to Turkey
  • [03] Possible change in negotiating tactics, if sides agree

  • 1000:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clerides returns from private trip to Israel

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides returned today from a private visit to Israel during which he met with his Israeli counterpart Ezer Weizman and Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The President, who flew to Israel on Sunday night, did not make any statements on his return.

    Talks with the Israeli leaders focused on matters of mutual interest.

    This was the first time Clerides had met with Netanyahu, since the Israeli Premier was elected in May 1996.

    While in Israel he also met with Jerusalem-based Greek Orthodox Patriarch Diodoros.

    Israel's ambassador to Cyprus, Shemi Tzur went to Israel on Tuesday for the meetings.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [02] Defence Minister: Turn to Turkey

    Larnaca, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou reminded today the US and Europe that they should not show selective sensitivity about peace and stability in the region and ignore the continuing occupation of part of Cyprus by Turkey.

    "Cyprus acknowledges the right to the US and Europe to be interested in creating and maintaining peace and stability in this part of the world but we cannot accept a selective sensibility which is not founded on factual events," Omirou said on his way to Athens for talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    In a thinly veiled criticism of those who attempt to persuade the government to abort a planned deployment of Russian anti-aircraft missiles, Omirou said "instead of addressing themselves to the Turkish side whose expansionist designs destabilise the region, we are advised to cancel and postpone our arms acquisition programmes, including the defensive missiles system S-300."

    The Minister called on all those interested in peace and stability in the Middle East to "move in the direction of Turkey which, on the threshold of the 21st century, continues to act as it during the Ottoman era."

    Replying to questions, he said talks in the Greek capital will focus on "further advancement of a joint Greco-Cypriot defence pact and on modernising the Republic's armed forces."

    Discussions will also cover ways crisis could be handled by the military of the two countries and methods to deal with risks posed by the increase in the numbers of the Turkish occupation forces in the island's northern part, Omirou added.

    The Minister said the Turkish occupation army has been upgraded in the past few months and acquired armoured vehicles and heavy guns, all of which in offensive array.

    "Discussions will cover all issues with special emphasis on joint defence planning between Cyprus and Greece to formulate and upgrade the policy of deterrent against Turkish expansionism," Omirou told the press at Larnaca Airport.

    He pointed out that the objective is to achieve peace in Cyprus and the region, based on respect of international law and order.

    Cyprus, he added, is called upon to play a new, historic role through its course towards the European Union.

    "We at the Defence Ministry shall serve this goal with determination and a sense of national and political responsibility," he added.

    Referring to the airbase in Paphos, on the western coast, Omirou said it is in full operational readiness but explained that there are certain projects that are nearing completion.

    "We shall be able to say the base will be perfected in every respect very soon and will serve as an infrastructure project to back up the joint defence pact with Greece in the months ahead," he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. CNA MAN/EC/MM/GP/1998


    [03] Possible change in negotiating tactics, if sides agree

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- UN top envoy for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, hinted today there might be a change in both the basis of the intercommunal dialogue as well as the shape of a solution of the protracted Cyprus question.

    He also reiterated his firm belief that the problem in Cyprus will have to be solved by the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities and not outsiders.

    Speaking after a brief meeting with the representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Cyprus, Cordovez said he briefed them on his mission here and a letter he is to convey to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash later today.

    He said he will decide after his talks in Cyprus whether his mandate to continue the intercommunal dialogue for a settlement will change or not.

    Replying to questions, Cordovez made it clear that the two community leaders decided in 1977 and 1979 on a federal solution, an agreement the Security Council endorsed at the time, but underlined that "they (leaders) are the ones who have to define things."

    "You are always waiting for us to define things for you, you are the ones who have to define in which way you want to solve your problems, we can only help you," the UN official explained.

    He said he would discuss with Denktash his demand to hold a dialogue between "states" and not the island's two communities, as has been the case in the past couple of decades.

    Asked if he accepted that principle, he replied "I do not have to accept or reject anything, you do not understand, they are the ones who have to discuss these things."

    Invited to say if he would endorse any agreed solution other than a federation, Cordovez said "I do not have to endorse it, if they decide to solve the problem in a way, we will help them to do it."

    "They are the ones who are deciding how to settle it, a settlement cannot be imposed from the outside," he stressed.

    Cordovez implied that the basis of the intercommunal dialogue could be altered, should the two community leaders decide on that.

    "This problem is going to be settled by Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash," he repeated.

    Cordovez said the task of finding a solution in Cyprus is now more difficult but refrained from spelling out the difficulties. "We are having difficulties," he told reporters.

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

    CNA MM/GP/1998
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