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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-01

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Holbrooke sees opportunity to move forward

  • 2020:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Holbrooke sees opportunity to move forward

    Larnaca, May 1 (CNA) -- US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke expressed the view there is an opportunity of moving forward on issues comprising the Cyprus problem, pointing out, however, that progress depends on the commitment of Greek and Turkish Cypriots to a solution.

    Speaking on arrival at Larnaca airport, Holbrooke stressed he returns to Cyprus "at the specific request" of President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Pointing out that the Cyprus problem "has not only had tragic implications with the people of Cyprus but had a profoundly negative effect on the whole region", Holbrooke added:

    "For a number of reasons we believe that we have an opportunity to move forward now on the substance of issues" required to resolve the Cyprus problem, stressing that "we have an obligation to try, even if the difficulties are very great."

    The US Presidential envoy reaffirmed his country's and government's interest in a Cyprus settlement, noting that US "efforts are under the umbrella of the UN".

    He stressed however that even though "the US is prepared to invest considerable diplomatic resources and effort to bring about such a settlement, the US cannot do it on its own".

    Holbrooke said the US "cannot want peace, a settlement more than the parties themselves" and stressed that "parties must be equally committed to making progress to reach a viable and lasting solution".

    The US Envoy described the solution his country envisages for Cyprus as a "win-win" situation, despite a belief in the region that this is an illusive concept.

    "A settlement would serve everyone's purposes and lead to great economic prosperity for both parts of divided Cyprus, reduce tension in this region of the world and unleash a creative potential economically and politically of the peoples of the area", he said.

    This is happening elsewhere in the world and it is possible here in Cyprus as well, Holbrooke added, warning that the alternative of the continuation of the status quo would have negative political and economic implications for everyone.

    Replying to questions, Holbrooke rejected the view that there is an attempt to re-create Dayton, pointing out that "the Cyprus issue is not as much like Bosnia as it is like Ireland".

    Bosnia was a sudden and tense negotiation under conditions of war, he said, noting that "Ireland like Cyprus was a divided island where the major bloodshed had occurred a quarter of a century ago and earlier, and a long patient process was productive".

    Saying that he considers Clerides and Denktash as "his friends" and strong advocates of their positions, Holbrooke added he was not going to propose anything.

    "We cannot impose a solution on the two sides. We can only listen to them, see whether the distances between them are bridgeable and reducible with external assistance, not imposition, not coercion, and if not, nothing can be done about it", he said.

    Asked to comment on Denktash's demands for interstate rather that intercommunal talks, in an effort to receive recognition for its illegal break-away regime in the northern Turkish-occupied part of the island, Holbrooke said:

    "Both men are meeting with me on the basis of the status we all understand. The US cannot recognise the TRNC (the illegal entity in the north) and neither can the UN nor European Union.'

    The US Envoy added that the issue of sovereignty, which, as he said "is a key part of the negotiations", cannot be isolated form the other parts of the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement.

    Holbrooke stressed on several occasions that he is here "at the request of the leaders of Cyprus and not because President Clinton or Secretary Albright or somebody else had the idea that we have to come. We came back because we were requested to".

    Asked to comment on meetings US officials have recently had in Turkey, Holbrooke replied he did not come to Cyprus to discuss issues that were directly between Athens and Ankara.

    He pointed out, however that US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, will be on "an important trip" to Athens and Ankara at the end of May.

    Holbrooke also repeated the US position that Turkey did not get a good deal from the EU in Luxembourg, last December.

    Describing Turkey's treatment as "unfortunate", he said that its exclusion from accession negotiations, while the other 11 were invited to start accession proceedings, had a negative effect on the US goal of "a single integrated Europe in the post cold-war era".

    "We are delighted Cyprus has been invited to accession talks, but we think it is unfortunate that 12 countries applied and 11 were invited to start proceedings for accession", he said, noting however, that there is no linkage between the Cyprus problem and Turkey-EU relations.

    The US is making a major effort through Albright and US Ambassadors in Europe to try to encourage the EU to improve the terms offered to Turkey, he said, expressing the view that this "is the right thing to do for the entire region".

    "We are not doing it for the linkage with Cyprus", he added.

    Holbrooke also said he sensed "a growing realisation throughout the EU that Luxembourg was not exactly a triumph" and expressed the hope "to see it better" next time around.

    The US Presidential Emissary said he will stay in Cyprus for three to four days, during which he will have a series of meetings both with President Clerides and Denktash.

    President Clerides will host a dinner for Holbrooke later this evening. The US Emissary will meet with Denktash tomorrow morning.

    CNA MAN/MCH/GG/1998
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