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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-12-10

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] US embassy - Miller - Holbrooke
  • [02] Kurd - Fire - French Embassy
  • [03] British MP - Cypriot mayors
  • [04] UN Secretary-General's Report - UNFICYP
  • [05] EU - Cyprus - "Media II" Programme

  • 1050:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US embassy - Miller - Holbrooke

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- The visit of US State Department Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Miler to the island is to emphasise the strong US support in the UN's shuttle diplomacy to lift the current deadlock on the Cyprus problem.

    Judith Baroody, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy and Director of the American Centre, told CNA Thursday that Miller's visit is "part of a general trip to the region."

    The US official arrives in Cyprus early this afternoon and leaves tomorrow afternoon.

    "While in Cyprus, Ambassador Miller will consult with US Ambassador Kenneth Brill and with the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Dame Ann Hercus," Baroody told CNA.

    "Miller's consultations with Dame Ann underscore the strong US support for the Hercus shuttle talks and the US continuing close coordination with the UN in its efforts to achieve a reduction of tension on Cyprus and progress towards a lasting settlement," she added.

    "The purpose of the visit is to consult with Dame Ann as part of the US ongoing efforts to support her shuttle talks," the US embassy official said.

    Following his discussions in Cyprus, Ambassador Miller will join US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke in Istanbul (Constantinople) December 12-13 to participate at meeting of the bicommunal Brussels business group.

    The meeting will be attended by Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot, Greek and Turkish businesspeople.

    Holbrooke and Miller will travel to Athens December 14 to meet with senior Greek officials.

    Holbrooke will return to the US on December 15 and Miller will return on December 16.

    There are no other meetings for Ambassador Miller planned on Cyprus and "Ambassador Holbrooke has no plans to travel to Cyprus," Baroody said.

    Miller's arrival was confirmed last night in Washington by State Department Spokesman, James Foley.

    Asked why the visit is taking place now or is it because of the planned deployment of the Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, Baroody said "it is really to support Dame Ann and also because of the meeting of the business group in Istanbul which has been planned for a long time so they are coming to the region as a part of that".

    Invited to comment on reports about President Clerides' telephone conversations with Holbrooke, Baroody said "I don't know anything about that, and I could not comment on any kind of diplomatic discussion."

    Asked whether there was any reaction to Russian representations to the United States over statements made last week by ambassador Brill, Baroody said "I don't have anything on that either."

    Brill had said his country had always supported the idea of the Russian S300 "missiles not coming to Cyprus".

    The Russian representations were made in Moscow on Tuesday to the Minister-Counsellor on Political Affairs at the US embassy John Ordway.

    The government of Cyprus has ordered the anti-aircraft missiles to bolster its air defence, in case of a new Turkish offensive.

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

    CNA EC/GP/1998

    [02] Kurd - Fire - French Embassy

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- A Kurdish national set himself on fire outside the French Embassy here Thursday in protest against France's attitude concerning the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

    A Cyprus police spokesman told CNA that the Kurd was in a critical condition.

    He was rushed to Nicosia General Hospital for treatment.

    CNA EC/GP/1998

    [03] British MP - Cypriot mayors

    London, Dec 10 (CNA) -- British MPs and mayors of towns of Cyprus, which are occupied by the Turkish troops, have called upon the British government to work more actively for the reunification of Cyprus.

    The call was made during a special gathering on Cyprus in a British Parliament hall, organised on the occasion of the visit to Britain by mayors of Cyprus' towns which are occupied by the Turkish troops since 1974.

    Labour MP Tom Cox and Conservative MP Sir Sidney Chapman addressed the event, while Labour MP Eddie O'Hara presented a resolution which he will table today in the House of Commons.

    The resolution will be calling on the British government to engage more actively in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem which would reunify the island.

    The call was also repeated by the Cypriot mayors who participated in the event.

    These were the Mayor of Famagusta Andreas Pougiouros, Kyrenia's Elli Leptou, Karavas' Panayiotis Tsentas, Kithrea's Costas Fraghoudis and Lefkoniko's Michalis Pilikos.

    The gathering was organised by the "Cyprus Group of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association" and EKEKA, an association of owners of land in the northern part of Cyprus which is occupied by Turkish troops.

    The Cypriot mayors are today scheduled to hand over a petition at 10 Downing street.

    CNA KT/GG/GP/1998

    [04] UN Secretary-General's Report - UNFICYP

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has said the presence of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) remains "indispensable".

    At the same time, he described the situation on the island as not static, noting that the continued upgrading of military equipment and infrastructure gives cause for concern.

    In his report on the UN Operation in Cyprus for the period 9 June - 6 December, Annan further called on the Turkish Cypriot regime to reconsider its position on prohibiting contact between the two communities on the island.

    Referring to the activities of the force and the maintenance of the ceasefire and the military status quo, Annan noted that although "troop levels remain unchanged, both sides continued to upgrade their military capabilities."

    In the only reference to the Russian S300 surface-to-air missile system, Annan said its arrival, "which has been a matter of controversy for nearly two years, was postponed until the end of the year."

    The UN chief refers to the National Guard's annual exercise code-named "Nikiforos" in conjunction with the Greek "Toxotis" exercise, as well as the Turkish forces annual exercise "Toros II" held in conjunction with the naval exercise "Sea Determination".

    Annan said Greek Air Force F-16 fighters participating "flew over the buffer zone in the area of Louroujina" and that there were a number of helicopter overflights of the buffer zone during the period."

    "Turkish military aircraft and naval vessels were deployed to the northern part of the island and on two occasions, Turkish F-16s crossed both ceasefire lines and entered the south by approximately 300 metres," he added.

    In both instances, UNFICYP protested these violations, the report said.

    Annan said UNFICYP continues to monitor maintenance of the status quo in the fenced area of Varosha, noting there "were a number of reported instances of property being removed from buildings."

    UNFICYP, said Annan, "protested them (the instances) to the Turkish forces which the UN holds responsible for the maintenance of the status quo in the fenced area of Varosha.

    Regarding bicommunal contacts, Annan stresses that as a result of their suspension by the Turkish Cypriot authorities in December 1997, "there has been no Turkish Cypriot participation in bicommunal meetings on the island."

    Concerning the enclaved in the Turkish occupied north, Annan said that UNFICYP continued to carry out humanitarian tasks in respect of the Greek Cypriot and Maronites living there and the Turkish Cypriots living in the free areas of the Republic.

    Currently there are 457 Greek Cypriots in the Karpass area and one in Kyrenia, as well as 171 Maronites in the Kormakiti area. Some 339 Turkish Cypriots in the free areas "have made themselves known to UNFICYP," the report adds.

    Annan said UNFICYP is "trying to establish" how the lifting of controls by the Turkish Cypriot side on the movement of Greek Cypriots and Maronites in the north are being implemented.

    In his observations, Annan said that "the past six months, the situation along the ceasefire lines remained generally calm, notwithstanding numerous minor violations".

    "However, the situation in Cyprus is not static, and the continued upgrading of military equipment and infrastructure gives cause for concern, " Annan added.

    Describing UNFICYP as "one of the oldest peacekeeping operations", Annan stressed that its presence "on the island remains indispensable for the maintenance of the ceasefire between the two sides."

    He said that should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period of six months, "the cost of maintaining the Force would be approximately 22.6 million US dollars of which 12.1 million would be assessed on member states.

    Unpaid assessments to the special account of UNFICYP from June 1993 to December 1998 amounted to 16.3 million dollars.

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

    Some 1200 UN peacekeepers man the 180-kilometre-long buffer zone across the island.

    CNA EC/GP/1998

    [05] EU - Cyprus - "Media II" Programme

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- Cyprus and the European Union (EU) have signed a bilateral agreement providing for the island's participation in the EU "Media II" programme.

    Under the agreement Cyprus will participate in all the phases of "Media II".

    It will also participate in the programme's coordination meetings and the mechanism which will implement and monitor "Media II".

    The programme aims to promote the development and distribution of European audiovisual productions and organise courses of professional training in that field.

    The agreement was signed yesterday during a ceremony in Brussels by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the EU Nicos Agathocleous and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria Judith Gebethsroither.

    Austria currently holds the presidency of the EU. Also present at the ceremony was Spiros Pappas, Director of Directorate General X of the EU.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Gebethsroither praised the agreement, adding it was signed in the framework of the pre-accession strategy for Cyprus which provides for the island's participation in the EU programmes.

    On his part, Agathocleous also welcomed the agreement and stressed that Cyprus is capable of participating in "Media II".

    Under the agreement Cyprus will have to set up a "Media II" office in Nicosia.

    Cyprus along with Slovenia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic started substantive accession negotiations with the EU last month.

    CNA GG/GP/1998
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