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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-12-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] House President - Missing persons
  • [02] Cyprus embassies - EU
  • [03] Ireland - Cyprus - EU - Turkey
  • [04] Reppas - American officials - Meetings
  • [05] UN Secretary General - Security Council
  • [06] President Clerides - Shimon Peres
  • [07] Turkey - European Court - Loizidou
  • [08] Peres - Cyprus - Trade

  • 1515:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] House President - Missing persons

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou expressed concern with the way the UN is handling the issue of persons missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    After a meeting today with a delegation from the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons, Kyprianou said that the UN is giving the impression that it is trying to close the issue.

    He added he will discuss the issue with President Glafcos Clerides and Attorney General Alecos Markides "to see what could be done".

    A total 1619 Greek Cypriots were listed as missing in the aftermath of the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    Last year the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides agreed to exchange information about the sites of graves, but efforts appear to have reached a stalemate because the Turkish side is not cooperating.

    "The fact that the new third member to the Investigatory Committee for the Missing has an 18-month contract and is in Cyprus to work on the issue for only 10 days a month proves how 'seriously' they handle the issue," Kyprianou said.

    The House President was referring to the appointment of Jean Pierre Ritter earlier this year.

    He also said "we do not consider this issue as closed" and added that even in cases of persons who may be dead or murdered "we must know where they are buried".

    On his part, Committee President Nicos Theodosiou said decisions were taken on the issue but refrained from revealing them until they are implemented.

    Expressing concern, he said that "first and foremost the problem is Turkish intransigence and then the UN stance."

    Theodosiou criticised the government for not reacting immediately on the missing persons issue and expressed the hope that Cyprus parliament will act so that the present impasse is overcome.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [02] Cyprus embassies - EU

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Republic has as its priority to open embassies in all European Union member-states a Foreign Ministry official has told CNA.

    A Cyprus embassy will open in Finland within the first half of 1996. Speaking to CNA, Kornelios Korneliou, Director of the Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary's Office, said there are no Cyprus embassies in Denmark, Portugal and Finland.

    "The priority of the Foreign Ministry is to open embassies in all EU member-states and then to examine the opening of embassies in the candidate countries for accession to the Union," Korneliou added.

    He said Cyprus has embassies in 36 countries and added that trade offices could start in certain countries, pointing out that the Cyprus embassy in the Czech Republic had started as a trade office.

    Cyprus applied for EU membership in July 1990. It opened substantive accession talks with the EU last month together with five other European states, namely Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

    CNA FZ/MCH/GP/1998

    [03] Ireland - Cyprus - EU - Turkey

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- Turkey's lack of political will for a Cyprus solution, the absence of a desire for an agreement as well as the withdrawal of Turkish Cypriots from the intercommunal dialogue prevent a settlement of the protracted Cyprus question, according to Desmond O'Malley, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Irish Parliament.

    The Irish deputy also believes that none of the 15 European Union member states wishes to block Cyprus' membership to the EU.

    He also indicated that at the end of day the EU may have to accept Cyprus' government-controlled areas into the Union as the only alternative to giving an outsider the right to veto the Cypriot application.

    O'Malley also outlined his opposition to the deployment of Russian defensive system S300, which he said, would be "of very little value to Cyprus because they are very minor armaments compared to the size and equipment of the Turkish army."

    Many countries, he explained, fear that their deployment could offer Turkey the pretext to "become even more aggressive" and noted that "sensitive discussions" are currently under way to sort out this issue.

    In an interview with CNA at the end of his visit here, heading a parliamentary delegation, O'Malley said "the element lacking here which helped clinch the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland is the desire of the great majority of people to an agreement."

    Noting the absence of any kind of agreement between the Cypriot government and the Turkish government and its puppet regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus, he said "until such time that the Cypriot and the Turkish governments decide they want a solution, it is going to be more difficult to arrive at one."

    He said despite best intended UN involvement in the Cyprus question, the UN has had "very limited success" and pointed to the need for dialogue as "the first essential element" to help bring about an agreement.

    "Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash seems to have called off the dialogue," he added," and that is disappointing."

    Asked how the current impasse can be overcome, he replied "I think it really is external to Cyprus because the Turkish government is in effect making the decisions for the other side (Turkish Cypriot side)."

    Replying to questions, he said EU trading policies and legal procedures such as the case Turkey lost against a Greek Cypriot refugee in the European Court of Human Rights could be important factors in persuading Turkey to help break the deadlock.

    He said on his return to Ireland he will prepare a report for the Foreign Ministry and the Parliament for their consideration.

    O'Malley also said the EU would rather have the entire island of Cyprus join its ranks but recognised that if the current situation is maintained in its present form "the EU will have to face up to talking to Cyprus so far as the jurisdiction of the Cyprus government is concerned at the moment."

    This, he stressed, "is not satisfactory for anyone in a way but it may be the only alternative to giving somebody else a veto."

    He pointed out that it is quite unacceptable that a non EU member state can have a veto, citing as an example that the EU will not accept possible Russian objections to Estonia's membership.

    "I do not believe that any one of the existing member states would wish to block Cyprus. There is no evidence of that and most of us are very enthusiastic about Cyprus," he remarked.

    On the issue of the Russian SAM (surface to air missiles), Cyprus proposes to deploy, the Irish deputy said he told the Foreign Minister "these would be of very little value to Cyprus because they are only defensive and they are very minor armaments compared to the size and equipment of the Turkish army."

    Cyprus, he warned, "would be very unwise to get into a war-calling situation with Turkey because I do not think Cyprus can possibly win."

    Asked to explain the much-publicised opposition to the deployment of the missiles since everybody recognises the limitations of the Cypriot government as far as military strength is concerned, he replied:

    "Many countries are concerned that the missiles would give some form of pretext to Turkey to become even more aggressive and this will not contribute anything to the solution of the problem."

    He did acknowledged however, the right of the Cyprus government to defend its people and said the Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, told him that "sensitive discussions" are currently underway on the issue but refrained from further comment.

    CNA MM/MCH/1998

    [04] Reppas - American officials - Meetings

    Athens, Dec 15 (CNA) -- Greek Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas refrained from commenting on yesterday's meeting between Greek and US officials in Athens, and limited himself to saying that they had a "useful" exchange of view

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Foreign Under-Secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, and US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke and State Department Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Miller met last night at the residence of US Ambassador to Athens, Nicholas Burns.

    Reppas said that during the meeting the officials expressed views on the Balkans, the Cyprus problem and Greco-Turkish relations.

    He added that the Greek government's views, on the issues, were known and that there were many initiatives and proposals by the Greek side.

    Reppas referred to the forthcoming meeting of the UN Security Council which will discuss the Cyprus problem.

    Greek and American officials were expected to have discussed the reduction of arms and tension in Cyprus as well as efforts for a settlement of the island's political problem.

    CNA KI/MK/MCH/1998

    [05] UN Secretary General - Security Council

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, welcomed the progress achieved so far in efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and commended President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash for their "statesmanship and vision".

    In a letter dated 14 December, addressed to the President of the UN Security Council, Annan describes progress in "shuttle talks" undertaken by his resident representative Dame Ann Hercus, as "a significant contribution to the maintenance of peace and security in the region".

    He says that "he is encouraged by the constructive manner in which both Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash are engaging in these talks" and considers "positive that both leaders have respected the confidentiality of the talks".

    Annan stresses that "both sides have made clear their commitment to avoiding tension, building peace in Cyprus and the region and achieving an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem by peaceful means," adding that "the flexible approach by both sides provides hope for tangible progress," towards these objectives.

    "While each leader faces the difficult responsibility of representing in this process the views and aspirations of his side only, they have a joint responsibility for a concrete, mutually acceptable and forward- looking solution", Annan remarks.

    He points out that the elements which are being discussed include a commitment to reject the use of force or the threat of use of force, a commitment to the prevention of further expansion of military forces and armaments as well as the consequent principle of substantial reciprocal reductions.

    They also include "a confirmation of agreement to the UN Peace-keeping force in Cyprus package of measures aimed at reducing tensions along the cease-fire lines and further possible steps, including demining".

    The UN Chief urges, however, both parties in Cyprus "to avoid any actions which might increase tension, including by further expansion of military forces and armaments," in order "not to jeopardize possible progress".

    The process of "shuttle talks" began on October 16, 1998 after Clerides and Denktash agreed at two separate meetings in New York with the UN Chief to cooperate in this effort.

    CNA RM/MCH/1998

    [06] President Clerides - Shimon Peres

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- Former Israeli Premier Shimon Peres has no doubt that the Cyprus problem can be solved and commends the people of Cyprus for their capacity to rebuild their country and their lives.

    Peres expressed regret about the arrest of two Israelis in Cyprus facing charges of spying against the National Guard and said they could be accused of a mistake but not a crime.

    He also repeated that his country's military cooperation agreement with Turkey is not directed against Cyprus and said Cyprus is a friendly country.

    He said he does not intend to run for office, if early elections are called by the Israeli Prime Minister and said Bill Clinton's visit to the region was a "contribution to peace."

    Speaking to the press after a meeting here today with President Glafcos Clerides, Peres, who is on the island to award prizes to Cypriot businessmen trading with Israel, said "Cyprus can become the pearl of this region, it is beautifully located with people who are basically moderate, well intended."

    Cypriots, he noted, have demonstrated an unusual capacity to restore and rebuild their country, adding that "Cyprus can become a central point in the new understanding in the Middle East."

    "I think all the problems the future is facing should be solved regionally, both economically and strategically and the time has come to put an end to hatred and suspicion," he remarked.

    Asked if he believed a Cyprus solution is possible, Peres replied "I do not have the slightest doubt, I think all parties have to come to terms with a new age, this is the end of danger and confrontation because the world today as well as security of any people depends more upon science and technology than upon land or borders."

    Commenting on the defence cooperation agreement Israel has with Turkey, the Nobel peace prize winner stressed "Cyprus is our friend and we shall not make any alliance that can directly or indirectly serve as a burden upon the security of Cyprus, Cyprus is central and important for us."

    He explained that the entire region is moving from "the world of enemies to the world of neighbours, enemies are national, dangers are international or regional."

    The problem today, he noted, is not a certain country or a certain army but "terror, the danger of war and commercial weapons and I think all of us, Cyprus and Israel included, we have to join forces to save our people of those uninvited and unlimited dangers."

    "Our relation with Turkey is against dangers, clearly not against a nation, and clearly not against Cyprus or Greece," he pointed out.

    Replying to questions, Peres expressed "much regret" about the case of the two Israelis facing spying charges.

    "Those two had nothing to do with spying in Cyprus and clearly nothing to do in connection with its territory," he said and added "I think, if at all they really tried to prevent an act of terror and at worst they can be accused of committing a mistake, not a crime."

    Police arrested the two Israelis were arrested in early November after a tip off and found in their possession sensitive equipment, such as scanners tuned into the police radio frequency.

    Referring to Clinton's visit to the Israel and Gaza, he said it contributed to peace and said the mere fact that the Palestinians feel happier is a "good omen" for Israel.

    Asked if the Israelis feel happier too, Peres said the Israelis felt "for first time there is a new climate among Palestinians, there was a moderate speech by Arafat, and there is a feeling that the two nations can reach a common language."

    Replying to questions, he said he does not intend to run for office, if early elections are called by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    "I think I shall continue to serve peace, I would rather be a soldier in the camp of peace than a general in a camp with politicians," he said.

    Later tonight Shimon Peres will participate in a reception to celebrate "Hannukah" candle lighting and to award successful Cypriot importers of Israeli products.

    Tomorrow he will have meetings with party leaders, businessmen and see the House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    He will give a press conference before leaving.

    CNA MM/MCH/1998

    [07] Turkey - European Court - Loizidou

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- Ireland believes that the Council of Europe should review its position against Turkey if that country does not implement a decision by the European Court of Human Rights relating to a case of human rights violation a Greek Cypriot refugee has brought before the Court.

    The Irish view point was expressed by Desmond O'Malley, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Irish Parliament, in an interview with CNA.

    His comments come only a few days before the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe meets to discuss Turkey's compliance with the Court decision.

    "If Turkey is not ready to accept the jurisdiction of the Court, then I think the Council of Europe will have to face the question whether Turkey should remain a member of the Council or not," O'Malley said.

    He stressed that member states have to honour their obligations and one of them is that they accept the judgement of the Court.

    Turkey was ordered by the Court to pay Titina Loizidou about 640.000 US dollars for the loss of her property in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.

    The key issue of the Court's judgement is that Turkey has violated human rights.

    Reliable sources have told CNA the Committee meeting on Friday, which takes place exactly two years to the day after the Court ruling that found Turkey guilty of human rights violations, will examine whether Turkey will comply with the decision or not.

    In July the Court gave Turkey three months to pay the set compensation to Loizidou and Friday's meeting is the first such meeting after the October 28 deadline has elapsed.

    Turkey, according to the same sources, will be called upon to say what it intends to do on the issue of paying damages as well as the case ruling.

    Both Cyprus and Turkey will participate in Friday's meeting, which takes place behind closed doors, and it is expected that Cyprus' representative Thalia Petrides will ask Turkey to explain why it has not implemented the Court ruling of two years ago and in particular why it has not paid up the compensation to Loizidou.

    Loizidou's case attracted media attention both at home and abroad and a recent article in the "Washington Times" described the ruling as "thorny for Turkey and said payments for Turkey are a "Pandora's box."

    CNA MM/MCH/1998

    [08] Peres - Cyprus - Trade

    Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides has sent out a message of regional peace and stability in his address at the Jewish ceremony of "Hannukah" candle lighting, which took place here tonight, in the presence of former Israeli Premier and Nobel peace prize winner Shimon Peres.

    In his remarks at the ceremony, Peres stressed that "Cyprus is not just an island for the Israelis but also a message."

    "In the middle of the Mediterranean, a group of Hellenes with a very restraint temper and great hope live on this island," he said.

    Peres noted that "more and more all of us understand your attitude that the Christians, the Muslims the Jews have to live together, even if they are Turks even if they are Greeks, we don't have a choice but to coexist."

    Israel's ex-premier said that trade relations between Cyprus and Israel are becoming richer, adding that imports and exports between the two countries have reached 160 million US dollars both ways.

    "Cyprus can become a centre of trade, of meetings, of exchange of knowledge, of mutual research" Peres added.

    Expressing the hope that Cyprus will become a member of the European Union, Peres said "you are entering the EU with a little certificate, your European standard of living on the island."

    Addressing the ceremony, President Clerides said that earlier today he had the opportunity to meet with Peres and "benefit from his vast experience in international affairs and in regional affairs".

    Responding to Peres' comment about good neighbourly relations, Clerides said that "we have very good relations with all our neighbours except one".

    President Clerides expressed the wish that with the new year "there will be a change of attitude of that neighbour", an apparent reference to Turkey which continues to occupy one third of this East Mediterranean island since its troops invaded in 1974.

    "We believe in regional peace, in regional stability with justice, not with submission", Clerides stressed.

    In his address, Israeli Ambassador Tzur said that "Shimon Peres is the man who opened the doors of hope in the Middle East for both Jews and Arabs alike".

    At tonight's ceremony twelve Cypriot importers of Israeli products were awarded a prize for promoting trade relations.

    Tomorrow Peres will meet with Cypriot businessmen, local politicians and House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    Before leaving, he will give a press conference.

    CNA RM/MM/1998
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