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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-03

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] AHI Letter - Ecevit - War crimes - US State Department
  • [02] Foreign Minister - Missing Persons - Exhumations
  • [03] Cyprus - Moldova - Air Transport agreement

  • 1750:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] AHI Letter - Ecevit - War crimes - US State Department

    Nicosia, Jun 3 (CNA) -- The American Hellenic Institute has called for the indictment of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for crimes against Cyprus and the Kurds, stating the precedent of the indictment of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

    In a letter to the US State Department Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, David Scheffer, the General Counsel of the Institute, Eugene Rossides, states that the decision for the indictment of Milosevic "creates an important precedent of indicting an incumbent Head of Government".

    He says that "the obvious analogy is Turkey's Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit" with regard to Cyprus and the Kurds.

    Rossides states that "Ecevit initiated the illegal 1974 Turkish invasion of Greek Cyprus with the illegal use of US-supplied arms, during which some 200.000 Greek Cypriots were forced from their homes by the Turkish armed forces".

    He adds that "over 4.000 Greek Cypriots were murdered" during the invasion, "including five Americans, who had been kidnapped by the Turkish forces".

    "In the course of the occupation" of the northern third of the island, he continues, "the few Greek Cypriots who were not ethnically cleansed from the areas under illegal Turkish occupation have been subject to persistent persecution on political, racial and religious grounds", adding that "Greek Cypriot religious and cultural sites have been devastated".

    Referring to the Kurds, Rossides says that "during Turkey's 15-year war against the Kurds, over 2,5 million Kurds have been forced from their homes and 2.600-3.000 villages have been torched or razed".

    He adds that "some 30.000 innocent Kurds have been killed by the Turkish army" and that "extrajudicial killings, torture and deprivation of elementary civil and human rights have been routine".

    Rossides stresses that Ecevit and other senior military and political officials are also culpable.

    "I trust", he adds, "that the US will exploit the precedent provided" to institute proceedings to indict Ecevit and other Turkish officials in the International Criminal Court.

    Rossides sent copies of his letter to US President Bill Clinton and US Administration and Congress officials.

    CNA RG/MCH/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1830:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Foreign Minister - Missing Persons - Exhumations

    Nicosia, Jun 3 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides stressed here today that the list of persons missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus does not include anybody who was killed during the July 1974 military coup.

    He also stressed that the government will "never" accept a Turkish demand to agree that all persons missing since the invasion are dead and agree to proceed to confirm this.

    The Minister apologised to the families of the missing on behalf of the state, noting that others have to follow suit and explaining that the government does not intend to seek responsibilities from anybody.

    Speaking at a press conference here today, he said the purpose of the process of exhumation, now underway, is "primarily to deal with a very grave humanitarian issue which can be solved by us and which concerns a number of families who have the right to be informed about the fate of their loved ones."

    He said the families of those killed during the coup, which had preceded the invasion, know their loved ones are dead but do not know where they are buried.

    "We are trying to put our house in order with regard to persons known to have been killed during the invasion and in the hope that our search will solve the drama of some of the families," he said.

    Kasoulides expressed the hope that this process would convey the message to the international community and the Turkish side that such a process can be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the July 31 Agreement of 1997.

    The said agreement calls on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to exchange information on the location of graves and return the remains of persons known to have been killed in action to their families.

    "Not one person killed during the July 1975 military coup is named in the list of missing persons," he said, noting that the government "will not seek to lay any responsibility on anybody" as far as the issue of the missing is concerned.

    His comments come in response to unacceptable claims by the Turkish Cypriot side that the Greek Cypriots have to deal with the issue of dead during the July coup d'etat.

    "If the Turkish Cypriot leader were acting in good faith, why did he not raise this issue during consultations for the agreement of July 31 and waited until progress towards its implementation was made before he did so?" the Minister wondered.

    Kasoulides revealed that the UN top envoy in Cyprus has been informed by the Cypriot authorities about the list of those killed during the coup.

    Replying to questions, he said "the state and others owe a big apology to the relatives of the missing" for the years of pain and waiting they have had to endure.

    He also said the government "is ready to proceed with exhumations of Turkish Cypriots as part of the implementation of the July 1997 agreement on the basis of reciprocity."

    He said the process of exhumation and examination of remains is carried out by the international, non-profit, non-governmental organisation Physicians for Human Rights, to avoid any shred of a doubt about the work done.

    CNA MM/MCH/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1945:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Cyprus - Moldova - Air Transport agreement

    Nicosia, Jun 3 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Moldova initialed today an air transport agreement, in a bid to further strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations.

    This is the first bilateral agreement Moldova initials with Cyprus, and it is expected to improve air links between the two countries.

    The agreement was initialed, on behalf of the Cyprus Republic, by Ministry of Communications and Works' Permanent Secretary, Vasos Pyrgos and on behalf of Moldova, by General Director of Civil Aviation, Octavian Lungu.

    CNA MCH/MM/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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