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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-06-17

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

  • [01]Tuesday, 17 June 2003 EU and Cyprus Government remain committed to accession of unified Cyprus
  • [02] President Papadopoulos ascertains US special interest for Cyprus settlement
  • [03] Foreign Minister participates in Luxembourg General Affairs Council
  • [04] Jack Straw: Britain greatly regrets failure to reach a Cyprus settlement
  • [05] Exploratory excavation at Alaminos to establish the fate of Turkish Cypriot missing persons

    [01] EU and Cyprus Government remain committed to accession of unified Cyprus

    The European Union and the Cyprus Government are ready to work towards the resolution of the Cyprus problem so that a reunified Cyprus could accede to the EU in May 2004, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Mr Gunter Verheugen, noted after a meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus this morning at the Presidential Palace. Mr Verheugen expressed gratitude to the Government, the House of Representatives and the people of Cyprus in general, whose strong efforts made possible the "historical achievement" of the island's EU accession. With regard to the efforts of resolving the Cyprus problem, the EU Commissioner stressed that there was still a window of opportunity which should not be missed, and acknowledged President Papadopoulos' "clear commitment" to negotiate on the basis of the Annan plan. Mr Verheugen pointed out that the decision to use the existing window of opportunity now depended on the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktash and his friends in Ankara. He also sent a message to Turkish Cypriots that the door for a solution was still open, and that both the EU and the Cyprus Government would ensure that it remained open. For his part, President Papadopoulos said he had an interesting, useful and friendly meeting with Mr Verheugen, whom he thanked for his "right positions on the Cyprus problem" throughout the years. ''It is not an exaggeration to say that he is one of the important factors that led to the successful completion of the accession negotiations of Cyprus with the EU,'' Mr Papadopoulos said. The President reiterated the Government's commitment for reaching a solution before 1 May 2004. Asked to comment on the support measures for Turkish Cypriots that the Cyprus Government had introduced, the President said that they were being implemented smoothly and effectively. Mr Verheugen arrived on the island yesterday for a three-day visit, the first after the signing by Cyprus of the Treaty of Accession to the EU. He also met this morning with the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Christofias, and Cyprus' Chief EU Negotiator, Mr Takis Hadjidemetriou. In the evening, he will meet with the Foreign Minister, Mr Georgios Iacovou, and will attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Mr Iacovou. Tomorrow, Mr Verheugen will cross into the Turkish occupied areas and early in the afternoon he will hold a press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia, after which he will depart for Brussels.

    [02] President Papadopoulos ascertains US special interest for Cyprus settlement

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, has underlined the US' interest in finding a solution and said that Washington remained actively involved in the peace efforts. Speaking last Friday after having received the US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Mr Thomas Weston, President Papadopoulos noted that he had a "friendly, sincere and useful" meeting with the US envoy, during which they discussed the prospects for resuming the peace talks. "I reiterated the National Council's firm position that we are ready, at any moment, when we are invited by the Secretary-General, to resume talks under the auspices of the United Nations", Mr Papadopoulos said. Invited by journalists to say whether he had ascertained a new US initiative on resuming the talks, the Cyprus President replied, "I have not ascertained such a thing". Asked whether the US believed that the UN General Assembly, to convene in New York in September, would be the right forum for deliberations on the Cyprus problem, Mr Papadopoulos noted, "The US - and I have thanked Mr Weston for this - have a special interest in resolving the Cyprus problem, remain very actively involved and have indicated that pressure should be exerted on the Turkish Cypriot side, and every opportunity to meet the Secretary-General, such as the one at the UN, is an opportunity to investigate the possibilities of resuming the talks". Mr Weston arrived in Cyprus last Friday for talks on the Cyprus issue, as part of his tour to the region.

    [03] Foreign Minister participates in Luxembourg General Affairs Council

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Georgios Iacovou, is in Luxembourg participating in the two-day meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, which deals mainly with the preparations for the Thessaloniki European Council on 19-20 June 2003. Mr Iacovou went to Luxembourg from the US where he had completed on Saturday a series of high- level contacts in New York and Washington. The General Affairs Council began its sessions yesterday with deliberations on external relations issues, such as the situation in the Western Balkans, the Middle East, EU- US relations, and weapons of mass destruction. The draft proposal of the Convention on the Future of Europe for an EU Constitution was also discussed. The Cyprus problem was among the issues included in the agenda of the General Affairs Council, in light of the Thessaloniki European Council. The Foreign Minister, Mr Iacovou, held talks with his European counterparts regarding the phrasing of the reference on Cyprus, to be included in the Presidency Conclusions of the Thessaloniki European Council. He expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his contacts and praised the Greek Presidency of the European Union for its successful handlings. The Cyprus Foreign Minister will return to the island later today.

    [04] Jack Straw: Britain greatly regrets failure to reach a Cyprus settlement

    The British Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw, made a reference to Cyprus last week at the House of Commons, during a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee in light of the Thessaloniki European Council. In particular, replying to a question on Cyprus, Mr Straw expressed his government's deep regret for the failure to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem so that a united Cyprus could join the EU. He pointed out that the UN Secretary- General's Cyprus Adviser, Mr Alvaro de Soto, the British envoy, Lord David Hannay, and many others had worked to secure a positive result, as did the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr George Papandreou and the new Turkish government. "I regret the decisions which Mr Denktash took", Mr Straw further said, adding, "However, as you suggest, I think the Turkish Cypriot people in Cyprus have shown by voting with their feet that they want unity and they are going to carry on and get it". In concluding, the British Foreign Secretary noted that his government wished to assist Turkey with its application to join the European Union.

    [05] Exploratory excavation at Alaminos to establish the fate of Turkish Cypriot missing persons

    In the framework of the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to investigate and establish the fate of all the missing persons, without any discrimination, and to the degree that this can be achieved through its own efforts, in December 2002, an exploratory excavation took place of a burial site in the village of Alaminos in the district of Larnaca. According to witnesses' testimonies, a number of Turkish Cypriots had been buried in this site. These Turkish Cypriots had been registered as missing by their families and their names are included in the list of Turkish Cypriot missing persons, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic on 12 May 2003. The excavation was carried out by a team of scientists of the independent, international non-governmental organisation "Physicians for Human Rights." The Mission of the United Nations Operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP), has been apprised of the exploratory excavation, and through them, the First Assistant of the Third Member of the CMP, visited the site while the exploratory excavation was taking place. The competent authorities of the Republic of Cyprus expressed their willingness to facilitate visits to the burial site of the families concerned and of the Turkish Cypriot Member of the CMP. As a result of the exploratory excavation, human remains have been located. The scientific team will proceed to the exhumation of these remains, when the necessary blood samples and ante mortem information are secured from the families concerned. These elements are considered necessary for the scientific identification of the remains through DNA processes. For this purpose, an appeal is made to the families concerned to give the necessary blood samples for DNA purposes and the ante mortem information. The families can arrange meetings with relevant officials by contacting the Office of the Greek Cypriot Representative of the Committee on Missing Persons, tel 22305794 and 223057595. It should be stressed that the whole process has purely humanitarian purposes and aims to express respect, in a concrete manner, to the right of the families to be informed with convincing and conclusive elements, of the fate of their loved ones, and to return to these families scientifically identified remains, for a decent burial, according to their customs, traditions and religious practices.

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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