CYPRUS NEWSLETTER
August 5, 1996

EMBASSY OF CYPRUS, WASHINGTON DC
Embassy of Cyprus
Press & Information Office
2211 R Street NW
Washington DC 20008
(202) 232-8993
(202) 234-1936 Fax

SECURITY EMERGES AS KEY ISSUE

U.S. Delegation Visits Region

During July a high-level U.S. delegation to Cyprus, Turkey and Greece laid the ground for a heightened American effort aimed at breaking the two-year deadlock in U.N. talks on Cyprus.

"Our visit has provided an excellent foundation for more active and direct U.S. diplomacy in the coming months," the permanent U.S. representative to the U.N., Ambassador Madeleine Albright, said on July 18, following her meetings with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and other Cypriot leaders. Albright, who led a 16-member U.S. delegation to the region, said the Clinton Administration is now convinced that an opportunity for progress exists.

The "only practical way to resolve a problem as complex as that of Cyprus is with direct, comprehensive negotiations" Albright said, emphasizing that "much work needs to be done beforehand to narrow differences and thereby give the direct negotiations the greatest chance of success." She announced that in the coming months U.S. Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Beattie will be returning to the region to "intensively" continue American efforts.

The Albright visit follows the recent White House meeting between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Cyprus President Clerides on June 17, after which the White House announced that Clinton was sending a high-level delegation to the region. "I have been engaged in a series of meetings with leaders from the region to underscore my interest in advancing a Cyprus solution," U.S. President Bill Clinton said in his bimonthly report to Congress on Cyprus on July 23, and he emphasized the need "to seize the unique opportunity that currently exists to make the long-elusive Cyprus solution a reality."

In their efforts to prepare the ground for the resumption of direct talks, the U.S. has placed a special emphasis on achieving progress on the issue of security, the primary focus of Albright's visit to the region.

"The issue of security is of paramount importance for both communities and should be given top priority," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides stressed on July 11, in accepting the credentials of the new U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill. To address the security concerns of both communities, President Clerides has proposed the demilitarization of Cyprus, including the disbanding of the Cyprus National Guard, contingent on the withdrawal of Turkey's occupation troops. He has also suggested that a multinational force be stationed on Cyprus under the mandate of the U.N. Security Council.

On July 18 Albright announced that progress on immediate security concerns regarding the U.N.-patrolled buffer zone concerns heightened by the murder of a member of the National Guard by Turkish forces had been achieved when the parties agreed that the military commanders of the Cyprus National Guard and Turkey's occupation army would meet to discuss ways to defuse tensions along the buffer zone.

The talks were to be held under U.N. auspices before the end of July, but since Albright's announcement the agreement has now been jeopardized by new Turkish demands and conditions, a development which "should convince the international community to show more decisiveness in the direction of Ankara," President Clerides said on August 3.

American efforts, augmented by those of the U.N. Secretary-General, Great Britain and the other permanent Security Council members, are sure to intensify in the coming months. "We are going to see a period in which a solution to the Cyprus problem is going to be up on the international agenda," Sir David Hannay, the representative of the British government for Cyprus, said on July 11, following extensive discussions with President Clerides and other Cypriot leaders. Hannay also identified security as a key issue which must be immediately addressed, since the current arrangements on the island "provide insecurity for the long term because there is something approaching an arms race and the situation is fundamentally not a stable one."

VICTIMS OF TURKISH INVASION REMEMBERED

Remembering 200,000 refugees, thousands killed by the invading forces, and 1,619 persons still missing and unaccounted for, people throughout the world marked the 22nd anniversary of Turkey's July 20, 1974 invasion of Cyprus by demanding an end to Ankara's occupation of Cyprus.

In Nicosia thousands attended rallies reaffirming the determination of the Cypriot people to continue struggling until Turkey's troops and illegal settlers have left Cyprus, while thousands in Greece, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain demanded that the international community take immediate action to stop Turkish aggression.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michelides, Culture Minister Claire Angelidou, and Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos addressed a memorial service in Atlanta; while Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Kyriacos Christofi addressed a service in New York.

In Washington Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides also spoke at a memorial service for the victims of Turkey's aggression, where he noted that the day was filled with sad memories; a day when the people of Cyprus honor their dead and recall Turkey's crimes against Cyprus. Similar events were held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities.

We "wish for a just and viable solution as soon as possible," President Clerides said in an address marking the anniversary, and he welcomed the fact that this year's events coincide with a new initiative by the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Our "side is willing to negotiate if the Turkish side is ready for a reasonable and viable compromise," he continued, and called Cyprus' accession to the European Union a new element which could serve as a catalyst for a solution. It is "now up to the Turkish side to take the necessary steps, if it wishes for the Turkish Cypriots to benefit from the E.U."

U.S. CONGRESS MARKS INVASION ANNIVERSARY

"We are again, year after year, calling this Special Order marking the 22 years of division of the Republic of Cyprus, as a result of an unlawful invasion by the Turkish military," Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) said during a Special Order, held at the initiative of and sponsored by Bilirakis, to mark Turkey's July 20, 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

During the Special Order more than two dozen members of Congress condemned Turkey's illegal invasion and continuing occupation, demanded that Turkey comply with U.N. resolutions on Cyprus, and stressed that Congress will never condone Turkey's aggression.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) reminded her colleagues that during Turkey's invasion "200,000 Greek Cypriots were expelled from their homes; their property was confiscated. Worst of all, 1,614 Cypriots and 5 American citizens were seized by Turkish troops and remain missing to this day. It has become somewhat of a clich^ to refer to these so-called missing, but to me this phrase has a distinctly human face. I have met many, many times with constituents of mine in the Astoria neighborhoods whose family members are still among the missing," she said.

"Suppression of Cyprus' cultural heritage has become the order of the day as the Turkish government seeks to change the face of the Cypriot population," Congressman Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) said, in highlighting the systematic destruction of Cyprus' cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus. "Villages and towns in the occupied area of the island now bear Turkish names. Churches that have not been looted or destroyed have been converted into mosques or stables," he said.

"Turkey Remains the Key to a Solution of the Cyprus Problem"

Congress will continue to restrict aid to Ankara until the occupation ends, House International Relations Committee Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY) stressed, since restricting aid will "send a strong signal to Ankara that the patience of the Congress has just about run out and that we want to see movement on getting Turkish troops out of Cyprus."

"Turkey remains the key to a solution of the Cyprus problem," Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN) emphasized, adding that he was encouraged by growing international involvement, "as well as by the bipartisan support of this Congress for an intensified American effort. It is in the United States' national interest as well as that of all the parties in the region that we find a just and viable solution for Cyprus."

"I would urge not only an extra strong push by the Administration to raise this issue to the highest priority," Congressman John Porter (R-IL) said, "but that our military talk directly with their counterparts in the Turkish military to gain their cooperation in finding a way to begin withdrawing Turkish troops as a first step towards unification."

Congressman Bilirakis condemned Turkey's misuse of U.S. aid which was supplied for defensive purposes. He pointed out that earlier this year Turkey had again deployed American-made tanks in the occupied areas of Cyprus "in direct violation of agreements between Turkey and the United States . . . We have to ask ourselves, what are we doing in protest of these violations?"

Other members of Congress also identified Turkey's occupation troops as the major impediment to peace and expressed support for Cyprus President Clerides' proposal for the complete demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus.

Calling the division of Cyprus "one of the most intractable problems in the world today, Congressman Thomas Manton (D-NY) said he supported the demilitarization of Cyprus, since it "would alleviate the security concerns of all parties and substantially enhance the prospects for peaceful resolution of the problem. Once again the Turkish side rejected Cyprus' efforts toward ending the tragic unacceptable status quo."

"The continued presence of 30,000 foreign troops in Cyprus prevents the people of that island from reaching a settlement of these political differences," Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) said. "Demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus would meet the security concerns of all parties involved and would enhance prospects for a peaceful and lasting solution . . . this can only be achieved if the invading army withdraws from Cyprus and returns to its own territory where it belongs."

"Ending the military occupation of Cyprus is among the greatest challenges the international community faces today," Congressman David Bonior (D-MI) said, speaking for many of his colleagues, "but we must have the cooperation of Turkey to make progress and bring unity and freedom to Cypriots on the island."

Among the Representatives who participated in the Special Order were: Ron Klink (D-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Stephen Horn (R-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-MA), Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI), Nita M. Lowey (D-NJ), Sander M. Levin (D-MI), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Matthew Martinez (D-CA), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Vic Fazio (D-CA), Elizabeth Furse (D-OR), Richard Zimmer (R-NJ), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ).

MURDER OF TURKISH CYPRIOT JOURNALIST CONDEMNED

The assassination in occupied Nicosia on July 6 of a prominent Turkish Cypriot journalist, Kutlu Adali, by a Turkish right-wing terrorist organization has been widely denounced.

Adali's murder sparked widespread protests in occupied Cyprus and was condemned by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and the Cyprus Union of Journalists.

The European Parliament expressed concern over increasing terrorist actions in the occupied areas and said it recognized "the need for a solution to the Cyprus problem in the context of E.U. membership."

Adali had strongly criticized living conditions in occupied Cyprus, saying that Turkey's illegal colonization of the occupied areas had forced Turkish Cypriots to emigrate, and condemned the Turkish Cypriot leadership for policies which were leading to a permanent division of the island.

IN BRIEF . . .

The "declaration of independence of the United States marked a new beginning in world history signaling the birth of freedom, justice and human rights throughout the world," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said in a congratulatory message to U.S. President Bill Clinton on July 4, U.S. Independence Day. Clerides said that today the people of Cyprus, "who for 22 years are striving to reunite their country, place their hopes in the realization of the same principles which will culminate in a just settlement of the Cyprus question."

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on July 23, the Cyprus government has protested violations of Cyprus' airspace by Turkish military jets. The overflights are "an additional indication of Turkish provocative behavior, in that they took place on the eve of the twenty-second anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus," the letter said. The government also recently protested to the Secretary-General over the provocative visit to occupied Cyprus on the anniversary of Turkey's invasion of Cyprus by Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.

The American market holds "a great potential for Cyprus," especially in the areas of trade and tourism, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Kyriacos Christofi said on July 27, after completing a nine-day working visit to the U.S. and Canada. During his visit, accompanied by Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides, Christofi met with U.S. Under-Secretary of Commerce Stuart Eizenstat and other senior U.S. officials. The United States is one of the largest exporters to Cyprus with $434 million in exports last year. A significant proportion of these goods are re-exported, indicating the important role Cyprus plays in U.S. marketing efforts in the region.

During a fund-raising dinner in Washington on July 31, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Greek and Cypriot-American community leaders held an in-depth discussion on how the U.S. can best promote a Cyprus settlement. After the meeting Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) said President Clinton had again demonstrated his deep personal interest in Cyprus and other issues of concern to the community. The Democratic Party's 1988 Presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis, said that it was clear from the meeting that President Clinton "is a President who is anxious to move forward" on these issues.

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), in a resolution adopted at their annual convention in Houston on July 31, has called on the U.S. government to intensify its efforts on Cyprus by demanding that Turkey withdraw its occupation forces and comply with the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.

 



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