EMBASSY OF CYPRUS NEWSLETTER, WASHINGTON DC (February 6, 1996)
EMBASSY OF CYPRUS NEWSLETTER, WASHINGTON DC
February 6, 1996
Embassy of Cyprus Press & Information Office 2211 R Street NW Washington DC 20008 (202) 232-8993 (202) 234-1936 Fax
U.S. DELAYS CYPRUS INITIATIVE
Effort Seeks Basis to Resume Talks
The U.S. initiative to break the deadlock on Cyprus, slated to begin in February, has been delayed until later this year. "We are committed to a major effort on Cyprus this year . . . but we can't start it quite yet," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke said on January 31. Holbrooke, who recently stressed that the U.S. will make a "big push" on Cyprus this year, said U.S. efforts are meant to promote regional peace since "if you let the [Cyprus] issue fester . . . it could explode." Cyprus is "a serious island with serious people," and he described the U.N. demarkation line dividing the areas occupied by Turkey from the free areas of the Republic as "a Berlin-type wall running down the middle of the island for 180 miles." The delay "does not mean that the U.S. has given up on trying to use whatever influence we have to make progress," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on January 31, adding the U.S. "will launch a diplomatic initiative on Cyprus as soon as there is stability and a new government in Turkey." Since elections last December no government has been formed in Turkey--without which no progress can be achieved. "The key to the Cyprus problem lies in Ankara, not in Nicosia. Subsequently, it is important to have talks with a government in Ankara," Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on January 26. After the U.S. initiative was delayed, Holbrooke still planned a final round of consultations in the region before leaving the Clinton Administration on February 21, but following recent tensions in the Aegean between Greece and Turkey, the trip was canceled altogether. Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides reaffirmed on February 5 that Assistant Secretary Holbrooke is welcome to visit Cyprus if his schedule permits, "because we aim to establish dialogue and negotiations to reach a settlement."
Solution Not Dependent on Other Problems
In preparing the American initiative, a series of consultations were held during the month between Holbrooke and other U.S. diplomats dealing with the issue. In Washington on January 4 Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides outlined the Cyprus government's views to U.S. officials at the National Security Council and State Department, including Assistant Secretary Hoolbrooke. The U.S. initiative will attempt to establish the basis for a resumption of direct talks on a comprehensive settlement--helping to "frame an agenda for peace negotiations," as the State Department spokesman explained on January 26. Resumption of the talks should be based on "the High-Level Agreements [between the Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities], the U.N. resolutions," and earlier efforts to move the process forward, Ambassador Boucher said on January 31. Foreign Minister Michaelides echoed this view, emphasizing on January 8 that talks would be useless until there is "an overall approach to achieve common ground before negotiations." In recent days both U.S. and Cyprus government officials have emphasized that the Cyprus problem must be resolved independent of other regional problems. Spokesman Cassoulides warned on February 2 that "if the Cyprus problem gets entangled in other Greek-Turkish disputes, it will be perpetuated. The Cyprus question is an independent issue and cannot be part of an overall package deal to solve differences between Greece and Turkey." "The Cyprus problem needs to be resolved for the sake of the people here," Boucher said in Nicosia on February 5. Far from including Cyprus in a plan to solve Greek-Turkish problems, he said the U.S. believes progress on Cyprus "will reduce the tensions between Greece and Turkey." Several American newspapers, including the Washington Post (February 6), recently reported that U.S. officials believe a settlement can significantly impact regional peace. "Holbrooke always said he viewed a Cyprus settlement as the key to ensuring stability and security in southern Europe and the Mediterranean," the Post reported, and this is the reason "the Administration proclaimed a Cyprus settlement one of its highest foreign policy priorities this year."
Clinton: Seeks to Intensify U.S. Effort
The U.S. initiative, including recent efforts by Presidential Envoy Beattie, "reflect my interest in intensifying U.S. government efforts to achieve progress," U.S. President Bill Clinton wrote on January 4, in a report to Congress covering Cyprus developments during October and November. The report confirms that the Clinton Administration continues to consult on Cyprus with U.N. officials and the other permanent U.N. Security Council members on ways to resume negotiations. High-level delegations from all five permanent Security Council members conferred in recent weeks with government leaders in Nicosia, the last being the visit of the Chinese vice foreign minister in early January. On February 3 the Russian and U.S. permanent U.N. representatives, Sergie Lavrov and Madeleine Albright, discussed recent U.S. efforts on Cyprus as well as the Russian suggestion that representatives of the permanent Council members study the proposal for the complete demilitarization of Cyprus. Among the factors complicating international efforts to achieve progress on Cyprus is Turkey's continued military buildup in the occupied area. Ankara delivered an unspecified number of additional tanks and armored personnel carriers to the occupied area on January 30--a move the Cyprus government strongly protested to the U.N. In sepa-
rate meetings with the ambassadors to Cyprus of the permanent Security Council members, Foreign Minister Michaelides called the Turkish action a provocation, noting that these new Turkish shipments were even greater than the military armaments sent to the occupied area in the last half of 1995. The U.N. Secretary-General reported to the Security Council on December 10 that Turkish forces in the occupied areas have greatly added to their armaments, and that "the northern part of the island remains one of the most densely militarized areas in the world."
PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS ELEMENTS OF WORKABLE SETTLEMENT
In an exclusive interview published in the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris on February 1, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides outlined the government's positions on the fundamental issues of a Cyprus settlement. Sovereignty. There is "no state in the world which hasn't but one, indivisible sovereignty." A federal Cyprus republic should have "a single, indivisible, international, legal personality and sovereignty," which can be combined with federated cantons that would maintain "a maximum degree of autonomy in internal administration." Territory. Reiterating that the government continues to support the High-Level Agreements signed between the two communities in 1977 and 1979, in a bizonal federation "Cyprus will be composed of two federated cantons or areas, one to be under Greek Cypriot administration, the other to be under Turkish Cypriot administration." If the territorial issue is solved in such a way that it would allow at least two-thirds of the refugees to go back to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration, the remaining refugees who may decide to go back under Turkish Cypriot administration will not affect the substantial Turkish Cypriot majority in the area under Turkish Cypriot administration." Greek and Turkish Cypriots who do not wish to return to their homes "will have the option to sell, exchange, or retain their properties." Political Equality. On the political equality of the two communities, Clerides said he supported the concept as outlined by the U.N. Secretary-General, which refers to "not equal numerical participation, but effective participation of both communities in the federal government . . . Deadlock-resolving mechanisms should be provided to avoid prolonged tensions and counteract ineffectiveness." Security. The Cyprus President stressed that "what is needed is a security arrangement that addresses the concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots." He proposed a system of security based on an increased number of guarantor powers and that "an international force, made up from contingents of the guarantors, will be stationed in a demilitarized Cyprus." E.U. Accession."The prospect of joining the E.U. offers a great opportunity to all the people of Cyprus and it is an opportunity that both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots should not miss." If a settlement is reached before the start of talks for Cyprus' accession to the E.U., both communities "will then be able to negotiate together our accession to the European Union." Reconciling the Past. Acknowledging that "bad experiences and bitter memories of the past" have been felt by both communities, Clerides said that all Greek and Turkish Cypriot political leaders, including himself, "should make a joint declaration that never again our communities shall raise arms against each other . . . and [should] express our willingness to accept international inspection to this effect." If an agreement were reached tomorrow, asked what Cyprus would look like 20 years from now, the Cyprus President said he saw a "bicommunal federal Cyprus, where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live peacefully together, working towards economic parity for both communities and towards prosperity and technological progress. Cyprus, if united, can become a regional trade, tourism, and educational center."
E.U. PRESIDENCY APPOINTS CYPRUS ENVOY
European Union leaders are intensifying their support of efforts to reach a comprehensive Cyprus settlement, support manifested by the recent visit to Cyprus of Italian Under-secretary for Foreign Affairs Emanuele Scammacca, representing the current E.U. presidency, Italy, and by Dick Spring, the foreign minister of Ireland. More important, on January 29 the E.U. Council of Ministers for the first time appointed a European Presidency Representative for Cyprus, Italian Ambassador Federico de Roberto, who will confer with leaders in the region and recommend to the Council of Ministers additional measures the E.U. might take to promote a Cyprus settlement. Cyprus welcomed the appointment of an E.U. representative, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on January 30, as a first step toward increasing European efforts to achieve a settlement. With "accession negotiations with Cyprus [beginning] six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) . . . there is now a window of opportunity" for progress on Cyprus, Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dick Spring said in Nicosia on January 10. Ireland will serve as E.U. President during the last half of 1996, and Spring said that he "would like to feel that those negotiations can act as a catalyst in relation to finding a solution of the problems on this island." The European Parliament expressed its continuing opposition to Turkey's intransigence on Cyprus in a recent resolution, which urged the European Commission and Council of Ministers "to undertake the necessary steps to encourage the ending of the partition of Cyprus" and which deplored a threat by Turkey's acting Prime Minister, "on the possible incorporation of the northern part of Cyprus into Turkey in retaliation to Cyprus' future accession to the E.U." The resolution followed the visit to Cyprus of the leaders of the largest group in the European Parliament, the socialist group, who held talks in Nicosia with Cyprus President Clerides and other government officials from January 7-8.
CYPRUS DISPLAYS "REMARKABLE ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE"
The Cyprus economy last year displayed a "remarkable economic performance," Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said on January 12. The fiscal deficit for 1995 is estimated to be 1.3% of the Gross National Product (GNP), a figure which places Cyprus second among European countries. Inflation for 1995 was 2.6%, compared to 4.7% for 1994--one of the lowest inflation rates for all of Europe. Cyprus' public debt has also dropped, from 54.9% to 54%. The government spokesman also said that Cyprus' implementation of the GATT agreement is not expected to adversely affect Cyprus' strong economic performance.
In Brief . . .
In his message of congratulations to Greece's new prime minister, Costas Simitis, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides expressed the hope that the two countries will continue their close cooperation. In presenting his government's program to the Greek parliament on January 29, Simitis reiterated that ending the division of Cyprus is a high Greek foreign policy objective and that "the constant goal of our defense policy is the reversal of any military threat against Greece and Cyprus." The two leaders will meet in Athens on February 8.
Addressing a seminar on the contribution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to the security of small states, held in Nicosia from January 15-16, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said the organization can play an important role in addressing the security concerns of Europe's smaller states. "The Cyprus experience is a frightening signal for small states," he said, referring to Turkey's 1974 invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus, since when small states are confronted "with aggression and a threat to their territorial integrity and sovereignty they are unable to face it." Michaelides said that effectively dealing with the Cyprus problem would send the message that "aggression will not be tolerated, much less accommodated."
On January 18 Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides addressed the California State Senate, where he said that "the Cyprus problem is, I stress, a solvable problem, much more than other seemingly more intractable problems . . . which have been solved or are on their way to a solution." He added that "with good will and determination from all sides it can and should be solved, to the benefit of all parties concerned." In Sacramento the Ambassador also conferred with California Governor Pete Wilson and later spoke on the Cyprus issue at various institutions, including an address at San Diego's U.S. Association for the United Nations. Speaking at the Foreign Service Institute on February 6, the Ambassador provided a background to the Cyprus problem and reaffirmed the Cyprus govern-
ment's position that any lasting settlement must be based on the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.
In reviewing world developments on January 13 Pope John Paul II expressed deep concern over Cyprus, divided since Turkey's 1974 invasion. This situation, which "prevents people who are separated or dispossessed of their property from building their future, cannot be maintained indefinitely," he said.
On February 1 George Hadjisavvas became the new director of the Cyprus government's Press and Information Office (PIO). He has worked at the PIO since 1966 and has served as acting PIO director since May, 1995.