May 9, 1997
EMBASSY OF CYPRUS, WASHINGTON DC
U.N. SEEKS DIRECT TALKS THIS SUMMER
Common Ground for Direct Talks Has Not Yet Been Reached Over the last two months a U.N. representative has been holding regular separate meetings with President Clerides and Mr. Denktash to achieve progress towards a settlement based on the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus, and on the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreem ents. There is no evidence, however, that the Turkish side has abandoned its positions many of which are contrary to the U.N. framework for a settlement so that the common ground needed for direct talks to begin can be achieved. Direct talks are now "not on the agenda, because we are still in the process of proximity talks," Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on May 9. The Secretary-General's efforts are being strongly supported by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, who discussed current Cyprus efforts in depth on April 29. In a statement after the meeting, the permanent five reaffirmed "the unacce ptability of the status quo in Cyprus . . . underlined the importance of achieving a comprehensive settlement to all outstanding issues," and "discussed in detail how this objective might be achieved." The permanent five also discussed a Russian document on ideas for a settlement which drew many of its elements from the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus. It called for the establishment of a bicommunal, bizonal federation which would safeguard the existence of an independent and territorially integral state, with a single sovereignty, international status and citizenship. The Cyprus government welcomes the "effort of coordination by the Security Council, something that was not present in the past," President Clerides said on April 30, adding that "this coordination should not only continue but be strengthened."
U.S.: Cyprus Decision "A Significant Step Forward" In line with an earlier pledge that as the U.N. effort progresses Cyprus would unilaterally adopt goodwill measures to improve the atmosphere for the talks, the Cyprus government has announced that Greek aircraft will not overfly Cyprus during joint milit ary exercises a decision greeted by the international community as an important step to help ease military tensions on the island. "The U.S. welcomes the decision of the Government of Cyprus not to invite Greek aircraft to overfly Cyprus during the Toxotis-Vergina exercise," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on May 9, adding that evidently the government of Turkey intend s to also discontinue its overflights of Cypriot airspace. Burns added that the U.S. hopes this will "install some confidence in the negotiating process; we think this is a significant step forward." The Cyprus government has repeatedly protested to the U.N. that violations of Cyprus' airspace through overflights by Turkish military aircraft are not only contrary to international law, but pose a risk to air safety. The Cyprus government did "not want to give (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash the chance to desert proximity talks, using as an excuse a military exercise," President Clerides said in explaining the decision on April 23, "I do not want to give him th e chance to find excuses for his intransigent position." "These are our decisions, self-imposed, and they indicate our disposition, our good faith and our determination to go ahead with the proximity talks in the best manner," the Cyprus government spokesman said. Recent weeks have witnessed the growing active participation of other countries in efforts on Cyprus. Presenting his credentials as Cyprus' new High Commissioner to Canada on May 6, Cyprus Ambassador to the U.S. Andros Nicolaides welcomed the recent appoi ntment of Michael Bell as Canada's Special Representative for Cyprus, calling it a further indication of that country's continued support for a just and lasting Cyprus settlement. Canadian Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc responded that the appointment was a reaffirmation of Canada's interest in a peaceful Cyprus and said that the coming months offer a unique opportunity to reach a Cyprus settlement. The Special Representatives of Canada, Britain, and the E.U., and U.N. Under-Secretary General Sir Kieran Prendergast are expected to visit Nicosia in the near future; the newly-appointed Special Representatives of Germany and Sweden recently consulted wi th officials in Nicosia, and France is expected to appoint a Special Representative soon.
E.U. Warns Turkey Over Lack of Cyprus Progress The European Union member-states have not only heightened their involvement through direct support for the U.N. effort on Cyprus, but by underlining Turkey's responsibility in helping to achieve progress. The E.U. has also warned Ankara that failure to a chieve such progress will undermine E.U.-Turkish relations. These positions were emphasized in the European Union's common policy towards Turkey, endorsed and issued by the 15 E.U. member-states, and discussed during an E.U.-Turkey Association Council mee ting in Luxembourg on April 30. The E.U. added that it attaches the "highest importance" to U.N. efforts for a resumption of direct Cyprus talks this summer, talks leading to a comprehensive settlement based on the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus, and that "a solution to the Cyprus problem o n this basis is urgently needed to remove the cause of lasting tension in Cyprus and the region. They also warned that the "lack of progress would be to the detriment of Turkey, the E.U. and E.U.-Turkish relations. The Union urges Turkey to join other sta tes in promoting such a negotiated solution in direct talks this summer between the parties." The E.U. common policy emphasized that the date for the start of Cyprus' negotiations for full accession to the Union has not changed; the negotiations will begin six months after the end of the E.U.'s Inter-Governmental Conference, expected to be conclud ed in June.
KASOULIDES TO MEET ALBRIGHT IN JUNE
CYPRIOT WOMEN CALL FOR LASTING PEACE ON CYPRUS More than 50 women half Greek Cypriot and half Turkish Cypriot participated in a "Give Peace a Chance" conference in Brussels from April 17-19 the first time in over 23 years that women from both communities had the opportunity to discuss ways to end the division of their country. "Lasting peace can only be found in Cyprus if security for both communities is established," the women said in a statement at the conclusion of the conference, adding that a settlement must be based on respect for human rights, democracy, and the cultural heritage of both communities. They also announced creation of a "Cyprus Link" promoting continued contact among all Cypriot women. Addressing the conference, co-sponsored by the European Union, E.U. Commissioner for External Affairs Hans Van den Broek emphasized on April 17 that the current division of Cyprus was "clearly untenable, . . . carries enormous political and economic costs and places an unacceptable burden on the people of the island." A political settlement "will enable all the inhabitants of Cyprus to live in peace and security," he continued, and will allow the Turkish Cypriot community "to break out of their isolation, which is the consequence of continuing political deadlock." Stressing "the overwhelming advantages of peace over permanent division," the E.U. Commissioner told the Cypriot women that Cyprus' accession to the E.U. "will reduce tensions between the communities and transform what is at present a zero-sum game, where one side's gain is the other's loss, into a situation offering a brighter future" for all Cypriots. In recent weeks Greek and Turkish journalists, trade union representatives, and political party leaders have met to express their desire for a peaceful, reunited Cyprus, and on May 19 the U.N. will host a "Friendship Through Music in Cyprus" concert for a ll Cypriot youth featuring Greek and Turkish musicians in the U.N.-controlled buffer zone dividing Nicosia.
Turkish Side Prevents Reciprocal Visit
OCCUPIED AREAS USED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING Since Turkey's 1974 invasion, the occupation authorities have encouraged a wide range of criminal activities in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, and according to an April 12 BBC report, this includes the laundering of drug money. British drug dealers use the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus to launder their illegal proceeds. The occupied area "has more banks that its population needs . . . Regulations are loose and supervision light for this green destination of shady money," acco rding to report. More than 90% of the heroin sold in Britain comes from Turkey, the BBC correspondent said, with the profits sent to the "welcoming climate" of the occupied area "where it can be bandied around until its ownership is confused and then it could be taken to Turkey." By contrast, the Cyprus government continues to work closely with the U.S. and other countries to further strengthen measures to prevent the laundering of criminal proceeds through banks in the free areas of Cyprus. A U.S. government team of experts was i n Nicosia on April 18 assisting "the efforts of both of our countries in combating financial crime," a U.S. embassy spokesman said, adding that they "look forward to developing further cooperation" with Cyprus government officials.
IN BRIEF . . .