Washington, DC November
New U.N. Peace Initiative Seeks "Just and Lasting
Cyprus-European Union: New Decisive Phase
Water Shortage May Bring Shipments From
Israel's Weizman: Ties with Turkey no Threat to
 Did You
 New U.N. Peace Initiative Seeks "Just
and Lasting Settlement" Envoy Confirms Goal is
Bicommunal, Bizonal Federation
The United Nations launched its latest peace
initiative on Cyprus in mid-October, based on shuttle
diplomacy conducted by Secretary General Kofi Annan's
Deputy Special Representative for Cyprus, Ann
Hercus, in an effort to break the deadlock in
reunification talks. Ms. Hercus's talks with President
Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash
are intended to "develop a process for on-island contacts
with both parties, with the goal of reducing tensions and
promoting progress towards a just and lasting
That's the language the U.N. adopted when it announced
in September its new attempt to break the stalemate, and
end the 24-year illegal Turkish occupation of the
northern portion of the island.
While acknowledging that her immediate target is the
resumption of intercommunal talks, torpedoed by Denktash
last year, Ms. Hercus has stated categorically that her
efforts are mandated by all relevant U.N. resolutions,
which call for Turkey's withdrawal and the formation of a
bicommunal, bizonal federation.
Speaking in Nicosia, Ms. Hercus said that she believed
U.N. Security Council objectives were realistic and
pledged to work for their implementation. Her watchword,
she said, "is called the gospel of the Security Council
and its resolutions and the principles that lie behind
those resolutions. Of course this is my gospel," she
stressed. "I believe in translating principles into life
and making them work if I possibly can. If I fail it will
not be for the want of trying."
The talks have no agenda nor a deadline and are under a
In London, on Nov. 4, Foreign Minister Ioannis
Kasoulides endorsed Ms. Hercus's aims at both the
resumption of talks and the reduction of tension on the
island. Kasoulides told the 50 members of parliament
attending an event in honor of Cyprus's Independence Day,
that it is Cyprus's position that to reduce tension, the
questions of the reduction of foreign troops, armaments
and defense spending must be addressed first. He also
agreed with a proposal by Euro MP Pauline Green that EU
funds be used to clear land mines along the buffer
The U.N. action has been widely applauded, and comes at
a time of increasing tensions on the island, following
Turkish military maneuvers in the occupied areas and
repeated, massive violations of Cypriot airspace by
Turkish fighter planes--intrusions which the government
has protested repeatedly to the United Nations.
U.K. and U.S. Offer Strong Support
British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the
resumption of U.N. efforts to work for U.N.-led
intercommunal talks. In a letter to the World Federation
of Overseas Cypriots, Blair said: "The British government
is committed to using the U.K.'s unique position as a
guarantor power, a permanent member of the U.N. Security
Council and as a member of the European Union to do all
that it can to assist the people of Cyprus to achieve a
just settlement on the island."
Blair stressed that any talks must be based on U.N.
resolutions, and criticized recent confederation
proposals by Denktash, which have been rejected outright
by the world community. "We have made it clear that a
confederation of separate sovereign states is not
consistent with the objective of a bicommunal bizonal
federation agreed by both communities in the 1977 and
1979 High Level Agreements and set out in the relevant
U.N. Security Council Resolutions," Blair wrote. Both the
Security Council and the international community "have
repeatedly endorsed the U.N. Secretary General's efforts
to promote negotiations aiming at a bizonal, bicommunal
The U.S., whose own mediation efforts have been
undermined by the Turkish side, applauded the U.N. move.
In Washington, on Nov. 5, State Department spokesman
James Rubin expressed U.S. backing of the U.N.
effort. "The U.S. strongly supports the efforts of the
U.N. Secretary General's Deputy Special Representative
for Cyprus and we have worked closely with her and will
continue to do so," he said.
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott
expressed determination to achieve a lasting Cyprus
solution. Speaking at the Turgut Ozal Memorial lecture in
Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14, Talbott said, "Among the
many challenges in the Aegean today, the most pressing is
to find a solution to the decades-old conflict on Cyprus.
Let me be clear: The United States's goal in Cyprus
remains a bicommunal, bizonal federation. We have
underscored that commitment with the caliber of our
International diplomat team assigned to work the
problem--Marc Grossman, Dick Holbrooke, and Tom Miller. .
. . Finding a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem
requires lowering tensions and reducing the likelihood
that disputes will erupt into war."
Turkish Side Criticized
On Oct. 8, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Mark
Parris, discussed the Cyprus situation and
U.S.-Turkish relations in Washington before a
Turkish-American audience. The U.S. has been
"disappointed that Ankara has not been more supportive of
our efforts to bring the two Cypriot parties to the
negotiating table," he said. Nevertheless, the Ambassador
was firm, stating, "The United States will not walk away
from the Cyprus question. The stakes are too high for
that. And we remain convinced that with the passage of
time it will become more, not less, difficult to solve.
The status quo is neither static nor is it moving in a
direction good for Turkish or Turkish Cypriot
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns, in a
speech in Washington on Oct. 28, summed up what is now
the prevailing international consensus on Cyprus: "The
U.S. supports a bizonal, bicommunal, federal settlement
under U.N. auspices. We want to see a Cyprus that is
whole and free, where all Cypriots share a common future
and where all are blessed with safety, security and
prosperity. As you know we have been disappointed in the
Turkish side's inability to agree to begin negotiations
on a realistic basis. And Mr. Denktash's confederation
proposal is not realistic."
"President Clerides has responded immediately to the
initiative of the Secretary General and he . . . will be
engaged in any effort of the United Nations. . . . There
is an urgency for the solution to the Cyprus problem. . .
. The real danger is for Cyprus to remain divided. We
have to reunify the country."
--Amb. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis CNN WorldView, Oct.
 Cyprus-European Union: New Decisive
The second ministerial meeting of the Conference on
Accession to the European Union (EU) held in Brussels on
Nov. 10 marked the beginning of substantive accession
negotiations with Cyprus. Speaking at a joint press
conference with Cyprus's Foreign Minister Ioannis
Kasoulides and EU External Relations Commissioner Hans
van den Broek, the President of the Council of the EU,
Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schussel,
greeted the development warmly. "Today is the actual day
for the beginning of negotiations and nothing can stop
those going ahead," he said. "It represents a historical
moment when the accession train is picking up speed."
Schussel added in response to concerns raised by some
member nations about the lack of a political solution to
the Cyprus problem: "There have been reports in a number
of newspapers and through the agencies, but there is
nothing new or dramatic about something which was
said--without any discussion--in the Council yesterday.
Just like the Cypriots, everybody wants a political
solution and a political settlement under the auspices of
the U.N. There is a problem that we want to solve
together." Furthermore, he said that in the Turkish
Cypriot community "there is a majority in favor of
joining the EU."
EU Commissioner responsible for enlargement, Hans
van den Broek, also greeted the beginning of
negotiations positively. "We consider that this is a very
important step on the way to the EU membership of Cyprus,
he said. "I would like to say that we do appreciate the
professional and cooperative approach from the Cypriot
delegation and I would also like to emphasize and
underline how much we look forward to see the
negotiations extended, the delegation extended and
include the Turkish Cypriot community. We are all decided
and so much convinced that it will be the ultimate
benefit of the island as a whole, and in particular for
the Turkish Cypriot community to participate in this
historical enterprise," he continued.
In an interview on the same day, British Foreign
Secretary Robin Cook also took the position that
Cyprus's membership in the EU "should be considered on
its own merits." He further explained that the United
Kingdom does "not believe that accession of Cyprus should
be made conditional on a solution to the division of the
island." In fact, he stated that "the process of
accession will help encourage a solution" to the
An Important Day For Cyprus
On Nov. 10, at the joint press conference Foreign
Minister Kasoulides, thanked the EU "for the
assistance, the cooperation and the effort which has been
made jointly to arrive to this day, which is an important
day for Cyprus." In his remarks before the ministerial
meeting also on Nov. 10, he expressed, "our satisfaction
about the fact that the EU was able to arrive at a common
position on substantive negotiations, and thus,
reinforcing the message that no third country can in
effect stop our accession, and depriving those who block
the progress for a solution of an additional reason to
continue their negative stance. I wish to reiterate once
again that the government of Cyprus, despite the absence
of positive developments and the hardening of the Turkish
position, not only earnestly desires a solution of the
Cyprus problem but also devotes all its powers and exerts
all its efforts in search of a viable and just solution."
He added, "Cyprus strongly believes that her accession to
the EU will strengthen the internal coherence of the
The Foreign Minister said that the invitation to the
Turkish Cypriots to join the accession process "still
stands" and that he hoped "the political circumstances
will allow them to take it."
"The government of Cyprus will continue its efforts,
and, very shortly, it will create a web page on the
Internet, which will be specially dedicated to providing
the Turkish Cypriots with up-to-date information and
documentation on Cyprus's accession course. For the same
purpose, the broadcasting of special programs in Turkish
has already begun," he continued.
With regard to the EU accession process and the solution
to Cyprus's political problem Kasoulides insisted:
"Sending the message that the Cyprus problem, if left
unresolved through no fault of our own, excludes Cyprus
from joining the EU is a certain way to deepen and
perpetuate the existing cracks in the common foreign and
security policy towards our sensitive areas. It would
also deprive the Union of its strongest leverage in
making the accession beneficial for both communities in
Cyprus and contributing to civil peace and
In Nicosia the Cyprus government also welcomed the
opening this concrete phase of detailed discussions.
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said:
"We consider the start of substantive negotiations as a
very important event and an important landmark in
Cyprus's European course."
Meanwhile on Nov. 4 the European Commission issued a
report on European Union enlargement. The document
contains details on progress toward accession by each of
the eleven prospective members. Van den Broek told the
European Parliament the "reports show that much has been
achieved. But we also know that the candidates still face
a huge task in readying themselves for EU membership."
Overall, however, Cyprus received high marks.
Cyprus, the report noted, has demonstrated that the
"economy possesses the ability to adapt to the challenges
posed by the adoption of the acquis." The report
concludes that despite the hard work that remains ahead,
"Cyprus should not face major problems in adopting the
acquis. In general terms, its administration seems
to be prepared to ensure the correct implementation of
The government of Cyprus greeted the report warmly.
"Excellent," President Glafcos Clerides responded
when asked to comment. George Vassiliou, Cyprus's
chief EU negotiator, joined in the official enthusiasm
describing the report as "positive without a doubt."
 Water Shortage May Bring Shipments From
Cyprus is experiencing a severe water shortage brought
on by several years of drought. The island's water supply
depends almost exclusively on rainfall and this year the
drought has been particularly severe.
In late October, Agriculture Minister Costas
Themistocleous told The Third Mediterranean Agricultural
Forum meeting in Nicosia that Cyprus will run out of
water by Dec. 31 unless the supply is replenished by
rain. With reservoirs only 5.9 percent full, and falling,
the government is drilling more bore holes to help make
up for the shortfall.
The government has also sought bids on buying either
imported water, or two "mobile" desalination plants which
would supply 15,000 cubic meters per day.
Shipments of over 40,000 cubic meters of drinking water
per day from Greece could start within three months. But
Themistocleous remains cautious about the feasibility of
shipping 15 million cubic meters of water from the Megara
area of Greece.
He described Greece's offer of free water as
"significant," but repeated that overall costs might
still be too high. "It is not the purchase price of the
water but rather the transport cost that counts," he
said. "If this cost is lower than for other methods of
securing water . . . then we will go ahead with
implementation of the Greek offer," the minister said. It
is hoped that Cypriot shipowners will help out with
The government last considered importing water in 1991
from Crete, but shelved the plan as too costly.
Technological advances and the urgent need, however, have
made shipments increasingly attractive.
Cyprus's Council of Ministers has approved three
budgets for 1999--the Ordinary Budget, the Development
Budget and the Cyprus Relief Fund for Displaced and
Affected Persons. These budgets reflect the new Strategic
Plan for 1999-2003, a period which is considered crucial
for Cyprus's EU accession, as well as one <%0>of
increased globalization of economies and liberalization
of trade. They also reflect the need to improve the
environment and quality of life, modernize the public
sector and increase technological improvement. In
addition, emphasis will be placed on supporting refugees
and financially weaker social classes as well as on
Budget 1999 1998
Ordinary 2,536.7 2,433.9
Development 496.5 496.1
Relief Fund 172.3 174.1
TOTAL 3,205.3 3,104.4
 Israel's Weizman: Ties with Turkey no
Threat to Cyprus
Israeli President Ezer Weizman departed from
Cyprus Nov. 4 after a three-day state visit, the first
ever by an Israeli head of state. The Cyprus government
described Weizman's visit as "very important" in efforts
to develop bilateral cooperation. Weizman agreed, noting
that both Israel and Cyprus "are countries suffering from
conflict and aiming for peace."
At a state banquet, President Clerides noted he
was only expressing the feelings of Cypriots that
"Israel's military cooperation with Turkey constitutes a
source of concern for our own security" and will not
"evolve into developments detrimental to our good
Weizman acknowledged that concern, saying "I can
understand it," but went on to say the ties with Turkey
are not a defence alliance. "We are not going to help
Turkey in case of war and they are not going to help us,"
he said, "our relations with Ankara are not directed
against you. You are our friends and the last thing we
would wish to do is to harm you."
He also stated, "Cyprus occupies an important part in
Israel's history," noting in particular the assistance
given by Cypriots to 50,000 Jewish immigrants between
1946 and 1948, who were trying to reach Israel.
On a first-hand visit to the Nicosia demarcation line,
Weizman said the wall "reminded me of Jerusalem" and
"like Jerusalem has a solution, I'm sure this will have a
solution," although it cannot be known "how long you will
have to wait for it."
At the state banquet, President Clerides said that
Cyprus's entry to the EU "will establish an important
link between Europe and the Middle East." Weizman
concurred, saying, "we will be happy if Europe becomes
closer to Israel by a forty minute flight."
Weizman endorsed closer bilateral ties, saying that both
countries "have much to give and learn from each
 Did You
In early November, the Department of Statistics and
Research released foreign trade statistics for the
Jan.-Aug. 1998 time period. The report shows a slight
increase in the number of imports and decrease in the
number of exports.
Sarah Russell will replace Waldemar Rokoszewski as U.N.
Cyprus Peacekeeping Force spokesperson at the end of the
On Oct. 21, President Bill Clinton signed the foreign
aid bill for 1999 which includes a total of $15 million
Cyprus has loosened investment restrictions in its
mining sector in an effort to increase foreign
participation and attract capital for the industry.
In mid-October, Cyprus signed the charter for the
International Criminal Court (ICC). Fifty seven out of a
required 60 countries have ratified the charter. The ICC
will have jurisdiction to try individuals for genocide,
war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, Afxentis
Afxentiou, announced in late October that a bill to
liberalize interests rates will be introduced soon.
Cyprus is among the regional winners of the 1998 British
Airways "Tourism for Tomorrow" awards. More than 120
projects from 43 countries were entered this year. The
award is given for projects which are environmentally and
culturally sensitive to tourism.
The Department of Statistics and Research announced that
tourist arrivals increased by 11.4 percent in September
compared to the same month one year ago. Fifty one
percent came from the U.K., 7.2 percent from Germany, 5.3
percent from Sweden, 5.3 percent from Russia and 4.8
percent from Switzerland.