At U.N. Clerides Spells Out A "Vision for the Future"
Calls on Turkish Cypriots to begin "serious negotiations"
President Glafcos Clerides met with President Bill Clinton in New York on Sept. 23, and briefed him on the Cyprus problem before addressing the 53rd Session of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25.
The President laid out his vision for the future of a united Cyprus. He said: "I want all Cypriots to have security in their homes and their communities; I want all Cypriots to pursue their livelihoods free of economic restrictions and the fear of instability; I want all Cypriot children to know their distinct cultural and religious heritage and to be able to carry their dentity and political rights into the future without fear of domination from any quarter."
Clerides noted he envisages a federal constitution that will require a "partnership and political equality of the constituent parts." A bicommunal, bizonal federation "would constitutionally provide for a maximum degree of internal self-administration to the two constituent cantons, provinces or states," and, "must provide them with the same rights, powers and functions regarding their respective separate internal self-administration."
"It must also secure all fundamental human rights and freedoms for the citizens of the federation." he said. "Above all it must safeguard the single sovereignty, its indivisibility and the unity of the bicommunal bizonal federation. Such federation, becoming a member of the European Union (EU) will thrive at home and abroad."
Any solution, the President stated, must be negotiated to assure security for both sides, and that arrangements will be required "special to Cyprus," that "can meet the real-life challenges inherent in a small island state."
He stressed that all the people of Cyprus want the same things: "Peace, prosperity, stability and physical, political, economic and cultural security including respect and enjoyment of their homes and properties."
While praising the world body for its role in pursuing world peace, the President noted that unfortunately, "the hopes of mankind for a new and genuinely just international legal and political order," are yet to be realized.
Cyprus, the President added, has thus been left with more than a third of its territory occupied by 36,000 Turkish troops for 24 years: "Despite the pronounced will of the international community through numerous resolutions and the illingness of the Greek Cypriot side to negotiate in good faith."
Still, no solution has resulted, the President said, "because of the nonimplementation and flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by Turkey."
As examples, the President pointed out that Turkey is the only state which recognizes "the Turkish Cypriot secessionist entity," despite U.N. resolutions supporting "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, and the nonrecognition of the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state."
In disregard of U.N. demands for Turkey to withdraw its troops, "they have been increased and upgraded, to such an extent," he said, that occupied Cyprus has been described "as the most militarized area in the world."
U.N. resolutions on refugees have been ignored, as have those calling for no changes to be made in the island's demographics. Instead, Turkey has "imported thousands of illegal settlers and usurped the properties of the refugees."
As the latest violation, Clerides cited demands by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, "in the presence of the Turkish Foreign Minister" for a confederation, which violates all U.N. resolutions that call for "a bizonal bicommunal federation, with a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship."
The President suggested that the move is designed "to derail the negotiating process from the base of the U.N. resolutions" to extinguish,"the independence of the Republic of Cyprus," and to establish a Turkish colony in Cyprus.
On the military balance, Clerides said, while Cyprus "will continue to exercise its sovereign right to strengthen its defense," as long as Turkish occupation forces remain, he would welcome concrete measures for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and Cyprus's demilitarization.
The President underscored that Turkey's consistent refusal to honor U.N. resolutions, "tarnishes the image" of the U.N. "Is it too much for the people of Cyprus to ask what will the next step be? Will the U.N. finally take the necessary action . . . to put an end to the tragedy that has befallen our small state and which continues for 24 years?" The international community should not allow one state to violate its expressed will and the U.N. "should proceed with examining how to implement its resolutions the soonest possible."
The President went on: "I am confident that, working together under the umbrella of the U.N., Greek and Turkish Cypriots can construct a settlement that meets these needs and removes the fears and insecurities that have plagued Cyprus since the middle part of this century. To do this, we must begin serious negotiations . . . we are genuinely determined to renew and invigorate bicommunal confidence and trust, cooperation and interaction with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots."
President Clerides noted that he has repeatedly urged the Turkish Cypriots to resume intercommunal talks, and to join the Cyprus delegation in the EU accession talks, to no avail.
In conclusion, he said: "Today before the
representatives of the International Community . . . . as
leader of the Greek Cypriot Community, I renew my
invitation to the leader of the Turkish Cypriot
Community, Mr. Rauf Denktash, to work together for the
solution of the Cyprus problem in order to build a happy
and prosperous island for our children and future
"I am confident that, working together under the umbrella of the U.N. and with the help of the international community, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can construct a settlement that meets these needs and removes fears and insecurities that have plagued Cyprus since the middle part of this century."
-President Glafcos Clerides
Citizens of the Republic of Cyprus celebrated their 38th anniversary of independence from colonial rule on Oct. 1. The festivities included a military parade and a reception at the Presidential Palace.
President Bill Clinton was among the world leaders sending congratulations. In a message to President Clerides he said, "The American people join me . . . . in reaffirming the strong bonds of friendship that exist between our two countries. The U.S. remains steadfast in its commitment to finding a just and lasting solution to the differences that have divided Cyprus for far too long."
President Clerides, just back from a successful visit to the United Nations in New York, gave an update on the search for a solution to the Cyprus question in his message to the people on Independence Day.
"The recent past has painful memories to offer us. A common future promises us infinite mutual benefits," he said. "The Greek Cypriot side," he added, "will do everything in its power to find a solution within the parameters set by the U.N. resolutions. . . . However, it is not enough for our side to demonstrate it has the political will to achieve such a solution."
"What is required, above all, is for the international community to intervene in a more decisive manner in the direction of the Turkish side. For the Turkish side too must have political will to achieve a settlement. As the U. N. itself has also established, the Turkish side lacks the political will for a settlement."
The message continued: "I say `Yes' to the resumption of a sustained process to direct negotiations based on the Security Council resolutions. . . . Our vision is for a peaceful demilitarized and independent Cyprus which will help forge strong, friendly ties and close cooperation among all the states of the area.
He noted that the latest developments involve the demand by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that any solution bebased on a confederation formula, a proposal that has been soundly rejected by the international community as contrary to all U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.
Clerides added that the Turkish side had for years "hypocritically been . . . pretending they want a federation." The President said that any confederation approach would "have serious negative consequences, resulting in "the permanent division of Cyprus increased alienation between the two communities" and "increased friction between Greece and Turkey."
"Undoubtedly," he explained, "implementation of the Turkish side's proposal could only harm the Cypriot people--Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins." Instead the President called on the international community, "whose strategy regarding the Cyprus problem is served only by unification and cooperation and not by further division and confrontation," to take effective action.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides was the
guest of honor at the Independence Day reception hosted
by Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis and attended by
dignitaries and friends of Cyprus in Washington.
On Oct. 4, Ann Hercus, U.N. Deputy Special Representative on Cyprus, announced that at the request of Secretary General Kofi Annan she would embark on a round of separate "shuttle talks" with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in order to reduce tension and promote peace negotiations.
"I want to explore quietly and carefully how that process might develop and what subjects might be discussed. I will do so by frequently visiting the two leaders," she said. "The process is going to be private. The process is going to be confidential."
On Oct. 7, after her return from visits to Athens and Ankara, Ms. Hercus said that: "Both visits were very productive. . . . I had very useful discussions which provide a positive perspective for my efforts."
A U.N. statement, issued on Sept. 30, said that both President Clerides and Mr. Denktash have expressed their support for such a process.
On Oct. 1, President Clerides emphasized his readiness to attend peace talks saying: "We shall continue to be constructive, ready to discuss any idea or proposal within the U.N. framework. We are ready to discuss as a priority the issue of security leading to final demilitarization of the island." Denktash, however, continues to promote positions contrary to the U.N. effort.
On Sept. 24, the Foreign Ministers of the Permanent Five Members of the Security Council issued a joint statement after meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan. They expressed their support for an "early resumption of a sustained process of direct negotiations," adding that "the status quo in Cyprus is unacceptable." The statement also indicated the need to achieve a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions.
During his visit to New York, President Clerides met with numerous world leaders and diplomats all committed to finding a solution based on high-level agreements and U.N. resolutions.
On Sept. 22, President Clerides met with U.S.
Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard
Holbrooke. Holbrooke also met with Turkish Cypriot
leader, Rauf Denktash, and Turkey's Foreign
Minister, Ismail Cem, and reasserted the U.S.
position that a Cyprus solution should be based on a
bizonal, bicommunal federation as prescribed by U.N.
Also on Sept. 22, President Clerides addressed the Council on Foreign Relations stressing that the only way to achieve peace, security and prosperity for Cyprus was for it to be a federal, independent republic.
On Sept. 25, President Clerides held a press conference at the United Nations after a meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan. Clerides again called for negotiations with the Turkish side and said Annan informed him of "how he is shaping his thoughts about how to proceed with regard to the Cyprus problem."
On Sept. 27, President Clerides was interviewed by CNN. He said that if Turkey withdraws her troops and stops its military flights over the island, then he would be prepared to cancel an order for antiaircraft missiles. He added that he had repeatedly proposed ways for reducing tension on the island.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had a series of meetings with other foreign ministers attending the General Assembly meeting in New York and, on Sept. 28, met with U. S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering. The Minister said the session sought "ways to get out of the present stalemate in the Cyprus problem as a result of the positions adopted by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash."
On Sept. 23, the Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce was inaugurated in New York. In his address at the ceremony, President Clerides told guests that the office would foster the "formation of strategic partnerships between our countries." Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nicos Rolandis, recently pointed out that "Cyprus wants to attract foreign investment, especially in the high-tech area." For more information contact the main office at(201) 368-2200.
Statistics released in late September show that there are 1,207 educational institutions in Cyprus with 162,498 students and 12,275 teaching staff.
Cyprus also has 10,000 students being educated abroad--43 percent in Greece, 28 percent in the U.K. and 19 percent in the United States.
A report released by the Department of Statistics and Research notes that the number of tourist arrivals increased between July 1977 and July 1998 by 12.5 percent. Of those tourists over 72 percent were from EU nations. The United Kingdom topped the list with 37 percent of the travelers followed by Greece with 10.4 percent, Israel with 8.1 percent and Russia with 7.3 percent.
In a 1997 report recently released by the Ministry of Justice and Public order, the number of serious crimes committed on the island has decreased. The report credits additional police crime prevention measures and intensive monitoring of criminal elements.
On Sept. 25, President Clerides attended the opening of the New York office of the Bank of Cyprus. Another Cyprus bank, the Popular Bank, has recently opened offices in New York.
On Oct. 1, Cyprus signed the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and its Protocol on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings.
Pace of Accession Talks Accelerated
On Oct. 5, the EU Foreign Ministers, meeting in their general affairs council, announced that substantial accession negotiations between the EU, Cyprus and the other five candidate countries will begin on Nov. 10.
The unanimous decision was included in a communiqu? which also stated that the EU's target for Cyprus is to support "a bizonal and bicommunal state based on the overall political settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of relevant U.N. resolutions." The communiqu? continued, "progress achieved in the accession course on Cyprus, as well as those linked to a viable and just solution to the Cyprus issue will naturally support each other." The council also noted that due to the political situation prevailing in Cyprus a detailed examination of the island republic's adjustment to EU acquired rights cannot possibly cover Cyprus's territory in its entirety. It added that this was due to the Turkish Cypriot rejection of President Clerides's invitation to participate in a delegation negotiating Cyprus's EU accession.
Wolfgang Schussel, Austrian Foreign Minister and EU Council President, said that substantive negotiations will begin initially in 7 of about 30 main chapters in which candidate-countries must agree with the EU on the completion of processes for their accession.
George Vassiliou, Chief Negotiator for Cyprus, greeted the announcement positively. "Another obstacle in Cyprus's accession course has been overcome," he said. Vassiliou added that the decision "should satisfy every Cypriot."
Earlier on Sept. 23, Schussel addressed the U.N. stating, "The EU stresses once again that the current status quo in Cyprus is not acceptable." He reminded the General Assembly that Cyprus's accession to the EU would "benefit all communities and help to bring about civil peace and reconciliation."
Schussel noted concern over "the excessive level of armaments on Cyprus which contributes to raise tension in the whole region." He stated that the EU strongly supports U.N. efforts "aiming at eventual demilitarization of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement."
A memorandum that was circulated at the same time, and formed a integral part of Schussel's speech, stated that the EU was determined to "spare no effort to urge both sides to commit themselves to a reduction in defense spending and in the number of foreign troops in Cyprus to help restore confidence between the parties and as a first step toward the removal of non-Cypriot forces."
On Sept. 17, the European Parliament also called on Turkey to contribute toward a Cyprus settlement and to promote demilitarization.
Donato Giovanni Chiarini, the new EU head of delegation in Cyprus, presented his credentials to President Clerides on Sept. 17. On that occasion the President repeated his invitation to the Turkish Cypriots to nominate representatives to the team negotiating Cyprus's accession to the EU. "The road toward accession offers us new possibilities and new avenues for cooperation between the two communities of Cyprus. It is our earnest desire that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots share with us the task of preparing Cyprus for EU membership," he said.
For his part, Chiarini outlined relations with Cyprus since the Association Agreement with the Republic was signed in 1972. He emphasized that the relationship "has become even closer" since Cyprus was declared eligible for EU membership in 1993.
He said he was "pleased with the highly constructive attitude and the spirit of cooperation that Cyprus has shown during the screening exercise." He noted that "accession negotiations ahead will be extremely challenging," but that "Cyprus is considered the most diligent `pupil' of the group of candidate countries in terms of the quality and thoroughness of the work done so far."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kasoulides participated in
the first Ministerial Session of the European Conference
which began on Oct. 6. Attendees were the EU nations, the
EU candidate-states and Switzerland. Turkey declined to
On Oct. 7, Finance Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou addressed the annual meeting of the Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Washington. He said that Cyprus's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been increasing at an annual rate of 4.5 percent and the rate of inflation is in the 2-2.5 percent range.
Christodoulou reported that the "economic fundamentals of Cyprus are relatively strong and Cyprus is meeting four of the five convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty." He pledged that Cyprus would support the IMF and World Bank in their efforts to "foster a stable economic and financial environment."