A Third Round of Talks Will Be Held
in New York in May
U.N. Envoy Says Process "On Track," Will Visit
The second round of U.N.-sponsored proximity talks
for the reunification of Cyprus ended in Geneva on
Feb. 8, and a third round has been scheduled for New
York on May 23.
In making his announcement, U.N. Secretary General
Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de
Soto, said "the two sides have accepted in principle
to continue the [proximity] talks in New York on May
23" adding that "the talks are on track." De Soto
said the possibility of direct talks between Cyprus
President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader
Rauf Denktash will be left for later
The two parties explored "in greater depth the
range of issues that are before them," de Soto said.
He added that the current stage of the process aims
to "prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations
leading to a comprehensive settlement."
There are "factors, external to Cyprus such as
improved relations between Turkey and Greece which
give grounds for hope," the U.N. official said,
referring to a recent thaw in Greek-Turkish relations
and Turkey's aspirations to join the European Union
Entry to the Union would require Ankara to pursue
a more positive policy on Cyprus, where it illegally
maintains 37,000 troops, following its forcible
seizure of a third of the island in 1974, and its
role as sole benefactor of the illegal Turkish
Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus headed by
De Soto also said that he will visit Cyprus next
month to be briefed by officials of the U.N.
peacekeeping force. "I have a lot of learning to do
on the ground," he said, noting, however, that he is
not traveling to Cyprus "to continue the talks." De
Soto further added that he will report to Annan on
the second round. The Security Council will also be
briefed on Feb. 15.
The format for the third round will remain the
same, with U.N. officials meeting separately with
each side on the four core issues of security,
territory, separation of powers and property outlined
On direct talks, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis
Kasoulides said in Geneva, "I would not rule out a
face-to-face meeting between the two leaders during
the third round of talks . . . direct negotiations
will begin when Alvaro de Soto believes the time is
ripe for such negotiations and this will not be
decided in advance."
The second round was marred by public statements
by Denktash repeating hardline positions and
misrepresenting the nature of the talks, despite
Annan's request for a strict news blackout.
The Cyprus government, the U.S., the U.N., the EU
and the Group of Eight (G-8) all reject any proposed
framework contrary to U.N. resolutions stipulating
that a bizonal, bicommunal federation be the basis of
Clerides's Written Statement
President Clerides was compelled to respond on
Feb. 2. In a written statement outlining his
adherence to relevant U.N. resolutions, he said, "The
object of the negotiations," is to reach a settlement
"based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty
and international personality and a single
citizenship, with its independence and territorial
integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically
equal communities . . . on a bicommunal and bizonal
A settlement, he said, "must exclude union . . .
with any other country or any form of partition or
secession . . . confederation is excluded and cannot
be accepted. . . . I wish to make it absolutely clear
that as far as we are concerned the question of
sovereignty is not a negotiable issue."
As for Denktash's remarks that Cyprus must "accept
the realities of the situation," the President
responded: "The Greek Cypriot side would never
recognize the reality of the Turkish aggression and
occupation of the territory of the Republic, the
ethnic cleansing . . . by Turkish forces of the Greek
Cypriots living in the north, which resulted in
one-third of the population being refugees in their
own country, the importation of illegal settlers . .
. who have been installed in Greek properties, and
the change of the demographic character . . .
contrary to the Security Council and General Assembly
He concluded, "The Greek side is ready to
negotiate a settlement within the parameters
established by Security Council resolutions."
Upon his return from Geneva on Feb. 9, Clerides
reiterated, "We are working on a solution which will
be based on a bizonal federation, will safeguard
human rights, secure the acquis communautaire [of the
EU] and that the issue of sovereignty will not be
U.S. Presidential Emissary Alfred Moses, State
Department Coordinator Thomas Weston and U.S.
Ambassador to Cyprus Donald Bandler were in Geneva to
lend diplomatic support to the process. De Soto said
emissaries from the U.S. and other nations
collaborate with the U.N. Secretary General in a
variety of ways including, "intellectual input,
advice and sometimes diplomatic assistance."
And, in testimony before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee on Feb. 8, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright reiterated the U.S. "diplomatic
backing of U.N.-based talks on Cyprus." Earlier, on
Jan. 12, Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman
stated that in these talks, "Our goal is
clear--bizonal, bicommunal, federated."
De Soto's reference to "external" factors got a
boost with the Feb. 3 arrival in Athens of Turkish
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, returning Greek Foreign
Minister George Papandreou's trip to Turkey in
January. While the two signed five cooperation
agreements, the Greek Minister noted that Cyprus is
at the core of their difficulties. "In Greece we are
still living under the shadow of a national tragedy,
that of Cyprus. The invasion and division of the
island have resulted in poisoning our relations for a
whole generation," he said.
Cem said that on Cyprus it "is obvious we still
have differences of opinion . . . But if we had been
slaves to our differences we wouldn't have been able
to make it here today."
And on the Cem visit, Minister Kasoulides said:
"It has been made abundantly clear to Mr. Cem that
the improvement in Greco-Turkish ties cannot have any
meaning unless there is parallel progress in the
Cyprus question," and that will only become clear
when the third round of talks begins.
Meanwhile on Feb. 7, Greek Prime Minister Costas
Simitis said the aim was for a just and viable
solution of the Cyprus problem and reiterated
Greece's position that Cyprus should have a "unified
state status, with a bizonal and bicommunal federal
Hope For A Durable Peace
Earlier, in a Feb. 2 speech in Athens, Under
Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering
summed up the U.S. position: "We are heartened that
Greece and Turkey have made tremendous progress over
the past year . . . A durable peace in the Aegean and
in Cyprus, based on respect for international law and
safeguarding democratic rights, will be a powerful
force for regional stability and development."
"We should be proud of America's role in promoting
reconciliation between Greece and Turkey and in
U.S. President Bill Clinton, State of the Union
Address, Jan. 28
"And while Greece ended its long-standing
opposition to Turkish membership in the EU, it seems
inconceivable that Turkey would be admitted to the EU
while maintaining an army of occupation in Cyprus's
Providence Journal, Feb. 2
Budget Approved, Growth
Up, Investment Rules Eased
Following a three-day debate, parliament approved
the budget with slight cuts for fiscal 2000 on Feb.
5, which sets expenditures at some $3.4 billion on
net income of about $2.3 billion.
In the past the state budgets were divided into
three, the Ordinary Budget, the Development Budget
and the Relief Fund for Displaced and Afflicted
Persons. Measures were included this year to take
into account any negative effects on various income
groups resulting from Cyprus's harmonization with
European Union rules.
Growth. During the debate, Finance Minister Takis
Klerides said that the economy in 2000 is expected to
grow in the 4.5 percent range for the second
consecutive year. Klerides said unemployment has been
held to 3.6 percent and inflation to 1.7 percent.
Investment. Meanwhile, the Central Bank has lifted
restrictions on European Union residents investing in
Cypriot companies as part of the EU harmonization
process. Formerly those investments were restricted
to 49 percent, and a huge new flow of investment into
the country is expected. Restrictions on Cypriot
nationals investing abroad have also been lifted, but
only for direct investment in foreign firms, with
portfolio investments still restricted.
Tourism. Minister of Commerce, Industry and
Tourism Nicos Rolandis has announced that more than
2.4 million tourists visited the island in 1999, up
9.5 percent over 1998, and that an increase of 8
percent is expected this year. Revenues from tourism
reached some $1.7 billion last year, an increase of
16.4 percent. One out of seven Cypriots is currently
employed in the tourism industry, the country's
second largest sector, providing more than 20 percent
Did You Know?
The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and
Environment announced on Jan. 30 that Cyprus would
spend over $1,200 million on environmental projects
over the next decade.
The annual conference of the International
Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus will be
held May 16-18 in Washington, D.C.
House President Spyros Kyprianou, who underwent
major heart surgery on Jan. 20 at the Cleveland
Clinic in the United States, was discharged from the
hospital on Jan. 28. He returned to Cyprus in early
In January, Cyprus ratified the sixth protocol for
the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms which calls for the abolition of the death
penalty. It came into effect on Feb.1.
On Jan. 19, Cyprus submitted the document for the
ratification of the Council of Europe agreement on
illicit drug traffic by sea, thus implementing
Article 17 of the U.N. Convention against Illicit
Traffic in Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic
On Jan. 26 Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis
accepted relief assistance worth over $1 million for
earthquake victims. Cypriot Ministers of Finance and
Education and Culture, Takis Klerides and Ouranios
Ionnides, presented the funds.
On Jan 24 two members of Cyprus's House of
Representatives were elected as vice presidents of
two of the committees of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe (PACE)--Takis Hadjidemetriou
for the Committee of Agriculture and Rural
Development and Doros Christodoulides for the
Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography.
U.S. Human Rights Groups
Take A Stand on Cyprus
Twenty prominent human rights organizations in the
United States expressed their support for a Cyprus
"settlement along the lines presented in United
Nations resolutions and supported by the United
States and other nations."
The groups sent a letter to President Clinton as
the second round of Cyprus settlement talks continued
in Geneva stating that they supported a "settlement
which unites the last divided capital city and nation
in Europe [and] will enable both Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots to enjoy human rights realized by
citizens of other democracies around the world."
Water Shortage Experts
On Jan. 21, Minister of Agriculture, Natural
Resources and Environment Costas Themistocleous and
U.S. Ambassador Donald Bandler announced that U.S.
water experts would visit Cyprus to work with experts
in both the Greek and Turkish communities.
Noting that the long-standing shortage of water
plagued both communities equally, Themistocleous
expressed the government's readiness to contribute in
promoting bicommunal efforts to solve the
More Cases For the European
Court of Human Rights
Three new applications have been filed with the
European Court of Human Rights of the Council of
Europe by Cypriot-born citizens of the U.K., the U.S.
and Australia. All three nations claim violations by
Turkey of their right to peacefully enjoy their
property since the 1974 invasion. The Turkish army
constructed a military airport on the properties
involved in 1986.
The applications rely on the principles propounded
by the 1996 judgment of the Court in the Titina
Loizidou case which holds Turkey responsible for
human rights violations in the area under its
Turkey has been ordered to pay more than $800,000
to Loizidou for human rights violations and to allow
her access to her property. Turkey has yet to comply
with the judgment.
Restoration of Religious
On Jan. 17, the United Nations announced an
agreement to proceed with a project to restore the
Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Turkish- occupied
areas of the island and repair the Hala Sultan Mosque
Most of the funds for the project are provided by
the United States through the United Nations
Development Program. The U.S. State Department
welcomed the agreement as a "constructive step
forward on Cyprus."
The Monastery, located at a hazardous site on the
edge of a cliff, is in need of major structural
repair due to neglect. The Mosque, however, has been
regularly maintained by the Cyprus Antiquities
Department, but work is needed on the surrounding
grounds and gardens.
Cyprus & the EU
In late January a 12-member delegation from the
European Commission's Accession Negotiations Team for
Cyprus, led by negotiator Leopold Maurer, visited
Nicosia in order to prepare the chapters of the
acquis communautaire to be opened for
negotiation under the current Portuguese presidency,
and to record the progress achieved to date toward
harmonization with the EU.
The chapters addressed included competition
policy, regional policy, fisheries, justice and home
affairs, information society, free movement of
workers and agriculture. During the Portuguese
presidency, it is expected that a number of chapters
will be closed and all problems with regard to
negotiations will have been put on the table.
During his visit, Maurer commented positively on
the work done by Cypriot authorities, but added that
on certain areas, such as telecommunications, more
work was still needed. Another area is the need for
Cyprus to change its taxation system and increase its
value-added tax (VAT). That process, Maurer said,
would likely be a long and painful one.
Efforts for a meeting between the EU officials and
Turkish Cypriots were rejected by the Turkish side,
although Maurer underlined the importance of
informing Turkish Cypriots about Cyprus's accession
course. "We have to see how we could involve the
Turkish Cypriots in the negotiations," Maurer said.
President Clerides has repeatedly invited the Turkish
Cypriots to join in the negotiations.
Referring to the proximity talks, Maurer said that
they should be in conformity with the EU rules and
regulations and noted that talks and Cyprus's
accession negotiations run on parallel tracks.
With regard to the participation of the Turkish
Cypriots in EU negotiations, Maurer said that the EU
holds negotiations with the Republic of Cyprus and
Turkish Cypriots have been invited to join the
Cypriot negotiating team. "It is not possible for
Brussels to have two different voices from the same
country," he said.
He also welcomed the Website of the Cyprus-EU
negotiating team in Turkish to enable Turkish
Cypriots to become informed about EU matters.
Meanwhile on Feb. 4, Javier Solana, Secretary
General of the Council of the European Union and High
Representative for Common Foreign and Security
Policy, indicated his support for more active
involvement of the EU in efforts to reach a Cyprus
solution. He pointed out that "Cyprus will join the
EU and, consequently the EU should intensify its
efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus issue."
On Jan. 25, the European Commissioner responsible
for enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, announced that
Cyprus's accession course will continue unhindered
irrespective of a solution to its political problem.
Speaking after a meeting with Greek Foreign Affairs
Minister George Papandreou, Verheugen reaffirmed that
all moves will be based on the conclusion of the EU
Verheugen also said that the EU would offer
financial support for Cyprus's harmonization with the
acquis communautaire and for funding of
non-governmental organizations' programs seeking
rapprochement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
Referring to the progress report on Cyprus's
accession course, he expressed satisfaction with the
progress so far. Cyprus has concluded negotiations on
more chapters than any other candidate country, he
The Commissioner also announced his intention to
visit Cyprus in March.
A new book on Cyprus's cultural heritage, edited
by John A. Koumoulides, has just been published. It
is entitled, Cyprus: The Legacy; Historic Landmarks
that Influenced the Art of Cyprus. The book was
published in 1999 by the University Press of
Cyprus is a land with a varied cultural heritage
as the book's jacket explains: "To visit Cyprus is to
visit a very rich and dense intersection of culture
and history. This book presents glimpses of that
culture, through its history, art and
Excavation at Neolithic Site
In January, the Department of Antiquities
announced the completion of the 1999 excavations of
the French Mission at the Neolithic settlement of
Parakkleshia-Shillourokambos under the direction of
Professor Jean Guillaine.
The year's work yielded new skeletal material
dating from the 8th M.C. The circular huts used for
domestic purposes were also investigated.
The mouth of a well and numerous querns, pounders,
stone tools and vessels, as well as several rare
objects, such as a small schematized female
anthropomorphic figurine, were found by the team.