Kypros-Net: Cyprus' Embassy News Letter - July 2000

    1.    U.N. Secretary General Promises a "Sustained Effort" as Talks Resume
    2.    Four Core Issues
    3.    Support On Capitol Hill
    4.    Relevant U.N. Resolutions
    5.    Making Adjustments
    6.    Cyprus's Role Growing in the Middle East
    7.    OECD Invitation; Cyprus, a Mediterranean "Bridge"
    8.    High Quality of Life
    9.    Bicommunal Activities
    10.  Women's Rights
    11.  "Stealing History"
    12.  In Memoriam
    13.  Did You Know?
    14.  Enlargement In "Vital for Europe's Future"
    15.  Progress Made, Hard Work Ahead
    16.  Book Notes


1.    U.N. Secretary General Promises a "Sustained Effort" as Talks Resume

New Calendar Extends the Proximity Process into October

The third round of U.N.-led proximity talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash were convened in Geneva July 5 by Secretary General Kofi Annan.

After his first session of meetings with both leaders, Annan promised a "sustained effort" by the U.N. to settle the problem and to end the division of Cyprus, dating from Turkey's invasion of the island in 1974.

Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who conducts the back-and-forth dialogue, announced a new calendar for the process. "The Cyprus proximity talks underway in Geneva under the Secretary General's auspices will adjourn on 12 July and resume on 24 July. They will continue until early August and resume in New York on 12 September until early October," his announcement said.

On opening the talks, de Soto said that, "The Secretary General believes that the process must move on from here in an earnest way. He will be encouraging the parties to engage in a continuous and intensified process of discussion which will enable them to engage in detailed examination of the main issues."

"He envisages that this process should be ongoing for an extended period into the autumn, with occasional breaks to permit reflection and further preparation as necessary."

In Geneva, de Soto also said that "there are certain questions on which we had asked the two sides to carry out some work during the period between the rounds of talks." The U.N., he said, "stands ready to make a contribution to the talks as necessary whether it is procedural or substantive."

2.    Four Core Issues

This stage of the talks focused on the four core issues of security, constitution, property and territory. In that regard, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou noted on July 8 that Greek Cypriot positions "are based on the high-level agreements and the U.N. Security Council resolutions and remain firmly as such."

In the buildup to this latest round, which follows talks in December and January, new complications have arisen.

3.    Support On Capitol Hill

Eighty-one Senators and 232 members of the Congress signed a letter to President Bill Clinton June 30 saying that with the talks "at a crucial stage," the President should commit his "utmost attention and involvement" to the Cyprus problem.

Unhappy with the U.N. language in a resolution renewing the mandate for the peacekeeping forces on the island, on June 29 Denktash announced restrictions on the movement and operations of U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N. Acting Special Representative in Cyprus Zbigniew Wlosowicz responded the following day with a letter expressing "deep disappointment" and urging immediate reconsideration of the restrictions. And, on June 30 Turkish occupation troops moved into Strovilia, a village area under U.N. supervision, a move which the U.N. called a "serious violation of the status quo."

And, Turkish military violations of Cyprus's airspace are increasing. The government has strongly protested to the U.N., noting that a total of 78 Turkish aircraft violated its airspace between April 27 and 30 alone, and again on 11 different days in May.

4.    Relevant U.N. Resolutions
En route to Geneva, President Clerides stopped in Athens and met with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. In a joint communiqué the two said the elements necessary to end the tragedy of Cyprus are included in the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, which provide for a "bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship, securing the independence and territorial integrity [of the state] without the presence of any illegal foreign troops."

International efforts to find some common ground have been continuing, with U.S. Presidential Emissary Alfred Moses, Britain's envoy David Hannay and other diplomats traveling to the island last month and standing by on the sidelines in Geneva to try to be of assistance.

Still, the primary disagreement remains--as Cyprus, the U.N., the Group of Eight (G-8), the European Union (EU) and the international community at large want a federal solution, while the Turkish Cypriots and their benefactors in Ankara insist on a confederation of "two states."

Upon his departure from Nicosia, President Clerides made clear again that the Republic "does not accept confederation" as a solution, but would "negotiate within the framework set out by the U.N.'s resolutions," all of which call for a federal solution.

5.    Making Adjustments
De Soto said that in the months ahead the Secretary General will present to the two sides his vision of how he sees events unfolding. "We have to adjust to what is possible within the capacity of the two parties to deliver and we are prepared to help bridge the gap as necessary," he said.

While noting Cyprus's accession process to the EU, Turkey's acceptance as a candidate for EU membership, and a recent thaw in Greek-Turkish relations, De Soto said these developments "have not yet been reflected in the talks themselves and this is what we would hope would occur over the coming months."

President Clerides has repeatedly stressed the need for more international pressure on Turkey and said "no matter which peace process" was followed, there would be no result "if Ankara does not change its policy or if the international community does not change its stance on Ankara."

The President has also noted that the Turkish side wants to buy time until the fall, to avoid any mention of the Cyprus problem in documents based on October discussions on the EU-Turkey relationship, and until the U.S. presidential campaign is in full swing and Washington will be distracted from the peace process.

6.    Cyprus's Role Growing in the Middle East
British envoy David Hannay highlighted Cyprus's key regional role June 9 saying, the Cyprus problem "covers the whole of the southeast Mediterranean region." Cyprus has recently been very active in the area.

In the context of Cyprus's close relations with Israel, on June 13, both nations agreed on matters relating to flights by Israeli war planes in the Nicosia FIR (Flight Information Region). Both sides, "reiterated their commitment to strengthen and improve existing cooperation."

An Israeli-Palestinian meeting on the future of Jerusalem was hosted by Cyprus in early June.

Palestinian National Authority Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabeel Shaath paid an official visit to Cyprus June 21, to discuss the Cyprus and Middle East problems.

On June 13, President Clerides sent a message to Syria's new leader, Bashar al-Assad, stressing that Cyprus will continue close ties with Syria following his father Hafez al-Assad's death.

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis visited Iran in mid-June, met with President Khatami and signed pacts to boost tourism, trade and cultural ties and oil sales to Cyprus. In a message, President Glafcos Clerides welcomed Khatami's idea for a "dialogue among civilizations" and his support for a Cyprus settlement "in accordance with U.N. resolutions."

7.    OECD Invitation; Cyprus, a Mediterranean "Bridge"

Finance Minister Takis Klerides attended a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris on June 28. This was the first time Cyprus has been invited. The Minister welcomed the non-inclusion of Cyprus on the OECD "black list" of nations serving as tax havens by applying harmful tax practices.

The Minister pointed out that Cyprus had taken measures to ensure exclusion from the list. And, he affirmed that Cyprus will continue to offer international banking services in accordance with OECD requirements.

Cyprus was also not included on a list of the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering (FATF) which identified suspected "non-cooperative" offshore banking centers.

Meanwhile, the Third Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Industry was held in Limassol June 22, with the participation of the 15 European Union member states and 12 countries from around the Mediterranean. Issues discussed included the promotion of investment and the development of small and medium enterprises.

President Clerides told the ministers that "the advantages Cyprus enjoys . . . are reinforced by its accession negotiations with the EU." The President continued, "we in Cyprus feel a particular obligation and responsibility to work with you to achieve peace and stability in the region . . . we aspire to make Cyprus a bridge of peace and cooperation between the EU and the countries of Mediterranean."

8.    High Quality of Life

Two reports released in June rank Cyprus high on the list of countries in quality of human development and health care.

The annual U.N. Human Development Report which surveyed 174 countries measures the lives of people beyond economic statistics. Canada, Norway and the United States top the list with Cyprus coming in 22nd.

In addition, the World Health Organization ranked 191 countries on overall quality of health care. France and Italy were numbers 1 and 2, Cyprus 24th and the United States 37th.

9.    Bicommunal Activities

Despite an increase in tension between the government of Cyprus and the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas, bicommunal activities are continuing.

On July 1, mixed Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youth groups sponsored a gathering to "reunite the old and unite the young generation." The event was attended by hundreds of Cypriots from both sides.

In addition, on July 3, the Permanent Committee of the All Cyprus Trade Union Forum, comprised of six unions from both sides, issued a statement on the eve of the Geneva proximity talks urging the parties to find a "speedy and just solution of the Cyprus problem, based on the federal, democratic system and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations."

Also, in June there were several meetings between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties. On the 29th, five Greek Cypriot and four Turkish Cypriot political parties announced plans for a festival of mutual understanding to take place in September. On the 14th, the Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally Party and Turkish Cypriot Republican Turkish Party issued a joint communiqué calling for a peaceful settlement based on a "bizonal, bicommunal federation" in Cyprus and backing increased contact between the two sides. On the 6th, nine parties from both sides also met.

10.    Women's Rights
In early June, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order Lazaros Savvides attended the 23rd session of the U.N. General Assembly on "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century." At the meeting, he pointed out that Cypriot women, due to the Turkish occupation, "have been particularly sensitive on matters of human rights and peace." He also reiterated Cyprus's strong commitment to the "pursuit of further policies and programs promoting legal and real equality between women and men."

11.    "Stealing History"

In late June, Cambridge University's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research published a report entitled "Stealing History: The Illicit Trade in Cultural Material." The report highlights the looting of the Panayia Kanakaria mosaics in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus. Among the examples cited in the report is a 1997 raid on an antiquities dealer in Munich which turned up "50-60 crates full of material ripped from the walls of north Cyprus churches containing 139 icons, 61 frescoes and four mosaics." The same dealer had sold four Kanakaria mosaics to an American dealer. In that case, the objects were repatriated to Cyprus after a court decision in the United States.

12.    In Memoriam

On July 28, funeral services were held for the Honorary Consul General of Cyprus in San Francisco, Dr. Anastassios Simonidis. Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S., Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, delivered a eulogy on behalf of the Government and laid a wreath on behalf of President Clerides.

13.    Did You Know?

According to official statistics for the academic year 1998-1999 released by the government on June 22, Cyprus has over 1,200 educational institutions at all levels, more than 164,000 full time students and over 11,000 teachers resulting in a pupil-teacher ratio of 14/6.

On July 4, the Cyprus Department of Statistics noted that the number of travelers visiting Cyprus in May increased 16.4 percent over the same period last year. In addition, between January and May over 800,000 tourists traveled to the island compared with some 700,000 for the same period in 1999.

On July 3, Jose Carreras, one of the world's greatest tenors performed in Nicosia. He was accompanied by soprano Isabel Rey. The performance was part of "Music 2000" organized by the Cyprus government and Cypriot banking institutions.

In June, Cyprus gave humanitarian aid of some $20,000 to Venezuela to help its recovery from last December's catastrophic series of floods.

A new telemedicine system was unveiled by Makarios III Hospital on June 12. The system will enable Cypriot doctors to communicate live with doctors in other countries. At the opening ceremony, Cyprus's Minister of Health Frixos Savvides noted that "for Cyprus, which does not have a medical school, telemedicine is of great significance and an important factor in efforts to improve health services."

On June 14, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) was elected general secretary of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies for the next three years. CNA became a member of the 17-national news agency group in 1993 and has served in a number of capacities.

Cyprus & the EU

14.    Enlargement In "Vital for Europe's Future"

On July 1, the presidency of the EU passed from Portugal to France which will fill that post for the next six months. France's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Védrine and Minister Delegate for European Affairs Pierre Moscovici issued a statement outlining France's commitment to the Union. "Each presidency," they said, "is a distinctive phase in the life of the community. . . . France, a founder member of the EU, is taking a determined and ambitious approach to this period."

With regard to EU enlargement they stated, "Vital for Europe's future, the process of enlargement, which now concerns 13 candidate countries, will have to be continued and explored in greater depth, while making sure that the open and realistic approach we have favored until now is maintained." "We hope," they added, "that the French presidency will see Europe move forward and enable it to enter the 21st century with strength and enthusiasm."

On June 21, Cyprus's Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos and his French counterpart Alain Richard agreed to a military cooperation arrangement between the two countries which includes training of Cypriots in French military schools and technical support for French defensive equipment bought by the Cyprus National Guard. Hasikos welcomed a December 1999 EU decision to set up a European military force and confirmed Cyprus's willingness to participate in the European defense and security institutions.

The Minister also urged that during the French EU presidency efforts be made to allow candidate countries to participate in consultations on defense and security issues. Richard pointed out that the defense ministers of all countries on an accession course would be invited to join in discussions with their European counterparts.

In a meeting of the European Council marking the end of the Portuguese EU presidency, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the EU enlargement process and welcomed the "substantive progress" achieved during the accession negotiations with both the first and second wave of candidate countries.


15.    Progress Made, Hard Work Ahead

By the end of the Portuguese EU presidency Cyprus has provisionally closed 16 of the 29 chapters of the acquis communautaire--more than any other candidate country. During the Portuguese EU presidency Cyprus closed chapters on company law, common and foreign and security policy, financial control, fisheries and social policy and employment as well as opening negotiations on agriculture.

During the Fifth Meeting at Ministerial Level of the Intergovernmental Conference for the accession of Cyprus to the EU held in mid-June, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides assured the EU that Cyprus would continue to work strenuously toward full EU membership. "On our part," he said, "we shall continue and will further enhance our preparations in order to enter the substantive phase of the accession negotiations during the forthcoming French presidency of the Council and to successfully conclude them within the anticipated timetable."

We are fully aware," he continued, "of the need for timely harmonization with the acquis communautaire and its effective implementation and enforcement through setting up of the appropriate institutions and mechanisms. In order to meet this objective, we are taking all appropriate measures and making the necessary additional efforts including the allocation of sufficient administrative and budgetary resources."

16.    Book Notes

In 1999, Intercollege Press published Cyprus and the European Union. The three editors--Andreas Theophanous, Nicos Peristianis and Andreas Ioannou of Intercollege's Research and Development Center--have presented their subject in three sections. The first section deals with the general aspects of the EU's challenges of integration and enlargement. The second addresses several aspects of Cyprus-EU relations and the third examines EU security and foreign policy issues in relation to Cyprus. To order: e-mail, or fax 011 357 2 357964

Another new book published this year by Martinus Nijhoff is The Republic of Cyprus: A Study in International Law by Kypros Chrysostomides. The author analyzes Cyprus's constitutional history, the legal principles applicable to the 1974 Turkish invasion and continuing occupation as well as the many legal rulings since the invasion.

Chrysostomides concludes that the Republic of Cyprus has been in existence since 1960 and is the only legal state on the island despite the Turkish occupation and the violations of international law which have occurred with regard to Cyprus.

The book can be ordered from U.S. bookstores or through the Martinus Nijhoff website at


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