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

  1. Talks Rescheduled for July 5 in Geneva to be "Substantive"One Sovereignty
  2. One Sovereignty
  3. Building Blocks
  4. Status Quo Unacceptable
  5. PSEKA Conference
  6. Economy Keeps Growing, Income at European Levels
  7. U.N. Peacekeeping
  8. Issue of Missing Persons
  9. 25th International Fair
  10. TV Discussion on Cyprus
  11. Did You Know?
  12. Cyprus & EU
  13. Vassiliou Recovers
  14. Mothers Report
  15. New PIO Director

  1. Talks Rescheduled for July 5 in Geneva to be "Substantive"
  2. Annan Wants to "Step Up the Pace and Level of the talks

    The third round of U.N.-sponsored proximity talks, postponed due to President Glafcos Clerides's recent surgery, will now be convened in Geneva on July 5 following his complete recovery.

    In announcing the date, the U.N. said the talks will be opened by Secretary General Kofi Annan. On June 1 Annan said, "I suspect we are getting to the stage where we have to step up the pace and the level of the talks." In previous rounds, held last December and January, Annan's Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, met separately with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to hear their ideas on the four core issues of security, constitution, property and territory.

    But President Clerides has made clear that time is running short. "We want to see progress made by autumn and we are not willing to cooperate in any effort of the Turkish side to waste more time," he said.

    It is expected that this session will move from statements of positions to a more substantive discussion of how to end the division of Cyprus caused by Turkey's invasion in 1974 and its occupation of over a third of the island.

    President Clerides said "we must reach a just, viable and workable solution to the Cyprus problem, which, following the Turkish invasion, has been a permanent hot-bed of political tension and a possible point of military confrontation on the island with wider repercussions for the region, where there is a need for stability and security as well as cooperation between all states."

    He continued, "Our side, as the international community has repeatedly witnessed, has proved its genuine and strong political will to find a solution to the Cyprus problem . . . now it remains to find out, in substantive negotiations, whether the Turkish side has the political will for a solution, abandoning its extreme positions which fall outside the targets of the international community."


  3. One Sovereignty
  4. "What we are seeking is the evolution of the Cyprus Republic into a federal, bizonal and bicommunal state, with one international personality, one sovereignty and one nationality, as provided by the relevant U.N. resolutions, consisting of two politically equal communities, according to the relevant report of the U.N. Secretary General."

    U.N. resolutions on the issue call for a unified federal state, while the Turkish side is insisting on recognition of the illegal enclave in the Turkish-occupied area and a confederal solution.

    In his remarks, Clerides reiterated that "the independence and the territorial integrity of the state will be safeguarded and any form of division or secession will be ruled out." He also again appealed to the international community to exert influence on Ankara so that the talks, "which the international community aspires to be substantive, may be fruitful."


  5. Building Blocks
  6. On May 26, outgoing U.N. Acting Special Representative in Cyprus James Holger said that the U.N. "is expected to take a more active role and come up with ideas which de Soto will present either verbally or in writing. . . . The idea is to begin building from the bottom blocks to construct areas of approximation of the positions of the two sides leading to a consensus," he said.

    The U.N., he said, is trying to "keep the present momentum going and hopefully go into a fourth round possibly in September" in New York, where the General Assembly will meet after the Millennium Summit. He also stated that he expected the sides to respond to various points raised at the talks.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou noted May 29 the increasing international pressure for the process to address concrete solutions. "The U.N. and various countries are carrying out attempts to upgrade the talks," he said. "If this is the Turkish side's intention, then this satisfies our side because our intention is not only to exchange positions and opinions but to get into substantial negotiations that will create the preconditions to finding a solution to the Cyprus problem."


  7. Status Quo Unacceptable
  8. U.S. officials have also been stressing the need for the talks to move toward a comprehensive settlement. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said May 25 that in the next round of talks "there will be progress and discussions of substantive issues." Speaking to the press at a NATO Ministerial meeting in Italy, Albright pointed out that "it is very important that the two sides begin to talk with each other about the various aspects of the Cyprus situation." In earlier remarks in Washington, she said, "Cyprus has been divided for far too long. The status quo is unacceptable."

    In preparation for the July 5 talks, a number of envoys will be visiting Cyprus. U.N. Special Adviser Alvaro de Soto is due to arrive June 18, U.S. Presidential Emissary Alfred Moses is scheduled to come during the week of June 19 and Britain's envoy, David Hannay, will be in Cyprus June 7.


  9. PSEKA Conference
  10. And, on the occasion of the 11th Annual International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) Conference in Washington, President Bill Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen met with delegates and pledged U.S. backing for a federal solution.

    Numerous dignitaries, government officials and congressmen addressed the group. Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), for example, pointed out that: "We must continue to work skillfully with the current administration this year to look for ways to move this process forward." And, Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) noted that "when talks resume it will be necessary to begin to see some real movement or the momentum of the past year will be lost."

    Meanwhile, in his bimonthly report to Congress, President Clinton said his special envoys on Cyprus, Alfred Moses and Thomas Weston, are "actively engaged in supporting the U.N. effort" to achieve a comprehensive Cyprus settlement.


  11. Economy Keeps Growing, Income at European Levels
  12. A team of International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts reports that the Cyprus economy is growing at a healthy pace, and "per capita income is already above that in some European Union (EU) members and is approaching the EU average."

    It says that unemployment remains far lower than in the rest of Europe, while inflation rates were good in 1998 and 1999. Finally, after registering a large deficit in 1998, mainly due to a number of special factors, the external current account improved in 1999.

    The report also says that "although output growth is expected to remain strong and perhaps accelerate this year, its composition is changing: Growth is now driven primarily by domestic spending rather than exports of goods and services."

    Responding to IMF concerns over the current account deficit, Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the government will act on IMF recommendations in the three-year plan for fiscal reform that is already being followed. "We will see what corrective measures need to be taken in order to move on," he said.

    -- President Clerides told the 25th Cyprus International Trade Fair that "in the course of 2000, the Cyprus economy continued its satisfactory performance," and pointed out that the rate of growth in 2000 is expected to rise to 4.5 percent. "This performance compares very favorably with that of many other countries," he stated, adding that "unemployment is expected to be about 3.5 percent, which means that there are conditions of full employment." The government recognizes the fiscal problem and it will be faced through the implementation of a strategic plan for fiscal adjustment, he said.

    -- Minister of Commerce Nicos Rolandis reported that by 2010, with an improved infrastructure Cyprus will become a European center of technology and services.

    -- Minister Rolandis has announced the construction of six marinas, with a capacity of 4,000 vessels to begin operating in Cyprus by the end of 2002 in order to boost maritime tourism.

    -- The House of Representatives has approved an increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 8 to 10 percent, in keeping with its plans of accession to the EU, and a package of compensatory measures in- creasing tax-deductible income.

    -- Tourist arrivals in April increased 23.2 percent over April last year to 221,785, mainly from EU countries with visitors from the U.K. in the lead.

    -- Senior officials from stock exchanges in 29 countries attended the Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA) annual meeting in Nicosia May 25.

    -- The 10th Meeting of the Associate Members of the European Banking Federation (EBF) was held in Nicosia May 26, with record participation of delegates from 8 regular EU members and 13 associate members. Finance Minister Takis Klerides told them, "the entire financial sector (in Cyprus) is being liberalized."


  13. U.N. Peacekeeping
  14. On May 16 before the U.N. committee dealing with the administrative and budget issues of peacekeeping operations, Cyprus announced that the government would voluntarily relinquish the discount it enjoys in its contribution to peacekeeping operations on the island which have been ongoing in Cyprus since 1964. The estimated budget for July 2000 to June 30, 2001 is $41 million which includes a voluntary contribution of one- third of the cost by Cyprus and an annual contribution of $6.5 million by Greece.

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised Cyprus, along with Estonia, Hungary, Israel and the Philippines for "helping to launch a discussion on broad reform of the U.N.'s peacekeeping finance system, these countries . . . have stepped forward to state their preparedness to pay a significantly larger share of U.N. peacekeeping costs," she said. "Through their actions," she stated, "these countries are demonstrating their commitment to U.N. peacekeeping. . . . For this they should be commended."

    Meanwhile, the Secretary General recommended that the U.N. Peace- keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) be extended until December 2000 in his biannual report on UNFICYP operations.


  15. Issue of Missing Persons
  16. The Secretary General's report also states that the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus held its first meeting in more than three years during the reporting period. However, the U.N. reports that it will not proceed with finding a replacement for one of the committee members until "both sides had shown a genuine commitment to reaching a consensus for the fulfillment of the five modalities contained in the letter from the Secretary General of 4 December 1996"--a position with which the Cyprus government strongly disagrees. Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou pointed out on June 1 that the position is "unfair" because it was the Turkish Cypriot side that reneged on a July 1997 agreement to exchange information on the missing.

    On June 2, the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons called the Secretary General's refusal to appoint a new member of the U.N. committee "unfortunate," and on June 5, House President Spyros Kyprianou announced that a delegation would go to New York to air their concerns at the United Nations.

    Meanwhile the government's plan to release the names of the missing for the first time has met with approval in the U.S., U.K. and the International Red Cross. A spokesman for the British High Commission called it a "positive development" and stated: "We look to both sides to implement previous agreements made."



  17. 25th International Fair
  18. More than 150,000 people attended Cyprus's 25th International Fair held between May 25 and June 4 in Nicosia. State Fairs Authority Chairman Demetris Ioannou noted that, "international interest is reflected in the wide participation in the Cyprus International Fair from abroad, which confirms our traditional good business relations with foreign countries and also our prospects for the future."


  19. TV Discussion on Cyprus
  20. On May 31, eight journalists from Greece, Turkey and both communities in Cyprus aired a live television show organized by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation on efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement. Foreign Minister Kasoulides, his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, U.S. Presidential Emissary Alfred Moses and British envoy David Hannay sent messages to be read on the air and former U.N. Resident Representative for Cyprus Gustave Feissel appeared on the show.


  21. Did You Know?
  22. - On May 12, the U.N. announced that former Polish Representative to the U.N. Zbignew Wlosowicz is to replace Chilean diplomat James Holger as U.N. Acting Special Representative in Cyprus and UNFICYP Chief of Mission.

    -- Cyprus hosted unofficial meetings between Israeli and Palestinian delegates June 2-4 in Nicosia to discuss the future of Jerusalem. At the conclusion of the meetings, the parties agreed to hold separate sessions in Jerusalem and reconvene in Cyprus at the end of June.

    -- On May 15, the Council of Ministers approved the construction of a floating desalinization plant which will produce 25,000 cubic meters of water per day. The plant, which is expected to operate for some two years, is a stop gap measure until the completion of two permanent desalinization facilities.

    -- The World Health Organization ranks Cyprus 25th out of 191 nations in life expectancy at birth, adjusted to account for years lost to illness and disability. Cypriots' life expectancy is 69.8 years.

    -- In late May, Cypriot delegates attended a two-day conference of European Ministers responsible for sport. Cyprus spends some $6.5 million annually to upgrade its sports facilities and will be the organizer of the 3rd Round Table for Sport, Tolerance and Fair Play in 2001.

    -- The Cyprus Rally--Sept. 7-10--will replace the China Rally in the Automobile Federation World Rally Championship. This is the first time the country's rally will be featured as part of the world championship.

    -- Cyprus hosted the 3rd International Neurological Symposium on May 14. Participants came from Europe and the Middle East to discuss topics such as collagen diseases.


  23. Cyprus and the EU
  24. A Priority for the Coming Six Months

    The Report of the Senior Level Group adopted by the leaders at the conclusion of the EU-U.S. Summit which took place in Queluz, Portugal, on May 31, strongly supports U.N. efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. In a section entitled "Current Achievements" the report states: "The EU and U.S. welcomed the second session of Cyprus proximity talks, which took place in Geneva from 31 January to 8 February. We have fully supported, including through our special envoys, the third round of talks, scheduled to resume on 5 July in Geneva." The report further notes that: "The Helsinki European Council's important decision granting candidate status to Turkey reinforced that country's intent to meet its political and economic reform commitments, including the conditions outlined in Helsinki, which will eventually lead it to implement a wide range of principles and values shared by the EU and the United States."

    And, in its concluding section entitled "Priorities for the Coming Six

    Months," the report stressed that: "We will continue to work closely together, including through our special envoys, to support the Cyprus proximity talks under the auspices of the Secretary General of the United Nations. We will support efforts to facilitate a comprehensive settlement consistent with relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions."

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou welcomed the report saying that it "shows the earnest interest of the EU and the U.S. in Cyprus."

    Three Additional Chapters

    Meanwhile at the end of May, Cyprus opened three more chapters of the acquis communautaire at the Brussels meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference. These chapters concern the free movement of persons, cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs and financial and budgetary provisions. Cyprus's clear lead in the EU accession negotiations was underlined at the Brussels meeting where EU officials pointed out Cyprus's readiness and impressive progress toward full membership. Cyprus has provisionally closed 15 out of the total of 29 chapters.

    "Business-like" Progress

    Earlier, in mid-May, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook met with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides in London. The two discussed Britain's support for the U.N. talks. "It is very important," Cook said, "that those talks proceed without preconditions and proceed with a view in order to achieve a historic settlement which will restore a single sovereignty and a single Cyprus." The Foreign Secretary also gave Cyprus high praise for its accession progress relating "Britain's admiration of the business-like way in which Cyprus has proceeded in these negotiations."

    New EU Representative

    On May 23, Acting President of the European Council and Portuguese Deputy Foreign Minister for European matters Francisco Seixas Da Costa accepted the credentials of Cyprus's new Permanent Representative to the EU Theofilos Theofilou, expressing the hope that he would soon welcome Cyprus as a full member of the European Union.


  25. Vassiliou Recovers
  26. Chief EU Negotiator and former President George Vassiliou continues a remarkable recovery from May 10 surgery to remove a benign tumor.

  27. Mothers Report
  28. Save the Children, a child development organization, ranks Cyprus as 10th in the status of mothers among 20 industrialized and 86 developing nations in its State of the World's Mothers 2000 report. The report considers the top 10 nations to have high scores for women's health and education, female literacy of over 90 percent and a risk of dying in childbirth as less than one in 3,000. In addition, in these nations the infant mortality rate ranges from four to eight per 1,000 live births and all have access to safe drinking water.

    The top 10 nations in order are: Norway, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands, Britain, Finland, France and Cyprus.


  29. New PIO Director
  30. On May 15, Mrs. Androula Laniti was appointed as the new Director of Cyprus's Press and Information Office (PIO). She was born in Nicosia and studied French literature at the Sorbonne where she received her MA degree in linguistics. She has also studied journalism in Paris and international relations at Kent University in the United Kingdom. Mrs. Laniti has worked for the PIO since 1976. 


 


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