Kypros-Net: Cyprus' Embassy Newsletter - March 2000


CONTENTS
  1. International Consultations Before Next Round of Talks  Security Council Briefing
  2. Security Council Briefing
  3. Other Envoys
  4. Expectations for the Next Session
  5. Confidence-Building Measures
  6. Metropolitan Museum: New Cyprus Galleries
  7. Did You Know?
  8. Human Rights Report
  9. UNFICYP Expenses
  10. Bone Marrow Donor Registry
  11. Bicommunal Meetings
  12. Cyprus & the EU
  13. Cyprus Ratifies CoE Conventions
  14. Miss Universe Contest on the Island of Aphrodite

  1.  
  2. International Consultations Before Next Round of Talks 

    Security Council President Says "Status Quo Unacceptable"

    Following the decision at the Geneva proximity talks, which adjourned Feb. 8, to reconvene in New York on May 23 subject to confirmation, numerous diplomatic consultations are scheduled to take place as a search for a Cyprus settlement moves forward.

    Top U.N. envoy for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, arrived in Cyprus for the first time on Feb. 28 for a visit to last until March 7. The Peruvian diplomat, who has played an integral role in the proximity talks (meeting separately with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash) held under the auspices of Secretary General Kofi Annan, will have a full program of meetings on both sides of the divide--in the southern, government-controlled areas of the Republic, and in the northern part illegally occupied by Turkey since its invasion in 1974.

    The familiarization visit, which is to give him a "general view" of the situation on the ground, will take him across the U.N. controlled buffer zone to observe peacekeeping operations.

    On Monday, March 6, de Soto is scheduled to be received by President Glafcos Clerides and have a meeting with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Rauf Denktash.

    Although the visit is not regarded as a continuation of the proximity talks, upon his arrival the U.N. official said he expects to "touch on some of the substance that comes up in these talks."

    De Soto's trip to Cyprus followed meetings in Brussels with European Union (EU) officials. As he noted, "the EU and the Commission are undertaking a process that has great relevance for our efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus." From Cyprus the U.N. official will travel to Athens and Ankara for meetings with Greek and Turkish officials, including the foreign ministers.

    Commenting on de Soto's trip Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said Feb. 15, "We believe it is only natural that he will need some days to get acquainted with certain realities on the island, such as the Green Line." He said de Soto must, "see for himself this eye-sore, the island's division, which exists in the 21st century."

  3. Security Council Briefing
  4. On Feb. 15, de Soto told members of the Security Council he was pleased with "the continuing commitment shown by the parties to the talks process," expressing the hope "progress can soon be made on substantive issues."

    Argentine Ambassador Arnoldo Listre, presiding over the Security Council, said members continue to follow the Cyprus problem "with the closest interest," that they looked forward to the resumption of talks in May and reaffirmed the position that "the status quo in Cyprus is unacceptable." He welcomed the fact that the talks had been conducted in a "positive atmosphere and without preconditions."

  5. Other Envoys
  6. During the next three months American, British, EU and other envoys are also expected to visit the island.

    U.S. Ambassador Donald Bandler announced on Feb. 25 that U.S. Presidential Emissary Alfred Moses and State Department Coordinator Thomas Weston will visit Cyprus March 7-10. The U.S. remains "committed to the goal of bizonal, bicommunal federation and one that meets the needs of all Cypriots," he said, following a meeting with President Clerides.

    Bandler continued: "The U.S. and the international community--and I can speak very strongly about my country--are committed to trying to assist the parties in arriving at such a resolution."

    United Nations officials are expressing cautious optimism that the first two rounds, one in New York in December and another in Geneva, may provide the basis for more progress. So far, the United Nations envoys have heard both sides spell out their views on the four core issues set by Annan, of security, territory, separation of powers and property.

    Now it is expected that the United Nations may begin offering proposals to narrow the points of differences, and the process may eventually lead to face-to-face talks and real progress toward a solution.

  7. Expectations for the Next Session
  8. Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said Feb. 15 that the outlines of an overall settlement are not expected to emerge from the resumption of the proximity talks. He noted that the next session could possibly last from May 23 until the end of July, and that he expects the U.N. to put forward thoughts and ideas and see how close these are to the positions held by either side.

    Kasoulides reiterated that if the Turkish side continues insisting on its intransigent positions, there would be no prospect for a settlement, noting, however, that patience is required until after the elections are held in the Turkish-Cypriot community next month.

    Both Denktash and Turkey are demanding the creation of a con- federation of two states in Cyprus, which runs counter to U.N. Security Council resolutions stipulating that a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single sovereignty be the basis for any solution.

    Minister Kasoulides added that Ankara's position is not consistent with its ambition to become a member of the European Union, and that Turkey has an obligation to respond to gestures by Greece and the EU, such as granting candidate status to Turkey at the Helsinki Summit.

  9. Confidence-Building Measures
  10. Upon his return from Switzerland, President Clerides responded to suggestions from some quarters that confidence-building measures might be the next logical step. The President said he had made it clear to United Nations Secretary General Annan that the Greek Cypriot side was willing to discuss this issue separately in Cyprus, but not in the context of the proximity talks, the purpose of which is to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Cyprus Government Spokesman Papapetrou noted on Feb. 14 that no concrete measures have been proposed to the government, adding that such issues "could be discussed only if they do not lead to recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied area, and as a process that would back efforts for a settlement."

    Confidence-building measures, he said, "cannot be a substitute" for efforts and negotiations taking place for an overall solution.

  11. Metropolitan Museum: New Cyprus Galleries
  12. The inauguration of the new Cypriot galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on April 4 will place on public view a selection of some 600 Cypriot artifacts, in a permanent installation.

    The exhibition will feature the collection acquired between 1874 and 1876 by Luigi Palma di Cesnola--the American Consul in Cyprus. This Metropolitan collection is considered the most important and comprehensive collection of Cypriot antiquities in the Western Hemisphere. In addition, works of art dating between ca. 700 and 100 B.C. which are on loan from the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, made possible by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, will be on display.

    The collection of Cypriot artifacts is remarkable not only for its size and diversity, but also for its historical breadth, ranging from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period. The presentation will emphasize areas of sculpture, bronze, terracotta and precious metals.

    The exhibit is organized chronologically in four sections: The Prehistoric Gallery; Cyprus between 1000 and 500 B.C.; Cyprus during the Classical Period; and, Cyprus in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods.

    President Clerides will attend the opening ceremony.

    For more information visit   Metropolitan Museumor call 212 535-7710

  13. Did You Know?
  14. The Bank of Cyprus recorded nearly $240 million in operating profits for 1999, an increase of 103 percent. This will enable the bank to raise its final dividend from 20 percent to 24 percent.

    Between Feb. 24 and 27, the 7th International Education Fair was held in Nicosia. Some 125 organizations, 44 universities, 14 technical schools, state and private schools, cultural centers, counseling services, publishers, bookshops and other educational groups attended.

    In mid-February, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Costas Themistocleous inaugurated a series of activities to mark the World Olive Year. The year 2000 was declared the "4th World Olive Year" last November by the King and Queen of Spain.

    An internationally recognized Greek Cypriot scientist, Ntinos Myrianthopoulos, passed away in late February and was buried in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23. Myrianthopoulos was the long-time head of neurogenetics at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He also served as the inspiration for founding the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics.

    Cyprus's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism held a seminar in Cambridge, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in late February as part of its plan to develop Cyprus as a high-tech center. The Cyprus Trade Office in New York noted that the program was organized by the U.S.-based Cyprus Scientists Network. Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos A. Rolandis was the principal speaker at the seminar.

    New York Trade Office:

    Telephone 212 213-9100

    Fax 212 213-2918

  15. Human Rights Report
  16. On Feb. 25 the U.S. Department of State issued its 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. In the section on Cyprus the report states that the government of the Republic of Cyprus "generally respected" human rights. It also points out that Turkish Cypriot authorities "continued to restrict freedom of movement . . . have banned most bicommunal contacts. . . . [and] attempted to prevent Turkish Cypriots from traveling to bicommunal meetings off the island." Turkish Cypriot authorities, the report continued "have taken some steps to improve the conditions of Greek Cypriots and Maronites . . . living under their control, but the treatment of these groups still falls short of Turkish Cypriot obligations under the Vienna III Agreement of 1975."

    The report further notes Turkey's lack of compliance with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Titina Loizidou who is denied access to her property in occupied Cyprus.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides took exception to some of the wording in the report and the way it is written. He told U.S. Ambassador Bandler that comparing the situation in the government-controlled areas and the Turkish-occupied areas did not reflect the fact that the Republic of Cyprus covered the whole island.

    He also characterized as "unfortunate" the misleading reference to a so-called "economic embargo" against the Turkish Cypriots noting that such inaccuracies encourage further intransigence on the part of the Turkish side. Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou also refuted that reference stating emphatically that "the government does not implement any kind of embargo on the Turkish Cypriots," and pointed out that all exports from Cyprus, including those from the occupied areas, must be accompanied by appropriate certificates issued by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. A relevant ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg supports this position and regulates the exports of produce from the occupied areas to EU countries.

    The Turkish side, added the spokesman, should seek the causes of the economic difficulties of the Turkish Cypriots in the consequences of Turkey's military invasion of Cyprus and its continuing occupation of Cyprus's northern areas.

  17. UNFICYP Expenses
  18. In a recent report to the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary General Annan presented the financial performance of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for the period from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999.

    According to the report, the General Assembly appropriated $45,276,160 gross ($43,536,860 net) for the maintenance of UNFICYP, including $2,267,160 for the support account for peacekeeping operations.

    The government of Cyprus provided one-third of the cost of the Force or $14,512,300, and Greece provided $6,500,000 through voluntary contributions. An amount of $24,263,800 gross ($22,524,560 net) has been assessed on member states.

  19. Bone Marrow Donor Registry
  20. According to statistics of the Karaiskakion Foundation released in early March, some 3 percent of the population in the government- controlled areas of Cyprus are bone marrow donors, the highest per capita percentage in the world.

    The Foundation, which was established three years ago and offers its services free of charge, has found donors for 31 patients, and hopes to expand its register in order to provide each Cypriot in need of a transplant with a suitable donor.

  21. STRONG>Bicommunal Meetings
  22. Despite the fact that Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash had banned bicommunal contacts for the last several years, they appear to be on the rise. In mid-February members of six Greek and four Turkish Cypriot political parties met at Ledra Palace in the first official get-together in two years, with both sides welcoming the resumption of meetings and setting May 8 as the date for the next session.

    On Feb. 25, members of two parties, the Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally and the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement held talks and issued a joint declaration stating their determination to "establish close cooperation both in Cyprus and abroad in their efforts" to establish a bicommunal, bizonal federation.

    There was another meeting of political leaders from the Greek Cypriot AKEL Party and the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement in Pyla on Feb. 27 to discuss ways to promote rapprochement and build confidence between the two communities.

    In addition, in late February Turkish Cypriot "greens" attended a conference in Nicosia on EU environmental law and Cyprus. And, in Bratislava, Slovakia, during the first week of March, human rights groups from both communities attended the second of four scheduled meetings to discuss freedom of movement and speech and their common objective of a human rights culture for a united Cyprus.

  23. Cyprus & the EU
  24. Rapprochement Stressed

    Portuguese Deputy Foreign Minister Seixas Da Costa, representing his country's presidency of the European Union Council, presented the Council's position on the Cyprus question on Feb. 16.

    Speaking before the plenary of the European Parliament, Da Costa noted that the decision of the Helsinki EU Summit in December to accept Turkey as a candidate for accession presented an opportunity for a solution to the division of Cyprus. He also pointed out that at the summit it was decided that Cyprus's accession would not be conditional on a settlement of the problem.

    Da Costa stressed the need for promoting rapprochement and confidence-building measures between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and called on the European Committee to undertake initiatives.

    European Commissioner responsible for enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, also stated that the aim of the EU is the accession of a unified Cyprus but reiterated that a Cyprus solution is not a prerequisite.

    In addition, Verheugen pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot community should contribute to solving the Cyprus issue so that it too could benefit from the advantages of accession.

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook also made the position of his government clear on Feb. 20. Replying to questions in the House of Commons, Cook said, "I have often argued that Cyprus's application for membership in the EU must be judged on its merits. . . . It would assist the process if the division of the island was settled and the people of the Republic of Cyprus want that to happen. However, it must not be a condition of membership."

    Meanwhile, on Feb. 17, the European Parliament approved a report supporting upgrading preaccession financial support for both Cyprus and Malta in the framework of economic and technical assistance for candidates for EU accession.

    By adopting the report, the Parliament requested that the European Council budget more than the 95 million Euros proposed by the European Commission--a proposition with which the Council agrees.

    During a mid-February meeting of the 2nd Mediterranean Conference attended by some 30 students from about 13 countries, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides underlined that, "Cyprus will become the bridge of even closer understanding between the EU and the Eastern Mediterranean countries, taking into consideration its geographical role in the Mediterranean . . . and the privileged relations our country enjoys with both the Arab countries and Israel." He continued: "We believe that Cyprus has an important role to play especially when it joins the EU."

  25. Cyprus Ratifies CoE Conventions
  26. In February, Cyprus ratified the following Council of Europe (CoE) Conventions:

    The European Agreement Relating to Persons Participating in Proceedings of the European Court of Human Rights;

    The Sixth Protocol of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe;

    The Protocol of Amendment to the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Specific Purposes;

    The Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and its Additional Protocol;

    The Protocol amending the European Convention on Transfrontier Television.

  27. Miss Universe Contest on the Island of Aphrodite
  28. The world will be watching Cyprus in May when it hosts the 49th Annual Miss Universe Pageant. The two-hour contest will be broadcast live on CBS to an expected audience of 2.4 billion viewers worldwide.

    While Cyprus was selected out of a field of 13 countries to host the beauty contest, it was the logical choice as the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite. According to legend, in around 1200 B.C., she emerged from the sea at Petra tou Romiou near Paphos.

    The Louvre Museum in Paris is sending a life-size replica of Aphrodite of Milos for the occasion. The original statue, in the museum for the past 130-years, cannot be moved.

    The Miss Universe delegates will come from 85 countries and spend three weeks in Cyprus prior to the competition.

    The pageant will be held in the modern Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia. The event will commence at 4 am on Saturday, May 13 (2 am GMT) which corresponds to 9 pm Friday, May 12 Eastern Standard Time in the United States.

    The Miss Universe Organization, producer of the Miss Universe Pageant, is a Donald J. Trump and CBS partnership. Mr Trump Is expected to attend.

    For more information visit Miss Universe Contest or mailto: missuniv2000@aol.com


 


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