April 5, 1996

Embassy of Cyprus
Press & Information Office
2211 R Street NW
Washington DC 20008
(202) 232-8993
(202) 234-1936 Fax


U.S., E.U. Seek Breakthrough Prior to Cyprus Accession

As the date nears for the start of negotiations on Cyprus' accession to the E.U., European Union officials have paid increasing attention to coordinating with the U.S. and other permanent U.N. Security Council members to achieve a Cyprus settlement prior to accession. At the same time, U.S. officials have recognized that the accession process can help ensure the success of the U.S. initiative to break the current Cyprus deadlock.

Given these efforts the five permanent members will meet on April 17 to "try and coordinate the various initiatives on how to push the Cyprus question forward," the U.N. Resident Representative to Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, said on April 4.

"The Cyprus problem is a problem which concerns all nations," Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Boris Zenkov emphasized on April 5, adding that during the forthcoming Security Council meeting there will be an attempt to integrate the various efforts on Cyprus. "It would not be right to reject any initiative, provided it is coordinated within the U.N. framework," he added.

The growing consensus by the U.S. and Europe that the process of Cyprus joining the Union could help promote an overall settlement was welcomed by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on March 13. He noted, however, that despite growing international support for talks leading to a comprehensive settlement, Turkey still has not displayed the flexibility needed to achieve progress, adding that "talks will reveal the extent to which [pressure] would be applied" to Turkey.

Clinton: Major U.S. Effort This Year

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the U.N.-sponsored settlement process and Cyprus' course toward accession to the E.U. affect each other. For that reason, my Administration will strive to ensure the closest possible coordination among efforts by the United Nations, the E.U., and ourselves to address the question of Cyprus," U.S. President Bill Clinton said in his March 7 report to Congress covering Cyprus developments during December and January.

"My Administration remains committed to pursuing a settlement in 1996," Clinton added. Between now and June, when the U.S. initiative is expected to begin, Clinton Administration officials are expected to attempt to narrow the differences between the parties and ensure that the goodwill needed to achieve progress exists.

The formation of a government in Turkey enhances the ability to achieve progress, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher told Congress on March 27, since "the fact that the Turkish government now has been confirmed in office gives us an opportunity to begin" serious conversations with Turkish government officials. "We're going to devote whatever effort and energy that would be seen to be useful," he added.

President Clinton himself emphasized in a meeting with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel that Cyprus progress must be achieved. During a meeting at the White House on March 29, Clinton "asked that President Demirel work with us to try to get this negotiating process restarted," a White House spokesman said, adding that the U.S. "planned to make extra efforts over the next several weeks and months to try to help get the negotiating process moving again with respect to Cyprus." Cyprus is also one of the topics Clinton is expected to discuss with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Washington on April 9.

There continues to be strong, bipartisan Congressional support for a U.S. initiative on Cyprus as well as increasing concern that continued U.S. military aid to Turkey sends the wrong signal to Ankara.

"The U.S. Administration should begin to push now for a Cyprus solution," U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN), the ranking minority member of the House International Relations Committee, said on March 28. "We really see now new energy, new effort in trying to resolve this intractable problem of Cyprus" he continued, adding that he "would be fully supportive of a strong, aggressive, energetic effort by the U.S."

Hamilton also expressed deep concern that U.S. aid to Turkey is being used by its occupation troops in Cyprus in violation of U.S. law. Similar concern was also expressed in a recent letter that nineteen Senators sent President Clinton, calling on him to cancel the proposed sale of advanced "Super-Cobra" helicopters to Turkey, since the sale could be interpreted as sanctioning Turkey's continuing occupation of Cyprus. The Senators also voiced their concern over the recent transfer of additional military equipment from Turkey to the occupied part of Cyprus.

Many of those supporting reduced aid to Turkey have welcomed the Clinton Administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 1997, which cuts economic aid to Turkey by $40 million from last year's level, ($100 million to $60 million). Aid to Cyprus was maintained at the current level of $15 million.

European Parliament Calls for Intensified Cyprus Effort

Welcoming the initiative of the E.U. Presidency on Cyprus, the European Parliament has called on the Council of Ministers to upgrade this effort through joint action with the European Parliament. In a resolution adopted on March 27, the European Parliament also demanded that Turkey "cooperate in honesty and good faith in ascertaining the fate of all missing persons," and that "Turkey take all necessary measures" so that an E.U. parliamentary delegation can ascertain the living conditions of the Greek Cypriots enclaved in the occupied areas. The European Parliament also welcomed the Cyprus government's proposal for the demilitarization of Cyprus "and asks Turkey to withdraw its occupation forces . . . and abide by the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus."

Earlier, on March 25, the Italian Presidency presented a report to the E.U. Council of Ministers based on recent consultations by E.U. Presidency Representative on Cyprus, Federico Di Roberto, in Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. He also conferred with U.N. and U.S. officials, including Special Presidential Envoy for Cyprus Richard Beattie, in New York, where he affirmed that the E.U. effort is in support of the broader international effort on Cyprus. "With the Americans and the U.N. . . . we are in agreement that we must keep the closest coordination . . . on a delicate and complex issue which is of utmost interest to all of us," Di Roberto said on March 19.

The involvement of the E.U. Presidency as well as member-states such as Great Britain and Germany, which recently sent a high-level delegation to Nicosia for talks with Cyprus government officials, follows the decision by the E.U. Council of Ministers last year that Cyprus accession negotiations will begin six month after the conclusion of the Union's 1996 Intergovernmental Conference, which opened in Turin on March 29.

Given this timetable, the E.U. and Cyprus hope for a significant breakthrough prior to joining the E.U. "Our wish is to have a solution to the Cyprus problem before Cyprus' entry into the E.U., but this should not be a prerequisite," Foreign Minister Michaelides said on April 3 the position not only of the Cyprus government but one which has been reaffirmed by E.U. officials.


Strong economic growth, policies promoting economic liberalization, and the progress already achieved during the structured Cyprus-E.U. dialogue, are factors indicating Cyprus' readiness to join the European Union in the near future. E.U. officials continue to praise the measures which have been taken by the Cyprus government to adapt government policy to E.U. directives and regulations.

In March, Cyprus and E.U. officials continued the structured dialogue by addressing a wide range of issues, including criminal justice, internal affairs, and agriculture, and Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on March 20 that "the Cyprus government considers every step in this direction as further strengthening the one-way road leading to Cyprus' E.U. membership."

An important step in the development of Cyprus' economy was the opening on March 29 of the official Cyprus Stock Exchange. Structured in accordance with E.U. regulations and modelled on the London Stock Exchange and Athens Securities Market, the CSE was created following a sharp rise in the activity of an unofficial over-the-counter market last year, during which shares valued at $293 million were traded.

The opening of the CSE "signals a decisive move towards further development and gradual upgrading of our monetary system," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said on March 27. The establishment of an official stock market follows the other important change in government monetary policy this year, the sale of government treasury bills.

Government liberalization of the economy follows several years of high growth and low unemployment two of the important consequences resulting from Cyprus' role as a shipping center and regional business hub.

Noting the five-fold increase in revenues from offshore activity since 1985, Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides said on March 8 that "the spectacular development of offshore activity is reflected in an increase of foreign funds currently flowing into Cyprus from this sector." Cyprus will continue "to provide the necessary facilities and every possible service to the offshore units and their staff, as part of its policy to promote Cyprus as an offshore business and service center," he added.

The "continued growth of the Cyprus offshore sectors demonstrates what I have always thought about Cyprus: that its future lies in its potential role as a regional hub, servicing the Middle East, eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union," U.S. Ambassador Richard Boucher said on March 21, in presenting the U.S.-Cyprus Annual Awards for Commercial Excellence. Boucher added that the U.S. may now be the largest exporter to Cyprus.


The March 1 admission by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that Greek Cypriots captured during Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus were murdered by Turkish Cypriot paramilitary forces continues to stir outrage in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.

In Washington, Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) urged President Clinton to intensify American efforts to ascertain the fate of all those missing and unaccounted for since Turkey's invasion. "We as a country still need to know conclusively what happened to the five Americans and the 1,614 Cypriots" who are missing, Bilirakis wrote President Clinton on March 14, emphasizing that "those responsible must be held accountable." In a resolution adopted on March 27, the European Parliament condemned the killings and demanded that Turkey help ascertain the fate of the missing.

In London on April 1, thirty members of the House of Commons introduced a motion which said they were "appalled" by Denktash's admission and that they consider "the withholding of such information from the relatives of the missing more than 20 years a disgrace." The MPs said the killings were clearly "in contravention of numerous human rights conventions and international law."

On March 13 Cyprus House of Representatives President Alexis Galanos wrote to U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and to European parliamentary leaders stressing that the admission by the Turkish Cypriot leader, "underlines the urgent need to determine the fate of each and every missing person through conclusive investigation." Galanos also emphasized that "it is imperative for the international community to exert the necessary pressure so that the Turkish government cooperates in goodwill in determining the fate of missing persons by providing conclusive evidence."


In its 1995 Human Rights Report, released in early March, the U.S. State Department criticized Turkish authorities for a series of continuing human rights violations in occupied Cyprus.

The rights of the Greek Cypriots and Maronites enclaved in the occupied areas, including freedom of religion, the right to property, and freedom of movement, are severely restricted, according to the report, which also stressed that "the treatment of these groups still falls short of Turkish Cypriot obligations under the Vienna III Agreement of 1975" meant to protect the rights of the enclaved. The U.S. Congress is considering legislation submitted last year (S.1200 and H.R. 2223) to protect the rights of the enclaved, whose status has also been raised by the Cyprus government with the U.N. Human Rights Committee.

The State Department report also noted that during 1995 the occupation authorities had failed to notify U.N. peace-keepers on three separate occasions when they had detained Greek Cypriots who had crossed the U.N. demarcation line.

Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on March 8 that although the report contains many positive elements, it fails to cite the continuing gross human rights violations in Cyprus resulting from Turkey's 1974 invasion and continuing occupation of 37% of Cyprus.

Concern over this omission, as well as the wording of the report, which appears to equate the legal authority of the government of Cyprus with the illegal occupation regime, will be conveyed to U.S. officials.

IN BRIEF . . .

Cyprus Education and Culture Minister Claire Angelidou represented Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides during Greek Independence Day Celebrations in New York last month. Minister Angelidou spoke at a conference of the Cyprus Federation of America and delivered lectures at New York University and Rutgers University on the destruction of Cyprus' cultural heritage since Turkey's 1974 invasion and occupation.

Addressing the same Cyprus Federation of America conference in New York on March 23, Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides said the Cyprus government welcomes the increasing interest, particularly by Europe and the United States, to reach a Cyprus settlement. He cautioned, however, that these efforts will fail unless accompanied by additional pressures to ensure flexibility by Turkey. The United States, Jacovides continued, must press Ankara to agree to a solution based on the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.

The Ambassador recently headed Cyprus' delegation to the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority in Jamaica. Jacovides, accredited as Cyprus' High Commissioner to Jamaica, also briefed Governor-General Sir Howard Cooke and Prime Minister P.J. Patterson on efforts to break the Cyprus deadlock.

On March 30, at a PanCyprian Association of Florida testimonial for Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) in Clearwater, FL, Ambassador Jacovides emphasized Bilirakis' "effective leadership and indefatigable spirit" in the continuing "struggle for regaining freedom and restoring justice to Cyprus by ending its long tragedy of forcible division and foreign occupation."