October 2, 1996


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


1997 a "Window of Opportunity"

We "all see 1997 as really being a window of opportunity that we all have to seize," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright said on September 28, following a meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

The meeting with Albright was one of a series of consultations which President Clerides and Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly with high-ranking officials of the U.S., the European Union, Russia, Great Britain, and other countries.

In his meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on September 26, Clerides stressed that the Cyprus government is ready for direct talks to resume next year, provided sufficient common ground has been achieved by then to ensure that the talks will have a strong chance of succeeding. The Cyprus President also stressed the importance of conducting substantial talks prior to Cyprus Presidential elections in early 1998.

To prepare the ground for a resumption of substantive talks, in the coming months representatives of the U.N., Great Britain, and the E.U. are expected to visit the region soon. U.S. Special Presidential Emissary Richard Beattie has also said he is likely confer with officials in Cyprus later this year. Despite the recent intensified efforts, Clerides said on September 30 that "all accept that the various initiatives on the Cyprus problem will be under the auspices and coordination of the United Nations."

Efforts to restart the U.N. effort on Cyprus have taken on an added urgency since the murder of two Greek Cypriots in August by Turkish troops and extremists in the U.N. buffer zone. The killings underscored the view of the U.N. Secretary-General and Security Council that the status quo on Cyprus is not a solution, that it is unstable and that it could lead to regional conflict.

Ambassador Albright told a "Justice for Cyprus" banquet in New York on September 28, that during her trip to Cyprus in July she also "witnessed first-hand the fragility of the cease-fire" adding that divisions in other parts of Europe have ended and "the division of Cyprus must also come to an end."

She also affirmed that the United States is "determined to find a just solution" and stressed that "in the U.N. Security Council, we have supported resolutions that affirm the territorial integrity of Cyprus, the illegality of the Turkish Army's occupation, the rights of the aggrieved, and the need to reach a comprehensive and just settlement."

U.S.: Need to Reduce Potential for Violence

The meeting between Clerides and Albright, as well as a meeting between Michaelides and U.S. Under-Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff, reflect the continuing interest of the Clinton Administration and of President Clinton himself to help break the current deadlock.

"I remain committed to doing all we can to support the parties' efforts to bring about a settlement," U.S. President Bill Clinton said in his September 27 report to Congress covering events in Cyprus during June and July, adding that "the tragic events of August underscore the urgent need to move immediately to reduce the potential for violence along the buffer zone."

The U.S. President's National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake, told a conference of Hellenic American leaders in Washington on September 26 that it is Clinton's "very strong belief and my very strong belief that it is outrageous that now, after over 20 years, we have not settled the Cyprus issue."

American officials have repeatedly emphasized that the United States is deeply involved in seeking a Cyprus settlement because "it is in the American national interest that we make progress on Cyprus," Lake continued. He added that the United States was envisioning a very concentrated and focused effort, since the U.S. wants "to be sure that when we go for it (a settlement), we think we can get it."

E.U. Accession Best Chance for Progress

The growing momentum for progress is also being fueled by the E.U., which has heightened its involvement in the Cyprus issue since the E.U. set a date for the start of talks for Cyprus' accession to the Union.

In his September 24 address to the General Assembly on behalf of the E.U., Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring reaffirmed the E.U.'s "strong support for the efforts of the U.N. Secretary-General aimed at a negotiated and lasting solution to the Cyprus question which will respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the country in accordance with the relevant U.N. resolutions."

Spring added on September 26 that he sees "accession as offering perhaps the best opportunity we have had in the past 22 years for a potential movement in relation to the Cyprus question . . . the prospect of joining the E.U. has enormous economic, political, and indeed security benefits to the whole island. I hope we can achieve some momentum [in U.N. talks] in the near future in preparation for the accession negotiations."


"The time has come to make a further determined and sustained effort to solve the Cyprus problem," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides told the U.N. General Assembly on September 29, in urging intensified efforts to ensure a settlement based on the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.

Clerides said the Cyprus government was "encouraged by the rekindled interest and more active engagement of the international community in the Cyprus problem," adding that "we welcome all initiatives set out to reinforce the U.N. in the search for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus question."

Referring to last month's "brutal killings of two Greek-Cypriot unarmed demonstrators, witnessed on television screens by the entire world," Clerides pointed out that the evidence now indicates that the attacks were "orchestrated well in advance" by Turkey to further its aim to partition the island.

He reminded the world leaders of U.N. Secretary-General's Boutros Boutros-Ghali's August 20 report to the General Assembly, in which he expressed grave concern over the military buildup in Cyprus. Turkey's occupation forces "constitute a clear and present danger to peace and security in Cyprus and in the region," Clerides said. He added that "recent events in Cyprus have highlighted this clear danger" and reiterated his proposal for the complete demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus, contingent on the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops.

Emphasizing the importance for the nations of the world "to uphold the principles of the U.N. Charter and to hold to full account those who violate them," Clerides said the Cyprus problem "continues to be such a case of accountability, due to the refusal of Turkey to implement solemn Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, calling among other things, for the respect of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus." Given this situation, Clerides concluded that "all efforts should therefore be exerted by the Security Council and by all those in a position to do so, to bring about a real change to Turkey's attitude."


"While we understand that Turkey has been a U.S. ally, the United States cannot blindly look the other way as Turkey acts with impunity by violating U.S. law, killing citizens of American allies and ignoring international norms," more than 30 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote President Bill Clinton on September 5.

Expressing their deep concern over the murders of two Greek Cypriots in the buffer zone in August, they told Clinton that "the recent barbaric acts of Turkish troops in Cyprus, which resulted in the deaths of two unarmed civilians, cannot go unchallenged."

Recalling the position of the U.S. State Department that the killers be apprehended and convicted, they called on the President to insist "that those responsible for the murders of unarmed Greek Cypriots in the U.N. buffer zone be brought to justice in accordance with international law."

U.S. Aid to Turkey Cut

A further indication of Congressional frustration with Ankara's human rights violations and belligerence on Cyprus was evidenced on September 17, when the House-Senate Conference Committee on the foreign aid appropriations bill cut economic aid to Turkey from $60 million to $22 million. The committee also earmarked $15 million in aid to Cyprus, the same level as last year.


The European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on September 19 which urged "Turkey to withdraw its occupation forces and abide by the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus" and reaffirmed its support for President Clerides' proposal for the demilitarization of Cyprus.

The European Parliament also welcomed the decision of the E.U. Presidency to appoint a Special E.U. Representative for Cyprus, and urged to E.U. Council of Ministers "to make every effort to coordinate the initiatives of the U.N., British and U.S. representatives."

Expressing "deep concern at the indiscriminate use of violence by the Turkish occupying forces," including the murder of two Greek Cypriots on August 11 and 14 in the buffer zone by Turkish troops and extremists from Turkey, and condemning the fact that the extremists "were brought from Turkey to Cyprus so that they could enter into conflict with unarmed demonstrators," the European Parliament also called on "Turkey to cooperate by taking all necessary measures to identify, arrest and bring to justice all those implicated in the murders and the decision to fire on unarmed civilians."

Using photographs and video footage the Cyprus government has tentatively determined that during the August 14 murder of Solomos Solomou, an illegal settler from Turkey was clearly aiming his pistol towards the victim and that a member of the occupation forces can be seen firing at Solomou. The government has also identified a number of Turkish military commanders as present during the shooting a further indication that the attacks on unarmed civilians were intentional.

In a separate resolution on Turkey, the European Parliament criticized Turkey's human rights record, its continuing Cyprus occupation and called for the E.U. to immediately block all aid to be provided Turkey through the E.U.'s Euro-Mediterranean assistance program (MEDA).

Turkey "Must Start Behaving Like a European Country

"The European Parliament makes it clear to Turkey that if it aspires to have closer ties with Europe, it must start behaving like a European country," Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said following adoption of the resolutions, adding that "Turkey's position towards Cyprus has not changed after the E.U. agreement in March 1995 and there is no hope of settling the Cyprus problem unless Turkey changes its tune."


Our hope is that a new initiative on Cyprus will result "in a just, viable and workable solution a solution that will reunite our divided island and allow Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live together harmoniously in conditions of security and peace," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said on October 1, in a message celebrating the 36th independence anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus from British colonial rule.

Continuation of the division of Cyprus "is fraught with the serious danger of making partition permanent and also triggering a military flare-up on the island" which may result in a regional conflict, Clerides continued.

Clinton Sends Greetings

Congratulatory messages were sent by many leaders around the world, including U.S. President Bill Clinton, who expressed his satisfaction to President Clerides with the "excellent ties our two countries enjoy." Clinton reaffirmed that "the U.S. stands ready, as a good friend of Cyprus, to support efforts which lead to intercommunal accord and a united island. "

Independence Day celebrations were held throughout the free areas of the island, and in Nicosia the annual Independence Day parade was attended by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Support for Cyprus' struggle to end Turkey's occupation is Greece's highest foreign policy priority, Simitis said on October 1, adding that "the Cyprus problem is a question of foreign occupation and therefore our firm target is to find a peaceful solution."

Greece's support "strengthens our struggle for physical and national survival," President Clerides said on October 2, in presenting Simitis the Cyprus state's highest decoration in recognition of his continuing efforts to support a peaceful settlement.

Greece will continue to help Cyprus, Simitis said, until "the day that all Cypriots, regardless of origin, language and religion, will be able to live free in a prosperous country, an equal member of the big European family."

IN BRIEF . . .

The people of Cyprus want a peaceful solution, but they will never accept to live under foreign domination and will continue to struggle for the restoration of human rights and for a free and united Cyprus, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said at a "Justice for Cyprus" banquet on September 28. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright emphasized that the U.S not only supports a Cyprus settlement because it serves U.S. national interest, "the U.S. cares about Cyprus and obtaining a comprehensive and just settlement because it is the moral and right thing to do. . . . If only the political and historical differences can be overcome, there is no limit to the future the people of Cyprus can build."

Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides extended the warm wishes of the government and people of Cyprus to Archbishop Spyridon during his enthronement on September 21 as Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America. The Ambassador said that the Greek Orthodox church in America "has been at the very forefront of the efforts to restore justice and the full application of human rights, which are sorely tested in long suffering Cyprus."

Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides thanked those attending the Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington on September 24-26 for their continuing efforts to achieve a just and lasting Cyprus settlement, while Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides reviewed recent developments. The conference honored House International Affairs Committee Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY), ranking minority committee member Lee Hamilton (D-IN), Congressman John Porter (R-IL), Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke for their efforts on behalf of a reunified Cyprus. Among the others who addressed the conference were U.S. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and Senior Presidential Advisor George Stephanopoulos.