President Clerides pays an official visit to Israel
March 31, 2000
President Glafcos Clerides paid an official visit to Israel from 28 to 31 March, the first such visit by a Cyprus President. President Clerides upon his return to Cyprus said that common ground on a number of issues was established during his four-day visit and noted that special emphasis was given on the need for peace and security in the region.
In Israel President Clerides had meetings with the President of Israel Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat. While in Israel he visited the Holocaust Museum “Yad Vaslem.” Speaking to reporters on his return, President Clerides said that in his meeting with Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat they discussed their national problems and ways of cooperation. He also said that during meetings in Israel, Nicosia reiterated its willingness to host the Middle East peace talks and revealed that Cyprus’ role to this end was examined.
President Clerides described his visit as “very satisfactory” and said that in his meetings with Israeli President and the Prime Minister, and during Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides’ meeting with this counterpart “we found common ground on a number of issues.” On his meeting with Arafat, he said “we had the opportunity to exchange thoughts and views on the problems we face and the ways, in which we must cooperate in the future.”
Asked on the importance of his visit especially regarding the Cyprus problem’s regional aspect, the President said “the largest part of our talks was taken up by a discussion on regional cooperation and the creation of conditions of stability, peace and prosperity.”
PRESIDENT CLERIDES MEETS PRESIDENT CHIRAC
President Clerides who paid a two-day visit to France on 15-16 March, had a meeting with President Jacque Chirac during which the Cyprus question was reviewed as well as progress on Cyprus towards accession to the EU and the bilateral relations.
According to the Spokesman of President Chirac Frederic Desagneaux France has expressed its support for the UN-led process of peace talks on Cyprus, saying that it wishes to see a settlement of the Cyprus question and displaying trust in the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Paris has also expressed its support for Cyprus’ bid to join the European Union, saying that when it assumes the six-month rotating EU presidency it intends to undertake an initiative for progress on this score.
The French official said Chirac expressed satisfaction with the start of the Cyprus peace talks, hoping that the process would be constructive and sustained. Referring to Cyprus’ accession course, Desagneaux said the French EU presidency in the second part of 2000 intends to undertake an initiative for progress.
An official statement, issued after the meeting, said that the talks between President Clerides and President Chirac allowed for an even greater understanding between the two countries.
NEW RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR IN CYPRUS
On March 23, the new Russian Ambassador in Cyprus Vladimir Pavlinov presented his credentials to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. In his speech Pavlinov said that Russia intends to contribute actively in the future to the promotion of the inter-communal dialogue, resumed under the UN auspices, and that it considers direct negotiations between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities to be extremely important. He reaffirmed his country’s support to the establishment of a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation in Cyprus as stipulated for in UN resolutions and the two agreements reached between the two sides in the 1970s.
Pavlinov said Russia also considers President Clerides’ initiatives for the demilitarization of the island very timely, noting they are similar to proposals put forward by his country. “Their implementation would undoubtedly contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus problem and ensuring of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he added.
The ambassador said cooperation between Cyprus and Russia is developing steadily and has a big potential, noting that the legal basis of relations “is being perfected.” He expressed great appreciation for the development of business ties, pledging he will further promote them. Pavlinov expressed satisfaction because both Cyprus and Russia are committed to the fundamentals of international relations, “such as respect for sovereign equality of states, their territorial integrity and non-interference in their internal affairs.”
Receiving the credentials, President Clerides said UN resolutions and the two agreements between the two community leaders provide a solid basis and the right framework to reach a settlement in Cyprus. “The unequivocal support of the Russian Federation in our efforts is highly appreciated for it strengthens our resoluteness to push forward in this direction, until the continued injustice against the whole people of Cyprus comes to an end,” he added.
PRESIDENT CLERIDES ON
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
The aim of the Cyprus Government is to achieve participation of women in political posts by 30 per cent by the year 2005, President Glafcos Clerides said on March 8 in a message on the occasion of international Women’s Day and called upon political parties, women’s organizations and mass media to contribute in this direction.
“Equality between men and women is an integral part of democracy and human rights,” the President pointed out, stressing that the government policy is for the elimination of all discrimination against women and the creation of practical preconditions which would also allow equal participation of men and women in all aspects of life, social, political and economic.
President Clerides said important legislation is being promoted to consolidate equal treatment and opportunities at work, to deal with problems of sexual harassment at workplace and adopt mechanisms for out of court settlements.
* Women in Cyprus take action
Women’s organizations in Cyprus will hold a series of events in the coming months leading up to their participation in the International Women’s March 2000, to be held in New York on October 17, against poverty and violence against women.
Speaking at a press conference on March 8, members of the national preparatory committee said they have begun collecting signatures on the issue which will be forwarded by April 15 to the UN Secretary-General. They will also hold a women’s forum on April 8-9 for a discussion on a number of issues of concern to women today. Regarding the march, they said the idea first came up in the 1995 Beijing UN conference on women and it will be held under the title “2000 reasons to march.”
Referring to the status of women in Cyprus today, they said they are still struggling for an increase in their numbers in decision making bodies, politics and public life where their participation is “next to nothing.” At the same time they are fighting for a just and peaceful settlement in Cyprus, divided since Turkish troops occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974 and to this end will organize an event in September.
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ON COMMONWEALTH DAY
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides expressed the government’s sincere appreciation to the Commonwealth for the support it offers Cyprus in efforts to find a just and viable solution to its problem.
In a statement on the occasion of Commonwealth Day, which is observed on March 13, President Clerides said he is certain the organization will continue providing its support to the just cause of the people of Cyprus.
The President further reiterated the government’s deep appreciation for the valuable work, which the Commonwealth is carrying out in the international arena. He further thanked outgoing Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
CYPRUS-NAURU ESTABLISHED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
On March 27 Cyprus and Nauru have signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations. The agreement was signed at the Cyprus Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, by the Permanent Representatives of the two countries, Soto Zackheos and Vinci Clodumar.
In a short speech at the ceremony, the Cypriot ambassador underlined the importance of cooperation between small states in order to tackle common problems and challenges, especially in the fields of security and environment.
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