Turkish Cypriot leader threats to settler Famagusta

Marh 31, 1999

On 12 March Cyprus made representations to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the UN Deputy Special Representative Dame Ann Hercus as a precautionary move to avert Turkish designs to settle the occupied town of Famagusta, on the eastern coast.

On 11 March the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash described Famagusta as a "Turkish Cypriot city", and claimed he can do anything he wishes with the town which he described as "his property". "We can do whatever we like, any time we like and there is no need to bring up the issue for discussion as we only provoke a reaction from the other side," Denktash said.

Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Alecos Shambos, made precautionary demarches to the ambassadors of the five members, residing in Cyprus, and UN Resident Representative Dame Ann Hercus. Similar representations were made to the UN headquarters in New York and the capitals of the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council.

UN Security Council Resolution 550 (1984) considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations.

On 17 March the Russian Foreign Ministry commenting on threats by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to settle the town of Famagusta stated that the threats prove there is no political will and readiness for a settlement in Cyprus on the part of the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

In its statement, the Russian Ministry pointed out it is not the first time the Turkish Cypriot leader made such threats, which have been denounced by the international community. "Such moves by the Turkish Cypriot leadership would constitute clear defiance and lack of respect for UN Security Council resolutions on the issue, primarily resolution 550/1984" the statement noted.


"The great driving force of the last 50 years in the landscape of the international women's movement has been the drive to empower women", UN Resident Representative in Cyprus, Dame Ann Hercus, stressed in Nicosia on 6 March.

Speaking at an event organized by the UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to celebrate March 8, Dame Ann said that "from the day of its birth, the UN has fought for the equal rights of women" adding that UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, "is totally committed to the advancement of women".

The Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused permission to Turkish Cypriot women wishing to attend the event organized by the UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to celebrate International Woman's Day. Invited to comment on the issue UN Resident Representative Dame Ann Hercus expressed disappointment for the decision taken by the Turkish Cypriot leader.

The event organized by UNFICYP at Ledra Palace Hotel, situated in the UN buffer zone in Nicosia, was attended by hundreds of Greek Cypriot women of all ages.

In an interview with CNA on the occasion of International Women's Day, Dame Ann Hercus expressed full support for meetings between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and at the same time pointed out that contact between women from the two communities contributes towards having all perspectives on the table. Her own "rule of life" is that the best decisions are those taking all perspectives into consideration, whether it is on the local or state level or even UNFICYP itself.


On 7 March Germany's envoy for Cyprus, Detlev Graf zu Rantzau, Visited Nicosia for a five-day visit during which he met with government officials and also visited the Turkish-occupied areas of the island.

Speaking on arrival, the German envoy stressed that "the purpose of (all those) coming to Cyprus is to try to promote a solution" to the Cyprus problem, pointing out that "this situation has been maintained for a number of years".

After his meeting with President Clerides on 8 March Mr. Rantzau, said he did not bring any ideas or proposals on the Cyprus question and noted there is no planned initiative on confidence building measures, as far as he knew.

Describing his meeting with President Glafcos Clerides as "most enlightening and very interesting", Rantzaou said he talked about "a number of aspects of the Cyprus conflict" with the President and reassured him of "ongoing efforts of the German government to try to contribute to a solution."


The Armenian Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, paid a four-day visit to Cyprus from 7 to 10 March during which bilateral and regional issues were discussed.

Mr. Oskanian during his visit to Cyprus visited one of the three Armenian elementary schools that operate in Cyprus, where he was greeted by children dressed in national costumes clutching Cypriot and Armenian flags. Around 2500 people of Armenian origin live in Cyprus.

On 9 March Mr. Oskanian was received by President Clerides. He also met with the Deputy House President Nicos Anastasiades and the President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vassilis Rologis.

At a joint Press Conference Cyprus Foreign Minister and his counterpart Vartan Oskanian stressed their countries' "very close relations" and "common interests".

Describing their talks as "productive", Kasoulides said they discussed bilateral relations, political and economic issues, the Cyprus question and the issue of Nagorny-karambakh.


President, Glafcos Clerides expressed appreciation for the Commonwealth's steady support in efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem as well as the hope that this support will continue in the future.

In a message on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth, President Clerides stressed that a Cyprus settlement should be based on UN resolutions, the two relevant high level agreements and international law principles.


Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of the late French president and prominent human rights activist, has lambasted Turkey for its double standard policies against the Kurdish people and the oppressive methods it applies to suppress their legitimate demands.

In an article on 10 March in the Belgian paper "La Libre Belgique," Mitterrand points out that "the Kurds are denied their cultural heritage by a regime which demands these same rights for several thousand Turkish Cypriots who occupy, unpunished, for a quarter of a century, the north of Cyprus."


The European Union presidency on 15 March has made it clear that there is and there can be no veto from Turkey on Cyprus' application for EU membership.

In statements to the press after a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer pointed out the urgent need for a settlement of the Cyprus question, noting this would also be in the interests of the Union. Germany holds currently the presidency of the European Union.

Fischer called on the Cyprus government to do all it can towards this goal, saying its efforts towards this objective would be closely monitored by the EU. "We believe that the Cyprus government should do all it can for a constructive solution to the political problem. On the other hand, accession negotiations cannot fail because of the veto of a non EU member," Fischer said.

He said new initiatives for talks must be seized and added "we hope the government of Cyprus does everything towards constructive developments and this, at the end of the day, will undoubtedly play an important role in our (EU) assessment."

Commenting on reports about possible involvement of the G8 group (the seven most industrialized countries plus Russia) in the Cyprus peace effort, Fischer said one should take advantage of every opportunity before him to settle the problem.

"The Cyprus issue is one of the most serious problems that needs to be settled and one that encompasses a fair risk of flaring up, irrespective of whether Cyprus is an EU member or not," Fischer stressed. He said Cyprus lies in a "very complex region bordering the Middle East, an area linked to Greco-Turkish relations and the Balkan region" and added "this is why the problem needs to be solved urgently to the benefit of all neighboring countries, the Mediterranean countries, and the EU."


Two new ministers, at the Ministries of Interior and Finance, were sworn in on 19 March at a special ceremony in the presence of President Glafcos Clerides. Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou moves to the Ministry of Interior to succeed Dinos Michaelides, who had resigned. Takis Clerides, a chartered accountant and business consultant, takes over the Ministry of Finance.

Veteran journalist Costas Serezis has taken the post of the Government Spokesman, succeeding Christos Stylianides, who had resigned.


On 31 March the Cyprus Foreign Ministry issued a statement stressing that that the government "cannot be happy with what is happening today in Yugoslavia, just as it cannot be happy with the military intervention of NATO, because of the violation of the human rights of the people of Kosovo".

"Cyprus continues to firmly support the right of the people of Kosovo for respect of their human rights, their cultural identity and their autonomy within the borders of a new Yugoslavia," the statement said.

Noting that the government hopes that "diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution will continue and will succeed", the statement added that in "many instances, like this one, we would have liked a more active involvement of the Security Council".

The Foreign Ministry expressed "great concern over reports about atrocities against civilians" noting that "we believe that those who are proven guilty of any crimes against humanity should be decisively handled by the international community".


The Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus on 3 March launched its website with information on European Union relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

A Delegation press release says the site includes background information, information on the Union's institutions, the Euro as well as a Euro-rate converter and press releases that relate to Cyprus.

The website address is:


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