Greek Head of State visits Cyprus

June 30, 1998

Greek President Constantinos Stephanopoulos paid an official visit to Cyprus from 25 to 28 June at the invitation of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. Stephanopoulos who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Foreign Under-Secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Finance Under-Secretary Alexandros Baltas and more than 40 officials held a series of meetings with senior Cypriot officials and visited all major towns of the island.

Upon his arrival, the Greek President Constantinos Stephanopoulos expressed the hope that Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, will soon be reunited, as well as the island as a whole and he described as a "shame" for the world civilisation the wall which divides Nicosia.

The Greek President, was presented with the capital's golden key by Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades, during a welcoming ceremony at the entrance of Nicosia.

Talks between the delegations from Greece and Cyprus, led by the presidents of the two countries, were held at the Presidential Palace.

Stephanopoulos was received at the Presidential Palace by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. After a brief meeting between the two, official talks between the two delegations began.

In a brief ceremony at the Presidential Palace, President Clerides honoured Greece's President with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III. President Clerides said it was a great honour for him to bestow on the Greek President the Grand Collar and added "I am sure the people of Cyprus, the government and the political leadership feel the same honour."

The Cypriot President said the Cyprus struggle, a peaceful struggle, aims to "safeguard the future of Cypriot Hellenism in the land of our ancestors and secure harmonious and creative co-existence and cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots within a federal Cyprus Republic".

Receiving the Grand Collar, Stephanopoulos thanked President Clerides for the honour bestowed on him and the Greek people. "I accept this great honour with gratitude on behalf of the Greek Republic" he said.

On 26 June Stephanopoulos addressed a special session of the House of Representatives.


* Swedish Parliamentary delegation in Cyprus

On June 3 a two-member parliamentary delegation from Sweden had separate meetings in Nicosia with Cypriot deputies who briefed them on current developments and the Republic's course for accession to the European Union.

Cypriot deputies stressed that the Cyprus question is an international problem of invasion and occupation and violation of fundamental human rights by Turkey.

The two-member parliamentary delegation was received by President Glafcos Clerides and House President Spyros Kyprianou.

Speaking after a meeting with Kyprianou, president of the parliamentary consultative committee on European Union matters, Berit Loefstedt described the situation in Cyprus as "very troublesome".

*Canadian FM in Cyprus

President Glafcos Clerides received on June 6 the Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who was on a brief visit to Cyprus to review the political and security situation on the island and to reiterate Canada's commitment to a peacefully negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy described President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of Cyprus as a "major step forward".

Speaking after a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, Axworthy also expressed Canada's desire to "lend whatever support we can to find a solution to issues that provide serious stalemate over the past few years."

He pointed out, however, that Canada does not have "a specific role as a broker or any particular initiative."

"We are here to underline the importance of finding a way of engaging in a dialogue and developing a serious examination of the issues," the Canadian Minister said.

* Finnish Envoy in Cyprus

Finland supports UN efforts in reaching a peaceful Cyprus solution and the island's course for European Union accession, a Finnish official said in Nicosia on June 6.

He also expressed the hope that UN-led Cyprus peace talks will soon be resumed and the Turkish Cypriot community will finally be represented in the accession negotiations, Cyprus started in March with the EU.

Jaakko Blomberg, Special Representative of Finland for Cyprus while in Cyprus, was received by President Glafcos Clerides.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Blomberg said his visit aimed at preparing for the Finnish EU six-month rotating presidency, starting on July 1, 1999.


The 7th General Assembly of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN), held in Cyprus on 15 and 16 June, took various decisions to promote closer cooperation between the members of the Alliance to their mutual benefit.

The Assembly, hosted by the Cyprus News Agency, current president of the Alliance, expressed, inter alias, its support for the right of all journalists to move freely all over Cyprus.

The Chairman of the Cyprus News Agency Board, Anthos Lykavgis, speaking at the opening ceremony of the General Assembly, stressed that Cypriot journalists can travel anywhere in the world to cover events, but cannot move freely in their own homeland.

Meanwhile, during the discussions that took place at the General Assembly, the question of Algerian journalists killed in the line of duty was also raised.

The Assembly expressed its solidarity with Algerian journalists, and condemned terrorism against journalists as an attack on the freedom of the press.

It was unanimously decided that the Lebanese News Agency (NNA) will take over the one-year presidency of the Alliance in June 1999, followed by the French News Agency (AFP).

The Assembly also decided after a proposal by the follow-up committee, that the annual prize for the best news item be awarded to Aarab Issiali, a journalist with the Morocco News Agency (MAP), whose article deals with relations between the southern and northern coasts of the Mediterranean.

Issiali will be awarded the prize in Cyprus, in March 1999, during a training seminar, which will be organised by the AFP and the CNA.

The next General Assembly will be held in Lebanon in June 1999.

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