Statement by Foreign Minister on the Yugoslav crisis

April 19, 1999

Replying to a press question about developments in Yugoslavia on his return from Brussels today, the Foreign Minister, Dr. Ioannis Kasoulides said: "On the one hand Cyprus has quite rightly not approved of the bombings and calls for their immediate termination and for political efforts to resolve the problem. It would also like to see a more active involvement by the Security Council. On the other hand, however, it has supported human rights and the cultural identity of the Kosovars. It has also supported their right to autonomy within the borders of Yugoslavia and the inviolability of borders and the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia.

At the same time we have a duty to present, in parallel with these positions, the other side of the truth as is testified by the 700,000 refugees who have left Kosovo because of atrocities and attempts to carry out ethnic cleansing at the expense of the Albanian-speaking population.

This does not stop us from condemning the bombings and from feeling sympathy for the victims among the Serbs and their sufferings. But we cannot make distinctions according to who is suffering. Our sympathy goes to all who suffer and human rights are universal. Unfortunately, though, we are inclined in Cyprus to see only one side of the tragedy."

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