December 7, 1995
Embassy of Cyprus
Press & Information Office
2211 R Street NW
Washington DC 20008
(202) 234-1936 Fax
U.S. ATTEMPTS TO BREAK ``LOGJAM''
U.S. Envoy Confers with Clerides, Denktash
U.S. Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Beattie arrived in Cyprus on December 4 "at the request of President Bill Clinton" to meet with the parties to "consider some ways to break the logjam and again begin serious discussions about a settlement." After a meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on December 5, Beattie also said he expressed "the view of President Clinton that he would very much like us to intensify our efforts to see if we can facilitate some resolution." In two days of separate talks with Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Beattie, accompanied by the State Department's Special Cyprus Coordinator, James Williams, reviewed the basic issues of the Cyprus problem and explored ways to overcome the present impasse, which has existed for more than a year.
Shift in Turkish Positions Needed
The Cyprus government has repeatedly stressed that direct talks can proceed only once the positions of the Turkish side are consistent with the negotiating framework established in the U.N. resolutions.
In his meetings with Beattie, Clerides again "highlighted the need to find common ground" before there is any high-level meeting, Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said on December 5. As evidence of its continued flexibility, the Cyprus government said that as part of an overall settlement it will accept a multinational force on Cyprus, including troops from Greece and Turkey, provided they are under the command of a third country. Despite this, there were no signs that Denktash was flexible in his talks with Beattie. He repeated his threat to have the occupied areas annexed by Turkey if Cyprus joins the European Union.
Beattie said on December 7 that he had "reviewed a good number of the issues and made some progress, but no progress on enough of the issues yet to have a foundation for direct discussions, but we are getting closer to that foundation and we will continue these efforts." He added that he will likely return to Cyprus early next year.
Despite the difficulties, the American effort will continue given the strong personal commitment of President Clinton to ending the division of Cyprus. "I remain concerned about the current lack of progress," Clinton said in his November 9 report to Congress covering Cyprus developments during August and September. The report made clear that in addition to its consultations in the region, the United States continues to explore with the member-states of the European Union "how the E.U. accession process for Cyprus could be used to promote a solution." Clinton said that the United States continues "to believe strongly that the European Union accession process for Cyprus can have a positive impact on efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement."
Cyprus Problem a European Concern
The European Union supports a solution based on the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus and on "respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots," Spain's permanent U.N. representative, representing the European Union, told the U.N. third committee on November 27. He emphasized that "the division of Cyprus, a member of the European family, has also a human rights dimension which is a matter of concern for the European Union." Also echoing E.U. concern, European Commissioner for External Relations, Hans Van Den Broek, emphasized on November 20 that the Cyprus issue is a European problem whose solution Europe must be involved in.
Underlining that "the need for a settlement is more urgent than ever," a senior British Foreign and Commonwealth Office official, Haydon Warren-Gash, began a series of meetings in Nicosia on December 7. The European Union is "clearly a factor" in attempts to achieve a progress he said, and reaffirmed Great Britain's strong interest, as well as the personal interest of the British foreign secretary, in a Cyprus settlement. Gash's visit also "reflects a degree of puzzlement that after more than 20 years, there is still no settlement here, when things are moving on in so many other parts of the world." Regarding the Turkish occupation troops, he said on December 6 that Great Britain "would much prefer the situation which there were not other troops in Cyprus."
Commonwealth Urges Turkish Troop Withdrawal
In their strongest condemnation ever of Turkey's invasion and continuing occupation, onNovember 13 the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in New Zealand "called for the speedy withdrawal of all Turkish forces and settlers from the Republic of Cyprus, the return of the refugees to their homes in conditions of safety, restoration of and respect for the human rights of all Cypriots."
Attended by delegations from 52 member-states, the Commonwealth's final communique also "urged the Security Council to take resolute action and the necessary measures for the speedy implementation of all U.N. resolutions on Cyprus," as well as expressed "its full support for the proposal by the President of Cyprus for the demilitarization of Cyprus." The Commonwealth communique "strengthens the international dimension of the Cyprus issue and international interest in a just and lasting settlement," Clerides said, since it "outlines the current situation in Cyprus and assumes important positions on what should be done."
The Cyprus President raised Turkey's violation of international law in Cyprus and the danger to regional peace posed by Ankara's recent military buildup in the occupied areas during the Commonwealth meeting, telling the delegates that the occupation was "a glaring example of the threats facing small states and of the failure of the aggressor to comply with repeated U.N. resolutions and the Commonwealth communiques."
He also expressed deep concern over the fact that Turkey continues to modernize it occupation forces--which "forces the government to build up its defenses"--and reiterated his proposal for the complete demilitarization of Cyprus. While in New Zealand, Clerides and Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides also conferred with officials of numerous Commonwealth countries.
Australia Endorses Cyprus Demilitarization
Emphasizing that it "agrees with the U.S. Congress that ultimate total demilitarization" of Cyprus would enhance the prospects for a lasting peace and is a proposal which "merits international support," on November 23 the Australian House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution on Cyprus which also called for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Cyprus and for the U.N. Security Council to consider alternative approaches to promoting a resolution of the Cyprus problem. Australia's strong support for Cyprus' demilitarization was also stressed by Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating on November 15, during an official visit to Australia by President Clerides.
EUROPEAN UNION-CYPRUS DIALOGUE INTENSIFIES
Consultations on Cyprus' progress toward European Union accession have intensified in recent weeks as E.U. and Cyprus officials discuss Cyprus' adjustment to E.U. regulations, the impact accession will have on the prospects for an overall Cyprus settlement, and Cyprus' role in promoting E.U.-Mediterranean relations.
These consultations are essential given the expectation that Cyprus will soon become a full E.U. member. European Commission President Jacques Santer on November 29 reiterated the precedence which Cyprus and Malta have over the accession of other applicant countries.
That Cyprus and Malta will be part of the next stage of E.U. enlargement was also affirmed on December 6 by Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Westendorp, who presented the report of the E.U. reflection group on the forthcoming E.U. intergovernmental conference.
Since the intergovernmental conference will probably end in June, 1997, Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini said on December 6, accession negotiations with Cyprus and Malta will likely begin in early 1998. These developments follow the decision of the E.U. that accession negotiations with Cyprus and Malta will begin six months after the end of the intergovernmental conference, and to help prepare the groundwork for the accession negotiations, on November 21 Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides conferred with the E.U. Council of Ministers as part of a structured dialogue meant to ensure that Cyprus government policy is in concert with the acquis communautaire, the regulations and agreements of the European Union.
After the meeting Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana, representing the E.U. presidency, and European Commissioner Hans Van Den Broek expressed their satisfaction that Cyprus is progressing without difficulty. Van Den Broek added that discussions will soon begin on Cyprus' participation in a range of E.U. programs.
Cyprus Accession Should Be Unconditional
Despite Turkey's continuing occupation, Cyprus should be accepted unconditionally into the Union, European parliamentarian Mechtild Rothe said on November 22, during a meeting of the E.U.-Cyprus joint parliamentary committee, composed of members of the European Parliament and Cyprus House of Representatives. Cyprus House of Representatives President Alexis Galanos, who co-chairs the joint committee with Rothe, emphasized that Cyprus' accession will serve as a catalyst for an overall settlement, and promote E.U. relations with the countries of the Mediterranean region.
A Bridge Between E.U. and Mediterranean
"Its strategic position in the Eastern Mediterranean and close ties with its neighbors in the Middle East, as well as those it has with the E.U., make Cyprus a bridge for Europe to the Middle East," Foreign Minister Michaelides told the E.U.'s Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona on November 28.
The goal of an E.U.-Mediterranean partnership, he said, should be shared prosperity, sustainable and balanced economic and social development, and the establishment of a free trade area. He added that economic growth would reduce the gap between the developed northern Mediterranean coast and the developing southern areas as well as help consolidate peace and stability in the region.
CYPRUS FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS TIMETABLE FOR DEMILITARIZATION NEEDED
Measures to enhance the security of all Cypriots--both before and after a settlement is achieved-- have been proposed by the Cyprus government to further efforts to achieve a settlement. Before a comprehensive solution, "we should promote an agreement on a timetable for a reduction of forces, leading to the total withdrawal of Turkish troops," Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said in a speech in London on November 2, adding that the withdrawal is to be coupled by a reduction in Cyprus government defense spending.
After a solution, he continued, the number of guarantors "must be extended by adding more countries or institutions, such as NATO and the Western Economic Union."
"The situation in Cyprus is not stable as people think," Michaelides concluded, "the longer the Turkish troops stay in Cyprus, the deeper the Turkification of the island becomes and the prospect of the division of the island becoming permanent is indeed alarming."
IN BRIEF . . .
The Cyprus problem is "perhaps the most clear-cut provocation" in the world today Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides told the first Congress of Overseas Greeks (SAE) meeting in Thessaloniki on December 4, and emphasized that the international community must ensure that the principles of the U.N. charter be implemented without discrimination. In a resolution on December 7, the conference called for Turkey to be pressured to end its intransigence on Cyprus and to comply with the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus. The new SAE president, Andrew Athens, also announced that the Greek American community will intensify its efforts to ensure a just and lasting Cyprus settlement.
On November 15, the 12th anniversary of the "unilateral declaration of independence" (U.D.I.) of the Turkish-occupied area, thousands of Cypriots throughout the free areas of the island protested this partitionist action and urged the international community to pressure Turkey to end its occupation of Cyprus. After the declaration of U.D.I., the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 541 on November 18, 1983, declaring any secessionist attempts "legally invalid" and calling on "all states to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus [and] not to recognize any Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus." The Council further condemned the secessionist action in resolution 550. Since then all nations have adhered to the U.N. resolutions and not recognized the illegal entity.
On November 3 the Cyprus government strongly protested to the U.N. Secretary-General over continuing "acts of vandalism and desecration against holy places of worship" in occupied Cyprus. Calling the forcible expulsion of 200,000 Greek Cypriots from the occupied areas the first step in "Turkification of the occupied part of the island," the second step is the destruction of the cultural heritage, a policy that is being implemented so far with impunity." As further evidence of this policy, the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yenicag (November 11) reported the theft by Turkish officials of books from the Greek library of Famagusta, which contained priceless 17th and 18th century rare books.