January 31, 1997
Once again Cyprus has called on Turkey to carefully examine President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the demilitarization of Cyprus, if it wishes to see peace on the island.
Speaking to the press, Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said "if Turkish Premier Necmettin Erbacan wishes Cyprus to be an island of peace, he should seriously examine the President's proposal for the demilitarization of Cyprus."
President Clerides proposed to the U.N. in 1993 as part of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, the complete demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus, in which he has offered to disband the National guard of Cyprus and hand over all weapons to an International Force, in exchange for the complete withdrawal of all foreign troops, as demanded by the relevant United Nations resolution.
President Cleride's proposal, which not only reflects the Cyprus Government's good intentions but also the spirit of the times was unfortunately rejected by Turkey.
* PRESIDENT MUGABE IN CYPRUS
The President of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe visited Cyprus on January 6 for a three-day state visit during which he held talks with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
President Mugabe was accompanied by first lady, Grace Mugabe, Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge, and a number of state officials, including Deputy Ministers of Environment and Tourism and Sports and Culture. They were welcomed at Larnaca airport by President Clerides, state officials and party leaders and representatives.
In a speech on the occasion of a state banquet, held by President Glafcos Clerides in his honor on January 7, the President of Zimbabwe fully backed efforts for a united and independent federal Cyprus. He said "we reaffirm the hope that a multi-pronged approach to the problems you face can stir both sides towards a peaceful resolution of the present conflict."
Referring to bilateral relations, Mugabe said he wishes to see "closer economic, technical and cultural cooperation" between the two countries. Pursuant to these goals, he said the two countries should "create an enabling mechanism that would facilitate and spearhead development of this cooperation," such as a "general agreement on economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation which will enable the establishment of a joint commission."
President Clerides described President Mugabe's presence in Cyprus as a tangible evidence of the will of his government to further enhance and strengthen the cooperation of the two countries in all fields. He further underlined the existing "excellent relations" between the two countries.
President Clerides expressed "profound gratitude for the invaluable support and the solidarity rendered by Zimbabwe, as a leading African state, to Cyprus at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth."
The President of Zimbabwe while in Cyprus addressed a special session of the House of Representatives.
On January 6, the Zimbabwean President was bestowed with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, the highest honor possessed by the Republic of Cyprus. Decorating his counterpart of Zimbabwe, the President of Cyprus said President Mugabe is a "friend of Cyprus, who has always supported freedom justice and non-interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Cyprus."
* CYPRUS PRESIDENT TO PAY STATE VISIT TO INDIA
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will pay a week-long official visit to the Republic of India, beginning February 10. This is the first state visit Clerides will be making to India since he took office in February 1993. There will be a ceremonial reception for the Cypriot President, who will be accompanied by his Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides.
The visit is taking place at the invitation of the President of India Shankar Dayal Sharma. During the visit, President Clerides will have meetings with Sharma and
Indian Prime Minister Deve Gowda. He will also visit Bombay.
* BRITISH LABOUR PARTY PLEDGES TO HELP CYPRUS
At a public gathering of the Cypriot community in London on January 26, the deputy leader of the Labour Party John Prescott, described the dividing line in Cyprus as an "appalling stain for democracy which eventually will be torn down as it happened with the Berlin Wall."
Prescott said from January 1998, "Britain with a Labour government, will be presiding over the EU. We will use our influence in the EU, in the UN as well as elsewhere, to bring about an end to the division of Cyprus."
"We in the Labour party, have consistently said that accession to the EU should act as a catalyst for progress towards a settlement, but accession should not depend on a solution," the Labour leader said.
Such a solution, he added, "must be consistent with international law and the terms of the UN resolutions."
In a message to the gathering, read by Joyce Quin, the Shadow Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who was visiting Nicosia at that time, said the application of the Republic of Cyprus for membership to the EU, if handled properly, "could act as a catalyst for a solution which would unite Greek and Turkish Cypriots in a common European destiny."
He said although all want Cyprus to join the EU as a united country, the Labour party has always made it clear that "the application of the Republic of Cyprus will be considered on its own merits and that no third party should be granted a veto."
The meeting was organized by the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood and the London branches of AKEL, DIKO and EDEK political parties, under the aegis of the National Federation of Cypriots in Great Britain.