European Court rejects Turkey's proposal

February 26, 1999

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe rejected on 9 February a Turkish proposal to set up a joint commission, made up of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, to discuss and sort out issues relating to properties, Cyprus Ambassador to the Council Thalea Petrides has said.

The proposal was presented in Turkey at the Committee meeting in order to get itself more time and possibly help avoid payment for compensation to a Greek Cypriot, whose case the European Court of Human Rights heard and concluded last year.

The Court last July ordered Turkey to pay Titina Loizidou over 400,000 Cyprus pounds (one pound is about two US dollars) for prevention of enjoyment of her property in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Meanwhile the Cyprus Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides, described as "unacceptable" similar proposals by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, concerning the exchange of Greek Cypriot properties occupied by Turkish troops since they invaded the island in 1974.

Commenting on letters sent by Denktash to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Daniel Tarschys, Stylianides said the answer to the Turkish Cypriot leader has been given by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Titina Loizidou.

The British government also expressed the view that Ankara is responsible to implement the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. In a written reply to a question in the House of Lords, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean said "responsibility for implementing the judgement in Loizidou v. Turkey lies with Turkey".


Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides visited Brussels and Athens during the first week of February where he held talks with European Commissioner for External Affairs Hans Van den Broek and Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

Upon his return to Cyprus Minister Kasoulides expressed satisfaction with his talks in both capitals and said he believed accession negotiations with the European Union would proceed as scheduled.

Kasoulides said "I would like to believe and I have reason to believe, that EU membership talks will carry on as planned" on the next eight chapters in addition to the two chapters that have not yet been concluded.

Describing his meeting with EU Commissioner for External Relations Hans Van den Broek as "very good and productive", Kasoulides fully backed statements by the Commissioner that Turkey should refrain from any kind of action that would slow down Cyprus' accession process.


US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has underlined in Washington that the United States firmly support the UN efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Speaking after a meeting on 17 February in Washington with her Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, Albright said she stressed to the Minister that she and the US President are "personally interested in helping to move ahead".

"We are urging both sides to work with Ann Hercus, the UN Deputy Special Representative for Cyprus, to put the Secretary-General's initiative into action", she added. Furthermore Albright pointed out that she told Kasoulides that "President Clerides courageous decision not to deploy the S300 (Russian-made surface-to-air missiles) on Cyprus has opened new opportunities to find a resolution for the Cyprus problem". She pledged "we will continue to work with both sides in public and in private and we will encourage both to negotiate creatively and flexibly".

The US Secretary of State added that "we will not hesitate to bring to the table whatever contributions we can make ourselves". Albright referred also to the "very close relations" between the USA and Cyprus and that "we have an extensive trade relationship, we cooperate to fight crime, drug trafficking and terrorism and we have a common interest in building a Europe that is united, prosperous and free, a Europe in which all Cypriots fully participate".

The Cyprus Foreign Minister described his meeting with Albright as "very useful". Kasoulides said he discussed with Albright a number of ways through which the US Administration can work actively for the implementation of the latest Security Council Resolutions, according to President Clinton's public statement to that effect.

He said "the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, have the right to enjoy freedom, peace and stability like any other people in the world".


Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aslaug Haga, paid a 3-day visit to Cyprus from 8 to 10 February.

On her arrival, Haga said her country believes that contacts between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen contribute towards promoting mutual understanding and the building of confidence on the island.

Haga said that the purpose of her visit was to strengthen relations between Norway and Cyprus, and promote contacts between businessmen on both sides. On 10 February she was received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and after her meeting with the President she met with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

Speaking on her departure at Larnaca Airport the Norwegian Foreign Minister noted that she had "very constructive and useful talks".

"We had in all the discussions confirmed the excellent bilateral relations between Norway and the Republic of Cyprus", the Norwegian official said.


On 8 February President Glafcos Clerides attended in Amman the funeral of King Hussein of Jordan. Speaking on his departure at Larnaca Airport, the Cypriot President said that King Hussein "was a leader of international prestige, who contributed greatly to all efforts towards finding a solution to the Middle East problem".

An official statement, issued in Nicosia, said President Glafcos Clerides and the Cyprus government "wish to express their deep sorrow over the death of King Hussein of Jordan."

"King Hussein contributed a great deal to the peace process in the Middle East and his death is truly a great loss not only to Jordan but to the whole Middle East," the statement aid.


Pantelis Kyriakides has been appointed vice-president of the European Patent Office in Munich, becoming the first Cypriot in a managerial position in a European organization.

The 19-member European Patent Office is considered one of the most important organizations set up by European states. Cyprus has been a full member since April 1998, the only one of the six fast-track candidate states for European Union accession to be accepted so far.

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