President Clerides ready to attend
direct talks with good will


May 30, 1997

The Greek Cypriot side will accept an invitation to direct talks with the Turkish Cypriot side even though the latter has given no evidence of a shift from its intransigent positions. The above statement was made by President Clerides in his remarks at the opening of the 22nd International State Fair in Nicosia on 21 May.

The President also stated that he would insist on discussion of the basic aspects of the Cyprus problem, with security matters as a top priority.

"We have indicated to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the Turkish side has given no sign of any intention to shift from its well-known positions on the basic aspects of the Cyprus problem and that he would, therefore, have to consider seriously the consequences of a new failure" the President said.

He said "Our side will not refuse to attend direct talks" if the Secretary-General decides to call the talks and added "we shall attend, once more, with goodwill as we are keen to reach a settlement the soonest possible."

Referring to the content of the talks, President Clerides underlined "we shall insist that the talks should concentrate on discussion of the basic aspects of the Cyprus problem," identified on matters relating to sovereignty, security, territorial adjustments, the constitution and guarantees of a future federal state of Cyprus.

"We shall also continue to maintain our position against holding protracted talks if there is not progress first on the basic aspects, the most important of which is the question of our future security," he said.

On Cyprus' European Union (EU) orientation, President Clerides expressed the hope that the EU accession "will be to the benefit of all its inhabitants as this is expected to act as a catalyst in achieving a just, viable and workable solution to the Cyprus problem and ensure progress and prosperity for all."

Meanwhile, the Government Spokesman in Nicosia Manolis Christophides said that the Greek Cypriot side approached proximity talks in all seriousness and will approach direct talks in the same spirit, in order to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem. "Our message is that within, the UN framework and taking into consideration reaffirmation of interested parties for assistance, we will go to direct talks and cooperate fully with the UN Secretary-General for a solution to the Cyprus problem" the spokesman said.


On 28 May, Argentine President, Carlos Menem, visited Cyprus on a twelve-hour unofficial visit, to meet with Argentine UN peace-keepers, serving on the island since 1993. Speaking on arrival, Mr. Menem said he was particularly pleased to be back in Cyprus for the third time, on the occasion marking his country's day for the armed forces.

"This is a very important day for the armed forces of Argentina, as this is the day of the army in Argentina. That is why I had wished to come here, even though briefly, to be able to commemorate that day with the armed forces of Argentina," he said.

The Argentine President also expressed the hope that all UN resolutions on Cyprus "will be fulfilled."

Mr. Menem noted that soldiers from Argentina serve with UNFICYP since 1993 and said "they worked hard to fulfill their mission."

"I will be very happy to see all the problems in this country solved by the time our soldiers go back to Argentina," he added.

Welcoming the Argentine President at Larnaca airport, acting Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou, thanked Menem for the "solidarity" his country "has always shown with Cyprus in its efforts to achieve a just and viable solution to our problem."

Mr. Menem left the airport for Skouriotissa area, some 40 kilometers west of the capital Nicosia, where he met with the 380-strong Argentine UNFICYP contingent, stationed there. The Argentine force is the largest serving contingent in UNFICYP. It monitors the western part of the 180-kilometers long buffer zone, separating the free government-controlled part of the Republic from the Turkish-occupied areas.

UNFICYP is presently commanded by Argentine Major-General, Ernesto Evergisto de Vergara.

The Argentine President also paid a courtesy call on President Glafcos Clerides.

President Menem was last in Cyprus in November 1995 on a four-day visit.


The illegal Turkish Cypriot regime has denied a group of Turkish Cypriot youths to cross from the northern Turkish-occupied areas of the island to the free government-controlled areas, to attend a UN-sponsored festival.

The annual bicommunal cultural festival was organized on 30 May at the Armenian school in Nicosia by the Cyprus UN Association and was entitled "Peaceful co-existence."

The illegal regime did not allow 37 Turkish Cypriot youths to participate in this bicommunal festival and perform folk dances. Greek Cypriot, Armenian, Maronite and Latin youths performed folk and pop music and dances at the festival, sending a message of peace to the other side of the divide.

Present at the festival was the Commander of UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Argentine Major-General, Ernesto Evergisto de Vergara.

Meanwhile, another bicommunal project did go ahead the same night at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel. More than 200 Greek and Turkish Cypriot architects gathered together to present a book on Cyprus architecture.

The book, "Twelve Traditional Cyprus Houses" was the culmination of five-year's work by a team of architects from the two sides under the auspices of UNHCR.


The two most serious problems faced by the enclaved is freedom of movement and restrictions in the education of children, Andras Barsony, rapporteur of the political committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE), said in an interview with Cyprus News Agency.

He also said he would raise the issue of the missing with the Turkish government, which can probably give some details on the matter.

Barsony said he shares the view of his predecessor, the late Lord Finsberg, that living conditions of some 500 Greek and Maronite Cypriots living in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic are "appalling".

However, he said he acknowledges that slight improvements have taken place since February last year when the late Lord Finsberg visited Greek Cypriot enclaved in the Karpass peninsula, in the north eastern tip of the island.

Barsony, who spent Thursday night in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, said he will submit an interim report to the committee and by January 1998 a report to the Assembly, outlining the situation on the island. The Hungarian MP said he will take into account the outcome of the direct talks and consider the time lost because of the presidential campaign, in submitting his report.

The interim report is expected to put forward proposals to improve the living conditions of the Greek Cypriot enclaved, but will also analyze the situation of the Turkish Cypriots living in the government controlled areas of the Republic.

He said two of the serious issues concern the freedom of movement and the education rights of Greek Cypriot children living in the occupied areas.

"There has been little change in this field and I propose to address the Turkish Cypriot authorities on freedom of movement and ask them to improve the current situation," he told CNA.

Current arrangements in the education of children in the Karpass are "unacceptable to us," he said and added that he will raise this issue again when he return in the autumn.


The President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, urgently appealed to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to help improve the living conditions of the enclaved Greek Cypriots in the northern Turkish-occupied areas of the island.

In a letter to the UN Chief, on behalf of all members of the House, Kyprianou noted that the situation of the enclaved has "reached the dimensions of an intolerable tragedy."

He said it "is time that something more substantial and tangible were done to implement all pertinent UN decisions and recommendations and the long-standing Vienna II Agreement, in order to put an end to these people's day-to-day suffering."

The Third Vienna Agreement was signed in 1975 by President Glafcos Clerides, who was at the time interlocutor of the Greek Cypriot side, and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, aimed at improving the living conditions of the enclaved.

"This is an urgent appeal to you, Mr. Secretary-General, to help these people lead a more normal and more humane life by pressing upon the occupying power to respect the basic rights including that of freedom of movement," Kyprianou added.

The President of the House referred to the case of the Greek Cypriot teacher in the occupied village of Rizokarpasso, Eleni Foka, who "has been repeatedly denied her basic rights of contacts with her family and free movement, for a prolonged period of time."

He drew the attention of the UN Chief to the fact that whoever tries to contact the enclaved in the occupied areas "is faced with the unacceptable demands of the occupying regime, which aim at assuring direct or indirect recognition of the illegal secessionist entity established by that regime."

Kyprianou expressed the fear that the enclaved "can probably no longer bear the inhuman treatment and punishment they are suffering on a daily basis, their only "crime" being that they have stayed in their ancestral homes."

Ending his letter, Kyprianou called the Secretary-General to exercise his influence so that the "enclaved persons' fundamental rights and freedoms are fully and immediately respected."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory. From the 20,000 Greek Cypriots and Maronites who remained in the occupied areas after the invasion, there are now only 500, mostly Greek Cypriots living in the eastern Karpass peninsula.

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