Message by President Clerides on Cyprus National Day

September 30, 1998

On the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the independence of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides delivered a message to the people of Cyprus reiterating his readiness to engage in peace talks within the UN framework with a view to reuniting Cyprus and seeing the country peaceful, demilitarised and independent.

President Clerides said that the permanent members of the UN Security Council have to adopt a strategy to convince the Turkish side to return to the negotiating table on the basis of the UN resolutions. Failing that, he remarked, the Security Council should take measures against Turkey, as stipulated by the UN Charter.

The President also warned that a Turkish Cypriot proposal for a Cyprus confederation on the basis of two separate and sovereign states would only harm the people of Cyprus and result in the permanent division of the island.

Mr Clerides thanked the Foreign Ministers of the permanent five and all states and statesmen who have backed the efforts of the government of the Republic to meet Turkey's threats and promote its accession to the European Union.

"The international community and in particular the permanent members of the UN Security Council should draft a strategy to convince the Turkish side to return to the negotiating table without changing the basis of the talks and in the framework of the two high level agreements as well as the relevant UN resolutions," the President said.


The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) expressed concern with the lack of progress in a Cyprus settlement due to the Turkish side's intransigence and condemned Turkish efforts for a change of the basis of the peace talks.

The reference to Cyprus in the final communique of the 12th Summit of Heads of Governments and States, held in Durban South Africa approved at the closing session on September 3, reiterates the Movement's firm positions on the Cyprus problem and calls for resolute UN Security Council action.

NAM expressed "deep concern and disappointment over the fact that no progress has been achieved in the search for a just and viable solution due to Turkish intransigence and the attempt of the Turkish side to introduce preconditions to the two rounds of direct negotiations", held in the summer of 1997.

The NAM leaders "condemn the declared attempts of the Turkish side for a change of the basis of the intercommunal dialogue under the mandate of the UN Secretary-General" and "consider such demands contrary to the relevant UN resolutions, the NAM Declarations and the principles of international law and call for their withdrawal.

In its communique, NAM calls on the UN Security Council "to take resolute action and appropriate measures, including the holding of an international conference and the demilitarisation of Cyprus, as repeatedly proposed by the President of Cyprus."

The Non-Aligned leaders express "grave concern about recent and continuous Turkish threats of use of force against Cyprus and integration of the occupied territory by Turkey and deplore threats by the Turkish side that it will not attend any new round of talks unless the purported state in the occupied territory is recognised.

The Non-Aligned countries stress that "the present status quo in Cyprus, created and maintained by the use of arms, is unacceptable" and underline "the importance and urgency for the effective implementation of all UN resolutions" on Cyprus.

They reiterate their support to the sovereignty, unity,independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and once again call for the withdrawal of all occupation forces and settlers, the return of the refugees to their homes in conditions of safety, the restoration of and respect for human rights of all Cypriots and the accounting for all missing persons.

The NAM leaders expressed concern with the continuing lack of political will by the Turkish side and reaffirmed their support to the UN Secretary-General's efforts for a just, comprehensive and workable solution in Cyprus.


President Glafcos Clerides receiving on September 17 the credentials of the new EU Head of Delegation in Cyprus, Mr Donato Giovanni Chiarini said that the government's invitation to the Turkish Cypriots to nominate representatives in the team negotiating the Republic's accession to the European Union (EU) remains open.The President also stressed the importance of relations with the Union.

Presenting his credentials, Mr Chiarini said that the beginning of accession talks has opened a new chapter in the island's history and described Cyprus as the most diligent pupil among all candidate countries in the quality of the work it has done.

"The road towards accession offers us new possibilities and new avenues for cooperation between the two communities of Cyprus. It is our earnest desire that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots share with us the task of preparing Cyprus for EU membership," President Clerides said.


Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides described a proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, for a confederation in Cyprus, as "unacceptable" and pointed out that it makes the prospect of a dialogue between the two sides for a Cyprus settlement all the more remote.

The Foreign Minister made the above statement following the announcement of the Turkish Cypriot proposals and he added that "Rauf Denktash's position is not new, but has been repeatedly expressed".

He reminded that the UN Secretary General had referred to a lack of political will on the part of the Turkish side for a Cyprus settlement and the President of the UN Security Council had expressed disappointment over the Turkish stance.

"US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke had also noted that Turkish demands and preconditions for a resumption of negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem are unacceptable," Kasoulides added.

"The creation of two protectorates in Cyprus and the partition of the island is out of the question for us," Kasoulides stressed.

He added that Denktash's proposal is "definitely not welcome" and "does not bring us back to the negotiating table but on the contrary keeps as even further away".


Russia stressed on September 3 that the proposal put forward by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, for the establishment of a confederation of two separate states on the island, contradicts many UN resolutions on Cyprus.

Moscow also said it is unproductive and constitutes yet another effort to gain recognition of the self-proclaimed illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas.

Russian Foreign Ministry senior spokesman, Vladimir Rakhmanin, said in a statement that his country consistently calls for a rapid resumption of the intercommunal talks.

He said one cannot ignore the fact that the proposal contradicts UN resolutions, as well as the high-level agreements signed by Denktash himself in 1977 and 1979.


On September 21, the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Recources and Environment, Costas Themistocleous, announced that Cyprus is expected to ratify the United Nations' Convention to Combat Desertification by the end of the year.

In an address he delivered at the opening session of a two-day National Awareness Seminar on Desertification and Land Degradation, Themistocleous said that his ministry discussed the issue with other state services and "submitted a proposal to the Council of Ministers for approval and ratification".

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