November 30, 1998

On November 13 the National Council in Cyprus decided to request time for a debate on Cyprus at the UN General Assembly during its 53rd Session. The National Council which comprises the island's political parties, is President Clerides' top advisory body on the Cyprus problem.

President Clerides speaking after the meeting of the National Council, said that: "The National Council decided to request time for a debate of the Cyprus problem at the new session of the UN General Assembly, which begins either April or May,"

On his part, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said "the decision to ask for time for a debate has been taken but I believe we would all like to reconsider the matter, if there are any positive developments (on the Cyprus issue)." This, he added, was an initial decision.

As President Clerides underlined the Cyprus Government is working towards a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus problem, but the international community must exert pressure on the Turkish side which maintains its intransigent positions on the Cyprus question.


Greek Cypriot sincerity and goodwill are not enough for a Cyprus settlement, President Glafcos Clerides, has said, stressing that Turkish intentions should radically change.

In a message at an anti-occupation gathering on November 15, against the illegal declaration of the secessionist regime in the Turkish-occupied part of the Republic, 15 years ago, President Clerides also called upon the international community to focus its efforts in this direction.

"The Turkish side has undermined all the efforts made so far by the international community to find a federal solution through negotiations either in direct or in proximity talks," he remarked.

"The international community has on many occasions formally noted these negative and undermining tactics of the Turkish side," he added.

"It has been proved that our sincerity and goodwill are not enough to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of a federation," Clerides said, stressing that "it is self-evident that the policy and the intentions of the Turkish side should radically change".

He pointed out that "it is in this direction that the international community should focus its efforts," warning that "if this need is not fully understood, then the Turkish side will with mathematical certainty cause also the failure of the new UN effort underway."

President Clerides also called upon the UN Security Council "to take against Turkey the measures envisaged in the UN Charter", should it torpedo this effort too.

The House of Representatives also denounced at its weekly plenary session on November 19 the illegal and unilateral declaration of a so-called independent entity in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island 15 years ago.

In a petition the House called for the withdrawal of the illegal declaration, of November 15 1983, and for the freedom and re-unification of Cyprus, as well as the restoration of the legitimate rights of its people.

It pointed out that efforts aiming at a Cyprus settlement should be directed towards Turkey, so that Ankara would feel the need for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.


Ezer Weizman, the President of the State of Israel paid a three day visit to Cyprus from 2 to 4 November, at the inivitation of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

Welcoming to Cyprus the President of Israel, President Clerides said that strengthening relations between Cyprus and Israel serves the cause of peace, stability and security in the region as well as the interests of the people of both countries. He said Weizman's visit is a good sign for future enhanced relations.

Thanking President Clerides and First Lady Lila-Irene Clerides for their invitation to visit Cyprus, Weizman said that both Israel and Cyprus "are countries suffering from conflict and aiming for peace," Weizman referred to the Wye Plantation agreement and described it as "a very positive step towards a final settlement."

"I hope that soon we will hear that a solution has also been found to your problem," he said and concluded his remarks with a blessing from the prayer book "and I shall give peace to the land and eternal joy to its inhabitants."

"Our countries and people have much in common," Weizman said, adding that Israeli tourists "feel very much at home" when they arrive on the island, noting the local hospitality of the people of Cyprus.

"Relations between our two peoples go back to thousands of years, to Roman times when there was a large Jewish community in Cyprus," he remarked. "I am pleased," he added, with the cooperation between Israel and Cyprus in the fields of economy, commerce, agriculture and others.

Welcoming Weizman, President Clerides said that "Cyprus and Israel are already linked with bonds of friendship and close cooperation, your arrival marks the beginning of a new bright chapter in the relations between our two countries and predicts well for the future,"

Clerides expressed certainty that "in our endeavour to strengthen the relations between our two countries, not only we serve the interests of the people of Cyprus and Israel but at the same time we promote and reinforce the cause of peace, security and stability in this volatile region."

While in Cyprus President Weizman met with the Mayor of Nicosia, Lellos Demetriades at the Town Hall and he also visited the demarcation line. He said that the wall dividing the Cyprus capital, Nicosia, reminded him of Jerusalem and expressed the hope that like Jerusalem has a solution this would also have its solution. He pointed out that it cannot be known "how long you will have to wait for it", and stressed that "cities have a tendency of joining and not parting, like Jerusalem, like Berlin".


The UN Convention on the rights of the child is a powerful tool for the international community to ensure the protection of children but immediate action is needed to eradicate the dangers children face throughout the world.

This message was the focus of speakers at at two-day meeting on "Children's Rights and Wrongs", held on 5 and 6 November in Cyprus which aimed at evaluating the implementation of the UN Convention, ratified by most states.

"The UN Convention is a powerful instrument on behalf of the world's children. The international community needs to act now and on many fronts to honour concepts contained in the Convention of rights of the child," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the meeting said.

The message, read by Annan's resident representative in Cyprus Dame Ann Hercus, congratulated the organisers, the Centre for World Dialogue and UNICEF, and noted that UN and UNICEF have been engaged for the past five decades in efforts to secure the rights of children worldwide.

"I am sure this meeting will make a meaningful contribution" in efforts to improve the condition of children throughout the world. Pointing to the need for aid to children, Dame Ann said it is important to eradicate the dangers to children's lives, especially this year which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights.

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who opened this "most important symposium" in his own words, said the adoption of the UN Convention on the rights of the child marked the "first step towards addressing one of the greatest tragedies of our time."

"The most basic rights of any child are at this moment, in the closing pages of the second millennium, denied to millions of children all over the world," he said and expressed "rage, anger and desperation" with this situation.

"The only qualification required for that is to be human," he told delegates from around the world, including children who themselves had suffered abuse of their rights and are now champions for the rights of other children.

He called on participants to put forward proposals to alleviate the suffering of children and stressed that extreme poverty brings hunger resulting to child labour, exploitation, prostitution and slavery.

Emotions are important and compassion is natural and easier than action, UNICEF General Director, Andre Roberfroid, concluded on the closing day of the seminar.

The UNICEF official warned that the fight against child labour and injustice is long and "will not be done overnight". "This has to be a cause, the cause of our life and perhaps the cause of the life of the next generation," he stressed.


Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, on 15 November paid a four day visit to Algeria at the invitation of his Algerian counterpart Ahmed Attaf. During his visit the Foreign Minister held talks with the Algerian Foreign Minister in the presence of ministerial officials from both countries. The talks covered a wide range of issues, including bilateral relations, developments in Algeria and Cyprus, cooperation and Euro-mediterranean cooperation.

During the talks, it was ascertained that the common wish of the two governments is to develop bilateral relations,especially in the field of economy, and to maintain stable friendly relations, especially in the field of political cooperation.

Minister kasoulides was also received by the President, Prime Minister and the Speakers of the two Houses of the country.

* * * * *