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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-01-12

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, January 12, 2003

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CONTENTS

  • [01] De Soto stresses need for talks to resume
  • [02] Youth dies in bike crash
  • [03] Peace groups plan bottle mountain outside Denktash's house

  • [01] De Soto stresses need for talks to resume

    By Jean Christou

    U.N. SPECIAL Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto is expected to return to the island early this week but details are still sketchy on how negotiations to beat the February 28 deadline for a Cyprus solution will be carried out.

    De Soto was in Ankara on Friday, and after a meeting with Ugur Zival, an Undersecretary at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the UN envoy said the talks should begin urgently.

    However Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was quoted yesterday as saying his side did not have any information on how the talks would be resumed. “Will we hold face-to-face talks or proximity talks? We do not know anything at this point," he said after meeting Turkish Cypriot party leaders.

    The Communal Liberation Party (TKP) did not attend the meeting. The TKP and the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) want Denktash to resign over his handling of the Cyprus issue, especially over his failure to see through a preliminary agreement at the EU summit in Copenhagen last month. Denktash said it would have been better for all the parties to contribute to reaching a consensus on the proposed settlement plan, drawn up by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

    “If we come to a conclusion, we should all make contributions,” he said, adding that people were becoming too “excited” about the plan and that the Annan document had “word games”.

    De Soto said in Ankara that if the two sides focus on the plan with a sense of urgency, it would still be possible to reach an agreement before the end of February. He described Copenhagen as “a missed opportunity”.

    ''In our view, the (UN) plan represents a balanced approach to the problem, fair to everyone. If the two sides agree on changes and preserve the overall balance, changes can be made,'' de Soto said. ''We may reach a solution at the last moment. Unfortunately, a solution could not be reached so far. The plan was presented to the sides. I hope that they would send their response soon.”

    In response to questions he said: ''The ball is not in the court of the UN.”

    Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc was due in the north yesterday with a delegation of 20 deputies from the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committees.

    Turkey's new ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has signalled a revision of Ankara's policy on Cyprus, and according to an article to be published in today's Turkish Daily News (TDN), the hardline military “does not rule out a solution based on a plan submitted by United Nations Secretary-general Kofi Annan but stresses that the strategic importance of the island for Turkish security cannot be traded off in any way”.

    “The military feels that even if the Turkish Cypriots did not exist on the island Turkey would not have allowed it to fall into the hands of people with aggressive intentions. The military says if Cyprus does fall into enemy hands Turkey would be imprisoned on the mainland,” TDN says. 'So the Armed Forces is serving notice to friends and foes alike that any solution in Cyprus will have to take into account the sensitivities of the Turkish military.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Youth dies in bike crash

    A 17-year-old was killed late on Friday night when his motorbike was in collision with a car in Tseri.

    At around 10.15pm, near a petrol station on Strovolos Avenue, a car driven by 27-year-old Stathis Michail car collided with the bike driven by Panayiotis Koutsiofis, who was not wearing a helmet. Koutsiofis died in the accident.

    Neither Michail nor his wife, who was also in the car, was hurt. The police are calling for the driver of a pick-up truck believed to have been at the petrol station at the time, or anyone else with information, to contact them.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Peace groups plan bottle mountain outside Denktash's house

    By Jean Christou

    GREEK Cypriot peace groups said yesterday they would help their Turkish Cypriot counterparts to build a 'message in a bottle' mountain outside the residence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to press home their demand for reunification of the island based on the UN plan.

    The bicommunal women's group 'Hands Across the Divide' and other peace groups launched their campaign in Nicosia's main square in support of the Turkish Cypriots by collecting signatures for a petition and written messages for the bottles.

    “This is in support of the initiative in the north where people are being asked to write a sentence for peace, put it in a plastic bottle, and give it to the organisers,” said Nicos Anastassiou, one of the organisers.

    “They will then collect them and create a 'Mountain of Peace' after all the bottles are taken in lorries outside Mr Denktash's house and piled up. There will be an excellent recycling opportunity for environmentalists when this is all over.”

    Denktash, 78, has come under increasing pressure from Turkish Cypriots to resign after his side failed to sign a preliminary agreement based on the reunification plan drawn up by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

    On December 26 around 30,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets calling on Denktash to resign and demanding that the Annan plan be signed. It was the largest demonstration ever held in the north of the island, whose population totals only 200,000.

    A new demonstration, which the organisers hope will be even larger, is planned for next Tuesday. Greek Cypriots will decide today what action they will take in solidarity with the demonstrators, said Maria Hadjipavlou, a representative of Hands Across the Divide who was collecting signatures yesterday.

    “We, as women, are saying that we want a solution now on the principles of equality and reconciliation and progress for all. We believe the Annan plan gives us the possibility to build a Cyprus where division and partition will be eliminated,” she told the Sunday Mail.

    Hadjipavlou said the Greek Cypriot response to their campaign had been varied.

    “The older generation are much more forthcoming,” she said. “The younger ones have been more reserved because they have fixed ideas on what the Annan plan is. Their attitude is 'there will be no solution and it's not a good plan', but on the whole the response has been good.”

    A joint statement from the various groups, which was handed out to passers- by, said 40 years of separation had alienated the two communities, promoting mistrust and nurturing hatred instead of reconciliation and rapprochement.

    “We and the generations to come deserve a country without borders, fear and violence where every citizen can have the opportunity to live, grow and develop in a society based on values of equality, democracy and freedom,” the statement said. “ The struggle of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots inspires us to continue the efforts towards a unified Cyprus and well-being for all through the accession of a reunited island to the European Union. We therefore urgently demand the signing of a peace agreement by February 28.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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