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Embassy of Cyprus Newsletter, Washington DC (December 31, 1995)
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EMBASSY OF CYPRUS NEWSLETTER, WASHINGTON DC
December 31, 1995
Embassy of Cyprus Press & Information Office
2211 R Street NW Washington DC 20008
(202) 232-8993 (202) 234-1936 Fax
[A] DEMILITARIZATION TIMETABLE NEEDED[A1] U.N. Concerned with Build-Up of Turkish Occupation Troops
[A2] Defense Against Turkish Military Occupation
[A3] "Significant Increase" in Turkish Military Forces
[A4] Sale of Missiles to Turkey Criticized
[B] EUROPEAN COUNCIL AFFIRMS CYPRUS ON ROAD TO E.U. ACCESSION[B1] Concrete Steps Needed to End Occupation
[B2] Cyprus Adjusts to E.U. Economic Policies
[C] SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SEEK BREAKTHROUGH IN TALKS
[D] U.N. CONFIRMS MASSIVE RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OF ENCLAVED CYPRIOTS
[E] PRESIDENT CLERIDES SENDS NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE OF PEACE
[F] IN BRIEF . . .
[A] DEMILITARIZATION TIMETABLE NEEDED
[A1] U.N. Concerned with Build-Up of Turkish Occupation TroopsThe Cyprus government has called for developing a timetable for the complete demilitarization of Cyprus, as a means of ending the Turkish military buildup in the occupied areas which is endangering peace in the region.
"The government is ready to respond to the U.N. Security Council call for a reduction in defense spending in parallel with the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation forces," Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said on December 20, "provided a timetable for the final demilitarization of the island is agreed."
In adopting resolution 1032 (1995) on December 19, renewing the mandate of the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Security Council called for the parties to commit to "a significant reduction in the number of foreign troops in the Republic of Cyprus," as well as in a reduction of Cyprus government defense spending. The Security Council also welcomed the continuation of efforts by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali "to find common ground for the basis for a resumption of direct talks."
[A2] Defense Against Turkish Military OccupationBy posing a threat to the security of the people of Cyprus, the Turkish military buildup in occupied Cyprus forces the government to increase its defense spending.
"The massive presence of Turkish military forces in the occupied part of Cyprus . . . results in the need to increase our defense capabilities," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides wrote in a letter to the Security Council president on December 14. He repeated his offer, first made two years ago, to disband the Cyprus National Guard, place its weapons in the custody of U.N. peacekeeping forces, and fund an enlarged U.N. force on Cyprus, contingent on the withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces.
Despite its outright rejection by Turkey, the proposal continues to garner widespread international support. On December 12 the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted, with strong bipartisan support, Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, calling for the withdrawal of Turkey's occupation forces and for Cyprus' demilitarization. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the resolution's original sponsor, called the Clerides proposal a serious attempt to end the deadlock and to reunify Cyprus.
[A3] "Significant Increase" in Turkish Military ForcesThe Security Council resolution followed the December 10 report by Ghali on U.N. operations on Cyprus. As he had in his previous report on UNFICYP in June, Ghali expressed "serious concern at the excessive levels of military forces and armaments in Cyprus and at the rate at which these are being strengthened."
In recent months Turkish forces in the occupied areas have added to their armaments, which now include 265 tanks, and "these changes represent a significant increase in the military capability of the Turkish forces in Cyprus." As a consequence, Ghali said, "the northern part of the island remains one of the most densely militarized areas in the world."
[A4] Sale of Missiles to Turkey CriticizedIn light of the tensions in the region resulting from Turkey's military threat, members of the U.S. Congress, human rights groups, and the Cyprus government have reacted strongly to the proposed sale by the U.S. of 120 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS)--with a 100-mile range--to Turkey.
Thirty-five members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged President Clinton to reconsider the sale and on December 21 Congressmen Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) co-sponsored a resolution to suspend the sale until Turkey "improves its human rights record . . . and progress is made to resolve the conflict on Cyprus."
"The Turkish government in 1974 used NATO military equipment when it invaded the island of Cyprus," U.S. Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD) said on December 20, adding that the occupation continues more than two decades later. Pressler, along with Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY), wrote Secretary of State Warren Christopher expressing their fear that the missiles might be deployed against Cyprus; several other Senators also criticized the missile sale.
"The United States has a duty to ensure and guarantee that these deep-strike missiles will not be used against the Republic of Cyprus," Cyprus government spokesman Cassoulides said, while President Clerides emphasized that the missiles could attack Cyprus even if they were stationed in Turkey.
In Washington, Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides delivered a formal government protest to the State Department and made other representations over the proposed missile sale.
[B] EUROPEAN COUNCIL AFFIRMS CYPRUS ON ROAD TO E.U. ACCESSIONFor Cyprus "the road for E.U. accession is open," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said at the conclusion of the European Council summit in Madrid on December 15-16.
Clerides, who attended the summit at the invitation of the E.U., made the observation since, unlike the applicant countries of central and Eastern Europe, a timetable for the start of accession negotiations has been set for Cyprus and Malta.
This timetable was reaffirmed by the Council at the conclusion of the summit, when the Council said it "reiterates that the accession negotiations with Malta and Cyprus will commence, on the basis of the Commission proposals, six months after the conclusion of the 1996 intergovernmental Conference (IGC), and will take its results into account."
The Cyprus President also stressed the significance of the fact that this was the first time the Cyprus problem was addressed by the E.U. during a summit. In its final declaration, the Council emphasized the importance of "making substantial efforts to achieve a just and viable solution to the question of Cyprus in line with the U.N. Security Council resolutions."
Since the Madrid summit, the desire of the European Union to play a more active role in support of U.N. efforts on Cyprus has been reflected in the pending appointment of an E.U. coordinator on Cyprus (see page 1 story).
The summit followed the decision of the European Parliament on December 13 to approve a customs union agreement with Turkey. Several European parliamentarians made it clear during the debate on the agreement that they were supporting the Customs Union, despite serious concerns over Turkey's human rights record and inflexibility on Cyprus.
[B1] Concrete Steps Needed to End OccupationIn a resolution also adopted on December 13, the European Parliament criticized Turkey's human rights record, as well as its occupation of Cyprus. The resolution "urges the Turkish Government to undertake concrete steps" to "bring the division of Cyprus to an end . . . by implementing the U.N. Security Council resolutions on this issue."
Following its adoption, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said it was clear that if Turkey wants to strengthen its ties with Europe it "must understand that it cannot raid nor invade the territory of other countries, nor violate human rights."
[B2] Cyprus Adjusts to E.U. Economic PoliciesSince July, 1995, a structured dialogue between the E.U. and Cyprus--a series of pre-accession consultations meant to ensure the harmonization of Cyprus' laws and regulations with those of the Union--has been conducted.
To bring its economic regulations in line with those of the E.U., the government is moving to further liberalize Cyprus' financial markets. Beginning in 1996, the Central Bank of Cyprus will start the twice-monthly auction of treasury bills--the first major change in Cyprus government monetary policy since independence. Regulations are also expected to be adopted later in the year to establish a comprehensive legal framework for the Cyprus stock exchange.
In presenting the proposed 1996 government budget, which sets spending at $2.97 billion against revenue of $2.22 billion, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou on December 7 said that Cyprus witnessed an estimated 5% growth rate for 1995 (twice that of E.U. members), with an estimated 4.5% growth rate for 1996. Unemployment during the new year should near 2.5%, he continued, while the rate of inflation should be at 3%--well within the convergence criteria of the E.U.
[C] SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SEEK BREAKTHROUGH IN TALKSIn the hope that an important breakthrough can be achieved soon, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have heightened their involvement in the U.N. effort on Cyprus.
High-level delegations from four of the permanent Security Council members-- the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, France--conferred with Cyprus government leaders in December, while a high-ranking delegation from China, the fifth permanent Council member, arrives on January 3.
This new effort appears to be spearheaded by the Clinton Administration, which has stressed that progress on Cyprus will be a high U.S. priority in the coming months. U.S. Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Beattie held talks in Cyprus from December 4-6, and is planning a return to the area with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke in the near future.
In addition Italy, the current European Union president, is exploring what further role the E.U. might play in promoting an overall settlement. In that context, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Emanuele Scammacca will visit Cyprus, Greece and Turkey from January 4-6. Italy is also expected to submit a proposal to the E.U. for the appointment of an E.U. coordinator on the Cyprus problem.
The Cyprus government continues to welcome efforts to bring the positions of the Turkish side closer to the framework established by the U.N. resolutions, in the hope that the common ground needed to achieve progress can be reached.
[D] U.N. CONFIRMS MASSIVE RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OF ENCLAVED CYPRIOTSThe Secretary-General's recent report also confirmed that the human rights of the Greek Cypriot and Maronites living in enclaves in the occupied areas are being systematically violated.
A review of the living conditions of the enclaved "confirmed that those communities were the objects of very severe restrictions, which curtailed the exercise of many basic freedoms and had the effect of ensuring that, inexorably with the passage of time, those communities would cease to exist in the northern part of the island."
The occupation authorities also continue to deny access to the enclaves by human rights monitors. Kathryn Porter, head of the International Human Rights Alliance, was denied permission to visit the enclaved on December 9. Porter said she was "extremely disappointed and angry, human rights monitors have the right to be here and see what is happening to people whose lives are in danger."
[E] PRESIDENT CLERIDES SENDS NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE OF PEACEIn a New Year's message, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides expressed the hope that "with the new year we will see the Cyprus problem solved, and Cyprus united in a federated state, one without foreign troops or settlers."
Clerides said it was natural for the Cypriot people, during this time of the year, to remember "our occupied towns and villages, the enclaved, the missing, and all who suffered . . . as a consequence of Turkey's invasion and continuing occupation." Through these memories, he continued, the people of Cyprus must strengthen their resolve to overcome the consequences of the invasion, so all Cypriots--Greek, Turkish, Maronite, Armenian, and Latin--can live in peace, security and prosperity.
[F] IN BRIEF . . .Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides wrote U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on December 11, the 47th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the day has special significance for the people of Cyprus, "whose human rights have for many years been massively and ruthlessly violated as a result of the Turkish invasion and continued occu- pied." Clerides expressed hope "for a change in the Turkish attitude, which will result in the realization" of a settlement ensuring the fundamental human rights and freedoms of all Cypriots.
Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides explored the Cyprus problem in the context of the international rule of law in an article "Cyprus--The International Law Dimension," published by the American University Journal of International Law and Policy, (Vol. 10, No. 4, Summer, 1995). Turkey's 1974 invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus is a clear violation of the U.N. Charter as well as the U.N. Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, he wrote, and while the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus provide the framework for a solution. During a speech December 18 to the Hellenic Organization of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the Ambassador stressed that the Cyprus government welcomes any initiative to overcome the current deadlock in U.N. talks, which has been created by the Turkish side. Jacovides also pointed to the importance of Cyprus' accession to the European Union as a potential catalyst to an overall solution, and emphasized the country's great economic achievements since Turkey's 1974 invasion, particularly in serving as a shipping and regional business center.
The Department of Antiquities recently announced that this season's excavations at Kouklia-Palaipaphos and Amathus have been completed. At the Kouklia-Palaipaphos site, of late Bronze Age origin, this year's fieldwork was devoted to excavation of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia. At the lower city of Amathus, recent excavations uncovered Byzantine and Roman sherds and coins, and an amphora from the seventh century A.D.
The University of Minnesota's Modern Greek Studies Program has just published a double issue (Vol. 10/11) of its Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, half of which is devoted to material on Cyprus. The issue includes "Reflections on the Cyprus Problem," by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, and "Managing Ethnic Conflict in the New World Order: The Case of Cyprus," by former Cyprus President George Vassiliou. The Yearbook also includes articles on the demography, education, religion, history and archaeology of Cyprus.
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