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Embassy of Cyprus Newsletter, Washington DC (December 31, 1996)
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December 31, 1996
EMBASSY OF CYPRUS, WASHINGTON DCEmbassy of Cyprus
Press & Information Office
2211 R Street NW
Washington DC 20008
(202) 234-1936 Fax
[A] "DETERIORATING SITUATION" OF CONCERN TO U.N.[A1] Tensions Complicate Efforts to Reach Comprehensive Settlement
[A2] Attacks on Unarmed Greek Cypriot Civilians Condemned
[B] BRITISH, U.S. EFFORTS SEEK COMMON GROUND FOR RESUMPTION OF TALKS[B1] U.S. Remains Committed to Cyprus Settlement
[C] EUROPEAN COURT FINDS TURKEY RESPONSIBLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN CYPRUS[C1] Court Decision Legally Binding on Turkey
[D] E.U. CALLS ON TURKEY TO HELP PROMOTE CYPRUS SETTLEMENT
[E] In Brief . . .
[F] NEW CYPRUS AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. APPOINTED
[A] "DETERIORATING SITUATION" OF CONCERN TO U.N.Security Council Stresses Importance of Demilitarization Reiterating its concern that the situation on Cyprus threatens regional peace, the U.N. Security Council has called for an intensification of international efforts seeking a resumption of direct Cyprus talks in early 1997.
In adopting resolution 1092 on December 23, renewing the mandate of the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the Security Council said it was deeply "concerned by the deteriorating situation in Cyprus and by the fact that intercommunal tensions on the island have escalated and . . . violence along the cease-fire lines has reached a level not seen since 1974."
The Security Council also expressed concern over the military situation in Cyprus, including the "lack of progress towards a significant reduction" of Turkish occupation troops, whose presence compels the Cyprus government to bolster its defenses to deter further Turkish aggression.
[A1] Tensions Complicate Efforts to Reach Comprehensive SettlementThis situation, the Council stressed, threatens "to raise tensions both on the island and in the region and complicate efforts to negotiate an overall political settlement." The resolution also "stressed the importance of eventual demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus as an objective in the context of an overall comprehensive settlement," and called on the Secretary-General "to continue to promote efforts in this direction."
The Security Council's concerns echo those of the Cyprus government, which has repeatedly warned that the continuing division of Cyprus resulting from Turkey's occupation undermines regional peace. Precisely because of the inherent instability of this situation and to address the security concerns of both communities, in 1993 Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides first proposed the demilitarization of Cyprus.
"It is unacceptable for Turkey to refuse to discuss our proposal for the demilitarization of Cyprus" while demanding that Cyprus not strengthen its defenses, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on December 10, adding that "the Republic of Cyprus cannot remain defenseless when the massive Turkish military machine continues to remain" in occupied Cyprus.
Turkey has maintained its occupation troops on Cyprus since 1974, in violation of numerous U.N. resolutions calling for their withdrawal, and "if Turkey implements the resolutions, then the Greek Cypriot side will not continue spending money on armaments," President Clerides said on December 23.
[A2] Attacks on Unarmed Greek Cypriot Civilians CondemnedA consequence of Turkey's high level of troops and armaments in occupied Cyprus is continued violence along the cease-fire line. Deploring the attacks there during the summer by Turkish soldiers and extremists against unarmed Greek Cypriot civilians and U.N. personnel, which resulted in the death of three Greek Cypriots, the Security Council resolution condemned "in particular the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by the Turkish/Turkish Cypriot side."
In addition to urging adoption of measures to reduce tensions along the cease-fire line, the Council stressed that the E.U. decision to begin negotiations on Cyprus' accession "is an important new development that should facilitate an overall settlement."
The Cyprus government supports efforts to achieve an overall settlement based on the framework established by the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus. As reaffirmed in its most recent resolution, the U.N. believes a settlement "must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded."
Despite the international community's support for such a settlement, on the key issues the Turkish side maintains positions contrary to the U.N. framework and "the Turkish side has not given any indication of any change in its positions on the fundamental aspects that make up the Cyprus problem," President Clerides said on December 31.
[B] BRITISH, U.S. EFFORTS SEEK COMMON GROUND FOR RESUMPTION OF TALKSSecurity Council resolution 1092 was adopted amid continuing efforts by the U.N. and the permanent Security Council members to prepare the ground for a resumption of direct talks. To further these efforts British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind arrived in Cyprus on December 15. There is now "an opportunity to move towards real dialogue" leading to a solution, Rifkind said, a solution that will not only benefit the people of Cyprus but "make a very great contribution to the well-being of the Mediterranean and of Europe as a whole."
At the conclusion of his meetings on December 16 with President Clerides and other government officials, and with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Rifkind told the press that "1997 provides a genuine opportunity," particularly given the imminent start of talks for Cyprus' accession to the E.U. (see article on page 4). Stressing that many differences remain in the positions of the parties, he outlined ten points which might "offer the best basis for making progress."
Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said on December 17 that there is complete agreement that the basis for any comprehensive settlement must be the 1977 and 1979 High-Level Agreements signed by the leaders of the two communities, as well as the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.
Turning to other key issues addressed by Rifkind, Cassoulides reiterated the government's view that a federal state on Cyprus must have a single international personality with a single sovereignty and a single citizenship. He reaffirmed the government's support for demilitarization and for the stationing of an international force to ensure peace on the island. He also said that the number of guarantor powers of a future Cyprus state should be increased and that Turkey should not have the right of unilateral intervention in Cyprus.
Addressing the territorial issue, Cassoulides said that under any Cyprus settlement at least two-thirds of the Greek Cypriot refugees must return to their homes under local Greek Cypriot administration, and that the remaining refugees must have the right to return to their homes and property.
The Cyprus government spokesman affirmed that regarding the E.U., accession should benefit all Cypriots and that if a settlement is reached prior to accession, the negotiations will be conducted by a federal Cyprus.
[B1] U.S. Remains Committed to Cyprus SettlementU.S. President Bill Clinton continues to stress his commitment to help achieve a lasting Cyprus settlement. "Notwithstanding the tragic events of August and September, my Administration remains committed to promoting a lasting peace on the island," Clinton said in his December 13 report to Congress covering events in Cyprus during August and September.
Following a meeting with European Commission President Jacques Santer on December 16, Clinton said he will continue to help resolve the Cyprus problem and other regional disputes since "the future of the E.U. and the future of the U.S. will be much brighter and much less troublesome if these things can be resolved," adding that during the next four years he intends 'to do whatever I can . . . to help work out the situation in Cyprus."
"There is a very strong consensus in Europe, in the United States, and I think also in Cyprus that this is an issue which really does need to be solved now," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs John Kornblum said on December 21, adding that it is now a question of the participants including the U.S., the E.U. and the U.N. determining when to begin a concerted push for a solution on Cyprus.
Under-Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff on December 16 also reaffirmed American determination to help achieve a lasting Cyprus settlement. During a meeting with Cyprus Ambassador-designate to Washington Andros A. Nicolaides, who presented a copy of his credentials to Tarnoff, the two officials discussed the expected U.S. initiative on Cyprus as well as ways to further the excellent relations existing between the two countries.
[C] EUROPEAN COURT FINDS TURKEY RESPONSIBLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN CYPRUS
In denying Greek-Cypriot refugees access to their homes in the area of Cyprus under Turkish military occupation, Turkey is guilty of continuing human rights violations, the European Court of Human Rights concluded on December 18.
The decision came in the case of Tina Loizidou, a Greek-Cypriot refugee from occupied Kyrenia, who is, like all Greek Cypriot refugees, denied the right to return to her home. Given this situation, the court held "that there has been a continuing violation in relation to her immovable property situated in Kyrenia and which since 1974 has been under the control of the Turkish army.''
The European Court found this to be a violation of Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which stipulates that "every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions."
[C1] Court Decision Legally Binding on TurkeyThe European Court of Human Rights, in its decision, which is final and legally binding, rejected the Turkish argument that it was not the responsible party since the "constitution" of the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (a entity set up by Turkey in occupied Cyprus which the U.N. Security Council has declared "legally invalid") had legitimated the confiscation of the property of Loizidou and all other Greek Cypriot refugees. "It is obvious from the large number of troops engaged in active duties in northern Cyprus that her [Turkey's] army exercises effective overall control over that part of the island" and thus makes Turkey responsible for the actions in occupied Cyprus. As a result, the court said, Turkey's "obligation to secure to the applicant the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention therefore extends to the northern part of Cyprus."
The decision emphasized that since the only lawful government throughout Cyprus is that of the internationally recognized state of the Republic of Cyprus, Loizidou remains the legal owner of her home in occupied Cyprus.
The European Court's action will have an immense impact on developments related to a Cyprus settlement, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said, since it will affect all those Greek Cypriots who were "forced to abandon their homes" during the 1974 Turkish invasion.
Cyprus Attorney General Alecos Markides called the decision "a landmark in the history of law relating to human rights and the development of international law," and added that it was now possible for thousands of Greek Cypriot refugees to claim their right to use their properties in the occupied areas.
Loizidou is asking the court for compensatory damages from Turkey, as well as to allow her to freely exercise her right to peacefully enjoy her home in Kyrenia.
[D] E.U. CALLS ON TURKEY TO HELP PROMOTE CYPRUS SETTLEMENTThe European Council summit in Dublin has not only affirmed when talks for Cyprus' accession will begin, but for the first time has called on Turkey to promote efforts to achieve a settlement based on the U.N. resolutions.
Following the conclusion of the Dublin summit on December 15, accession negotiations are expected to begin in either late 1997 or early 1998, six months after the conclusion of the E.U.'s Inter-Governmental Conference, which is now expected to end in June, 1997.
Regarding the need for Turkey to assist efforts to achieve a Cyprus settlement, the summit urged "Turkey to use its influence to contribute to a solution in Cyprus in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions."
These conclusions are "very positive, because in essence the E.U. Council wishes to get Turkey involved in the process for a settlement on Cyprus and, in practice, it lays some responsibility on Turkey," Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on December 16.
[E] In Brief . . .The European Council summit in Dublin on December 15 confirmed the Madrid Summit time-table for the enlargement process, including that talks for Cyprus' accession will begin in either late 1997 or early 1998. The European Council also for the first time called on Turkey to promote efforts to achieve a settlement based on the U.N. resolutions. The Council also urged "Turkey to use its influence to contribute to a solution in Cyprus in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions." These conclusions are "very positive, because in essence the E.U. Council wishes to get Turkey involved in the process for a settlement on Cyprus and, in practice, it lays some responsibility on Turkey," Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on December 16.
According to "provisional census" figures published in the Turkish Cypriot press, there are now 198,000 people living in the occupied area of Cyprus, even though there were only 104,000 Turkish Cypriots living throughout Cyprus in 1960 a 90% increase. Since thousands of Turkish Cypriots emigrate yearly, there may now be more illegal settlers from Turkey than Turkish Cypriots in the occupied areas, Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said on December 27. Turkey's systematic effort to alter the demographic character of the occupied areas is "unprecedented" and a flagrant violation of international law and U.N. resolutions. He added: "This is a very serious development and the Cyprus government will examine what further steps to take." The figures do not reveal the number of illegal settlers, which are generally estimated at over 80,000. In his December 19 report to the Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali expressed deep concern over the situation in Cyprus, including changes in "the demographic composition of the island. "
In a New Year's message Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said that he will continue to work towards a Cyprus settlement, one that will "safeguard the future of our children in the land of our forefathers." He reaffirmed that any settlement must secure the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Cypriots, ensure the withdrawal of all Turkish occupation troops and illegal settlers, as well as create the conditions in which all the inhabitants on the island Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins live together in conditions of peace and security.
[F] NEW CYPRUS AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. APPOINTEDMr. Andros A. Nicolaides has been appointed as the Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. as of December 12, 1996, and will soon formally present his credentials to U.S. President Bill Clinton. He has also been nominated to concurrently serve as non-resident Ambassador to Brazil, and High Commissioner to Canada, Barbados, and the Bahamas; will serve as Permanent Observer to the OAS; and represent Cyprus at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).
A member of the foreign service since 1964, he most recently served as Cyprus' Ambassador to Germany. Prior appointments include Ambassador to Italy, Permanent Representative to the U.N. in Geneva, High Commissioner to India, and acting Permanent Secretary and Director of Policy Planning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Nicolaides studied in universities in Great Britain as well as the U.S., where he earned a graduate degree in political science and comparative government.
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