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RESOLUTION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
2002-01-26 02:50:57

Nicosia, Jan 25 (CNA) - The Cyprus government considers the recent resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to be "positive" on the whole, which does not necessarily mean that it is happy with each line of its text.

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said today that there were many positive references in the resolution regarding the Cyprus problem, the island's EU accession course, Turkish threats against Cyprus, and the steadfast recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by international organisations.|

He said the resolution included "serious positive elements", noting that this did not mean the government was "happy with each and every line or word included in this resolution".

The Spokesman said there were some references that could have been worded differently but which "in no way affect our general concept that it is a positive text" in relation to the Cyprus problem and EU accession.

Papapetrou made special reference to paragraph 9(a), in which the Assembly "welcomes the fact that the leaders of both communities have accepted the invitation by the UN Secretary-General to participate, without preconditions, in the UN resumed talks in order to achieve an overall settlement on the basis of the UN resolutions".

"This reference, apart from being especially important in relation to the reference to UN resolutions as the basis of a Cyprus settlement, clarifies once again the nature of the talks, i.e. that they are being held at the invitation and in the context of the UN", Papapetrou noted.

He also pointed to paragraph 3 of the resolution, which says that "today Cyprus faces a new situation" and that "the Republic of Cyprus is negotiating its accession to the EU". This paragraph also mentions the December 1999 Helsinki conclusions that said a Cyprus settlement was not a prerequisite for accession.

Papapetrou also mentioned other points in the resolution, such as "the firm stance of all international organisations for the exclusive recognition of the state of the Republic of Cyprus", adding that the resolution calls on "the Turkish Cypriot authorities to remove restrictions on individual contacts with people living in the Republic of Cyprus and any other obstacles in the way of reconciliation, including contacts with political parties".

Commenting on another paragraph, which refers to "a clearing mechanism through which products and goods from the northern part of Cyprus can be exported to the EU without being hampered by the political differences among the two entities", Papapetrou said "the axes of the government policy were never to strangle or confine any Turkish Cypriot".

He said the government was guided in its approach to this issue by certain principles included in the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and the necessity not to directly or indirectly recognise the Turkish occupation regime, as this would be in violation with relevant UN resolutions.

Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third, opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and has to date provisionally closed 24 out of the 29 chapters of the acquis communautaire.

RESOLUTION ON THE SITUATION IN CYPRUS ADOPTED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE ON JANUARY 22, 2002

Situation in Cyprus

Resolution 1267 (2002)[1] Revised 2

1. The Assembly has continued to follow closely the situation in Cyprus since it last debated the issue in 1997 and adopted Resolution 1113.

2. It notes with satisfaction that after a long period of deadlock, leaders of the two communities have entered into a series of face-to-face talks, in the presence of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, aimed at reaching a settlement to the conflict which remains one of the most sensitive in Europe and most difficult to resolve.

3. Today Cyprus faces a new situation. The Republic of Cyprus is negotiating its accession to the European Union. The European Council (Helsinki, December 1999) declared that an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem was not a prerequisite to its accession. The Assembly nevertheless believes that a political agreement between the two sides on the future of the island is possible and desirable before the entry to the European Union.

4. The Assembly is conscious that until there is a political settlement the Turkish Cypriot community is not in a position to participate in the membership negotiations conducted between the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus. However, it believes that the Turkish Cypriot community should be urgently provided with all relevant information on the European Union and the potential benefits of accession.

5. The internal political situation in the northern part of the island is becoming increasingly uncertain and the Turkish Cypriot community finds itself ever more isolated from the rest of the world and ignored by the international community.

6. The Assembly applauds the efforts led by the United Nations Secretary General to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and regrets that until now the United Nations' proximity talks were in a deadlock. It congratulates however President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Denktash, on having recently held a direct meeting in the presence of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and having agreed to negotiate until they reach agreement on the future of the island.

7. The Assembly regrets the mistrust and negative rhetoric of each side towards the other. As in any conflict situation, such references create an obstacle to confidence building and send a negative message to the public.

8. The Assembly deplores that on both sides young people are still being instilled with antagonistic feelings. While it understands the pain that past events might have caused, the Assembly underlines that the circumstances in which violence has occurred in the past have changed significantly and that energy should be focused on working together towards a better future for the whole island.

9. The Assembly therefore:

A. Welcomes the fact that the leaders of both communities have accepted The invitation by the United Nations Secretary General to participate, without preconditions, in the United Nations resumed talks in order to achieve an overall settlement on the basis of the United Nations resolutions;

B. Calls upon the leaders of both communities:

i. to contribute to the search for a formula that would allow the whole population of Cyprus to benefit from membership of the European Union;

ii. to avoid getting stalled on the terminology to be used as regards the form of the future solution and to concentrate on concrete political issues;

iii. to refrain from using negative rhetoric when referring to the other community and from educating their children in a way that could increase hatred and distrust towards them;

iv. to co-operate in good faith in the efforts to ascertain the fate of missing persons;

v. to remove restrictions on the freedom of movement of visitors to either side of the island;

C. Calls upon the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus:

i. to continue their efforts to bring about the participation of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiations with the European Union and to keep the Turkish Cypriots well informed of the benefits of accession;

ii. to refrain from sending political messages, in connection with the European Union, which could be interpreted by people living in the northern part of the island as a provocation;

iii. to show a more understanding attitude towards those international negotiators who aim at helping both sides to find a solution to the problem when they refer to personalities in the northern part of the island with regard to titles, without prejudice to the firm stance of all international organisations for the exclusive recognition of the State of the Republic of Cyprus;

D. Calls upon the Turkish Cypriot authorities:

i. to adopt a more positive attitude towards the European Union and inform the public accordingly about the potential benefits membership can bring;

ii. to remove restrictions on individual contacts with people living in the Republic of Cyprus and any other obstacles in the way of reconciliation, including contacts with political parties;

iii. to provide all non-governmental organisations and the media with unrestricted freedom to operate;

E. Calls upon the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom:

i. to play a constructive role in ensuring that the efforts taken by the United Nations Secretary General lead to positive results in the months ahead;

ii. to be instrumental in the creation of favourable conditions for the Turkish Cypriot administration/community to join in the European Union accession negotiations;

iii. to respect judgements of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Cyprus;

F. Bearing in mind recent statements made by the Turkish authorities as regards the Republic of Cyprus'accession to the European Union and Turkey's role as a guarantor power, calls upon the Turkish authorities:

i. to refrain from launching threats against the Republic of Cyprus in connection with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union prior to a political settlement;

ii. to persuade the Turkish Cypriot leaders that future membership in the European Union presents advantages for both communities;

G. Calls upon the European Union:

i. to seek furtherways of contact with the Turkish Cypriot community;

ii. to find furtherways to inform the Turkish Cypriot population, if possible through opening an information centre in the northern part of the island, about the potential benefits accession to the European Union could bring;

iii. as a contribution to confidence building measures to create, in co-operation with the relevant chamber of commerce in the northern part of Cyprus and if possible the relevant chamber of commerce in the southern part of Cyprus, a clearing mechanism through which products and goods from the northern part of Cyprus can be exported to the European Union without being hampered by the political differences among the two entities;

H. Calls upon the United Nations Secretary General: to intensify his efforts aimed at seeking a political solution, based on bi-zonal and bi-communal structures and taking into account the internal and external balances;

I. Resolves:

i. to explore ways to integrate more closely the elected representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly and its committees, beyond the framework of Assembly Resolution 1113 (1997) and integrated to the Cypriot delegation;

ii. to continue to observe closely the situation through its competent committees and hold seminars on specific topics in co-operation with other international organisations;

iii. to improve dialogue also with the civil society in both communities and to invite their representatives to committee meetings when issues of concern to them are being discussed;

J. Instructs its Political Affairs Committee to follow closely the political situation in Cyprus and to report back when it considers it necessary.

[1] Assembly debate on 22 January 2002 (3rd Sitting) (see Doc. 9302, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr B?rsony; and Doc. 9313, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Jurgens). Text adopted by the Assembly on 22 January 2002 (3rd Sitting).

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