President of the Republic of Cyprus

Speech made to the Assembly

Tuesday, 12 April 1994

Mr President, members of the Assembly, ladies and gentlemen, please permit me at the outset to extend my sincere thanks for the invitation to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I feel particularly honoured and privileged to be here with you today and to share with you my thoughts and concerns, as Europe is once more at a turning point.

Not very long ago we were agonising in international fora about the future of our civilisation because of the cold war, the race in nuclear armaments and the troubled spots of the world. Today the cold war is over and in parts of the world the old regimes have collapsed and a move to pluralistic societies and a free market economy is being made. However, the newly acquired freedom revived old enmities and opened the door to nationalistic chauvinism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, violation of the rule of law and the abominable practice of ethnic cleansing.

Following the collapse of communism that brought the cold war to an end, Europe has once again stepped into the forefront of the world scene. Our continent is once again not only the main stage of political activity but also a place where deep security, political, economic and social concerns have taken new and worrisome dimensions.

We are confronted with great challenges, old and new: the building of peace and security, the taming of the destructive forces of aggressive nationalism and intolerance, the safeguarding and promotion of human rights and democracy, the advancement of economic development throughout Europe, the protection of the environment and of course, above all, the European contribution towards a new and more humane world order. We are at the same time presented with greater opportunities for realising these objectives.

The most far-reaching consequence of the collapse of the wall that divided Europe, however, is the re-emergence of Europe as an ideal. Europe is no longer a mere geographic area divided by conflicting ideological, political and socio-economic diametrically-opposed systems. It is now a bond forged by history, by shared cultural heritage and common values. The political area from the Urals to the Atlantic and from Scandinavia to Cyprus is the Europe of the future. The European ideal is now being translated into a dynamic drive towards integration, uniting the peoples of Europe in a community of destiny.

This drive takes the form of an ever-deepening relationship between the European states and the broadening of the spectrum of their shared activities, be they economic, social, cultural or political.

Thus, a new impetus is given today to existing European organisations and institutions, while new ones are emerging in response to present and future needs, making a significant contribution to the realisation of this ideal. They are the guardians of our shared system of principles and values, while at the same time they are the most effective channels for our collective effort.

The Council of Europe, with its Parliamentary Assembly, is dedicated above all to the protection and development of pluralistic democracy, a free market economy and the rule of law. Human rights are now becoming the central focus that they deserve to be, giving substance to the hopes for the integration of the whole of Europe and the prevalence of democratic security.

The Council of Europe and in particular the Parliamentary Assembly, during the cold war years and in direct contact with the peoples of Europe, have kept the hope alive for a better and more humane future.

World developments, however, point out and clearly demonstrate that, unless the European community adopts a more unified approach in its understanding of the challenges it faces and the promotion of the necessary solutions, human rights abuse, increasing insecurity, civil wars, hunger and suffering will create an explosive situation which will spare no one. We are gradually becoming aware of the complexity and dimensions such issues acquire in an interdependent world.

The summit of the Council of Europe, held a few months ago in Vienna, in the preparation and convening of which this body played a pivotal role, is a landmark for its future development.

It gathered for the first time the heads of government of the member states, who discussed openly and frankly the problems confronting Europe today and the necessary institutional reforms which will render the Council of Europe more effective.

This unique meeting declared that closer co-operation and integration can only be achieved through the consolidation of democracy in the whole of Europe, the effective protection of human rights and the prevalence of the rule of law.

The European humanistic heritage which constitutes the driving force of our civilisation, and which derives its origins from the classical Greek period, to which Cyprus is proud to have contributed, places the individual human being in the centre of our concerns.

The safeguarding of human rights in every part of the world is today becoming, justifiably, a source of legitimate concern for the international community.

The Council of Europe and its machinery for the safeguarding of human rights are unique in this respect.

We must not forget, however, that the effectiveness of our institutions is based on certain simple principles: first, the consistent application of the principle of non-selectivity in cases of human rights violations; second, the full commitment of all members of our institutions to the need for implementing our system of shared principles without any constraints or reservations.

The worst service that can be rendered to the cause of human rights is the pursuance of a policy of double standards and selectivity dictated by narrow national interests. This is the best way of undermining the very ground on which the edifice for the protection of human rights is founded.

How can we justify the fact that in certain cases, to give an example, the restoration of human rights and fundamental freedoms such as the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties, becomes a sine qua non condition for the settlement of a dispute, while in some other cases this condition, for reasons of convenience, seems to be forgotten?

The experience of Cyprus can be very instructive in this respect. The European Commission on Human Rights was one of the bodies to deal with human rights violations by Turkey in Cyprus, which have been continuing since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

Following the third application of the Republic of Cyprus in 1977, the Commission closely studied the violations of human rights in Cyprus by Turkey. In 1983 it adopted a massive report, which clearly stated the facts and held Turkey responsible. Yet the report was only released in 1992. It remained confidential for nine years while the violations of the rights of the people of Cyprus were taking place.

What was the reason for this nine-year delay? If it is so difficult to disclose a report, how convincing do we expect to be in our commitment? How can we expect to be effective and credible if we do not have the necessary courage, or if certain interests prevent us from publishing the findings of the European Commission on Human Rights?

The challenges that Europe has to meet are great. Cypms is determined to play a role, and to make its own contribution to the effort of meeting those challenges and shaping the common European destiny. The Republic of Cyprus has already applied to become a full member of the European Union. Its European vocation and eligibility for membership have been recognised by the opinion of the Commission; the Council has confirmed that Cyprus fulfils all conditions for membership, and it has already been decided to proceed with substantive discussions that will help preparations for the accession negotiations.

My country’s determination to participate in the making of a new Europe is not limited to our efforts to obtain membership of the European Union, and our activity in the Council of Europe; Cyprus is also an active participant in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and the other European institutions to which it contributes. Our European commitment is also exemplified in our bilateral relations with other European states.

Cyprus – a country that has had the experience of rebuilding its economy and prosperity on the ruins created by the Turkish invasion and occupation – can certainly contribute by sharing its experience with the countries of eastern and central Europe in their effort to move to a free market economy. To that end, we have already embarked on a dialogue with certain central and eastern European countries which look forward to closer economic co-operation with Cyprus, leading also to closer political aspirations.

Let me now turn to the question of Cyprus, and stress that it is within the overall European orientation of our country that we are trying to promote a solution to the Cyprus problem. Let me state at the outset, in the most emphatic and categorical manner, that my government and I remain firmly committed to sparing no effort to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, and to make a success of the negotiations that take place by the good offices of the Secretary General of the United Nations, as provided by Security Council resolutions.

In line with our European commitment, we have accepted the basic principle that a political solution to the Cyprus problem must allow the two ethnic communities to enjoy maximum autonomy in internal administration, at the same time permitting the bicommunal Federal Republic of Cyprus to have one international legal personality and territorial integrity, to be free of foreign forces on its territory – as provided by United Nations resolutions – and to have entrenchment of human rights in its constitution, compatibility of its constitution with the acquis communautaire and entry into the European Union.

A question often asked is why a solution has escaped us for so many years. Some international observers say that the failure to find a solution results from the recent history of Cyprus, both before and after independence. Because of the intercommunal conflict, there is deep mistrust between the two communities. Others opine that the intercommunal aspect of the problem has been complicated by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the continued occupation by

Turkish forces of substantial territory in the republic. There are also those who attribute the failure to find a solution to a lack of political will among the parties concerned.

It cannot be denied that some mistrust exists between the two communities. The political leaderships of both communities – in which I include myself, for I have been concerned with and in the forefront of political life in my country for forty years – have committed serious political mistakes in the past. It is, however, a futile exercise to try to apportion blame, and to throw accusations and counter-accusations at one another. What is needed is a recognition that both leaderships erred, and a demonstration of the will not to repeat the mistakes of the past but to look to the future.

There can be no doubt that the Turkish invasion of Cyprus complicated the situation. As a result of that invasion, a third of the island’s Greek Cypriot population were expelled from their homes and properties and made refugees in their own country. A total of 1 619 Greek Cypriots are missing, and under the protection of the Turkish occupation forces a separate state was declared in the North and continues to be maintained by Turkey, despite United Nations Security Council Resolutions 541 and 550 calling for its dissolution and calling on all United Nations’ members not to recognise this state which broke away. Despite the United Nations Security Council resolution calling on both sides to avoid any acts which will change the demographic composition of the island, Turkey colonised the north by sending to Cyprus 80 000 Turks from Turkey who settled in the properties which the Greek Cypriots had been forced to leave. This process is still continuing. The Turkish forces built a military line across Cyprus thus forcing a military confrontation and preventing contact between the two communities.

The massive military presence in Cyprus of 40 000 Turkish troops and 400 armoured vehicles and tanks, with air cover and naval support, forces the Republic of Cyprus to maintain the national guard, to purchase arms and seek military support and joint defence planning with Greece.

I believe that the time has come, if progress is to be made towards a solution to the Cyprus problem, to proceed to the demilitarisation of the territory of the republic. Having this in mind I addressed, on 17 December 1993, a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations making the following offer:

“There is no doubt that the massive presence of Turkish military forces in the occupied part of Cyprus creates serious anxieties and mistrust amongst the Greek Cypriot community regarding Turkish intentions. It also imposes on the government of the republic the need to increase the defensive capabilities of the country by purchasing arms. Furthermore, it makes it necessary to request military help from Greece and to include Cyprus in the Greek defensive plans. There are also indications that the above preparations, though entirely defensive in their nature, are misinterpreted and cause anxiety and mistrust within the Turkish Cypriot community regarding Greek intentions.

After careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that in order to break the counterproductive climate of fear and mistrust and thus enhance the prospects of a negotiated settlement the government of the republic should take the following steps:

a. repeal the National Guard Law, disband the National Guard and hand all its arms and military equipment to the custody of the United Nations peacekeeping force;
b. undertake to maintain the police force of the republic at its present numerical strength, armed only with light personal weapons;
c. undertake the total cost of a substantially numerically increased United Nations peacekeeping force;
d. agree that the United Nations peacekeeping force will have the right of inspection to ascertain compliance with the above;
e. agree that the National Guard armoured cars, armoured personnel vehicles and tanks, which will be handed to the United Nations peacekeeping force for custody, can be used by the United Nations peacekeeping force to patrol the buffer zone and to prevent intrusions in it;
f. deposit in a United Nations account all money saved from disbanding the National Guard and from stopping the purchase of arms, after deducting the cost of the United Nations peacekeeping force, to be used after the solution to the problem for the benefit of both communities.

The above offer is made provided the Turkish side also agrees that parallel to the above the Turkish Forces are withdrawn from Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot armed forces disband and hand their weapons and military equipment to the custody of the United Nations peacekeeping force.

I also wish to reaffirm what I have told Mr Feissel before leaving for New York, namely that I am ready to discuss the modalities regarding the implementation of the confidence-building measures and of course the solution to the Cyprus problem.

I hope, Your Excellency, that the Turkish side will respond positively to my proposal, otherwise the only logical inference to be drawn will be that the massive presence of Turkish Forces is not for the alleged safety of the Turkish Cypriot community, but for the perpetuation of the status quo which, as stated in your report, has been created by military force and is sustained by military strength and which the Security Council has deemed unacceptable. Such an inference will impose on my government the need to substantially increase the defensive capabilities of the republic and to enter into arrangements with Greece regarding a common defensive plan.”

Regrettably, Turkey rejected my proposal.

Coming now to the view that the failure of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem is due to the lack of political will for a settlement by the communities I have the following observations.

It is a fact that there is lack of political will by the Turkish side. The Secretary General of the United Nations in his report to the Security Council, Document S/24830, of 19 November 1992 stated that the effort to find a solution, despite the intensive efforts made, failed because the Turkish position was at variance with the set of ideas prepared by the Secretary General and made it clear that there was a lack of political will by the Turkish side and that this was the major obstacle in reaching an agreed settlement.

The Secretary General of the United Nations in his report of 1 July 1993, Document S/26026, informed the Security Council that despite intensive efforts and preparatory work it was not found possible to secure acceptance by the Turkish side of the confidence-building measures and that the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community had not promoted the acceptance of the package of the confidence-building measures during his subsequent consultations in Ankara and Nicosia, nor did he return to the joint meeting in New York as he had undertaken to do.

Today, almost a year later, the situation on the issue of the confidence-building measures is as follows. The Greek Cypriot side accepted the paper prepared by the representatives of the Secretary General of 18 March regarding the implementation of the confidence-building measures. Regarding the position of the parties, the report of the Secretary General of 4 April 1994 (Document S/1994/1330) states the following:

“The leader of the Greek Cypriot community stated that, while he did not like many of the changes which had been introduced in the 21 March text, he was prepared to accept the revised text if the Turkish Cypriot leader would do likewise.

5. Before leaving Cyprus on 23 March, my special representative Mr Clark stated publicly that he had not received from the Turkish Cypriot side the agreement that he had hoped for on the implementation of the package.

6. On 28 March, Mr Feissel again met with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to pursue discussions to reach an agreement on the ideas for the implementation of the package of confidence-building measures. At the conclusion of this meeting, Mr Feissel confirmed publicly that there had been no new developments and that the Turkish Cypriot side had not provided the response necessary to make an agreement on the implementation of the confidence-building measures possible.”

Yesterday the Security Council agreed the text of a letter to be sent to the Secretary General, which states that the Greek Cypriot leader accepted the implementation of the confidence-building measures, as suggested by the representative of the Secretary General, but that the Turkish Cypriot leader has many objections to their implementation.

From what has been stated so far, it is clear that the Secretary General has warned the Security Council that the unacceptable status quo is maintained by military forces; the failure to find a solution in November 1992 squarely falls on the Turkish side which did not have the political will to conclude an agreement which was within reach; the failure to agree to the implementation of the confidence-building measures in April 1994 also falls squarely on the Turkish side, which has not accepted any of the proposals from the Secretary General’s representative on the implementation of those measures.

The Security Council has in its recent resolutions warned that if no progress is made it will consider alternative methods of promoting a solution. It is my firm belief that the time has come for the Security Council to decide to act. It must consider seriously the question of demilitarisation because as long as there is a massive Turkish occupation force in Cyprus the Turkish side will continue to show lack of political will for a solution to the Cyprus problem and both communities will bear arms and live as potential enemies.

Despite Turkish opposition, the European Union accepted our demand and appointed an observer in the talks. We are happy that his terms of reference are not only to keep the European Union informed if progress is being made, and consequently which side is responsible for the lack of progress, but also to inform it on whether the solution discussed is compatible with the acquis communautaire.

I also believe that it would give an impetus to the solution to the Cyprus problem if the accession of Cyprus to the European Union were to start without delay.

Ethnic differences, micronationalism and the problems of minorities gave a rude awakening from the euphoria that was created by the end of the cold war. It now seems that if we do not take immediate and resolute action the issues of minorities and their rights, along with the emerging wide confrontation between cultures, will be with us in the coming decades. Cyprus has every potential to be a model of success and a source of hope in our collective search for solutions. Problems of ethnic minorities or other communities are solved not by partition and forced physical separation but by participation in democratic institutions and effective constitutional and judicial protection. Cyprus, at the crossroads of continents and civilisations, can be a vital bridge of communication contributing to de-confrontation and understanding, provided that it is itself free of internal fragmentation and external intervention.

It is our dream to solve the problem of Cyprus not only because this will be beneficial to both communities and to the people of Cyprus, irrespective of language, religion or ethnic origin, but because we wish to bring Cyprus into the European Union as a state based on the European concept of democracy, freedom, justice, human rights and compliance with the rule of law.


Thank you, Mr Clerides, for your inspiring statement. A large number of members have expressed a wish to ask you questions – many more than usual. That obliges me to ask all members to keep to the rules and to put their questions as concisely as possible.

In order to give all members the chance to ask a question, I cannot allow supplementary questions. It is better to give everyone the opportunity to ask one question than to give half the Assembly the chance to ask two. I call Mr Cox to ask the first question.

Mr COX (United Kingdom)

Given what you have said about Turkey, I find it deeply regrettable that many, if not all, of the Turkish delegation have not come here today to listen to the President of Cyprus. They cannot claim to want a settlement and at the same time refuse to listen to the President of Cyprus.

In the course of your wide-ranging comments, Mr Clerides, you did not mention the United States of America. If the confidence-building measures collapse again, what role will the United States have to play in bringing a settlement to the island of Cyprus?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

You and I, Mr Cox, have known each other for many years, and our years in politics have taught us to distinguish between what I would like the United States to do and what the United States is likely to do.

I should like the United States to consider the problem of Cyprus as one of invasion and continued occupation and to exert its considerable influence on Turkey to make the Turks remove their forces from the Republic of Cyprus and accept my offer of demilitarisation. Whether the United States will do this is a different matter.

Mr RODRIGUES (Portugal) (translation)

Mr President, first I would like to express my pleasure at listening here to the experience of the representative of a people who are waging such a heroic struggle symbolising eternal values for humanity.

My question is as follows: Is not the increase in the defence budget, to which you referred, liable to harm the negotiations for the restoration of a unified republic in a state that is, as you yourself emphasised, independent, federal and community- based? Might it not encourage the advocates of partitioning the island between Greece and Turkey, as well as the future division of this republic?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

Thank you for your question. As you have heard, in my letter to the Secretary General I acknowledged the fact that the massive presence of Turkish forces in the north creates anxieties in the Greek Cypriot community; and that the fact that we are rearming ourselves creates anxieties in the Turkish Cypriot community.

As President of the Republic of Cyprus, however, I would be failing in my duty if I did not take the elementary necessary steps to protect the free part of Cyprus. I declare here and now that we have no intention of attacking and that we have every intention of defending ourselves.

The Turkish forces in Cyprus number 40 000, and they have a huge number of armoured cars and tanks. The troops have air and naval support. The Turks have brought to Cyprus enough heavy equipment for another two divisions, and are capable of bringing in, by air, 8 000 troops a day. I have no air force and no navy. I have 8 000 people under arms, and they have to guard a frontier 180 kilometres long. If I mobilise, I can put more men in the field – but I would need time for that.

I am not likely to attack the Turkish side, with Turkey being so close and having a population of 65 million, while we only have 500 000. The Turks, however, are likely to attack me. I would be failing in my duty, as I say, if I did not take the necessary measures just to give me time – not to win the battle, but to give me time – if I am attacked.

That is why I offered to disarm completely, if the other side would do the same.

Mr LAAKSO (Finland), President of the Group of the Unified European Left

Mr President, how do you promote contacts between the two communities in Cyprus? I believe that the best way to build confidence is to promote contacts between the ordinary citizens of the two communities. How do you promote such contacts?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

Thank you for the question. It was that very thought that made us seek a way in which the two communities could get together, despite the military line of confrontation which prevented such contacts. In talks with the Secretary General, it was established that we needed a neutral place where Greeks and Turks could meet. At the time, the town of Famagusta was a ghost town. It is still a ghost town. The Secretary General hit on the idea that if Famagusta was placed under the administration of the United Nations and policed by it, and if the inhabitants returned, Greeks and Turks could freely meet there and the contacts for which we hoped could be made. Such contacts for business, to reunite friends or for cultural events could have created a different climate in Cyprus. We accepted the idea last May. The Turkish side has not accepted the idea of confidence-building measures.


Mr President, the recent use of force in Bosnia-Herzegovina sparked great international interest. President Yeltsin criticised that decision, saying that Russia was not consulted. What is your position on that issue? Do you believe that such use of force should be based solely on a Nato decision or on the greater international consensus?

I should also like to know your views on the tension between Greece and Macedonia. How do you see that position and how do you evaluate the future position?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

I shall begin by answering the second question first. You asked where I stood on the tension between Greece and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which was part of the former Yugoslavia. It was a policy of the former Yugoslavia under President Tito to establish a greater Macedonia which included the Greek Macedonia. Tito’s government issued several books and distributed pamphlets and so on to that effect.

Today the Constitution of Skopje includes references to a greater Macedonia. Before Skopje goes any further, the references to greater Macedonia should be erased from its Constitution. Once that is done, there should be negotiations on all the other issues. I do not want to go into that problem more deeply. However, as a Greek, I took part of my education in the United Kingdom. One of the subjects that I took was ancient Greek history. I was taught in England that Alexander the Great and Macedonia were part of ancient Greece. I am too old to go back to school to learn differently.


What about my first question?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

The question was about the response of Nato forces in Bosnia. It remains to be seen whether the response will produce results. However, I certainly believe that if the United Nations had asked for support and Nato had refused and no action had been taken, the credibility of the United Nations and its resolutions would have suffered a severe blow. I have my doubts whether the action will contribute to finding a solution to the problem.

Sir Keith SPEED (United Kingdom)

Mr President, your predecessor, Mr Vassiliou, told me four years ago before this Assembly, that he accepted the idea of political equality between the two communities in Cyprus. Is that your view, Sir? Do you find any particular negotiating difficulties in including Varoscia/Nicosia International Airport as part of the confidence-building measures on your side?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

Political equality has been defined by the Secretary General and we have accepted the definition expressed in his report. He clearly stated that political equality did not mean equal representation in the sense that 18% of the community could not have the same representation as 82% of the community. I have no difficulty whatever with that. Although I was in opposition to Mr Vassiliou, I declared that he did the right thing in accepting that definition of political equality.

Mrs ERR (Luxembourg)

One year ago the Assembly adopted a recommendation on the demographic structure of the island. Could you enlighten us on that crucial problem for your country? What kind of help can the Council of Europe, especially this Assembly, give in solving the problem or implementing confidence-building measures?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

I shall try to be brief. The change in the political structure was from a unified state to a federal state. The agreement which was reached between the then President of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, and the present leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mr Denktash, contained the following points: first, Cyprus would be an independent, sovereign, bicommunal, federal republic; secondly, there would be two areas – one in the north, to be administered by the Turkish Cypriots and one in the south to be administered by the Greek Cypriots. The extent of the areas would be defined taking into account the productivity, viability and land ownership of the respective communities. The federal government would have adequate powers to maintain the unity of the country. Freedom of movement, freedom of settlement and respect for private ownership would be entrenched in the constitution, but certain difficulties of the Turkish community would be taken into consideration.

All negotiations since 1977, when the agreement was first made, were conducted on the basis that I have described. The agreement was reiterated by President Kyprianou, by President Vassiliou and by me.

The failure to reach agreement was due to three factors. The territorial aspect was important. The previous Secretary General – and the present one – proposed a definition of the area under the administration of the Turkish Cypriot community. Our side accepted that line with few objections; the Turkish side rejected it. There were also differences concerning the rights of displaced persons to return to their homes.

On the question of Cyprus entering the European Community, there were also differences between the two communities. I have already stated our position on the confidence-building measures. We accepted the confidence-building measures last May and we have also accepted the papers prepared by the Secretary General for their implementation; the other side has not yet done so.

Mr ALEXANDER (United Kingdom)

Do I understand from your interesting speech and your very last remarks that you accept those confidence-building measures in full? If that is the case, do the Greek Cypriot people, or the majority of them, also accept them in full?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

You understand correctly that I accept the confidence-building measures – the quid pro quo and Famagusta town being under the administration of the United Nations, as is the airport. I accept the papers prepared by the Secretary General’s representatives regarding the implementation of the confidence-building measures, and I am ready to sign them the moment that the Turkish side is also prepared to do so. What was your third question?


It concerned the view of the majority of your people.

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

I believe that the majority of the people of Cyprus accept the confidence-building measures. A recent Gallup poll showed that 67% of the people of Cyprus supported the measures.

Mr ESPERSEN (Denmark)

I believe that many of us think that membership of the European Union would stabilise the situation in your country as well as producing economic advantage. Therefore, it was satisfying to read that the Commission of the European Communities finds that all structural and economic conditions have been met. It was disappointing to read in the same report that, because of an illegal occupation, negotiations could not begin. It was a strange reason to give having noted that you have fulfilled all the conditions. When will the negotiations in substance begin? If there is no political solution this year, will they start, nevertheless? According to your estimate, how long would the negotiations require and how long would it take for the Republic of Cyprus to become a member of the European Union?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

I believe that negotiations should start next January. It was stipulated in the opinion that the situation would be reviewed in January 1995. We have also been told that if progress is made, the negotiations for entry into the European Union will definitely start in January. We were also told that if there is no progress, and that is not the fault of the Republic of Cyprus but is due to the other side, that would be taken into consideration and would not prevent the commencement of the negotiations.

It has also been clearly stated to us that the accession of Cyprus and of Malta would occur after 1996, but the knowledge that we are to enter the European Union would be a great contribution towards a solution of the problems in Cyprus. It would pacify the anxieties on both sides. It would pacify the anxieties of the Greek Cypriots to know that Turkey has no expansionist aims against Cyprus, and it would pacify the fears of the Turkish Cypriot community to know that we, as the majority on the island, have no intention of running down the Turkish community or reducing its members to third-class citizens.

Mrs HALONEN (Finland)

I have almost heard the full answer to my question as I was also eager to ask about European integration and its importance to your country. The only part of my question still left unanswered is how you see the importance of possible membership of the European Union for the economy of your country.

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

The economic advantages of Cyprus joining the European Union may not be very great to begin with, but as time passes they will certainly increase. We are a minute state and the European Union is extremely large. Our exports will be easy to place in such a very large community.

Mr LOPEZ HENARES (Spain) (interpretation)

acknowledging that the failure to reach agreement had consequences for Europe, asked whether there was justification for a European Union mediator.

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

We would, of course, be delighted to have a European mediator involved in the solution of the Cyprus problem. That is not possible, however, since the Security Council has authorised the Secretary General to use his good offices to find a solution to the problem. I cannot request such mediation without saying, in effect, that the good offices of the Secretary General have been terminated. It is the Security Council that authorises the Secretary General, not us. The issue raised by the question should be taken up between the European Union and the Secretary General.

Mr CUCO (Spain) (translation)

I would first like to greet the President of the Republic of Cyprus, whom I had the opportunity of meeting personally in Nicosia when I was preparing my report on the demography of the island.

I would like to ask you, Mr President, about the evolution of the population situation in Cyprus in the last few years, having regard in particular to the arrival of settlers from Anatolia.

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

Until recently, the growth of the indigenous populations of Cyprus, whether Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots, was proceeding along much the same line. It is a fact, however, that the immigrants brought from Turkey have a different rate of growth of population. They bring with them the habit of creating many children. They care little about what they will do with them, how they will educate them and how they will set them up. There is, therefore, an expansion of the population in the north, which is introducing new dimensions.

Mr ROKOFYLLOS (Greece) (translation)

Mr President, I believe we have all appreciated the sincerity of your European commitment and your European convictions. It is precisely with them in mind that I would ask you this question: In your opinion, what could the Council of Europe do to prevent the old anachronistic adage beati possidentes from triumphing yet again and the abominable practice of ethnic cleansing, to which you referred, from being established?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

The Council of Europe could have a role in specific areas. The first of those areas is the militarisation of the territory of the republic. The Council should exercise all its influence. I am not saying that it should not take into consideration the anxieties of Turkish Cypriots about their safety. My proposals take that into account because I have suggested a large increase in international forces, for which we should be prepared to pay. That would enable the Turkish Cypriots to feel safe.

The second area in which the Council of Europe could play an important role would be to support the concept that the refugees have the right to return to their homes. That would avoid ethnic cleansing.

We have seen the practice of colonising by importing populations from another country. That must not be accepted. The Council of Europe should exert again its influence to make it clear to the Turkish side that there is no possibility of it being recognised as a separate state and that the best course for it is to send the immigrants back to the areas from which they came.


What is the attitude of the Republic of Cyprus to Partnership for Peace (PFP)? A new incentive is important for the Polish process. What is the official attitude of your republic, Mr Clerides, to PFP?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

We, of course, support the theory of Partnership for Peace and we are willing to contribute to put that theory into practice. We believe that a united Europe should extend its actions to cover areas which were previously the responsibility of the Warsaw Pact. We believe also that Russia should take part in PFP.

Mr PAVLIDES (Greece)

As a member of the Assembly, and especially as a member of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, I attach great importance to your reference, Mr Clerides, to the Greek refugees who are refugees in their own country, as you said. In that context, we have the tragedy of missing persons due to the Turkish invasion of 1975. Has any progress been made in trying to solve this unique problem for the Council of Europe? What steps are being taken to find a solution to this ongoing drama, which is entering its twentieth year?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

In my speech, I deliberately avoided making any statement on that subject, other than about the number of missing persons, because I have always considered the problem a humanitarian one. I did not wish to make it part of a political solution to the Cyprus problem, lest it be thought that I was turning a purely humanitarian problem to political advantage. As you have asked the question, however, let me say this. The problem has now been going on for twenty years, and the close relatives of missing persons have endured great pain and suffering; it has also had an adverse effect on the confidence that the two communities can feel in each other.

There are several categories of missing person. For instance, there is irrefutable evidence that some were taken to Turkey by Turkish forces and never returned: no explanation has been given about what happened to those people, and why they were in Turkey. There is also irrefutable evidence that some people were arrested by either Turkish Cypriot armed groups or Turkish forces, but then did not reach the area where Turkish forces were detaining Greek Cypriots. And there is irrefutable evidence that some people who have been in those concentration areas were taken away, and have never been seen since. Unless Turkey is prepared to give explanations, the problem will continue.

A number of Turkish Cypriots are also missing. It is clear that, during those tragic days, undisciplined members of both communities committed atrocities. Both Turkish and Greek Cypriots should address themselves to that category of missing person: I have suggested that both sides should agree to open graves, because I believe that people have been killed by both sides and that the slate should be wiped clean. The answer, however, can come only from Turkey.

Mr FRANCK (Sweden)

You touched on my question in that last answer, Mr Clerides. May I ask, however, what international bodies such as the International Red Cross – and, indeed, the Council of Europe – can do to help to find out where those missing people are, whether they are dead or alive, and whether they are hidden somewhere?

Mr Clerides, President of the Republic of Cyprus

I will be brief. I think that an international committee of inquiry should be established, that it should be provided with all the files and evidence and that it should invite Turkey to give an explanation.


That brings to an end the questions that our colleagues wished to ask you, Mr Clerides. On behalf of the Assembly, I thank you warmly for your comments: I am sure that they have clarified our views on Cyprus, and reaffirmed our commitment to working politically within the framework of the Council of Europe’s principles – and to being as instrumental as possible in finding a solution to the conflict that will be in the best interests of our peoples and our Institution, which is also suffering from a lack of credibility when we approach new candidates for membership. We will keep the dramatic experiences that have been mentioned in our hearts.