U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
January 21, 1997
16-18 Deployment of Anti-Aircraft System
22 Four Party Talks Briefing
QUESTION: Yes, definitely. Regarding moratorium over Cyprus, the Cypriot President, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, stated that the moratorium is dead. Mr. Carey Cavanaugh however, stated that the moratorium is alive. Could you please clarify your position?
MR. BURNS: I'd be glad to, Mr. Lambros. About a week ago, when Mr. Cavanaugh met with President Clerides, he received signals from the Cypriots, as well as the Greeks, as well as the Turks, that they would all work very hard last week on this proposal to limit - for a moratorium - excuse me - on military flights over the Aegean.
Unfortunately, we've been -
QUESTION: The Aegean?
MR. BURNS: On Cyprus, excuse me. I'm sorry. Mr. Lambros, I've got to be on my toes with you back. I know you're looking at every word that I say and parsing it.
We were very disappointed that the parties were not able to conclude the measure which has been on the table in different forms since July 1996. We had been encouraged, as I said, by some positive statements that we had heard out of Nicosia, Ankara and Athens last week. But unfortunately when the Cypriot and Greek leadership met in Athens on Friday, they were unable to reach a final agreement on this arrangement.
We believe that this approach of a moratorium offers a diplomatic alternative to the deployment of an anti-aircraft system, and there is a link between them, and that the agreement on the moratorium perhaps makes it unnecessary to deploy the anti-aircraft system in 1998, about a year-and-a-half from now.
Nonetheless, we'll continue to work with all the parties, including the Turkish Government, on this proposal and also on the other measures along the green line - along the boundary line, excuse me - and the other issues involved in the Greek and Turkish relationships, so that all these problems can be resolved peacefully and without resort to threats. That's what, unfortunately, we've seen over the last couple of weeks - unnecessary rhetoric from all sides.
QUESTION: Would you please confirm information that Mr. Carey Cavanaugh, during his last trip in Athens, discussed also with the Greek Foreign Minister, Theodhoros Pangalos, that the proposed moratorium as you mention over Cyprus should be extended over the Aegean Sea, as it was proposed, by Professor Khristos Rozakis?
MR. BURNS: When Carey gets back, I'll talk to him and ask him that question, and we'll see what we can get you on that. That wasn't part of what we said publicly last week. I know he did have a good conversation about other issues, and I'll just have to get back to you on that, Mr. Lambros.
QUESTION: Would you take this question?
MR. BURNS: Be glad to, yes. Any follow-up to this?
QUESTION: About Turkey.
MR. BURNS: I think there might be follow-up to this question.
QUESTION: Yes. What do you think is the problem? I mean, why did the parties and specifically the Cypriots say one thing and then reject it?
MR. BURNS: We did not have ironclad assurances that this agreement would be reached last week. But we had positive signals that they could accept it. You'll have to ask the Greek Government and the Cypriot Government why they did not conclude this agreement on Friday. We're disappointed. We're very disappointed, and we'll continue working with them on it.
QUESTION: Any plans for Cavanaugh or somebody else to go out there any time soon?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any new missions that we can announce, but I can say that we'll be keeping close track of these issues, and we'll be heavily involved. Ambassador Ken Brill met with President Clerides today in Nicosia. Ambassador Brill expressed our disappointment to the press there, and he will remain on top of this issue.
Yes, Savas. Savas had a question, I think, and then Ugur.
QUESTION: A different - I have Cyprus question.
QUESTION: Ankara, the Turkish Government, and the Turkish Cypriot Government issued a joint declaration yesterday. It is a mirror image of the joint defense agreement between Greece and the Greek Cypriot Government, basically saying any attack, threat on Turkish Cypriots would be perceived as a direct attack on Turkey; and if Greek Cypriots go ahead with their plans to have these naval and air bases in Cyprus, there will be similar mirror image bases in north. Could you comment on this new development?
MR. BURNS: I think that we've said many times in the past that there is no reason for the Turkish Government or the Turkish Cypriots to overreact to the events of the last ten days. We are calling upon all parties for restraint, and I would note for the Turkish Government and the Turkish Cypriot leadership that President Clerides has promised that
this antiaircraft system will not be deployed for up to 16 months. That's a very significant promise, and none of the parts of this system will actually even be imported into Cyprus during that time. This should allow all the parties to work out their differences amicably without resort to the kind of dramatic statements and threats that have been made.
QUESTION: To go back to (inaudible) question, is it fair to say, Nick, that Ambassador Ken Brill heard from President Clerides a definite no this morning?
MR. BURNS: I don't know if it was a definite "no." I think it was a statement that they were not able to reach an agreement on Friday. I don't know if this agreement will be impossible to reach in the future. We're not going to stop our efforts to suggest that this is the best way forward: A moratorium that would increase the level of confidence on the part of all the actors in the region and give some diplomatic space, some quiet space, for the negotiators to work on these problems without resort to threats.
QUESTION: How would you characterize the Turkish approach to the proposal? Are they accepting it?
MR. BURNS: I have characterized - oh, you mean to the specific proposal.
MR. BURNS: I'd let the Turkish Government do that.
QUESTION: Do you have anything on (Inaudible) briefing on the Four-Party talks?
MR. BURNS: I don't. I have asked that as soon as a decision is made about the site for those talks, that we give that to you. The talks will be held - the Four-Party talks briefing - on January 29. That would be a week from Wednesday.
We still are trying to work out with the North Koreans and
the Republic of Korea where those talks would be held, and
we don't have the final decision on that.