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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow UN Head Guterres: eventual new Geneva Conference on Cyprus must be Effective + Not Miss opportunity

UN Head Guterres: eventual new Geneva Conference on Cyprus must be Effective + Not Miss opportunity

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- At an EU Parliament's Press Conference here, UNO's new Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, experienced former Prime Minister of Portugal and f. UN High Commissioner on Refugees at nearby Geneva, (Comp. various Guterres' Replies to "Eurofora" co-Founder's Questions earlier, including at the CoE in Strasbourg, at EU Parliament, etc, f.ex. at: ... + published at "TCWeekly", etc), appeared open for an eventual new International Conference on Cyprus' issue at nearby Geneva, but also Warned that it should, this time, be "Effective", and "Not Miss the opportunity" that may be given for a Peaceful ReUnification of the Strategic island, (which is also an UN, OSCE, CoE and EU Member State).

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- Asked by a Visiting Collegue from Cyprus, simply if he has "any Plans for the Next Steps", in general,

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UNO's Secretary General reminded that the International Organisation is "Working closely with the Parties", i.e. mainly "the two Cypriot Communities" in the island, which hold at their "hands" "the Leadership of the Process".


- "UN has a role of Support", for them "to be able to Come together (i.e. Meet to gold Talks between them), and to come together to an Agreement, allowing for the ReUnification", which "needs to be Endorsed by the Guarantor Powers", (Greece, Turkey and the UK, since the De-Colonisation process of the 1960ies), he highlighted.


- "So, ... as soon as the Parties Believe that there is a Scope of Re-Convening the Conference", (which had recently brought together in Geneva Both Cyprus and the Guarantors, in the presence of the EU and UN SC Permanent Members' diplomats, under UN auspices, last January 2017, resulting in a Posponement sine die, particularly after Disagreements surfaced mainly on Ankara's claims to Keep its Military troops on the island, and an Unilateral Right to Intervene, also After a Solution, in the Future, something that the Greek Cypriots and others find Unacceptable and Dangerous), "we (UNO) will do it", he ensured.


- This will be in order "to try to Find a Global Solution for the Outstanding Problems", in general, Guterres clarified, after Highlighting, earlier, a Distinction between "Security and Guarantees, that ...is the central Question in which relates to the Guarantor Powers", and "the Remaining problems to - I would say - more Internal Questions" of the Cyprus' issue, (i.e., f.ex. those of Greek Cypriot Refugees, Turkish mainland Settlers, Territorial adjustments between the Future Federated States, Governance of the future Federation of Cyprus, Economy, Taxes, and Foreign Trade, Natural Resources, Courts, EU Law, etc), for which, "my Special Envoy (Norwegian diplomat Espen Barth Eide, appointed by former UN SG Ban Ki Moon, some Years ago), "has been Working closely Togeher with the two Leaders of the two Communities" in Cyprus, "to see if" these matters "can be addressed".


- Concerning Both these two differend aspects, "We (UNO) are Ready to convene a New Conference, when the Parties Believe that we Can di it, in an Effective way", Guterres underlined, as the sole condition for a renewed attempt at nearby Geneva.  


- Because, we are "Very Much Hoping, that this (New) Opportunity ... will Not be Missed", UNO's Head stressed in Conclusion, (obviously wishing to be in a position to have a Better Result in Summer or Autumn, etc, that what it occured Back on Winter-time : Comp. Supra).


+ For that purpose, and given the fact that "Greece and Turkey have ... a very important role", among the "Guarantor Powers", (Comp. Supra), "I was this Week-End both with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Tsipras, and I Appealed for a flexible and Constructive approach of the two Countries, in order to be Able to address Effectively the problem of Security and guarantees that...is the Central question in what relates" to them, (the UK included), Guterres pointed out.


 - Naturaly, "I do not say that we (UNO) will only convene (a New Geneva Conference) When we are Sure about Success, because the obligation of the United Nations is not to only act when there is a perspective of success, but to act in all situations to promote peace and to promote understanding among peoples", he conceded.


- But, despite that, Guterres repeatedly referred to the current Need to be Able "to do it in an Effective Way", i.e. to "Have a Scope" for "a Global Solution for (all) the Outstanding Problems", and a real "Hope" that such a new "Opportunity ...will Not be Missed", (Comp. Supra).

 

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    He was speaking side by side with EU Parliament's President, Antonio Tajani, who had invited UNO's Head to address this Month's, May 2017 full weekly Plenary Session in Strasbourg, earlier Today in the Hemicycle with the MEPs, where Tajani repeatedly Stressed that the EU and UNO "Cooperation" was of "Central" importance particularly "in defence of Human Rights", as a matter of General Principle, which also has a notoriously Key role in the Cyprus' issue, (f.ex. on Refugees/IDPs and "Missing" or "Enclaved" Persons, etc).

 

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    Guteress also spoke to MEPs about the "Need to Mobilise a Broader Coalition for Human Rights" Nowadays, "all over the World", with "a Comprehensive view", but withOut "Double Standards". Reminding that he had served personaly, as a former MEP, at least "during three Years", "with your neighbours in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe", at an adjacent Building in Strasbourg, he observed that, Today "We are seeing a multiplication of new conflicts ....and old conflicts seem never to die". On the contrary, "– all these conflicts are becoming more and more interlinked", and risk to become, in one way or another, directly or indirectly, a "threat to our global security, wherever we live". So that "we need to strengthen Multilateral capacity to Address Conflicts", "and this is an area where the European cooperation with the UN is absolutely Crucial", in order "to Solve many of the Conflicts around the World", where "we also see Horrible Violations of international Humanitarian law and Human Rights Law", as he strongly denounced, making an Appeal also to the "Values of the Enlightenment" (18th Century AC), which "are the most important contribution that Europe has given to World Civilisation", as he stressed in Conclusion.

 

However, concerning Cyprus, some European expectations that the Turkish Government might, eventualy, adopt a more relaxed stance After the recent, April 2017 Referendum for a New Constitution, (v. f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coechairmanandclraepresidentoncyprusandturkey.html), allowing, eventualy, to overcome the January 2017 Geneva Deadlock around Turkey's claims for Military presence and even Future Unilateral Interventions in EU Member Cyprus, were recently dashed.

 

(../..)
 


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    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
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    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

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     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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