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Home 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

Parašė ACM
Wednesday, May 17, 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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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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