- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2000

'Win-win' for Cyprus

The Cypriot ambassador yesterday shared her view of a future when the divided island's rival Greek and Turkish communities live in harmony and prosper under the umbrella of the European Union.

"The two communities of Cyprus would learn to heal the wounds of the past and build bridges of cooperation and trust between them," Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis told a forum sponsored by the Western Policy Center.

"The suffering and pain they inflicted on each other in the past would be replaced by a process of forgiving and reconciliation, seeking elements that unite them in a common European environment, in a common future."

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis issued her message of peace on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the Turkish army's invasion of the northern part of the island to protect ethnic Turks after Greek-Cypriots, backed by the military junta in Greece at the time, overthrew the Cypriot government and demanded a union with Greece.

Since that crisis in 1974, the island has been divided between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, who declared an independent state in 1983. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey.

Recently both sides have engaged in talks to try to settle the island's future. The talks are scheduled to resume Monday in Geneva and convene again in August in New York.

While the Greek-Cypriot government insists on reunification under a single, federal authority, Turkish-Cypriot leaders want a loose confederation of equal regimes.

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis said her vision of a united Cyprus would include Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot officials representing a federal government on the island and in European institutions.

"Membership of a federal Cyprus in the European Union will provide [both communities] with maximum security, not only from the fact of being part of a larger European family of nations, but, more significantly, because of the very nature of the EU as a union where democracy, liberty, respect of fundamental human rights and the rule law play a central role," she said.

The ambassador also said Turkish-Cypriots "will benefit from [EU] membership much more than any other section of the Cyprus population and their income and living standards will be rapidly brought to the level of the rest of the population."

Greek-Cypriots have an annual per capita income of $15,000, while Turkish-Cypriots earn about $3,500.

"As far as Cyprus is concerned, firmly believing in the win-win argument, we have spared no effort and we shall continue to spare no effort to make our dream of the reunification of our island and its people and its accession to the EU a reality," Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis said.

"We owe it to our children and to the future generations… . We can definitely see the day when people on the island from both communities will join their energies and minds for common causes that unite them in their common homeland, instead of maintaining walls that separate them in an artificially divided country."

No fungus in Ecuador

The U.S. ambassador to Ecuador yesterday dismissed newspaper reports that said the United States and Ecuador are spraying a highly toxic fungus to destroy coca crops near the Colombian border.

Ambassador Gwen Clare pointed out that the United Nations has rejected testing the fusarium oxysporum fungus, and that an "innocuous" chemical called gliphosate is being sprayed in Colombia to control the crops that produce cocaine.

"We are not using [the fungus] either in Colombia or in Ecuador," she said, calling an article in Miami's Neuvo Herald "factually incorrect."

South Korean sculpture

South Korean Ambassador Hong-koo Lee today will dedicate a sculpture created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the South Korean Embassy.

Mr. Lee will unveil the outdoor fountain sculpture at a 5 p.m. ceremony on the grounds of the embassy at 2450 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

The sculpture was created by Dong-koo Yun, a professor at the Korean National University of Arts.

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