MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
8 October 1999
Cyprus Foreign Minister Welcomes Australian Initiative
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with the Foreign Minister of Cyprus, His Excellency Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, during my attendance at the recent session of the United Nations General Assembly. During this meeting I was able to brief him on developments in East Timor and on current initiatives by Australia with respect to Cyprus.
The Government welcomes the support expressed by Mr Kasoulides for Australian action in East Timor and the offer of the Government of Cyprus to contribute police personnel, if requested, to any U.N. force.
With respect to Cyprus, I affirmed Australia's long-standing support for the efforts of the U.N. Secretary-General to promote a just, negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of U. N. Resolutions and the Secretary-General's 1992 Set of Ideas. I also briefed Mr Kasoulides on current activities by Australia's Special Envoy for Cyprus, Ambassador John Spender.
Mr Spender submitted his Report on the Cyprus situation to me at the end of last year following extensive consultations with interested parties in Australia and overseas. Since submitting his Report, Mr Spender has continued his consultations, principally in Cyprus and Turkey. He returned to Australia in August both to brief the Government and undertake further community consultations. En route, Mr Spender also had extensive discussions in the United States on current developments and international initiatives.
As a result of Mr Spender's consultations, I have endorsed a proposal to offer to the parties and to the UN the services of an Australian judicial expert who could assist in designing a federal model for Cyprus. Mr Spender is currently sounding out the parties with respect to this offer.
Mr Kasoulides warmly welcomed this initiative. He noted that he looked forward to meeting with Mr Spender during Mr Spender's next visit to Cyprus.
Minister - Liz O'Neill 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville 02 6261 1555
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