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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-09

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, May 9, 1998

US aims under scrutiny

THE FURORE over the views expressed by US envoy Richard Holbrooke last Monday refuses to die down as the newspapers continue their speculation about American objectives.

Phileleftheros said that despite Washington's obvious attempts to make some cosmetic modifications to Holbrooke's recent statements relating to recognition of the pseudo-state, the US had for the first time referred to the "existence of two peoples on the island".

In support of its claim, the paper cited comments by State Department spokesman James Foley, the substance of which was the same as that of Holbrooke's views. Foley spoke of "two peoples on the island who were isolated from each other".

He also noted that not all people in Cyprus felt they were represented by the Cyprus government, a sentiment very similar to that expressed by Holbrooke.

Haravghi said that in an attempt to "sweeten the pill of a partitionist solution", the US was promoting the establishment of a "transitional" confederation of two states, claiming it would evolve into a federation with the passing of time.

Diplomatic sources said that political circles in Athens and Nicosia had accepted the US plan. The paper said supporters of the plan were naive to think that a confederation would be transitional. On the contrary, such a plan would partition the island for good, it warned.

Alithia reported that, according to reliable diplomatic sources, Holbrooke was determined to break the deadlock and would be back in Cyprus for this purpose early in July.

That was why he did not take a tougher stand over Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's negative attitude. If he had been tougher, he would have limited the prospects of success of his initiative, which would have had to be called off.

Agon carried a similar report, saying that today's deadlock was only temporary as Holbrooke, who had the full backing of Washington, was determined to continue his initiative.

Machi reported that while Holbrooke was in Cyprus, senior American officers from the Pentagon were at the US embassy in Nicosia waiting for the envoy to arrange a meeting of top brass from both sides. The failure of the mediation meant that the officers were not needed, as there was no military dialogue.

Simerini reported that some 6,000 companies owed arrears amounting to 16 million on VAT payments. Half of this amount consisted of fines and interest payments for delays. It also reported that 1,900 companies which owed VAT had gone bankrupt while another 400 were in receivership.

The paper said judges had become tougher with VAT offenders, passing prison sentences in several cases.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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