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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-13

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 13, 1998

Clerides backs down on title deeds

PRESIDENT CLERIDES'S decision to back down in his confrontation with the House over the issuing of title deeds to refugees dominated yesterday's front pages.

Alithia, taking the government's side, said Clerides had withdrawn the referral to the Supreme Court of the six draft bills proposed by Akel, Diko, Edek and the United Democrats, for legal and not political reasons. With the bills, the parties had blocked the issuing of title deeds, which they opposed.

After legal advice, Clerides decided that the matter should be governed by regulations which were being prepared. These would cover all refugees, including those whose houses were on the British bases and could not be given title deeds. In such cases, government guarantees and financial assistance would be given.

Machi said financial assistance would correct the injustice inflicted on the refugees who were not given title deeds for their houses. By withdrawing the referral to the Supreme Court the government had ended the granting of title deeds.

Haravghi carried two lead stories under the headline, "Refugees, workers - he (Clerides) has deceived you". The second story covered by the headline was Clerides's speech at the AGM of the Employers and Industrialists Federation, which the paper described as anti-union. The government had openly taken the side of the employers, exposing its pre- election myths, it claimed.

It said Clerides's retreat on the title deeds was an admission of "political defeat" and demonstrated that his original decision served election purposes and not the interests of the refugees.

Simerini said that talk by US State Department envoy Thomas Miller and other American officials about the danger of a "heated incident" in Cyprus this summer would affect the tourism market. Tour operators and businessmen were worried by the rumours spread by American and British diplomats suggesting that the Turks would strike if the S-300 missiles were deployed.

The paper reported political observers as saying Washington's aim was to frighten Greek Cypriots and turn them against the deployment of the missiles. The second objective was to destroy their morale and make them accept an unfair Cyprus settlement.

Phileleftheros said the US was now looking for procedural ways of skirting the Turkish demand for recognition of the pseudo-state before the resumption of direct talks. During his last visit, US envoy Richard Holbrooke had raised the possibility of having proximity talks as a way of lifting the deadlock.

Holbrooke believes that the start of the peace process in some form would allow Clerides to show some "flexibility on the issue of the missiles".

Agon said the government made a plea for statements about the missiles to be toned down, after a surfeit of reports in the international press about the possibility of a heated incident during the summer.

Western diplomats had warned of the negative consequences the deployment of the missiles would have on tourism and the economy.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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