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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-05-28

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 28, 1998

Things to get worse before they get better

ATTENTION was focused on the visit of State Department official Thomas Miller who gave little away about his contacts, although it was clear that the S-300 missiles had featured in his discussions here.

Phileleftheros said Miller felt that, as a result of the prospect of the deployment of the missiles, the situation in Cyprus could take a turn for the worse before there were signs of improvement. However, the US would initiative continue.

In his meeting with President Clerides, Miller discussed several ideas that would prevent the deployment of the missiles, but the government reportedly stuck to its decision. Miller was said to have proposed three options - the creation of a flight exclusion zone over Cyprus, the deployment of the missiles in Crete or their storage in Russia.

Haravghi said Miller had made an indirect threat to the government by discussing the negative consequences the missile deployment would have on the Cyprus problem.

It did, however, quote Miller as saying that the cancellation of the missile order was not a precondition for the US to continue in their Cyprus peace initiative.

Simerini made a big issue of what it described as Miller's 'blunder'. Miller had said that in the event that Turkey attacked the missile site in Cyprus, the US would "react strongly". The US, he said, had made it clear to Ankara that attack threats were counter-productive.

He was quick to correct himself, the paper said, telling journalists to ignore the remark about a strong reaction. "I do not want to get into statements, regarding details, I know nothing about," he said. He then said that the US had made it clear to Turkey that a reaction to the arrival of the missiles "would be a bad thing".

Alithia, under the headline "Smaller state", said that a four-member ministerial committee was considering how to reduce the state's participation in organisations that it owns or controls. Initially, the state would maintain some control of these organisations, raising some cash by selling off a part.

The organisations involved are the Development Bank, the Forest Industries, CCC Tourist Enterprises, Cyprus Airways, the Pancyprian Bakeries and the Oil refinery.

Agon claimed that the government would raise VAT from eight to 12 per cent, as part of the efforts to reduce the fiscal deficit, which now stands at five per cent of GDP. The higher VAT would mean that the one per cent increase in the Defence Levy, which had been sought by the government, would be abandoned.

Machi reported that Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou was once again in complete control of his party after the failure of moves to have him removed.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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