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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-09-15

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, September 15, 1998

More time needed for US mediation

WHILE the US has asked for more time to prepare its new mediation proposal on Cyprus, Turkey was planning on deploying Chinese-made missiles in the occupied area and raising the tension in the region.

Phileleftheros reported that the US had asked the Greek side for more time to prepare a new mediation proposal on Cyprus and also advised that no recourse is made against Turkey to the UN General Assembly. This was conveyed to the Greek government by US envoy Thomas Miller during his recent visit.

Miller had not visited Ankara and Nicosia so as not to raise expectations of a new US initiative, for which conditions were not favourable. Three factors prevented a US initiative: the Lewinski affair has left the White House no time to deal with foreign policy; Richard Holbrooke's appointment as US representative to the UN has hit problems; prospects for progress were non-existent.

Simerini said that Ankara planned to deploy Chinese WS-i, surface-to- surface missiles in the north. In response the Cyprus government hoped to deploy the Smerch missile system. The purchase of the Smerch system had been vetoed by the Ministry of Finance, the paper said.

Turkey had taken delivery of the Chinese missiles, which have a range of 80kn, at the end of August. The depolyment of the WS-i missiles would further upset the military balance in Cyprus as the Turks could use these to strike at the S-300 missile bases.

To Tharros claimed that the Turkish military hierarchy had implemented a strategic plan to create and heighten tension over the next few months.

The first objective was to provoke "an accidental" heated incident in the Aegean Sea, which will be like a "powder keg ready to explode" in the next few months, during which both Greek and Turkish forces would be carrying out military exercises.

Haravghi said that the government was planning to table a bill for the liberalisation of the interest rate regime at the same time that its tax package was taken to the House for approval. The Minister of Finance had arranged meeting with different party leader to secure support for his measures in the House.

The government wanted both bills passed simultaneously because it had given assurances to representatives of the International Monetary Fund that it would do so in autumn. The paper said that approval of the bills would significantly lower living standards.

Alithia led with a report about the hotel workers' strike which began at midnight on Sunday, after the Hoteliers' Association had rejected the mediation proposal of the Labour Minister.

The paper said that Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nicos Rolandis, would meet the Hoteliers' Association today in an effort to find a solution. With hotels enjoying high occupancy rates, a strike would deal a big blow to the tourism industry.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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