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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-11-12

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 12, 1998

Historic day for EU drive

THE START of substantive negotiations for EU membership on Tuesday was heralded as a historic day for Cyprus by all the papers.

Alithia led with the quote by the Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel, who said: "Today we opened actual negotiations and nothing can stop the train." It said that the 15 member countries had expressed favourable comments about Cyprus' programmes for research, education and industry.

The paper also said that the position embraced by Germany, France, Holland and Italy, that Cyprus' membership of the EU should be conditional on a settlement had been "unexpectedly downplayed" during Tuesday's proceedings.

Machi gave prominence to Prime Minister Costas Simitis' assertion that Greece would never agree to any new conditions, outside the agreed procedure for the accession of Cyprus to the EU. This was a response to the reservations of the four countries.

Simitis noted that when the decision for Cyprus' accession was taken in 1994, everyone knew about the Cyprus problem, but voiced no objections. Now they were setting unacceptable conditions.

Haravghi led with a excerpts from a speech by Akel leader Demetris Christofias who took a different line on the EU. He felt the accession talks were laying the foundations for the permanent partition of Cyprus, because this had been used as a pretext by the Turkish side not to attend talks.

Simerini reported that the two Israelis detained in Zygi on suspicion of spying were senior Mossad officers. The two suspects, according to police sources, were still unable to give a plausible explanation for their presence in a military zone.

Police said the two suspects had tapped into police and army radio frequencies and had recorded messages. They had contacted Tel Aviv four times while the messages were being recorded. Meanwhile, the suspects had appointed three new lawyers, two Cypriots and one Israeli.

Phileleftheros reported that President Clerides had told a delegation of officials from Athens that the S-300 missiles would definitely be coming to Cyprus. He said that unless there was "substantial developments" in security issues, there would not be another postponement to their arrival.

In Greece, the paper said, there was a divergence of view. The Foreign Ministry was against the deployment, while the Ministry of Defence felt that cancellation of the deployment would destroy the Unified Defence Dogma. Finally, Greek PM Simitis believed Clerides should have the final say.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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