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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-11-05

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, November 05, 1999

Government determined to combat sleaze

WHILE one paper led with the government's plans to combat corruption in the public sector, another blamed the government for the high incidence of corruption and sleaze.

Alithia reported that President Clerides, underlining his determination to clamp down on corruption, planned to call a meeting of representatives of all political parties to discuss a series of anti-corruption measures the government was preparing. He will call for the support of the parties, and urge them to pass a bill, submitted to the House in 1993, which made nepotism a criminal offence. Clerides believed that the lack of meritocracy was one of the main causes of corruption and sleaze.

The fact that Clerides met Disy deputy Christos Pourgourides, who handed the president a list of proposals for combating corruption, illustrated his intentions. Indicative of the government's thinking was Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou's assertion that the president, the government, the legislature and the political parties all had a share of the responsibility for the current situation.

Haravghi took great exception to Papapetrou's comment. It quoted Akel deputy Andreas Christou describing the comments as an "attempt by the government to deny its responsibilities for the huge scandals and the surge in corruption and sleaze". Christou said that the corruption witnessed was Aunprecedented".

The Akel deputy said things had reached this point because of the bad example set by the Clerides government, which among other things gave preferential treatment to a member of the cabinet; offered special employment contracts to people who backed Clerides in elections; favoured "its own" when it came to promotions in appointments to the public service. Was it a surprise, he asked, that public servants thought they could do as they pleased given the government's behaviour?

Politis said the Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis "trembling with fear" over the hostile reception that President Clinton would be given when he visited Greece next week. Every day, the climate in Greece became "heavier" as more people promised to give the "killer of the Balkans a warm reception".

Under theses circumstances, Simitis had undertaken a special initiative, arranging meetings with all party leaders in an effort to explain to them that any mass protests in the centre of Athens would be unwise. Simitis, who has been arguing that the Clinton visit was "a good thing", fears that the demonstrations would get out of control, as they were not being organised by the parties.

Phileleftheros claimed that US diplomats were engaged in "intense activity" in an effort to secure a resumption of Cyprus talks before the end of November. Although the US diplomats' efforts were being thwarted by Turkey's intransigence, they were persisting, even though they knew that the talks procedure could be kept alive only through "artificial respiration".

US diplomats had been saying that they expected talks to resume between November 25 and December 10, because they were hoping for a change of Ankara's stance after President Clinton's visit to Turkey.

Simerini said that the identification of the remains of missing teenager Zinon Zinonos highlighted the fact that relatives of the missing would undergo a big ordeal over the next few months. They will require great "reserves of mental strength" to cope with developments.

The procedure was being threatened by the fact that some 250 families had not provided genetic data that the investigators require in order to identify the remains exhumed from the two Nicosia cemeteries. Already, four out of the 10 sets of remains exhumed could not be identified.

Machi focused on the reaction of the mother of Zinonos on being informed that her son, who had been missing since July 21, 1974, was dead. She said "I am proud of my son's sacrifice".

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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