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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-11-17

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Clinton 'sought Turkish goodwill gesture'

PRESIDENT Clinton’s visit to Turkey, in conjunction with next month’s proximity talks in New York, dominated yesterday’s front pages. Prominence was also given to the strong reaction by the political parties to Clerides’ decision to attend talks without consulting the National Council.


reported that Clinton, during his talks in Turkey, had repeatedly emphasised the importance attached by the US to the improvement of Greek- Turkish relations and to the solution of the Cyprus problem. He also repeated his government’s wholehearted support for Turkey’s drive for EU membership.

According to sources at the Greek Foreign Ministry, Clinton had asked President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to make a goodwill gesture towards Greece before the EU Helsinki summit, so as to keep going the momentum for the improvement of relations. This was confirmed by a member of Clinton’s entourage.


said that Clinton had given "wings to Turkey" with his speech at the National Assembly. Not only did he promise Turkey huge amounts of financial aid, he also promised to help the Country become a "geo-strategic and geo- economic power". With his speech he was stressing the "leading post-Cold War role of Turkey in the region".

In its front-page editorial, the paper criticised Clerides for going back on his word and agreeing to proximity talks -- he had ignored the National Council’s unanimous decision, insisting on direct talks. The paper argued that a "political crisis" was imminent and suggested that a referendum should be held before the talks so that Clerides could secure a mandate for his new policy, which "has no relation to what was being declared" in the past.


led with a report of the speech given by Akel leader Demetris Christofias at a rally to condemn the establishment of the pseudo-state. Christofias also accused Clerides for ignoring the National Council and not asking the UN Secretary-General for a couple of days before responding to his invitation, so that he could confer with the party leaders.

Christofias said Akel would "never concur to something that is synonymous with partition, no matter how artfully this is being served by assorted well-wishers." This was "the proud message sent by Cypriot people, for a struggle until vindication," said the paper.


focused on the comments made by Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou, who is "radically opposed" to Clerides’ handling of the Cyprus problem. He told Antenna news that he could no longer pretend he was Don Quixote and had two choices: "I will either quit politics or declare an unyielding struggle."

Archbishop Chrysostomos was also unhappy with the handling of the Cyprus problem. For the Church to be happy, the Turkish occupying troops should withdraw and human rights of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots should be respected.


said that Clerides only agreed to attend peace talks after the Americans had promised that their involvement in the negotiations would be substantive. The US planned to "bombard the two leaders with ideas" for a settlement. This was confirmed by Britain’s envoy Sir David Hannay who said all issues would be on the negotiating table.

The paper claimed that it was the Americans and President Demirel who had finally persuaded Rauf Denktash to attend peace talks. The Americans had promised that they would not allow Denktash "to leave the negotiating table with a different status (with his regime recognised) from the one he has today, if there is no settlement".


claimed that Denktash had condemned the proximity talks to failure by insisting on a two-state solution within the framework of a confederation. However, the US had assured Clerides that they would hold Denktash responsible for the failure of the talks if he continued to demand recognition for his regime.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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