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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-11-26

Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, November 26, 1999

Israel launches charm offensive

ALTHOUGH half the papers persisted with Cyprus problem-related lead stories, the rest decided that it was time for a change.

Politis reported that Israel was launching a friendship offensive on Cyprus. The move came immediately after the Greek Defence Minister's visit to Israel, the results of which were very positive for relations between the two countries. The visit was within the framework of the US drive to impose its own security plans in the region. The friendship offensive would improve the negative picture created by the Israel-Turkey agreement for military co-operation, the paper said. At the beginning of next year, a high-level Israeli delegation would be visiting Cyprus, while in February, Minister of Defence Socratis Hasikos, will be in Tel Aviv for the possible signing of a defensive agreement. This development was related to the early release of two Mossad agents, imprisoned in Cyprus for espionage, the paper claimed.

Alithia reported that the Minister of Commerce and Industry Nicos Rolandis was very concerned about the effects the high world price of crude oil would have on the small Cyprus economy. He was to meet representatives of the petrol companies to discuss the situation. With the price at more than $25 per barrel, the only hope of a lower price would be for the UN to allow Iraq to export larger quantities. Rolandis told the paper that there would be adverse consequences for the economy. For every dollar increase in the price of crude oil, the estimated cost to the Cyprus economy was $14 million a year. The crude oil price shot up after oil exporting countries had agreed to reduce their output and Iraq decided to stop its exports.

Machi reported that Tuesday's murder attempt in the Limassol district had taken a new turn after police carried out investigations at the scene of the shooting. After finding a shell and a cartridge from an automatic rifle at the scene, the police were investigating the possibility that there had been an exchange of fire. The three men had claimed they had been shot at while travelling in a car. Two of the men appeared in court in connection with a case of possessing explosives. The third was still in hospital receiving treatment for his injuries.

Phileleftheros reported that a general framework of ideas that will constitute the basis for a settlement, would be presented to the two sides during the New York proximity talks. One of the ideas already discussed with the two sides was for the setting up of a multinational peacekeeping force that would be under the authority of the UN Security Council. The Treaty of Guarantee would remain unchanged. In the constitutional chapter, the main suggestion involved the replacement of the presidential system with a parliamentary system. There would be a rotational presidency, while the prime minister will be Greek. However, the Turks were demanding that the president and foreign minister should always be Turkish if the prime minister was to be Greek.

Simerini reported that the Greek government had sent a very clear message to its EU partners, stating that Cyprus could not be held hostage by Turkey. The Greek government spokesman said that Athens would exercise all its legal rights to ensure that same criteria for membership, adopted for applicant countries would apply to Cyprus. Cyprus' accession could not be made conditional on a settlement, the spokesman said.

Haravghi predicted that the haggling over the granting of EU candidate status to Turkey would continue until just before the start of the Helsinki summit. This was inevitable given Greece's insistence on securing certain benefits for Cyprus, in exchange for backing Turkey's candidacy, the paper said.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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