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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-12-07

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, December 07, 1999

Speculation rampant despite news blackout

THE NEWS blackout at the UN proximity talks in New York had no effect on the number of talks-related stories on yesterday's front pages - five of the six papers led with reports about the Cyprus problem.

Politis defended the previous day's revelations which claimed that the communist party Akel was a business partner of Louis Cruise Lines. The paper had reported that 51 per cent of Alasia Cruises Cyprus Ltd was held by the Loizou family, the LCL owners, 25 per cent by Homeric Cruises (holdings), the shareholders of which included senior members of the communist party Akel, and 24 per cent by Tamassos Property, which is owned by Akel union Peo. The paper, said that the Akel parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou had denied the indisputable facts of the report, describing them as mistaken and inaccurate. Christou claimed that the senior Akel officials - organisational secretary, financial chief, a deputy, and the Peo general secretary - had shares in these companies as individuals. Christou, however, avoided saying anything about Peo union, which owned 24 per cent of Alasia Cruises, the paper said.

Haravghi, the Akel mouthpiece, carried Christou's denial without mentioning any of the facts that had appeared in the offending article. It referred to an article which alleged that Akel was in partnership with Louis. It quoted Christou as asking what interests were being served by the resurfacing of a matter which had been discussed many times and on which all relevant questions had been answered. He said that parties were legally entitled to set up businesses and regretted the fact that Akel had not done so.

Alithia reported that the proximity talks were due to continue with a detailed analysis by each side of the proposals they had presented to UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan on Friday. The paper reported a flurry of behind-the- scenes activity aimed at ensuring positive developments, both at the talks and at the EU Helsinki summit in relation to Turkey's bid for candidate status. The Americans were particularly active, aware of the fact that issues were interrelated and that a deadlock in New York would have negative effects at the EU summit. This was why Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had asked EU member countries to satisfy Greece's demand that no conditions be set in Helsinki for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

Phileleftheros said that the behind-the-scenes activity was aimed at keeping the proximity talks alive until the weekend summit, at which a decision would be taken about Turkey's EU candidacy. It was no coincidence that Washington had been leaking reports to the effect that Rauf Denktash would quit the talks if Turkey was not accorded EU candidate status at the summit. The Cyprus government had expressed concern about British envoy Sir David Hannay's comments about separate sovereignty and loose linking of the two zones. The Greek side knows that it will have to confront these views, together with US moves to secure a form of recognition (acknowledgement) of the north, at the negotiating table.

To Tharros said that the pessimistic climate that had began to form in New York and Brussels had been dispelled by the personal intervention of President Clinton, who was supported by Britain. Clinton had managed to secure the acceptance of the French President and German Chancellor to Greece's demand that no conditions were set for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

Simerini reported that the UN would draft a Code of Ideas that would be no different from the set of ideas of former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The code would be based on the set but would also take into account the views expressed by the two sides at the proximity talks. The ideas would be discussed at the second round of talks, in January or February, the paper said. There would also be a third round in March, at which some form of agreement between the two sides is expected to be signed.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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