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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-03-26

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [02] Restrained comment on Rifkind's letter
  • [03] Demilitarisation part of solution, says Russian official
  • [04] Turkey continues to violate human rights in Cyprus
  • [05] Former President suggests suspension of overflights

  • 1500:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Mar 26 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    79.40 (+0.76)
    Highest: 82.46 (2/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  89.84 (+0.98)
    Approved Investment Companies          68.86 (+0.86)
    Insurance Companies                    60.13 (+0.84)
    Industrial Companies                   82.56 (+0.12)
    Tourist Industries                     61.51 (-0.02)
    Commercial Companies                   53.24 (+0.47)
    Other Companies                        55.35 (+0.58)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 1853540.122
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MCH/1997

    [02] Restrained comment on Rifkind's letter

    Nicosia, Mar 26 (CNA) -- British diplomatic sources have neither confirmed nor officially denied press reports that British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind has written to his American counterpart Madeleine Albright expressing concern over the extent of US involvement in efforts to solve the Cyprus question.

    "I can neither deny nor acknowledge this fact," the sources said, but stopped short of actually confirming the existence of the letter.

    A US embassy spokesman here kept much the same line and restricted himself in saying that "we do not comment on diplomatic exchanges."

    The letter is believed to have been sent after a recent meeting in Brussels between European Union Commissioner Hans Van den Broek and UN, EU and Britain's envoy on Cyprus.

    The Commissioner had a separate meeting on the same day (14 March) with Director of the Department of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department, Carey Cavanaugh.

    Invited to comment on the press reports, British diplomatic sources said "we maintain regular contact with all partners involved in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, including the US."

    These contacts, the sources added, are at official and ministerial level but "we do not discuss the content of confidential exchanges."

    The Americans, they pointed out, are extremely important players in the efforts for a solution in the Cyprus problem in many respects, especially in their influence on Turkey.

    "London is in close contact with Washington in terms of correspondence and other ways and therefore they know the priority of the British foreign policy with Cyprus being very high among these priorities," they added.

    This close relation, they noted, will no doubt continue in the new stage of the effort for Cyprus.

    Britain's special representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, seems to have taken a more active role in his task to facilitate a settlement in Cyprus than his American counterpart, Richard Beattie, presidential emissary for Cyprus.

    Cavanaugh had told CNA, after the Brussels meeting, the US backs efforts to find a Cyprus settlement but implied, indirectly albeit clearly, that the US would go its own way to achieve this goal.

    "I am not saying we have come out and formally said we are supporting exactly what the UN is doing but we are supporting what everybody is doing to find a solution," he said.

    He noted that he has "no counsel for the UN" and added "as different people see prospects to move things, we should try and do those."

    Now, he explained "we have a number of activities" to work on the Cyprus issue and there are different people visiting the island "with different assessment."

    Cavanaugh also underlined the "difficult situation in Cyprus" and reiterated US commitment to finding ways to advance the situation.

    CNA MM/MCH/1997

    [03] Demilitarisation part of solution, says Russian official

    Nicosia, Mar 25 (CNA) -- Demilitarisation of Cyprus must be an integral part of a solution of the Cyprus problem, Gennadi Seleznev, President of the Russian Duma, has told Russian news agency "Novosti."

    He advocated involvement of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council in efforts for a settlement in Cyprus and underlined the need for "proper preparation" before a meeting between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.

    On the purchase of Russian-made surface to air missiles by Cyprus, Seleznev said reaction to this "ordinary trade transaction" was partly due to Russia's enhanced role in the international arms market.

    Speaking ahead of his official visit to Cyprus on Friday, Seleznev said bilateral relations with Cyprus are being developed at an impressive rate.

    This, he said, is mainly due to the "almost identical positions the two states assume on important international problems."

    Commenting on reaction to the missiles deal with Cyprus, he said "one of the main reason we experienced this reaction from third countries is that the Russian arms industry is entering in a dynamic manner the international arms market."

    This response, he said, emanates from a "double-standards policy on the part of certain countries, a policy we reject."

    Describing the deal as a normal trade transaction, Seleznev said the missiles system "is a unique defence system and Cyprus can defend its air space in a decisive manner."

    Asked to outline his views on ways to settle the Cyprus question, Duma President replied "the demilitarisation of Cyprus, as proposed by President Glafcos Clerides, would be a significant step towards normalising the situation on the island and reaching a solution to the problem."

    He stressed the need to have the active involvement of the international community in efforts to find a just and lasting solution in Cyprus.

    "Russia backs the involvement of the five permanent members of the Security Council in the peace effort and particularly Kofi Annan's (UN Secretary-General) good offices mission," he told Novosti.

    He said the ground must be prepared properly for a meeting between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to allow the two men to discuss fundamental elements of a mutually accepted solution.

    "We believe that such an element could be an agreement on the demilitarisation of Cyprus," he explained.

    Thanking Cyprus for its contribution to Russian membership of the Council of Europe, he said "Russia is open to further development of this cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus."

    Financial transactions between the two countries in 1996 reached 376,6 million US dollars and Russian exports to Cyprus increased by 12,6 per cent the same year.

    Seleznev said more than 2.000 Russian offshore units, including 14 banks, operate out of Cyprus and air links have improved a great deal.

    CNA MM/MCH/1997

    [04] Turkey continues to violate human rights in Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 26 (CNA) -- Cyprus called on UN Human Rights bodies, and non- governmental organisations to raise their voice over the violation of human rights in Cyprus.

    Addressing the 53rd session of the Commission of Human Rights meeting in Geneva, Cyprus' Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Sotos Zackheos, referred to the island's "tragic predicament as a result of the Turkish invasion and occupation, the vast imbalance of military forces and the need to defend the very survival of Cyprus."

    Referring to Turkey, Zackheos said it tries to "portray the problem of Cyprus as a religious intercommunal dispute but the international community has rightly evaluated the situation as a problem of foreign occupation and invasion".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    The Ambassador said Turkey continues its systematic effort for the "destruction, profanation and even sale of places of worship in the occupied part" of Cyprus.

    The most infamous case was the sale of four 5th century mosaics from the ancient church of Kanakaria by a Turkish art trafficker to an Indianapolis based art dealer.

    Although the mosaics were repatriated after a legal battle in 1990, Zackheos said there are other cases of sale of icons and mosaics, turning of churches into mosques and vandalism of cemeteries.

    The Ambassador further noted that the government takes all necessary measures for the preservation of mosques in the free areas which it considers as part of its cultural heritage.

    Regarding the Greek Cypriot enclaved in the Turkish occupied part of the island, Zackheos said Turkey violates the recommendation of the UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for unrestricted access of clergy to the occupied areas and the religious use of the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas.

    UNFICYP has also raised with the Turkish side the concern about the desecration and the state of repair of the cultural heritage of Cyprus. The report also notes Turkish refusal to allow the replacement of a retired priest, underlying that this violates the Vienna III agreement.

    "The UN Human Rights bodies, members, observers and NGO's are asked once more to raise their voice against this crime, which is an affront to human civilisation", Zackheos said.

    Regarding the treatment of Jehovah's witnesses, Zackheos said "they have the right to practice their faith" in Cyprus. At the same time, "the government takes into account observations by NGO's and by the Special Rapporteur and is now in the process of amending its legislation in order to reduce the service to the National Guard of conscientious objectors."

    "In doing so, we will conform fully with the provisions of the Commission's resolution" for alternative service", Zackheos added.

    CNA EC/MCH/1996

    [05] Former President suggests suspension of overflights

    Nicosia, Mar 26 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government should proceed to a unilateral suspension of Greek military aircraft overflights till Autumn, United Democrats President, George Vassiliou, suggested here today.

    The former Cyprus President was speaking at a press conference on the island's economy. He proposed a number of measures aimed to boost the economy.

    Vassiliou's proposals, which will be submitted to the government and the rest of the political parties.

    Apart from the overflights suspension, Vassiliou suggested the government should speed up the military dialogue between the Republic's National Guard and the Turkish occupation troops, and withdraw a Bill, which provides for the increase of the defence levy by 50 per cent, on grounds that this would lead to job cuts.

    The party leader fully backed a UN Security Council appeal for the reduction by half of the Turkish occupation army, in exchange of a reduction of National Guard defence spending.

    He described this move as "a first step" towards complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Cyprus.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    Vassiliou said the Greek Cypriot side should be ready for the start of negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

    He said those negotiations should be based on the High-Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, the UN resolutions and the Set of Ideas and a map drafted by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

    As for the purely economic measures, Vassiliou suggested the continuation of industrial export subsidies and tax reforms, among others.

    He noted the government should invest more in the tourist sector, in order to attract some 2,5 million tourists every year. This number is necessary for an acceptable profitability of the hotel industry, he added.

    Concerning the Stock Exchange, Vassiliou said offshore companies should also be allowed to invest. He said incentives for private companies should be given, in order to go public. CNA/GG/GP/1997


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