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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-08

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Major British role in efforts for Cyprus settlement
  • [02] Cyprus to be discussed at G7 meeting
  • [03] Cyprus' EU prospects examined
  • [04] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [05] Defence Minister departs for ESP meeting
  • [06] Busy phone link between communities
  • [07] Political leaders exchange views on handling of Cyprus problem
  • [08] Annan: Cyprus talks should continue on bicommunal basis

  • 1450:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] IMF preliminary report on Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) preliminary report on the Cyprus economy is good, Finance Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou said today.

    Christodoulou was speaking after a meeting with the IMF delegation visiting the island, attended also by Central Bank of Cyprus Governor, Afxentis Afxentiou.

    "Overall, the IMF preliminary report is good", Christodoulou said, adding it points out that after the problems of 1996 and 1997, there is now a satisfying recovery in terms of growth rate and stabilisation of the economy.

    The report recognises that economic stability is still prevailing, which is very important, he added.

    However, Christodoulou said, the report calls for measures to reduce fiscal deficit within the next two-three years and keep it under the 3 per cent limit, according to the relevant Maastricht criterion.

    The liberalisation of the island's financial system and measures to improve the competitiveness of the economy and the productivity in both the private and public sectors, are also recommended by the IMF report, the Finance Minister noted.

    According to Christodoulou, though the report does not call for the abolition of the Cost Of Leaving Allowance (COLA), it recommends additional consideration of the issue, taking into account the relevant regulations in competitive countries.

    Chistodoulou said the IMF recommendations "will be seriously taken into consideration", explaining that the final report will be examined by the island's cabinet.

    Cyprus, with a per capita income of some 13.000 US dollars began accession negotiations with the EU on March 31, 1998.

    CNA GG/GP/1998

    [02] Cyprus to be discussed at G7 meeting

    Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) -- The Cyprus problem will be among the issues Foreign and Economic Ministers from the world's richest nations will discuss during a meeting this weekend in London.

    The main focus of the discussions of the Ministers of the G7 and Russia, also taking part in the meeting, will be Iraq's compliance with UN weapons inspections, Iran's new government, the situation in Nigeria, Cambodia and the Balkans.

    According to press reports, the Ministers will also look briefly at the situation in Cyprus, the Korean peninsula and Myanmar.

    The idea of the Ministers' gathering is to narrow the issues and prepare the ground for the smaller number of topics leaders will focus during their meeting in Birmingham, next week, and discuss an array of issues that will not make the summit agenda.

    The G7 group comprises of the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, while Russia is also invited to participate.

    CNA MCH/GP/1998

    [03] Cyprus' EU prospects examined

    Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) -- There is a hard work to be done, and we must admit that we have not really done our homework, George Vassiliou, Cyprus' chief negotiator in accession negotiations with the European Union, said today.

    Speaking at a symposium on "Cyprus and the European Union (EU), organised by Intercollege, the Centre for Euro-Mediterranean Studies and the University of Reading (UK), Vassiliou said no in depth studies for EU accession have been carried out.

    "I do not know of any serious studies that look at the problems of the accession for the various sectors of the economy and for society in general, " he stressed.

    Vassiliou pointed out that "we have to learn to live in a different world, we have to live in a single market that implies freedom of movement of people, goods and capital."

    He said "there tends to be a confusion between the market criteria and accession to the EU. The EU never asked any candidate country to meet the Maastricht criteria".

    The former President of the Republic clarified that market criteria are important if a country wants to join the European Monetary Union and adopt Europe's new currency.

    He said that "Cyprus meets the criteria by which a country is judged eligible for accession", such as respect of human rights, but pointed out that "if you want to be an equal member you have to meet the Maastricht criteria".

    Vassiliou added that "there was a time when only Cyprus and Luxembourg met the Maastricht criteria, but today unfortunately Cyprus is one of the few countries that has moved far away from them."

    "The most important criteria is the 3% deficit. We have a tremendous task as to how we must reform our economy and achieve a lower deficit," he added.

    Noting the need for harmonisation, he said "it is a price we have to pay in order to call ourselves members of Europe. It is a price we have to pay not to Europe but to ourselves."

    Roderick Pace, of the University of Malta, said "Cyprus will use its membership to try and resolve the Cyprus question, but it will also have a strong interest in the maintenance of stability in the Mediterranean region."

    Speaking on the "The Mediterranean Dimension of the EU-The case of Cyprus", he said Cyprus would only achieve its aims by forming coalitions with other states, noting this is the stable approach in EU decision- making.

    Fraser Cameron, of the European Commission in Belgium, pointed out that the "new borders to the East, Russia, Ukraine, will require deepening relations with these countries, and Turkey."

    He said that "major partners, particularly the US, will expect an enlarged EU to assume greater responsibility for its own security, regional and global." Cameron said enlargement will increase Europe's weight in the international arena.

    CNA AA/MA/1998

    [04] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    90,93 (-0,20)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                 106,20 (-0,01)
    Approved Investment Companies          66,25 (-0,14)
    Insurance Companies                    66,66 ( 0,09)
    Industrial Companies                   79,21 (-0,96)
    Tourist Industries                     71,37 (-0,89)
    Commercial Companies                   54,35 (-0,24)
    Other Companies                        75,51 (-0,92)
    Trading Volume                         2.386.485,85
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MA/1998

    [05] Defence Minister departs for ESP meeting

    Larnaca, May 8 (CNA) -- Defence Minister, Yiannakis Omirou, left today for Rhodes to take part in a meeting of the Socialist Defence Ministers of the European Socialist Party, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart, Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport, shortly before his departure, Omirou, said that among the issues to be discussed at the meeting will be the Amsterdam Convention, security and cooperation.

    Omirou pointed out that "Cyprus sees itself in a collective system of security in the European region" and stressed that for this reason efforts for accession to the European Union, should be accompanied by efforts towards becoming a member of the Western European Union (WEU).

    Cyprus applied to WEU for associate partnership status on March 31, 1998 and the issue is expected to be discussed during the WEU conference on the Greek island of Rhodes between 11 - 12 May, even though a final decision is not expected to be taken.

    The final communique of the WEU ministerial meeting is expected to welcome the dialogue between the WEU and Cyprus.

    During his stay in Rhodes, Omirou will meet with Tsohatzopoulos to discuss developments concerning the Cyprus problem, in the light of a recent visit by US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, to Cyprus, that ended in failure due to the Turkish side's negative stance.

    Replying to questions, Omirou said there have been no developments "to lead us to the cancellation of the purchase of the S300 defensive missile system".

    He also said that military issues were not discussed during Holbrooke's visit to Cyprus.

    "It was clear that after the unacceptable preconditions put forward by Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, demanding recognition of his puppet regime, and withdrawal of Cyprus' EU membership application, our side could not discuss any issues of this nature", Omirou added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MAN/MCH/GP/1998

    [06] Busy phone link between communities

    Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) -- Some 20.000 calls have been recorded per day, in the four days since the inauguration of a new expanded automatic phone link between the government-controlled and the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

    In a press release, issued today, the UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), notes that new expanded automatic link "has generated exceptional interest".

    UNFICYP points out that "on average, some 20.000 calls were recorded per day", adding that "some callers have encountered difficulties in getting a connection".

    In order to simplify the procedure, new access codes have been programmed.

    The automatic phone link was inaugurated on May 4, during the visit of US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke, to Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, the group of Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen, who met in Brussels in October 1997, are organising on Monday, May 11, a reception to reward the technicians instrumental in setting up the new telephone and facsimile connection.

    US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill, will also attend the reception.

    CNA MCH/GP/1998

    [07] Political leaders exchange views on handling of Cyprus problem

    Nicosia, May 8 (CNA) -- Political party leaders today had a six-hour meeting, chaired by President Glafcos Clerides, during which they exchanged views on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

    The National Council, top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus issue, met for three hours in the morning and reconvened for another three hours in the afternoon.

    Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides, announced that "a new meeting will be held next week."

    He said President Clerides today briefed party leaders "on latest developments and they exchanged views on future handling of the issue."

    Stylianides added the party leaders discussed the results of the three day consultations US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, had with the two sides earlier this week.

    Holbrooke's mission to Cyprus was inconclusive as Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, insisted on his preconditions for the recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and the withdrawal of Cyprus' application for European Union membership if he is to take part in peace talks.

    His preconditions are unacceptable to the Cyprus government and political parties, who will not recognise the illegal regime unilaterally declared in 1983 in the areas occupied by Turkey since 1974.

    They also consider Cyprus' bid to join the EU as a "catalyst" in efforts to reunify the island, stressing that Turkish Cypriots have more to gain because of their low standard of living.

    CNA RM/MA/MCH/1998

    [08] Annan: Cyprus talks should continue on bicommunal basis

    by Emilia Christofi

    Atlanta, May 8 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan stated today talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem should continue on a bicommunal basis, expressing hope that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will return to the negotiating table.

    Speaking on CNN via satellite from Uganda, and replying to questions by Cypriot journalists, Annan described last summer's talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash, in the US and Switzerland, as "good sessions".

    He pointed out, however that the second meeting "did not go so well".

    Referring to efforts to resume bicommunal talks for a Cyprus settlement, the UN Secretary-General said that foreign envoys for Cyprus work with his Special Advisor Diego Cordovez.

    Replying to a question by a Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) reporter, the UN chief said "we are having difficulties because Mr Denktash has imposed certain conditions. He would want to be recognised and be placed on the same footing as President Clerides before he will sit down to negotiate."

    The UN chief expressed hope that even though US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke's, "last visit to the island was not very encouraging, the parties and in particular Mr Denktash will reconsider his position and come back to the table to continue the discussion".

    Invited by a Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reporter to comment on Denktash's demand for recognition of the illegal entity unilaterally declared in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, Annan said:

    "When I met Mr. Denktash in Geneva a few months ago, he made that point very strongly. I indicated that I will discuss the matter with the UN Security Council and I have posed the issue to the Council and I am waiting for their reaction".

    Until there is a change in the Security Council positions, he added, "the UN policy is for us to proceed the talks between the two communities and resolve the conflict and that is our policy".

    Concerning President Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of Cyprus, Annan said "it is much on the agenda".

    "If we were to move forward with the negotiations we will deal with it in transition, constitutional issues, security issues and a whole range of issues which will have to be tackled".

    Asked by a journalist from the illegal Turkish Cypriot "Bayrak" TV station on the Russian defence missiles S300 scheduled to be deployed in Cyprus later this year, the UN Chief stressed "we are against heightened tension".

    He said the UN "do not want to see a new arms race in the region. We have been trying to find a solution. Our efforts have not been successful so far, but we have not given up".

    Annan also said that the UN "hoped that if the peace process moved forward with Clerides and Denktash at the table, that would have been a good incentive to convince Clerides not to deploy the missiles.

    Hopefully we will be able to convince them. We do not want to see any tension in any part of the world. We have enough crises around", he concluded.

    The UN Secretary-General also confirmed the appointment of Dame Ann Hercus, former minister and UN permanent representative of New Zealand, as his special representative to Cyprus, succeeding Gustave Feissel, who retires.

    CNA EC/MCH/GP/1998


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