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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-20

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Slovenian FM to visit Cyprus
  • [02] "Economist Conference" to promote Cyprus
  • [03] Cyprus praised for patent law
  • [04] US remains main exporter to Cyprus
  • [05] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [06] Clerides opens Cyprus State Fair
  • [07] Clerides warns against recognition of secessionist entity
  • [08] Russian MPs to visit Cyprus
  • [09] Israel responds to criticism of dumping toxic waste
  • [10] Start of EU talks signals new era, says Minister
  • [11] SPORT: Cyprus - Norway 55-49

  • 1520:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Slovenian FM to visit Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Dr. Boris Frlec, arrives in Cyprus on Sunday (May 24) for a two-day official visit.

    During his stay here, the Slovenian minister will be received by President Glafcos Clerides and House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou.

    He will also meet his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides and have official talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    After the talks, Frlec will give a press conference at the Foreign Ministry, before leaving on Monday evening.

    The Slovenian minister will be accompanied by State Undersecretary Zvone Dragan, who heads the Department for Europe and North America, State Undersecretary and Chief of the Cabinet of the Minister, Andrej Logar, and Irena Rappelj, Desk Officer for the Republic of Cyprus.

    CNA AP/GP/1998

    [02] "Economist Conference" to promote Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- The first two-day "Economist Conference", to start on May 25, will contribute to promoting Cyprus as a business and financial hub, and help boost the island's services sector, a press conference heard here today.

    Speakers from Cyprus and abroad include President of the Republic, Glafkos Clerides, US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Tomas Miller and former Vice President of the European Commission, Henning Christophersen.

    The Conference "Doing Business with Cyprus-An International Business and Financial Centre at the Crossroads of Europe and the Middle East", will focus on the island's role as a business and financial hub, in view of its European Union (EU) membership and the globalisation of the economy.

    The number of participants, who will have the opportunity to discuss the Conference themes with some 37 speakers, is expected to reach two hundred.

    The Conference, sponsored by the Bank of Cyprus and the Central Bank, is coorganised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) and the daily newspaper "Phileleftheros".

    Central Bank Governor, Afxentis Afxentiou said the event is organised by a magazine respected in the whole world and described the agenda of the conference as extremely interesting.

    Referring to the island's flourishing offshore sector, Afxentiou said both the Central Bank and the government will do everything possible to achieve regulations permitting the sector to thrive equally when Cyprus becomes an EU member-state.

    Bank of Cyprus Chairman, Solon Triantafyllides, noted the Conference will promote the island's strong services sector, which is Cyprus' "comparative advantage".

    KEVE's President, Vassilis Rologis, pointed out the Conference will promote Cyprus as a business and financial centre.

    On his part, Editorial Director of "Phileleftheros", Anthos Lykavgis, stressed the importance of a strong economy in Cyprus' struggle for the reunification of the island.

    Cyprus, with a per capita income of 12.8 thousand US dollars in 1997, began accession negotiations with the EU in March.

    CNA GG/MM/1998

    [03] Cyprus praised for patent law

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- For the fist time in eight years, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has removed Cyprus from the list of countries which do not protect intellectual property rights.

    Announcing the decision at a press conference here today, US ambassador in Nicosia Kenneth Brill said the decision was taken after Cyprus passed "a fair and balanced legislation on patents, on April 2 1998".

    "In recognition of this very important development the Office of the USTR removed Cyprus completely from its report on countries which deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights ("Special 301" report)," he added.

    The US ambassador said "this is the first time this has happened in eight years", noting that the new Cyprus patent law is in accordance with the European Patent Convention and Cyprus' obligations under the World Trade Organisation TRIPS agreement.

    Brill congratulated both the Cyprus government and the House of Representatives "for their dedication to protecting intellectual property rights".

    "Decisions like that," he said, "help preserve Cyprus' good reputation and image internationally."

    A US press release on the issue says the law "upholds Cyprus' international commitments to maintaining high standards of patent protection."

    It adds "this also reconfirms Cyprus' emerging role as an internationally-recognised business centre and will inevitably make it more competitive in attracting international investments."

    Brill reiterated US appreciation for "the efforts Cyprus is making to protect its good reputation on money laundering", pointing out "this is a very thorny issue, which must be dealt with collectively by the financial services industry".

    He quoted a recent US State Department report that "recognised that the Cyprus government was extremely active in 1997 in its effort to implement provisions of its 1996 anti-money laundering legislation."

    The US ambassador pointed out that the Cyprus government's decision to establish a Unit for Combating Money Laundering in 1997 "bears testimony to its commitment in this area".

    "I am convinced that continued cooperation between the authorities of our two countries in this area will help alleviate the problems associated with this issue," he concluded.

    CNA MA/MM/1998

    [04] US remains main exporter to Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- The US remained the number one exporter to Cyprus in 1997 for the third consecutive year, American ambassador in Nicosia, Kenneth Brill said today.

    Speaking at a press conference held at the US pavilion in the 23rd Cyprus International Fair, opening tonight, Brill reiterated the American embassy's commitment to promoting bi-lateral ties.

    "Our share of Cyprus' total imports, including imports for re-export, grew from 17.8 percent in 1996 to an all-time high of 19.0 percent in 1997, " the US ambassador said.

    Noting that the US has the largest single-country pavilion at the Fair, with 28 exhibitors, Brill assured that "promoting bi-lateral trade ties remains one of our top priorities at the embassy."

    He said trade and economic relations between the two countries have grown even closer over the years.

    "As Cyprus is gearing up to join the European Union, it will face new challenges and opportunities. Our sincere wish is that EU accession ultimately benefits all Cypriots," Brill added.

    The US ambassador pointed out that the need to harmonise the Republic's economy with the EU "has helped put Cyprus on the path to economic liberalisation".

    He said that important adjustments in the area of trade have already been made, which have helped sharpen competition, but expressed the view that still more changes are necessary so that Cyprus can deal successfully with future challenges.

    "As Cyprus moves to liberalise its economy and respond to growing economic competition globally, Cypriots will find the US government and US business community to be good partners," Brill said.

    He expressed the hope that "as Cyprus moves closer to the EU, it will keep its playing field level for major trading partners like the US."

    Referring to the Cyprus-American Business Association, launched in March 1997, Brill said it has done very productive work which helped bring the two countries closer in the commercial field.

    The US ambassador also encouraged Cypriot business people to use the embassy's Bulletin Board System and subscribe to its Commercial Internet Newsgroup.

    CNA MA/MM/1998

    [05] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    87,30 ( 1,26)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                 102,35 ( 1,40)
    Approved Investment Companies          61,80 (-0,11)
    Insurance Companies                    63,90 ( 2,06)
    Industrial Companies                   77,96 ( 0,55)
    Tourist Industries                     66,08 ( 0,15)
    Commercial Companies                   49,92 ( 2,59)
    Other Companies                        71,53 ( 0,48)
    Trading Volume                    2.377.553.03
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MM/1998

    [06] Clerides opens Cyprus State Fair

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides inaugurated the 23rd Cyprus State fair, this evening in Nicosia, with the participation of 14 countries with state pavilions.

    More than 500 exhibitors representing some 1.600 companies from 40 countries are participating in the Fair, open to the public from May 21 to 31.

    Cypriot and foreign officials and scores of businespeople from Cyprus and abroad attended the opening ceremony.

    In a speech, President Glafcos Clerides reassured of his government's assistance to all sectors of the island's economy in order to increase their efficiency and productivity until Cyprus' European Union full membership.

    He said preparation of the plans for the restructuring and upgrading of each sector separately would begin this year, as part of the Republic's 1999-2003 Strategic Development Plan.

    "Today, on the threshold of the 21st century, the Cyprus economy has to go through a difficult course. Cyprus' aspiration to join the European Union and the new competitive climate that is developing do not leave room for hesitation and delay," he said.

    The President added that to meet the new developments and challenges, the government, employers and employees must "work methodically and systematically to develop and adopt a new mentality, philosophy and approach, based on the demands imposed by the globalisation of the economy".

    He said the government's basic strategy aims at "the creation of a strong economy, able to survive competition in the large market of the EU and the further promotion of Cyprus as an important hub of economic trade and business activity in this vital geographical region."

    President Clerides said the basic tools to achieve these objectives are "fiscal discipline and reform, taking measures to strengthen the productive sectors, providing incentives to encourage the modernisation and restructuring of the economy, making institutional and legislative changes to conform to the acquis communautaire and the gradual liberalisation of markets."

    He added that Cyprus' competitiveness must be increased and its comparative advantages utilised, and stressed the prospects opening up in the Middle East and in central and eastern Europe.

    "Until accession to the EU, the government will give every assistance to all sectors and fields of economic activity so that they are modernised, they increase their efficiency and productivity and successfully withstand European competitive pressures," the President reassured.

    He also said that "in the framework of the new 1999-2003 Strategic Development Plan, we shall start as from this year to prepare plans for the restructuring and upgrading of each sector separately."

    "In addition, the specific support measures and policies which will be implemented in the next five years will be determined," Clerides said.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [07] Clerides warns against recognition of secessionist entity

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides has warned against any ideas supporting any form of recognition of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Speaking tonight at the opening of the 23rd Cyprus International Fair, President Clerides stressed that any such suggestions would be rejected by the Greek Cypriot side and would harm relations between the Cyprus Republic and anyone nurturing such ideas.

    He also expressed the view that efforts to settle the Cyprus problem have not reached a final deadlock and reiterated the government's desire for a peaceful solution.

    The present situation, he stressed, cannot continue because it is "fraught with dangers for peace and stability in our region."

    The President said he believes "the international community and those foreign states working towards the resumption of negotiations and a solution to the Cyprus problem should insist that the so called 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' will not be recognised and that the basis for holding talks will not change."

    "I would like to stress emphatically that any thoughts of granting some form of status or recognition to the de facto situation created and maintained through the continuing illegal occupation of part of the Cyprus Republic will on the one hand be unanimously rejected by the Greek Cypriot side and on the other will harm Cyprus' relations with anyone considering supporting such ideas," the President said.

    Clerides' statements came in the wake of demands by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for recognition of his illegal regime and the withdrawal of Cyprus' application to join the European Union, if he is to participate in peace negotiations.

    Until today UN-led talks to settle the Cyprus question have been carried out by the leaders of the island's two communities.

    Clerides said the government "fervently desires a solution to be found by peaceful means as soon as possible" which is why it submitted a proposal for demilitarisation, in 1993.

    "This proposal is still valid," he said, calling on all who are interested in drastically reducing tension in Cyprus to "take immediate action so the demilitarisation proposal is implemented".

    The President expressed willingness and readiness "to study various ideas, if such ideas exist, about taking immediately effective measures, which would serve the objectives of demilitarisation, satisfying at the same time security considerations on both sides."

    At the same time, he said his invitation to the Turkish Cypriot community to join the Cyprus team carrying out the accession negotiations with the EU since March, "still stands".

    His proposal, welcomed by the EU, has been turned down by Denktash.

    President Clerides also stressed that "we support Turkey's course towards Europe and understand the interests of the EU in connection with this issue. We are ready to assist as much as we can."

    Referring to this month's efforts by US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke to resume the peace talks, the President said they stumbled on the Turkish side's "unacceptable terms", that were put forward through Denktash.

    He noted its preconditions "run counter to the provisions of UN resolutions... and are even contrary to the form of solution we seek, given that the Turkish side is not seeking a bizonal and bicommunal federation but recognition of two separate states."

    In two separate agreements reached in 1977 and 1979, the two sides agreed to set up a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus, which has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974.

    "The Greek Cypriot side has not set any terms. On the contrary, we have categorically expressed our willingness and readiness to attend talks exactly as envisaged in the UN resolutions in order to find a comprehensive solution," Clerides stressed.

    The President said that "despite Turkish intransigence we do not believe that the initiative launched has been led to a final deadlock," stressing "the effort must be continued and can produce results".

    He noted that the international community and particularly UN Security Council member states "are in a position to convince the Turkish side to be cooperative in a realistic framework."

    "This framework, however, should without fail conform to international law and international human rights conventions," the President added.

    The President expressed certainty that "with the proper preliminary work the coming months can give other opportunities to achieve the goal of resuming negotiations."

    "By this I mean substantive negotiations which in a short time can open the way for finding a solution," Clerides added.

    The President described the present situation as "not only unjust and absurd, but fraught with dangers for peace and stability in our region."

    CNA MA/MM/1998

    [08] Russian MPs to visit Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- A four-member delegation of the Russian Federation Duma - Cyprus Friendship Association begins an official visit to Cyprus today, at the invitation of the House of Representatives.

    Tomorrow the delegation will call on President Glafcos Clerides and House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    During their stay, the Russian MPs will call on the Primate of the Cyprus Church, Archbishop Chrysotomos.

    They will also meet political party leaders or party representatives, the House Foreign Relations Committee, as well as the Nicosia and Famagusta municipalities.

    The delegation, made up of the Association president Yuri Utkin and members Nikolai Astafiev, Michael Bugera and Vladimir Piatoshin, will leave Cyprus on Sunday, May 24.

    CNA MA/MM/1998

    [09] Israel responds to criticism of dumping toxic waste

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- The Ministry of the Environment of Israel reiterated today Israel's commitment to its international environmental obligations in response to criticism by the international environmental organization Greenpeace regarding marine pollution in the Mediterranean region.

    A press release issued by the Israeli embassy in Nicosia quoted an announcement of the Ministry of Agriculture of Cyprus that "there has been no contamination of the sea surrounding Cyprus".

    Greenpeace Mediterranean Office claimed that Israel Electricity Company (IEC) was given permission on May 11 to dump an additional 15.000 tons of coal ash by June.

    Permission was also granted to the US-owned fertilizer company Haifa Chemicals to dump 60.000 tons of toxic sludge in the Mediterranean by October.

    According to the press release, the permission for IEC was given on condition that it presents a final programme setting out an acceptable, environmental land-based alternative within three months from the day of issuing the permit.

    It also notes that the Israeli Ministry of Environment has instructed the IEC to drastically reduce the amount of coal ash produced during that three month period.

    "The recent permit was given in accordance with the existing Israeli law, which complies with the provisions of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean", notes the Israeli embassy.

    With regard to the second company, the announcement says that it is expected that the Haifa Chemicals Treatment Plant will be completed, thereby providing the best environmental solution to the problem of the industry's effluent.

    In addition, it is noted that "the treated remains of potash rock will be disposed on land, in an environmentally sound manner".

    It also stressed that the permit given to Haifa Chemicals "was done also in accordance with the provisions of Israeli law and the provisions of the Barcelona Convention and up to date there was no indication of damage to fish and marine plantation".

    CNA DP/MM/1998

    [10] Start of EU talks signals new era, says Minister

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister, Nicos Rolandis, tonight said that the opening of accession talks between the European Union and Cyprus, in March, "marks a new era in the history of the Republic of Cyprus".

    Speaking at the opening of the 23rd Cyprus International Fair, Rolandis added that "one of the main linchpins of our policy is the step-by-step harmonisation with the acquis communautaire."

    He pointed out that the government "has made substantial preliminary work in this respect through the formation of working teams which have screened the acquis communautaire and pointed out the differences."

    "At the same time," Rolandis added, "there has been a systematic scrutiny of harmonisation programmes covering all sectors."

    Referring to trade, the Minister said imports in 1997 showed a slight increase of 2,2 percent, compared to the previous year, while total exports marked a decrease of 1,4 percent.

    "Re-exports play a significant role in our trade balance as their share in total exports is around 65 percent," he added, pointing out this confirms Cyprus' importance as a centre for transit trade.

    With regard to industry, Rolandis said it is going through a period of sluggish development due to factors such as increased production costs, low productivity and the large number of industrial units. He added that within the next three months he intends to review all matters relating to this field.

    The Minister also outlined a five-year plan to enrich Cyprus' tourism product, the island's largest money-maker, including the construction of marinas and golf courses, the operation of casinos, the creation of thematic parks and the promotion of its culture and civilisation.

    Pointing out that the Cyprus economy relies to a great extent on the export of services, Rolandis expressed the view that "the favourable developments in eastern Europe and the Middle East open up new horizons for the provision of services."

    He also stressed the need for initiatives to modernise Cyprus' economy and to abolish out-dated procedures, approaches and legislation.

    "Above all our efforts should focus on keeping down production costs in industry, tourism, services, trade and generally in all other production activities," Rolandis said.

    CNA MA/MM/1998

    [11] SPORT: Cyprus - Norway 55-49

    Nicosia, May 20 (CNA) -- Cyprus' national basketball team beat the Norwegian national team with 55-49, in a qualifying match for the European Championship being held in Helsinki.

    Yesterday, Cyprus beat Ireland with 57-56.

    Tomorrow, the Cypriot team will play against Luxembourg.

    CNA GP/1998
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