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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-25

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus, Slovenia to cooperate for EU membership
  • [02] Vassiliou to meet French officials
  • [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [04] Government reserves judgement on US report on missing
  • [05] Czech Republic hopes for more economic relations
  • [06] First Economist Conference in Cyprus started today
  • [07] Central Bank Governor stresses need for financial adjustments
  • [08] Economist conference looks at Stock Exchange role
  • [09] Turkish Cypriots jailed for smuggling of weapons
  • [10] Belarus PM to visit Cyprus
  • [11] US envoy in Cyprus for talks
  • [12] Kasoulides to visit Ireland

  • 1510:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus, Slovenia to cooperate for EU membership

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Slovenia have decided to work together to help each other in their bid to become members of the European Union, the Foreign Ministers of both countries said here today.

    "There are many fields that we decided we are going to cooperate in, technical, understanding the political positions of our countries, comparing of notes for preparation for accession negotiations," Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told a press conference after talks with his Slovenian counterpart, Boris Frlec.

    Kasoulides refrained from disclosing any details about future cooperation.

    Frlec stressed that Slovenia and Cyprus "are not rivals, we are travellers or runners on the long track", noting that those who are in the front will not necessarily finish first at the end of the road.

    "Winning or not winning is not the question, we will all sooner or later join the EU, provided not only that we fulfill the requirements of the EU but also that the EU will be successful in evolving itself in order to be able to adapt with others," he said.

    The two Ministers signed today a visa abolition agreement.

    In his remarks, Kasoulides noted that Slovenia is emerging as "a sovereign, independent state, and has built a new modern state on the basis of the western European model, preparing itself smoothly into the free market economy."

    Cyprus, Slovenia and four other countries started accession talks with the EU in March.

    "We have a number of common objectives: we are two small countries, and we have decided today that we are going to cooperate closely, exchange experiences and information, and join forces to achieve this common goal, which is to become members of the EU," Kasoulides said.

    The Slovenian FM said that discussions covered bilateral and multilateral issues, and stressed that as both countries share the same values and same objectives "it would be non-practical if we did not cooperate closely."

    "We decided to intensify political contact in the future, to help each other and, in this respect, Slovenia will always support Cyprus, one country to join the EU," Frlec said.

    He also noted that his country will exhibit its "limited potential as a non-permanent member of the Security Council" and expressed gratitude to Kasoulides for his briefing on the situation in Cyprus.

    "We have a feeling the Republic of Cyprus and its Parliament are conducting very sound modern politics that should inevitably lead to success," he added.

    The Slovenia minister who was on an official visit is leaving Cyprus later today.

    CNA MM/MA/1998

    [02] Vassiliou to meet French officials

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Chief Negotiator for accession to the European Union, George Vassiliou, left today for Paris for meetings with French officials.

    During his four-day visit, Vassiliou will meet with French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine and Minister for European Affairs, Pierre Moscovici.

    Vassiliou will also meet with Danielle Mitterand, President of the France Liberte association.

    The Chief Negotiator will also give interviews to French, Greek and Turkish mass media.

    CNA MCH/MA/1998

    [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    84,22 (-1,89)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  98,65 (-1,71)
    Approved Investment Companies          61,09 (-0,54)
    Insurance Companies                    61,70 (-2,20)
    Industrial Companies                   74,90 (-1,78)
    Tourist Industries                     64,54 (-7,32)
    Commercial Companies                   47,94 ( 1,01)
    Other Companies                        68,77 (-1,29)
    Trading Volume                         1.781.923,09
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MA/1998

    [04] Government reserves judgement on US report on missing

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- The government wants to study carefully a US report on the fate of five Americans missing in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion before it comments on it, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said here today.

    Stylianides also said that the government does not accept that any person listed as missing is dead unless there is convincing evidence to that effect.

    The Clinton administration released on Friday a 37-page report on the five US citizens, of Greek descent, saying it "believes that all five are dead."

    The report establishes that one of the five is dead but has not produced any hard evidence about the actual fate of the remaining four, nor has the American investigatory team recovered any of their remains.

    "The Cyprus government is studying and assessing the report of Ambassador Robert Dillon, which was sent to the legal department for an opinion," Stylianides told his daily press briefing.

    Stylianides said the legal opinion would be ready soon and the government does not wish to comment on the Dillon report at present.

    "The position of the government is clear: we do not accept to consider any missing person dead unless scientific convincing evidence is provided about his identity," Stylianides said.

    The five Americans are among the 1,619 persons listed as missing since Turkish troops invaded and occupied Cyprus' northern part.

    So far the fate of only one person among all the missing has been established but hopes to resolve this humanitarian issue were revived last July when President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash agreed to exchange information on graves, exhume remains and establish their identity through scientific means.

    Information has been exchanged and the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides met a couple of times but efforts seem to be standing still.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman expressed the government's satisfaction with the outcome of investigation about the fate of one of the five, whose remains were recovered.

    "We are pleased that his identity was fully established in accordance with American law and international practice and as demanded by generally accepted humanitarian principles," he added.

    Stylianides said the government is "ready to start exhuming remains in the government controlled areas of the Republic, if there are no developments in efforts to implement last July's agreement between President Clerides and Mr. Denktash."

    He said the UN will arrange the next meeting between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides but could not say when this will take place.

    CNA MCH/MM/MA/1998

    [05] Czech Republic hopes for more economic relations

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Director General of the Czech Republic Industry and Trade Ministry, Jan Hajny, expressed today the hope that the official participation of his country in the 23rd International Cypriot Fair will benefit the development of economic relations between the two countries.

    At a press conference held at the Czech pavilion, Hajny noted that "trade with Cyprus has so far exhibited no significant long-term trend and is subject to substantial year-on-year fluctuations that reflect swings in major imported and exported items."

    He pointed out that "in 1997 the Czech Republic exported to Cyprus goods to the tune of some 11.1 million US dollars and imported less than 4.6 million."

    "The proportion of Czech import to and export from Cyprus currently amounts to less than 1% of the overall volume of Czech foreign trade," he added, noting that "for some time the balance of trade has been significantly in favour of the Czech Republic".

    Referring to a commercial and economic cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries in 1995, Hajny said that although it established a good base for investment activities "no major capital expenditures have been taken place yet, contrary to original expectations".

    However, he noted that Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nikos Rolandis, and president of Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, Vasilis Rologis, have pledged to encourage Cypriot businessmen to invest in the Czech Republic.

    "The Czech Republic and Cyprus are bound by traditional, mutually advantageous trade relations that developed in particular after 1960 when Cyprus attained independence," Hajny added.

    Concluding, the Czech official expressed the hope that the number of tourists visiting Cyprus and the Czech Republic will increase in the near future.

    The Fair was opened last week by President Glafcos Clerides and closes on May 31.

    CNA DP/MA/1998

    [06] First Economist Conference in Cyprus started today

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- The first "Economist Conference" to be organised on the island got underway today in Nicosia with more than 200 participants from Cyprus and abroad.

    The Conference is supported by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), one of the island's two main employers' organisation, and Cyprus' largest-selling daily newspaper, "Phileleftheros".

    The Conference "Doing Business with Cyprus - An International Business and Financial Centre at the Crossroads of Europe and the Middle East", is expected to promote Cyprus as a business hub, a priority goal for the Cyprus government.

    President of the Republic, Glafcos Clerides, and the US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, will address the Conference.

    In his welcoming remarks today, KEVE President Vassilis Rologis said the Conference, organised by "one of the world's most respected magazines", is expected to promote Cyprus as a business centre.

    Anthos Lykavgis, editorial director of "Phileleftheros" newspaper, stressed the importance of a strong economy for all nations and particularly for Cyprus, noting that without it "not only we will collapse, but we will not survive".

    Lykavgis pointed out that Cyprus still exists today mainly because of its so-called "economic miracle" following the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of its territory.

    We must modernise our mentality, our behaviour and our choices, to be in line with the globalisation of the world economy, he added.

    Lykavgis said that events such as the "Economist Conference" help turn Cyprus's geographical position from a source of problems, into a source of prospects.

    Speaking at the Conference, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, described the island's economy as "robust", with an average annual growth rate of 4,0 per cent higher than that of the European Union (EU) average.

    Christodoulou revealed that according to "World Development Indicators 1998", a World Bank report, Cyprus' per capita Gross Domestic Product is 20.500 US dollars in terms of purchasing power. This puts Cyprus in a higher position than seven of the 15 EU member-states and in 16th position worldwide, he explained.

    The Minister pointed out that harmonisation with the European "acquis communautaire" and the total fulfillment of the Maastricht criteria has always been one of the government's top priorities.

    He stressed the need for further liberalisation of Cyprus' economy in view of the island's EU course, as full EU membership will inevitably also lead to European Monetary Unit membership.

    Philippe Combescot, Acting Head of the delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus, said "the current division of the island is undeniably the greatest challenge for all concerned."

    According to Combescot, "the EU enlargement process and the UN-led effort for a political settlement are two mutually reinforcing exercises."

    "We hope that Turkey will also recognise the considerable benefits which EU membership will entail on all those living in Cyprus," he added.

    Combescot also said "we believe that Turkish-Cypriot participation in the accession negotiations is an important confidence building measure, and that is why we have welcomed President Clerides' offer."

    Cyprus' EU accession talks got underway in March, but the Turkish Cypriot side has rejected a proposal by President Clerides to nominate representatives in the official team negotiating accession.

    Referring to the island's economic record, Combescot said it is "undeniably positive."

    On his part Editorial Director, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Daniel Franklin said Europe, and consequently Cyprus, have entered an "era of opportunities and risks."

    Referring to the island's political problem, Franklin said in the process of its EU membership "there is the opportunity that this will galvanise the various political players into a resolution of the conflict between the two communities."

    On the contrary, he added, there is a danger "that the process of enlargement will exacerbate the tensions in the region" and make the resolution of the various issues even harder.

    Referring to the island's economy, Franklin described it as "peculiarly vulnerable to shocks of a political nature" and highly dependent on tourism.

    Franklin pointed out the Intelligence Unit predicts for Cyprus a growth rate of 3,5 per cent for this year.

    CNA GG/MA/1998

    [07] Central Bank Governor stresses need for financial adjustments

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Governor of the Cyprus Central Bank, Afxentis Afxentiou, stressed today that "the radical changes currently taking place in our financial sector, aim at deregulating and modernising its institutional structure."

    Speaking at the "Economist Conference", taking place in Nicosia, Afxentiou said that "this adjustment process will not only align our financial sector with the European Union acquis, but furthermore it will enhance its competitiveness and efficiency within the context of the highly integrated European and international financial markets."

    This, he said, "will undoubtedly greatly encourage the promotion of Cyprus as a major regional and international centre for business and financial activities."

    Afxentiou referred to the Cyprus monetary and exchange policy and said that the island's commercial banks "are bracing up to face the challenges that lie ahead."

    "The largest banks have expanded their operations in the fully liberalised financial markets of the UK and Greece, yielding very positive results," he noted.

    Referring to the situation of money laundering, Afxentiou said stressed that "Cyprus has taken drastic and all-embracing legal and administrative measures for preventing and forestalling money laundering activities."

    Meanwhile, he pointed out that Cyprus has been declassified as a priority country list, which includes countries with inadequate measures to combat money laundering.

    Afxentiou also reassured of "the full commitment of the Central Bank of Cyprus and of the Government alike, in liberalising the financial sector and in undertaking all the necessary adjustments that are needed in order to ensure its smooth and timely adaptation to EU norms."

    Some 200 delegates from Cyprus and abroad are attending the two-day conference, described as particularly important.

    CNA RG/MA/1998

    [08] Economist conference looks at Stock Exchange role

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Speakers at a two-day economic conference on Cyprus have underlined the role this Eastern Mediterranean island could play as a regional economic and business centre.

    "Cyprus is very important for the countries of Eastern Europe because of its location, its developed banking system, the registration procedures for foreign companies and its tax policies," Alexey Vlasov, president of the Russian Stock Exchange told some 200 delegates who gathered here.

    He said Cyprus and Russia are studying a proposal for cooperation between their respective Stock Exchanges, submitted several months ago, to see how this can be implemented.

    The Russian official said Cyprus' position in the international economic arena is "very favourable" as far as prospects for investment are concerned.

    He said the taxation rate in Russia is nearly sixty per cent and transactions are facilitated through Cypriot offshore companies, noting also that investment policy in his country is not favourable.

    "The daily volume of transactions in Russia is 250 million US dollars," he said.

    Chairman of the Council of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, Dinos Papadopoulos, said Cyprus aims to establish close cooperation with international stock exchanges.

    "The role of the Stock Exchange is catalytic, it helps Cypriot business to meet acute competition from Europe and elsewhere, created through the globalisation of the economy," Papadopoulos said.

    He said the total volume of transactions has reached 115 m. pounds (one pound is about two US dollars) with a daily volume of transactions amounting to 1.4 m., double the 1997 figures.

    The price of shares in 1998 went up and this resulted in the a rise of the Stock Exchange index by 22 per cent, he added.

    Emmanuel Xanthakis, president of the Athens Stock Exchange said competition is increasing as a result of the introduction of the unified European currency unit as of January 1999.

    Tomorrow issues relating to "Industrial Development Policies: Prospects and Challenges", will be discussed at the Conference entitled "Doing business in Cyprus".

    CNA RG/MM/MA/1998

    [09] Turkish Cypriots jailed for smuggling of weapons

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Two Turkish Cypriots were sentenced today to 12 months imprisonment for arms smuggling, by the Assize Court.

    Osman Kondoz, 41, a butcher, and Mustafa Yeli Kazi, 33, a shepherd, were arrested last October as they tried to sell arms to undercover policemen posing as prospective buyers.

    The Court found both of them guilty of conspiracy to commit an offence, carrying a gun without a licence and transferring explosives without a permit.

    Both men were given 12 months for each of the three charges. Their sentences will run concurrently and start on the day of their arrest, 23 October.

    Kondoz and Kazi were smuggling arms between the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus and the southern government controlled areas of the Republic.

    Their arrest in October took place near a village bordering the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops since they invaded the island in 1974.

    CNA MK/MM/MA/1998

    [10] Belarus PM to visit Cyprus

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- The Prime Minister of Belarus, Sergei Ling, will pay a three-day official visit to Cyprus from May 27-29.

    During his stay on the island, he is expected to sign three agreements with the government of the Republic of Cyprus on air links, the avoidance of double taxation and the promotion and protection of investment.

    Talks will focus on bilateral issues, regional and international problems as well as the Cyprus question.

    He will be received by President Glafcos Clerides, House President Spyros Kyprianou and Primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    Ling will meet with Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis and Communications and Works Minister Leontios Ierodiakonou.

    He will also visit the 23 annual International State Fair, and see members of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    Before leaving he will give a press conference.

    CNA MM/MA/1998

    [11] US envoy in Cyprus for talks

    Larnaca, May 25 (CNA) -- US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, arrived here today for talks with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.

    His visit comes barely a month after his earlier trip to Nicosia at the beginning of the month.

    At the time, Richard Holbrooke, presidential emissary, was also on the island and announced that another visit will take place at the end of May.

    Miller will be received by President Glafcos Clerides tomorrow morning.

    He is also due to see Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    On Tuesday, Miller will address a two-day economic conference, organised here by the "Economist", on "US efforts to help solve the Cyprus problem: the view from Washington."

    Earlier today, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said talks with Miller will cover "all issues pertaining the Cyprus question."

    "Any proposals he may bring must be in line with efforts to resume the intercommunal dialogue" in view of the strong support the UN Security Council has reiterated to Kofi Annan's good offices for Cyprus on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions, Stylianides said.

    Denktash asked the UN to change the bicommunal basis on which the peace negotiations were being held until today, in a bid to achieve recognition of his illegal entity in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.

    Commenting on reports that Miller will attempt to secure a formula for the non-deployment of Russian defence missiles in Cyprus, later this year, the spokesman replied "we will simply outline our position on this issue."

    The US and other countries have criticised the government of the Republic for its decision to buy anti-aircraft missiles claiming this would create unnecessary tension.

    The government has always maintained the missiles are only a deterrent and has no intention of using them as an offensive weapon.

    CNA MAN/MM/MA/1998

    [12] Kasoulides to visit Ireland

    Nicosia, May 25 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides leaves Tuesday for a three day working visit to Dublin.

    The Minister will have talks with his Irish counterpart David Andrews and President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

    He will also meet the presidents of the House of Representatives (Dail) and the Senate (Seanad) and other government officials.

    Kasoulides is the first Foreign Minister to visit Dublin after the Good Friday Agreement was ratified by the people of Ireland, north and south of the border, last week.

    It is expected that talks will focus on developments in the Cyprus question, Cyprus' bid to become member of the European Union and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

    CNA MM/MA/1998
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