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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-26

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] US peace effort in Cyprus to continue
  • [02] June meetings are milestones for Cyprus, says Kasoulides
  • [03] Athens meeting on Cyprus problem and EU course
  • [04] "Economist Conference" continues

  • 1200:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US peace effort in Cyprus to continue

    Nicosia, May 26 (CNA) -- The US remains firm on its position that the deployment of the S-300 defence missile system here does not help efforts for a settlement in Cyprus, but at the same time it does not set any preconditions for the American effort on Cyprus to continue.

    Replying to questions after a 90-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides today, US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller said "our position on the S-300 hasn't changed".

    "We think it's a bad idea for them to come here. We're not challenging Cyprus' right to make decisions, we're just saying that their delivery is not helpful," he added.

    The government ordered the Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system in January 1997, in a bid to boost the island's air defence, and it is expected to be deployed here later this year.

    Miller replied negatively to a question whether the US will continue its peace effort only if the Cyprus government decides not to deploy the S- 300s for as long as this effort is going on.

    "Our efforts will continue, as I think my presence here makes abundantly clear," he pointed out.

    Miller refrained from revealing the substance of his talks with President Clerides, saying "we talked about a number of things".

    Neither would he reply to a question if he has brought any ideas to break the deadlock in the Cyprus peace process, but vaguely said "we always have new ideas".

    According to CNA sources views on latest developments in the Cyprus problem were exchanged at the meeting.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who attended the Presidential Palace meeting, described the meeting as "useful" and said the government received assurances that US efforts to settle the Cyprus question "continue".

    Asked about the S-300s, Kasoulides reiterated that the reasons for which the government decided to place the order "still exist and there seems to be no change".

    "If the reasons for which we ordered them stop existing then we would not bring them," the Foreign Minister said, describing this issue as "clear- cut".

    The government has repeatedly said it would consider not deploying the S-300s only if there is substantial progress in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem or if the demilitarisation of the island is agreed upon.

    Attorney General Alecos Markides, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides and Under-Secretary to the President Pantelis Kouros also attended the meeting.

    Miller, who was in Cyprus earlier this month with US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke, was accompanied by US ambassador Kenneth Brill.

    Recent efforts in Cyprus are focused on finding ways to get the two sides back to the negotiating table, after preconditions set by the Turkish Cypriot side for recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas and the withdrawal of Cyprus' application to join the European Union.

    The purported state in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognised only by Ankara.

    Following his meeting with the Cypriot President, Miller crossed over to the Turkish-occupied areas to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Greek Cypriot journalists covering his visit did not go to the Turkish- occupied areas as they refused to pay the illegal entrance fee imposed by the occupation regime, in a bid to achieve recognition.

    The illegal fee of fifteen pounds sterling for Greek Cypriot and four pounds for foreign journalists was introduced earlier this month, when journalists tried crossing to cover Denktash's meeting with Holbrooke.

    The Greek Cypriot journalists refuse to pay an illegal fee and protest restrictions to their right to cover events.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1355:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] June meetings are milestones for Cyprus, says Kasoulides

    Nicosia, May 26 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government considers two meetings to be held in June as determining in breaking the present deadlock in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem and the way with which the peace process will continue.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides today described the European Union Cardiff summit as well as the Security Council's decision about the renewal of the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and its response to the Secretary-General's report as "milestones".

    "We have two milestones ahead of us," Kasoulides remarked.

    Referring to the EU summit on 15-16 June, he said "we are waiting for the Cardiff decisions and will assess reaction to them".

    Asked why he described as "milestones" these particular events, Kasoulides said because "we have been told that the Turkish stance has been hardened because of the EU Luxembourg summit. We'll see what effects Cardiff will have. At the same time, our side will depend a lot on the Security Council decisions."

    Both Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had reacted strongly to a Luxembourg decision in December 1997 not to include Turkey in the countries with which the EU would open accession talks.

    After the EU summit, Denktash stepped up his intransigence and said he would not participate in peace talks unless his illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus is recognised and Cyprus withdraws its application to join the EU.

    EU accession talks with Cyprus began in March 1998. The Turkish Cypriot side has turned down a proposal from President Glafcos Clerides to participate in the official negotiating team.

    According to CNA sources, the government believes the UN Security Council positions will prove its intentions regarding the intransigence displayed by the Turkish Cypriot side in the peace effort.

    Pointing out that the UN itself has acknowledged Turkish intransigence, the sources said "much and many persons will be judged from the outcome of this meeting".

    Regarding the Cardiff summit, the sources said the government is waiting to see whether the decisions taken will contribute to efforts to iron out relations in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and the Balkans.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1400:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Athens meeting on Cyprus problem and EU course

    Nicosia, May 26 (CNA) -- Cypriot and Greek officials will discuss developments in the Cyprus issue and the Republic's European Union accession course in Athens, later this week.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides is flying to Dublin on a three-day working visit later today. On Saturday, he will be in Athens for talks with the Greek government.

    Replying to questions earlier today, Kasoulides said the Athens meeting is held within the framework of "regular contacts between the two governments to assess all issues pertaining to our national issue, including Cyprus' EU course."

    Meanwhile, Attorney General Alecos Markides and Cyprus' chief negotiator for EU accession George Vassiliou will be in the Greek capital on Friday to discuss the Republic's EU course.

    Vassiliou is currently in Paris for meetings with French officials.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1410:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] "Economist Conference" continues

    Nicosia, May 26 (CNA) -- Cyprus Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis today opened the second and last day of the "Economist Conference" being held in Nicosia.

    The Conference "Doing Business with Cyprus-An International Business and Financial Centre at the Crossroads of Europe and the Middle East", with more than two hundred participants, is the first to be organised by the British magazine on the island.

    Rolandis focused on the "prospects and challenges" of the industrial development policies, analysing the government's policy for the restructuring of the island's economy.

    He said Cyprus' industry, today accounting for 12 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and 16 per cent of employment, "consists mainly of light industries such as clothing, footwear, food, furniture, plastics and pharmaceuticals".

    The minister stressed the need for the industry to stop being focused on traditional sectors with small industrial units, saying the "emphasis is now being placed on developing a more advanced production system".

    A system which can respond to the changing international market conditions and the globalisation of the world economy, he explained.

    In recent years, he added, "the manufacturing sector has experienced a slowdown of its growth, attributed largely to an erosion of its competitiveness, resulting mainly from rising labour costs, low productivity and the structural weaknesses of the sector".

    Rolandis stressed the need for the modernisation and restructuring of the island's industry, adding that "industrial units must concentrate on the production of high-quality and high-value-added products.

    These products can be manufactured only by using modern and technologically advanced methods of production, organisation and management", he added.

    Rolandis pointed out the government's industrial policy in the next five years will be focused on further technological advancement, the attraction of big foreign investors, and the reformulation of the island's energy policy.

    On his part, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) Vassilis Rologis focused on the prospects of trade and investment in the new context of globalisation.

    As Cyprus is a part of the globe, Rologis said, it will inevitably be affected by international developments.

    KEVE President told the Economist Conference that the economy of Cyprus must be adapted to these new rules and called on the government "to take the brave decisions for the total liberalisation of our market".

    "Then, we can hope for a better future", he pointed out, expressing his confidence that Cyprus has "all the prerequisites to become a trade, investment and business hub".

    Cyprus, with a per capita income of 12,8 thousand US dollars last year, started accession negotiations with the EU in March.

    CNA GG/GP/1998
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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