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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-11

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Spokesman - National Council - UN General Assembly
  • [02] National Council - Political Parties
  • [03] Popular Bank Group - 1998 Results
  • [04] Hungary - Embassy - Cyprus
  • [05] Miller - Departure

  • 1725:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Spokesman - National Council - UN General Assembly

    Nicosia, Mar 11 (CNA) -- The international political climate is not conducive to a discussion of the Cyprus problem at the UN General Assembly, the Government Spokesman announced here today, after a meeting of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem).

    Christos Stylianides added that the National Council will meet again in April to discuss a strategy and tactics for a specific plan of action, pointing out that political leaders will be able to present proposals in writing and to have a say on the agenda.

    Speaking after today's meeting, Stylianides said "the National Council, with the exception of the Socialist party EDEK, decided that the Cyprus Republic will not make a recourse to the UN General Assembly spring session".

    He explained that the decision was reached because "certain circumstances which were taken into consideration when the initial decision (for a discussion of the Cyprus problem at the UN General Assembly) was taken, last autumn, have changed."

    Replying to questions, the Spokesman said "the government believes it has other diplomatic means to keep the Cyprus problem in the limelight".

    He also pointed out that the outcome of the Turkish elections "will be a decisive factor for any other developments" and expressed the view that until then there will not be any important developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Asked to specify what has changed since the autumn, to bring about a change in the initial decision, the Spokesman referred to the "general political, regional and international climate" and the fact that the spring session will concentrate on internal economic issues.

    Stylianides said at today's Council meeting the political leaders put forward their views on the matter at hand, which strengthened the argument against a recourse this time.

    CNA MA/MCH/MM/1999

    [02] National Council - Political Parties

    Nicosia, Mar 11 (CNA) -- The island's political leadership, barring the Socialist party EDEK, has expressed its full backing to a decision not to make a recourse to the UN General Assembly.

    The decision was taken here today by the National Council, comprising the leaders of the political parties in and out of Parliament and chaired by President Glafcos Clerides. It is the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question.

    In statements after the meeting, ruling Democratic Rally leader, Nicos Anastasiades said "the time now is not appropriate" for a recourse to the General Assembly, because such action "would not yield the desired results."

    He said given the international climate, many countries, which would have otherwise backed Cyprus' positions, may now be unfavourably disposed or downgrade the debate on Cyprus.

    "We take into account the behaviour of countries which, for their own interests, refuse even to agree on matters relating to human rights," Anastasiades pointed out, citing the recent case of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan as an example.

    Main opposition AKEL party General Secretary, Demetris Christofias, said "at present the circumstances for a recourse are simply not there."

    He also pointed out that his party had warned back in December, when the initial decision was taken, about deciding on a future move so early in advance.

    Democratic Party chairman, Spyros Kyprianou said he shares the view of the President and the Foreign Minister that "there are no preconditions for a thorough discussion of the Cyprus problem at the Assembly, which would yield good results."

    He stressed the need for an overall strategy on Cyprus to which all must be committed, instead of taking decisions on some issues.

    Socialist Party EDEK leader, Vasos Lyssarides, disagreed with the decision of the National Council, noting that conditions are now more favourable for a recourse.

    He expressed the view that "there is no reason to avoid a discussion on the Cyprus problem" at the General Assembly because the aim is to "listen to the views of a large number of countries, on the substance of the Cyprus problem."

    "I do not believe that the powerful men of the world can exert any influence on the UN Assembly to force a non-positive outcome at the debate, " Lyssarides added.

    Vice President of the United Democrats, Michalis Papapetrou described the decision "correct", stressing that his party had disagreed with the initial view that Cyprus should make a recourse to the General Assembly.

    He said that nothing has occurred in the recent months to alter the view of the party. "On the contrary some developments have reinforced our view", he added.

    The President of the Eurodemocratic Renewal Party, Alexis Galanos, said he agrees with the majority of the National Council members, stressing that a discussion now would not help to achieve the desired objectives.

    The President of the New Horizons party, Nicos Koutsou, said his initial view that Cyprus should not go ahead with the recourse has been vindicated.

    He said the Cyprus problem has entered "a new phase" and although the aims have remain unaltered, the international climate has changed.

    CNA EC/MM/1999

    [03] Popular Bank Group - 1998 Results

    Nicosia, Mar 11 (CNA) -- The Popular Bank Group today announced profits of 53,2 million pounds and annual dividend of 20 per cent for 1998 (one Cyprus pound is trading at 1,8 US dollars).

    Speaking at a press conference to present the Group's 1998 results, which he described as "very satisfying", Popular Bank Group Chairman Kikis Lazarides said the Group is strong and capable of facing future challenges successfully.

    The Group operating profit increased by 19,7 per cent in 1998 compared to the previous year, reaching 53,2 million pounds and attributable profit reached 26,1 million, 14,2 per cent up compared to 1997.

    Earnings per share reached 34,5 cents compared to 30,3 cents in 1997, while the cost - income ratio fell to 53,2 from 55,1 in 1997.

    Total assets increased by 6,4 per cent reaching 2,9 billion pounds, while loans and advances reached 1,7 billion, an increase of 18,2 per cent compared to 1997 with deposits reaching 2,3 billion pounds.

    Lazarides explained that as a result of this performance, the Group intends to offer an annual dividend of 20 per cent.

    Referring to the Cyprus economy, he said it is currently in a transitional period due to the island's European Union (EU) course and measures to face market globalisation.

    Lazarides pointed out that growth rate this year is not expected to be higher than that of 1998 adding, however, that "there will be an improvement in the quality of the economic activity" in 1998.

    Popular Bank Group Chairman expressed concern about the high fiscal deficit which "puts in jeopardy the stability of the economy" and called upon the government to take measures regarding both public expenditure and public revenues.

    Fiscal deficit this year is expected to be around 6,3 per cent of GDP. Cyprus, Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic started substantive accession negotiations with the EU in November 1998.

    CNA GG/MM/1999

    [04] Hungary - Embassy - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 11 (CNA) -- The Hungarian government has decided to open an embassy in Cyprus later this year, in a bid to boost relations with this east Mediterranean island republic.

    This was said by Maria Szekely, First Counsellor, at the Hungarian Embassy in Greece, during a visit today to the premises of the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) in Nicosia.

    She said the Athens-based Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary will continue to be accredited to Cyprus and that her country's diplomatic mission in the Republic of Cyprus will be headed by a charge d' affairs.

    Mrs Szekely said her country wanted to upgrade its relations with Cyprus since both countries have applied for full membership of the European Union.

    "This common target led us to open an embassy in Nicosia," Mrs Szekely said.

    Bilateral relations between Cyprus and Hungary have been traditionally friendly and constructive.

    Hungary is a troop-contributing country to the United Nations Peace- Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Its contingent is made up of 100 men.

    The two countries have close cooperation in international fora, such as the 40-nation Council of Europe (CoE), which is currently presided over by Hungary.

    The Council's 50th anniversary will be celebrated in Budapest on May 6. All CoE member-countries will be represented at the celebrations by their Foreign Ministers.

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides is expected to attend the Budapest CoE celebrations.

    CNA GP/1999

    [05] Miller - Departure

    Larnaca, Mar 11 (CNA) -- The US are always willing to help efforts for a Cyprus settlement, but the impression that they can get whatever they want is not absolutely correct, Thomas Miller said today on his departure from Cyprus.

    The US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, who had meetings here with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, said they discussed "a variety of things" but disclosed nothing further about his meetings.

    Expressing disagreement with a reporter's comment that he "came with an empty handbag", Miller said, "I always come with ideas," pointing out, however, that "some of these ideas can succeed, some do not".

    He stressed that on the part of the US the will to help is there, "but there is not an automatic equation between will and results. People often think if the US want to get it done they can get it done. It does not always work that way," Miller remarked.

    He repeated that he does not consider the Cyprus problem as "the most intractable in the world".

    "I really do believe, and I think anyone in my job should believe that this is a problem that can be resolved," he said, pointing out that the problems of the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Bosnia have been settled, even though "they are not totally solved".

    "Let's try to keep the level on an even key," the US official advised, noting that the feeling should neither be that of "euphoria that success is round the corner" nor "of dismal failure".

    Asked about his meeting with Denktash earlier today, Miller said they had a "good exchange" of views, but admitted that "our views of the Cyprus problem are somewhat different" to those of the Turkish Cypriot leader, adding that "there is no great secret about that".

    Miller reiterated US support to a bizonal, bicommunal federation, stressing that "the UN resolutions are the basis".

    Referring to efforts by European or other countries and organisations interested in a solution to the Cyprus problem, Miller said "we are all speaking with the same voice," noting that the only differences are "tactical".

    Concluding, the US diplomat said referring to the prospects of a Cyprus settlement, "you guys are looking for a sprint and this is a long long race".

    CNA MAN/MCH/GP/1999
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