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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-19

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] New Ministers - Statements
  • [02] Minister of Environment - Workshop
  • [03] Illegal immigrants - Lebanon
  • [04] Michaelides - Clerides - Letters
  • [05] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [06] AKEL General Secretary - Surgery
  • [07] Deryke - Kasoulides - Meeting

  • 1505:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] New Ministers - Statements

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The new Finance and Interior Ministers and the Government Spokesman have pledged to do their utmost to execute their duties to the maximum and to meet the expectations of President Glafcos Clerides.

    Takis Clerides, Christodoulos Christodoulou and Costas Serezis were appointed today during a special ceremony at the Presidential Palace and will assume their duties on Monday.

    Speaking at the ceremony, President Clerides expressed certainty the three men will carry out their duties conscientiously.

    Outlining his ministry's policy in his first public statement, the new Finance Minister underlined the need for dialogue in order to achieve the widest possible consensus and to boost the private sector.

    "We must aim at an economy which is both competitive and humane and to achieve this we must all dare," Clerides said.

    The new Finance Minister, a chartered accountant, was born in Nicosia in 1951. He studied in Great Britain and worked in the UK and Greece before returning to Cyprus in 1977.

    Clerides is a senior partner with auditors and consultants KPMG and is married with two children.

    On his part, Christodoulou said the Interior Ministry is just as important as the Finance Ministry where he served until today. "I have been asked to take over the Interior Ministry and felt I had no right to refuse, " he said.

    Christodoulou, who has served as Finance Minister with the Clerides government since November 1994, is taking over from Dinos Michaelides who resigned yesterday.

    Replying to a question, he called on the new Finance Minister to take all decisions he considers necessary, even if they may be unpopular, at any personal or political costs.

    The new Government Spokesman Costas Serezis, who has been living in Greece for several years, said he is returning to offer his services to his country.

    "I never stopped following developments in the Cyprus problem. I have never been cut off from Cyprus," he said, admitting however that he has to be briefed on a number of issues of concern to the various ministries.

    Serezis was born in Limassol in 1937 and studied drama in Greece. He also studied TV and has worked as a political editor, producer and commentator, in both Cyprus and Greece.

    The new Government Spokesman is married with two children.

    CNA MA/MCH/1999

    [02] Minister of Environment - Workshop

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The protection of the environment cannot be secured if each country acts alone, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Costas Themistocleous has said.

    Themistocleous was addressing the Workshop on "Progress Monitoring on Approximation in the Candidate Countries" in the field of environment, which took place today in Nicosia.

    Participants included representatives from countries of Central and Eastern Europe which are European Union (EU) candidates and both consultants and representatives of the European Commission.

    Future EU accession implies by definition that candidate countries must act as stewards to their environment and commit themselves "to work together to protect the environment our children will inherit", Themistocleous said.

    A useful guide is the acquis communautaire on environment, he pointed out.

    Themistocleous stressed that the economic growth over the last thirty years in Cyprus, the 1974 Turkish invasion and the continuing occupation of 37 per of the island's territory "have caused serious pressures on the environment".

    He added, however, that "we have learned from our experience", pointing out that the aim now is to ensure a balance between economic growth and the protection of environment.

    "The protection of environment cannot be secured if each nation acts alone", he noted, adding that the environment is "extremely important" to the well-being of humanity, but mainly to the quality of life of children.

    Stressing the need for international cooperation on environmental issues, Themistocleous explained that as a result, Cyprus embraces "all initiatives which strengthen its cooperation with other EU candidate countries".

    Cyprus, along with Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic started substantive accession negotiations with the EU in November 1998.

    CNA GG/MCH/1999

    [03] Illegal immigrants - Lebanon

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Lebanon has said it will only take back those immigrants who have been resident in the country before they left Lebanon and once it is proven they did in fact embark on a boat from the Lebanese shores.

    "We are ready to assume our responsibility if we prove that some people have been living in Lebanon and left the country on that boat," Lebanese charge d'affaires Halil El Hambre told CNA today.

    Last night, 89 persons of different origin arrived illegally in Cyprus and are now on board a cruiser at Larnaca port, while consultations are taking place to decide how to deal with the matter. The port is under police guard and access to the press is prohibited.

    The charge d'affaires said he is involved in efforts to solve the problem "in consultation with the Foreign Ministry, which believes the boat came from Lebanon."

    Noting that he saw no Lebanese on board the Al Abjar boat that brought them to Cyprus, the charge d'affaires said the vessel had no identification markings, except the Lebanese flag painted on it.

    "We are not sure if they embarked in Lebanon and we are cooperating with the Cypriot authorities to see if there is part of responsibility on our side, which we are ready to assume," he added.

    Asked to comment on police information that the illegal immigrants departed from the port of Tripoli, in Lebanon, Hambre replied "the Cypriot police were not there to see, they got their information that people left from Tripoli and some people said they left from Tripoli but most of the others do not know where they were loaded."

    He also indicated that some might have boarded the vessel during an operation out at sea after she left Lebanon.

    Asked if Lebanon would take back those originating from the country, he said they would.

    "We have an agreement since January that if any illegal passengers leaves Lebanon and it is proved that he was living in Lebanon, we are ready to accept them back," he explained.

    He noted however that Lebanon is not prepared to accept anybody who entered or left Lebanon illegally.

    Meanwhile Assistant Chief of the Police in Larnaca Charalambos Koulentis said that some of the immigrants created problems on the boat. According to Koulentis some of the immigrants did not want to be transferred to the boat and demanded to be left to be allowed in Cyprus.

    Finally they were all transferred to the boat where one of them cut his veins, another hit his head and some others created problems with their behaviour.

    Koulentis assured though that the situation is under control and that medical assistance, food water and milk for the children have been offered to the immigrants.

    The immigrants, 35 women and children and 54 men claim they come from Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Somalia and Siera Leone.

    Koulentis said officials from Lebanon were expected to come here to study the situation.

    The Interior Ministers of Cyprus and Lebanon agreed last January on a number of practical measures to combat illegal immigration to Cyprus from Lebanon.

    CNA MM/MK/MCH/1999

    [04] Michaelides - Clerides - Letters

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides expressed, in a letter to former Interior Minister, Dinos Michaelides, appreciation for his work, while in office, and satisfaction because investigations proved that corruption allegations against Michaelides were wrong.

    On his part in his letter of resignation, Michaelides claims that the ultimate goal of polemics against him was to undermine President Clerides.

    The former minister, who was replaced today by Christodoulos Christodoulou, former Finance Minister, said that during the last eight months, he closely monitored the "unjust and unprecedented provocative plan which aimed to jeopardise and nullify my long term political presence and contribution and humiliate my political and moral reputation".

    It was clear that the "profane and merciless controversy against me - was aimed at attacking and neutralising your (President Clerides) abilities to govern correctly and handle effectively crucial issues and force you to resign," Michaelides points out.

    He adds, he judged that "under these circumstances, the only way" he could protect the "unimpeded continuation of your (Clerides) important contribution at the helm of the state, is to submit my resignation".

    Michaelides repeated his pledge to continue being active in the political arena and thanked President Clerides for his support over the months.

    On his part, Clerides said he has never accepted, without evidence, "the tarnishing of persons with the use of statements and rumours" against them.

    "In your case, I have followed the correct principle of referring the allegations against you for investigation before the relevant constitutional and legal institutions".

    The Council of Ministers last week exonerated Michaelides from corruption allegations against him.

    Michaelides, Interior Minister since 1993, has dismissed claims by members of the House of Representatives that he influenced town planners to change zoning arrangements in an area where he later built a luxury home.

    His resignation came on Wednesday, a day after Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides resigned citing strong disagreement over the cabinet decision to absolve Michaelides of involvement in suspect real estate deals.

    CNA EC/MCH/1999

    [05] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
          CSE General Index                         122.20 (-0.07)
          Traded Value            CYP 6,118,641
          Sectural Indices
          Banks                   CYP 3,210,935     154.67 (-0.12)
          Approved Investment
          Companies               CYP   228,557      75.19 (-0.70)
          Insurance Companies     CYP    81,618      78.06 (-1.18)
          Manufacturing Companies CYP   167,465      97.54 ( 0.68)
          Tourism Companies       CYP   659,190      84.97 ( 0.25)
          Trading Companies       CYP   105,780      52.11 ( 1.07)
          Other Companies         CYP   344,603      86.77 (-0.10)
    The third column presents the percentage variation of the indices as compared to the last meeting.

    CNA MCH/1999

    [06] AKEL General Secretary - Surgery

    Nicosia, Mar 19 (CNA) -- Left-wing AKEL General Secretary, Demetris Christofias, underwent a successful open heart surgery today in the British capital.

    An AKEL statement said the operation at St. Mary's hospital in Paddington, London, performed by Rex Stanbridge, was successful and Christofias will remain in the Intensive Care Unit for the night.

    The leader of Cyprus' second largest party is expected to remain in the UK for about a fortnight.

    CNA EC/MCH/1999

    [07] Deryke - Kasoulides - Meeting

    Brussels, 19 Mar (CNA) -- Belgium Foreign Minister Erik Deryke said today that the Cyprus problem does not constitute an obstacle for Cyprus's accession to the European Union.

    Speaking after a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, Deryke further said the resignation of the European Commission under no circumstances will affect the timetable of the accession talks with the EU candidate member states.

    Deryke expressed his government's satisfaction over the Cyprus government's decision not to deploy the S300 Russian anti-aircraft missiles, describing it as "reasonable".

    Regarding Cyprus' accession course Deryke invited the Cyprus government to continue with the same success the harmonisation process with the acquis communautaire, to be ready in all aspects when the EU enlargement occurs.

    To a question about the reluctance of Turkish Cypriots to solve the Cyprus problem and whether it will affect Cyprus' accession talks, Deryke said the EU has always pledged that Cyprus should continue preparations to come closer to the Community.

    "Its (Cyprus) special situation does not constitute an obstacle for accession to the Union," he added.

    Deryke confirmed the good relations between Cyprus and Belgium and said the two ministers also discussed the situation in Turkey, which he described as "disturbing".

    On his part, Kasoulides expressed satisfaction for the results of their meeting noting that Deryke's views and advise are "very useful."

    Kasoulides returns to Cyprus tomorrow afternoon. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory. The government applied for EU membership in 1990 and began accession talks last year.

    CNA NB/FZ/EC/1999
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