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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-03-23

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Clerides - Presser - EU - Cyprus
  • [02] Clerides - Presser - Cyprus problem - Armaments
  • [03] Blast - One person killed
  • [04] British Minister - Cyprus
  • [05] New ambassador - Austria

  • 0125:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clerides - Presser - EU - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 23 (CNA) -- The road to Cyprus' accession to the European Union is steep but all problems will be handled, pledged President, Glafcos Clerides.

    He was speaking at a press conference last night on the occasion of the completion of the first year of his second term in office.

    Referring to the island's European Union accession course, President Clerides said he does not envisage any dangers that Cyprus will be left out of the EU for solely financial reasons.

    He said that the closer Cyprus approaches accession, all the more others urgently want a settlement of the Cyprus problem, noting that "the accession course will prove to be a catalyst in a settlement of the political problem".

    Admitting that the fiscal deficit has increased over the year President Clerides also said it is now decreasing.

    "I believe that if certain measures, which I will discuss with parliamentary party leaders, are undertaken", then Cyprus will be within the framework, he added.

    Asked if the government intends to introduce new taxes or increase the Value Added Tax, he said "we will be obliged to increase VAT in order to enter the EU, whether we want it or not".

    He also said there will be an obligation to gradually harmonise with other European countries.

    Clerides acknowledged that there will be many difficulties on the road to accession but added "we will handle" all problems.

    He said Cyprus has entered the substantial part of the negotiations, with accession estimated in January 2003. Discussion on a total of 20 out of the 27 chapters of the acquis communautaire has been completed and Clerides said Cyprus is ahead of other candidate member states.

    The President said that from time to time, EU countries say that if the Cyprus problem is not solved then the island will not enter the EU, but "we also hear others who assure us that if the government is not to blame, then Turkey will not be given the right to veto Cyprus' accession to the EU".

    Cyprus applied for accession to the European Community in 1990. Its accession process was finalised with the decision of the European Council meeting in Luxembourg in December 1997 which set March 1998 as the date for the start of the negotiations.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    CNA MK/EC/MCH/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0135:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Clerides - Presser - Cyprus problem - Armaments

    Nicosia, Mar 23 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides confirmed the existence of US scenarios to boost efforts for a Cyprus settlement, pointing out that they would include both constitutional and security issues.

    In a televised interview to local TV channels, Clerides also stressed that the Greek Cypriot side does not set preconditions for resumption of bicommunal talks aiming at a Cyprus settlement.

    He said UN Security Council resolutions set the framework for talks and for the UN Secretary General's good offices, pointing out that these cannot be considered as preconditions.

    The President also said that after the decision not to deploy the Russian defensive system S-300 on the island there are plans to purchase another system to meet Cyprus' defence needs.

    "We do not set preconditions, (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash does, because he does not wish to keep to the basis set up by the Security Council," Clerides said.

    Denktash has put forward claims for a confederation of two states on the island which run contrary to UN Security Council resolutions calling for a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single sovereignty.

    Replying to questions Clerides said Turkish positions on Cyprus remain unchanged since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island which resulted in the occupation of 37 per cent of its territory.

    He pointed out that earlier Turkish claims for separate sovereignty and rotating presidency are equal to recent direct demands for confederation.

    Invited to comment about press reports over US scenarios for a Cyprus settlement Clerides said:

    "The Americans have clearly told us they are preparing a series of scenarios for a Cyprus settlement which include constitutional and security issues", adding the government is not aware of the specifics.

    He explained that the Americans "see that the passing of time presents substantial dangers for instability in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean".

    President Clerides also pointed to an interest for a Cyprus solution on the part of European countries who "would like to see Cyprus entering the European Union without its political problem".

    "This does not mean, however, they would not accept us if no solution was found," he added.

    Clerides pointed out that all those who became refugees as a result of the 1974 invasion of Cyprus should have the right to return to their homes whether under Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot administration.

    Replying to questions on the decision not to deploy the Russian defensive system on the island, Clerides said it was taken bearing in mind European and US fears of a heated incident in the area.

    He pointed out, however that the S-300 could still serve Cyprus' defence purposes from Crete where they have been installed, adding that there are plans for another defence system to meet Cyprus' needs.

    Asked whether the purchase of another defensive system would be contrary to his pledge in a letter to the UN Chief not to proceed with new weapons purchases, Clerides replied that in the letter he had proposed to do so provided Turkey would agree to negotiate a reduction of its military forces and armaments on the island, within a reasonable period of time.

    "The reasonable period of time has passed," Clerides remarked. Responding to criticism over government handling of the S-300 issue, Clerides said out that former Foreign Minister of Greece, Theodoros Pangalos, had first suggested the missiles should not be deployed to his American counterpart Madeleine Albright, as an exchange for a no-fly zone over Cyprus for Turkish and Greek military aircraft.

    "We were informed of the proposal after it was made", the president added.

    CNA MCH/EC/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1000:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Blast - One person killed

    Limassol, Mar 23 (CNA) -- A senior employee of the Game and Fauna Service of the Interior Ministry services was killed today after a bomb exploded in his car, as he was driving along a busy Limassol road.

    Savvas Savva, 51, from Tripimeni village, was driving during rush hour, having dropped his son at school, when the explosion occurred.

    As a result, the victim was thrown out of his seat and went through the windscreen. The vehicle was completely destroyed.

    Savva died shortly after he was rushed to Limassol Hospital. He was married with two young children.

    Police are carrying out investigations into the bomb attack. According to information the bomb was probably detonated by a remote control device.

    CNA SC/MCH/MM/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1150:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] British Minister - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Mar 23 (CNA) -- Britain's Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Joyce Quin, is scheduled to visit Cyprus next month for talks with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.

    Quin, who will be accompanied by Britain's special Cyprus envoy Sir David Hannay, arrives on April 22 and the following morning she is to have a working breakfast with President Glafcos Clerides.

    Later on she will have talks at the Foreign Ministry with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who will also host a working lunch for the British diplomat.

    She is expected to see UN resident representative Ann Hercus and US ambassador Kenneth Brill.

    On Friday, Quin will have a meeting in Turkish-occupied Nicosia with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Rauf Denktash.

    This will be her second visit to Cyprus. She has been here before when Labour was in opposition, a few years ago.

    Earlier this month, in response to questions by British MPs, Quin called for "greater political willingness, particularly in the north of Cyprus, regarding some of the bicommunal and bizonal activities."

    She also said Cyprus' accession talks with the European Union should not suffer because of the problems the Commission is facing and added that both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides must benefit from EU accession.

    "It is right to say that we must continually look for ways to take forward both the process of EU accession and the important process of seeking a settlement to the Cyprus problem," she told the House of Commons.

    Referring to Turkey's European aspirations, Quin pointed out that "we have made it clear that Turkey does not have a veto on Cypriot accession to the EU."

    She said Britain believes "it is in the interests of both Cyprus and Turkey to be more positive in their approach to the EU."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    CNA MM/GP/1999
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1435:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] New ambassador - Austria

    Nicosia, Mar 23 (CNA) -- Nicolas Makris will be the new Cyprus ambassador to Austria as from April 1, it was announced here today.

    Makris will also be accredited to Slovenia, Slovakia and Liechtenstein as well as international organisations based in the Austrian capital.

    CNA/AA/MA/1999

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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