|Saturday, 17 April 2021|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-12-08
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
WEDNESDAY 8 DECEMBER 1999
 HEADLINESThe UN-sponsored New York proximity talks on Cyprus continue amid a flurry of diplomatic and newspaper reports;
Turkey's Foreign Minister warns that his country may not be upgraded to an EU candidate-state at the upcoming Helsinki summit;
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appears hopeful on an Israeli-Syrian settlement;
Russia and Belarus agree to establish a confederation;
Civil Aviation Department employees come out on a four-hour work stoppage;
Football on CyBC's First Television Channel tonight.
 CY TALKSIntensive rhythms appear to be governing the UN-sponsored New York proximity talks between President of the Republic Glafkos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, set to continue today with more separate meetings between the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, and the two leaders.
Following yesterday's meetings and true to the UN Secretary-General's plea for confidentiality, President Clerides refrained from making any statements.
On the contrary, Mr Denktash made a brief statement charging the Greek-Cypriot side of not seeking the establishment of a climate of trust between the two sides, citing as an example two recently-passed court sentences against a pair of Greek-Cypriots who illegally purchased game from a Turkish-Cypriot.
As regards the total procedure, the proximity talks, focusing on the four chapters of territory, security, property and the constitution, are expected to continue with daily 90-minute separate meetings until December 14th or 15th. Given this development, President of the Republic Glafkos Clerides is not expected to attend the Helsinki EU summit scheduled for this Friday and Staurday, even though a final decision has not yet been reached.
 UN SECURITY COUNCILCommenting on the proximity talks, the UN Security Council announced last night that it considers them of the utmost priority, also expressing the desire to see them proceed in the spirit of confidentiality requested by the Secretary-General.
The statement was issued by Council President and British peer Sir Jeremy Greenstock, following a briefing on the proximity talks delivered by the UN Secretariat and what was described as a short discussion on UNFICYP's mandate, during which it was decided that it be renewed by December 15th.
 CLINTON LETTERIn a related development, the UN Secretary-General's Press Spokesman, Fred Ekhard, said yesterday that US President Bill Clinton had, last Friday, sent a confidential letter to the UN Chief on the proximity talks.
While the UN Spokesman could not comment on the contents of the letter, media sources mention that the US President congratulates the UN Chief on the commencement of the talks and emphasises that Mr Annan's active involvement is considered a determining factor for their success.
Meanwhile, the Turkish-Cypriot newspaper "Hurriyet Kibris", in today's edition, carries a report, illustrated by an accompanying map, claiming that President Clerides has stipulated that if he is to proceed with concessions on the constitutional issue, a final settlement of the Cyprus Issue should grant no more than 24% of the island's territory to the Turkish-Cypriots. Mr Denktash, on the other hand is adamant on on no less than 32%.
According to the report, the areas which President Clerides has asked to be returned are those of Famagusta, Morphou, Limnitis, Louroudjina, Yerolakkos, Pyroi, Melousha, Arsos and Lysi, whose residents at the time of the invasion amounted to some 120 thousand people.
The report goes on to mention that Rauf Denktash could, possibly, be persuaded by the UN Secretary-General to settle for a Turkish-Cypriot administration over 28-29% of the island.
 CEM EUTurkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, hoping for success but wary of the possible consequences of failure, last night warned that Ankara may still be turned back from the gates of the European Union when EU leaders gather in Helsinki in two days' time.
In comments clearly aimed at a domestic audience, Cem told Reuters he had always avoided optimistic statements on Turkey's chances of obtaining formal candidacy, saying, in a direct quote, "I've always advised the optimists to be more cautious, since there's a chance that the Helsinki summit may not bring candidacy, or that the offer of candidacy might be made in terms that are unacceptable to us."
Turkey insists that it can accept an offer of candidacy only if such is made on the same terms already extended to eastern European countries, and rejects the idea of setting any explicit conditions related to its relations with Greece or Cyprus.
 ALBRIGHT MIDEASTUS Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on a tour of the Middle East, is being quoted by Reuters as saying early this morning that she had made "good progress" in Israel and Syria on resuming peace talks, but cautioned that there's still a long way to go towards sealing a deal.
Ms Albright emerged from a working breakfast with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak repeating a statement she made yesterday in Damascus, that she was "more optimistic" about the chances of reviving talks suspended 45 months ago. She declined to elaborate however, saying that "details, like mushrooms, are developed better away from the light," and stressing the need to take the process a step at a time.
Israel and Syria are deadlocked over the future of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Syria demands a full Israeli withdrawal from the strategic plateau and says it received a commitment to that effect from late Israeli prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
 RUSSIA BELARUSPresidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus today signed a treaty committing the two ex-Soviet republics to merging into a confederal state.
Russian news agencies reported that the signing ceremony, postponed last month after Yeltsin fell ill, took place in the Kremlin's lavish St George's Hall, with both leaders praising the pact as vital for the development of their two nations in the post-communist period.
Today's ceremony took place eight years to the day after Boris Yeltsin and the then leaders of Ukraine and Belarus signed a treaty which led to the downfall of the Soviet Union within weeks.
 AERO STRIKECivil Aviation Department employees at the Larnaka and Paphos airports have called a four-hour work stoppage for between two and six this afternoon, affecting over twenty commercial flights to and from the island.
According to a Civil Servants' Union announcement endorsing the industrial action, the stoppage is being held in protest at the unjustifiable delays exhibited by the government as regards the restructuring of the Department, as well as the Ministry of Communications and Works decision to privatise the island's airports.
The announcement also mentions that should the government maintain its negative stance, Civil Aviation Department employees are determined to proceed with more forceful measures.
 CYBC TRANSMISSIONSCyBC's First Television Channel will tonight carry a live transmission of the European Champions' League football match between England's Manchester United and Spain's Valencia.
The match is set to kick off at 9:45 Cyprus time, while videotaped highlights from all of today's other fixtures will be broadcast after the final whistle.
 TAILERToday's tailer comes to us from the world of commercial airlines, with a veteran Northwest Airlines pilot leaving a loaded plane standing at an airport gate for 90 minutes to search for food because he didn't like the in-flight meal.
According to the official report issued by the airline, based in the US state of Minnesota, Captain Floyd Dean walked off the plane at Las Vegas, telling the crew of the Boeing 757 that he was going to try to find something else to eat. Unable to turn up anything he liked in the departure lounge, he took a taxi to buy food outside the airport before returning to the plane and its 150 frustrated passengers waiting to fly to Detroit. In a show of public courtesy however, the passengers were informed by the crew that the pilot had left because he could not get a "decent meal" at the airport.
And we think Cyprus Airways has problems!
 WEATHERThe weather will be generally fair this afternoon, with some sparse high cloud. Winds will be moderate northeasterlies, 4BF, on slight to moderate seas, while temperatures are not expected to exceed 20C inland, 22C along the coasts and 10C at higher atlitudes.
Generally fair conditions are also forecast for tonight, with winds abating to light northeasterlies, 3BF, on slight seas, and temperatures dropping to 8C inland and in the west, 10C in the south and east, and 5C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.
The fire hazard is high in all forest areas.