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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-01-20

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Edek and Diko in merger talks

NO SINGLE issue dominated yesterday's front pages. Alithia said negotiations had begun between the socialist party Edek and the centre- right Diko party on a possible merger. Both parties on separate occasions served as coalition partners of the right-wing government of President Glafcos Clerides. The paper noted that while Edek wanted to move into substantiative merger talks, Diko was keen to conduct further exploratory talks before moving forward. Alithia also reported that five people, including two police officers, had been charged with the gangland-style murder of Hambis Aeroporos. The Defence lawyers asked for a two to three day postponement of the proceedings to allow them time to study witness statements, the paper reported. The court rejected the appeal.

Left-wing Haravghi said UN permanent representative in Cyprus Dame Ann Hercus had indicated there had been some progress in her three-month old shuttle talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides. But the paper said there would be no talks for the next ten days as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was taken up with the Muslim feast of Ramazan Bayram.

Wide-circulation Phileleftheros said that despite attacks against him by the Bishop of Paphos, Abbot Athanasios of Machairas has emerged as the clear favourite in the race for Bishop of Limassol in Sunday's first round of the election. Phileleftheros also said plans to privatise the telecommunications authority Cyta and the airports were ready to be presented to the cabinet by the Minister of Communications and Works. Quoting an official source, the paper said the plan for Cyta was to convert it to a limited liability company. It also said that the costs for the expansion of Larnaca airport would need foreign investment.

The paper also reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had abandoned his objections to meeting Britain's special envoy Sir David Hannay and was to be present at a dinner at the British High Commission in Nicosia on Friday.

Machi reported that National Guard chief Demetris Dimou was still at odds with the government and faced the chop despite official statements to the contrary on Monday. Dimou himself had maintained a mysterious silence, Machi said.

Simerini reported that the long awaited government health scheme was being scuppered by union demands that workers contribute no more than 1.5 per cent of their income to the scheme, rather than the two per cent proposed by the government.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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