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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-10-07

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Holbrooke expresses disappointment over security talks
  • [02] "Maritime Cyprus 1997" enters second day
  • [03] "Romantica" fire started in engine room

  • 1220:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Holbrooke expresses disappointment over security talks

    New York, Oct 7 (CNA) -- US presidential emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke has expressed disappointment for the lack of progress in the recent security talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, wishing early resumption.

    Holbrooke had a meeting here Monday with President Glafcos Clerides, with whom he reviewed developments in the protracted Cyprus problem.

    He was due today to have a working breakfast with President Clerides to be attended by other Cyprus government officials and a group of prominent American businessmen and journalists to talk about the economic situation in Cyprus.

    Asked whether he was more optimistic about the Cyprus issue after his recent meetings, Holbrooke said although he is optimistic by nature, he had seen no movement by anybody.

    "You all have to work that out. We are just here to help, but I have no reason to see that there has been any change in the situation," he said.

    "I was pleased that the security talks took place, but disappointed that they did not make progress, and I just said I hoped they would resume in the future," the US official added.

    Holbrooke said he looked forward to having a private meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash during the latter's forthcoming visit to Washington, in three weeks.

    "I do not intend to go to Cyprus before he comes to Washington at a minimum," he added.

    Asked about the participants and the aim of today's meeting, Holbrooke said it was to acquaint a group of American businessmen and important influential people in the New York City area with the economic situation in Cyprus.

    "I think most people do not understand how strong the Cyprus economy is. This is very useful," he noted.

    He expressed pleasure that Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou and the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Afxentis Afxentiou will take part in the meeting.

    The breakfast will take place at Credit Suisse First Boston, the banking concern where Holbrooke holds a top position.

    The US presidential emissary on Cyprus was asked to comment if there would be something more than this meeting, like the economic relations between the two communities in Cyprus.

    "That's more the Brussels conference in mid-November. That's a different matter," he said, noting that the two events are "very different."

    "In mid-November, in Brussels, there is a private conference for businessmen to talk about economic relations and there no government officials in that from Athens, Nicosia or Ankara. That's just businessmen. I will attend that," he explained.

    The conference will be organised by the Columbia University and the Norwegian Institute for Peace.

    Holbrooke reiterated he considered economic relations between the two communities as "mutually beneficial", noting this was a "very basic point."

    "That is the lesson of China and Taiwan and Hong Kong, that is the lesson of South Korea and China, that is the lesson of Ireland. And that, I think, is something that all people in the region should understand," he said.

    Noting that this was the "same lesson I've been preaching in Bosnia" for the need of people to work together he added:

    "A rising tide can lift all ships. And the people in the region, Greeks and Turks alike, should think very hard about ways they can improve their situation on mutual economic benefits."

    Long before today's meeting here Holbrooke had been impressed with Cyprus' economic potential and has let it be known that he believes the country has a "unique opportunity to be the Singapore of the Mediterranean."

    After today's New York meeting President Clerides will fly to Washington for the opening of an art exhibition by the Emba school children, at the World Bank building.

    CNA JD/AP/GP/1997

    [02] "Maritime Cyprus 1997" enters second day

    Nicosia, Oct 7 (CNA) -- The "Maritime Cyprus 1997" conference entered its second day here today with the participation of more than 1000 delegates from more than 30 countries.

    Klaus Oldendorff, a German shipowner and former President of the Cyprus Shipping Council, was the first to address today the conference.

    Oldendorff explained why Cyprus has become an important shipping hub, and referred to the efforts of the Cyprus Shipping Council to upgrade the image of the Cypriot flag.

    He stressed the need for excluding substandard ships from the Cypriot fleet, and he criticised efforts made to prolong the deadline of the ISM code, which is a useful instrument to the shipping community.

    Oldendorff call on the Cyprus government to take account of the shipping interests during the accession negotiations with the European Union, in order to secure the industry's growth.

    On his part, Eric Shawyer, Chairman of the Baltic Exchange, analysed the operations and goals of the Baltic Market.

    He said the Baltic Exchange is mainly involved in raw materials transports, and it represents a significant player in the world's bulk market.

    Ship transactions are also a part of its activities, he added.

    The Baltic Exchange is a unique "marketplace" where brokers as well as sellers and buyers of ships gather in order to discuss potential contracts.

    CNA GG/GP/1997

    [03] "Romantica" fire started in engine room

    Nicosia, Oct 7 (CNA) -- The fire on the cruise liner "Romantica", which was still ablaze today, began from the ship's engine room, police confirmed here Tuesday.

    Police Spokesman Stelios Neofitou told CNA the fire is expected to be put out within the day to allow experts to start investigations on the ship.

    Around 700 passengers and crew were evacuated to safety on Saturday after fire broke out on the ship in the early hours, 70 nautical miles off the coast of Cyprus. The ship was returning to the island from Port Said, Egypt.

    "Romantica", listing at 20 degrees, was taken to shallow waters outside Limassol Port to prevent it from sinking.

    Neofitou said police took statements from the captain and the owners of the ship and investigations continue.

    In another development, the House Communications and Works Committee decided today to discuss at its next meeting the issue of safety on cruise liners, following the "Romantica" fire.

    CNA EC/MCH/1997
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