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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-11

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Euro group gives full backing to Cyprus' EU accession
  • [02] Slovenia ready to assist Cyprus solution
  • [03] Christofides: Military dialogue not major security issue
  • [04] President Clerides leaves for Luxembourg
  • [05] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [06] Finance Ministers presents state budgets
  • [07] Joint efforts against Turkey's inclusion in European Conference
  • [08] House denounces Hannay's statements

  • 1540:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Euro group gives full backing to Cyprus' EU accession

    Nicosia, Dec 11 (CNA) -- The Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left of the European Parliament said the political problem of Cyprus should not constitute an obstacle in the country's accession to the European Union.

    It also advocated Turkish Cypriot participation in Cyprus-European Union membership talks under the umbrella of the Republic of Cyprus and pledged its support to promote just and viable settlement.

    In a common declaration, adopted at the end of a two-day meeting here today, the group called on Turkey to "revoke its threats and cooperate with efforts to achieve a solution of the Cyprus problem and the accession of Cyprus to the EU."

    This, it adds, would facilitate Turkey's own relations with the EU.

    The declaration backs the complete demilitarisation of Cyprus and considers that a Cyprus solution should serve the interests of all Cypriots.

    Speaking at a joint press conference, group President Alonso Puerta, said the EU has been using a policy of "carrot and stick" in its ties with Turkey, which must understand that it cannot hold Cyprus a hostage.

    The EU, he said, is ready to accept Turkey in its ranks but is not prepared to accept Turkish blackmail.

    Advocating Turkish Cypriot participation in accession negotiations, Puerta stressed this must come under the umbrella of the sole interlocutor of the EU, the Republic of Cyprus.

    Replying to questions, he said there may be derogations in the acqui communautaire as far as Cyprus is concerned but EU principles, including freedom of movement and the return of the refugees to their homes, should be safeguarded.

    He also warned about the possibility of seeing the Cyprus peace process being derailed from the UN track and pointed out the US cannot dictate to the EU what to do, even though they maintain friendly relations.

    Demetris Christofias, General Secretary of the left-wing party AKEL, host of the meeting, also backed Turkish Cypriot participation as part of the Cyprus delegation.

    He said Russia is consistent in its support to the peace effort and will not be blackmailed by Turkey on either the purchase of anti-aircraft missiles by Cyprus or efforts to settle the Cyprus question.

    During the morning session, group rapporteur Luciano Pettinari dismissed any attempt to associate the peace effort with Cyprus' accession course.

    He criticised the international community for ignoring the Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus and for using delaying tactics in its dealing with Cyprus.

    Pettinari said US interest in Cyprus "passes through the eyes of Turkey because of the country's geopolitical interests" and charged that "the US has given Turkey a blank cheque, demanding certain things in exchange."

    The Italian Euro-MP said Turkey uses the Turkish Cypriots as a "tool for its own benefit" and questioned the notion of autonomy on the part of the Turkish Cypriots, because of their dependence on Turkey.

    Head of the delegation of the European Commission, Ambassador Gilles Anouil, said a recent opinion poll in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus showed that the majority of Turkish Cypriots do not share the view that Cyprus should wait for Turkey to join the EU and a settlement before they accede.

    He noted that membership talks, scheduled for April next year, will run parallel to peace negotiations, due in March.

    The EU, he added, is trying to inform the Turkish Cypriots of the benefits accession would bring to them.

    CNA MM/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1540:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Slovenia ready to assist Cyprus solution

    Nicosia, Dec 11 (CNA) -- Slovenian Deputy Foreign Minister, Ernest Petric, stressed here today that his country will cooperate closely with Cyprus to achieve their common historic goal, which is full membership of the European Union.

    After a meeting with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Petric also stressed that Slovenia shares the same principles with the Cyprus government and would like to contribute towards a solution of the Cyprus question, as a future member of the UN Security Council.

    He said he had a very productive and pleasant meeting with Kasoulides about a long range of topics, but the main purpose of his visit is in the context of the Slovenian future membership of the UN Security Council.

    "We want to be as much as possible informed to be able to extend our friendly support to the solution of the Cyprus problem," Petric noted.

    Stressing Slovenia's wish for objectivity, Petric noted his country will act according to its principles.

    "And these principles are exactly the same as the principles the Cyprus government believes", stressed Petric.

    Asked about the European Union Summit which starts tomorrow, he said that both he and Kasoulides are happy that Cyprus and Slovenia are jointly marching towards the full EU membership.

    He also expressed the hope that "in a few hours, in a day or so we will be invited to start officially to negotiate our membership in this great community of European free nations."

    EU membership, he added, is a historic goal for both counties which will cooperate closely in their joint ambition.

    He said Slovenia is very impressed by the fact that Cyprus has achieved a lot and managed, despite her "serious problem", to become a qualified candidate for the EU.

    "We hope that we will be able as future EU members to cooperate closely and maybe put ahead the interests of countries like ours which are small, peaceful, peace-loving and trying to find a place in the international community", Petric stressed.

    CNA KN/MM/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1730:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] Christofides: Military dialogue not major security issue

    Nicosia, Dec 11 (CNA) -- The military dialogue is not the major security issue the Republic of Cyprus faces, Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides said here today.

    Asked to comment on the UN Chief's report on the renewal of the six- month mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Christofides agreed there has been a delay in the course of the military dialogue between the National Guard and the Turkish occupation forces.

    He pointed out, however, that the military dialogue "is not the major security issue" and referred to President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for the island's complete demilitarisation and the agreement between Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, for a dialogue on security.

    "A great deal can be achieved, if Turkey and Denktash show good-will and co-operate," Christofides said.

    "The military dialogue has not reached a final deadlock", he added, pointing out "we support the dialogue as a means of finding solutions to security issues."

    The Greek Cypriot side, the Government Spokesman said, was positive on many aspects concerning the military dialogue, but negative to those that could pose a threat to the life of citizens.

    Concluding, Christofides said the UN Secretary-General's report did not blame any side but "simply referred to the current situation on the island."

    CNA MK/MCH/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1830:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] President Clerides leaves for Luxembourg

    Larnaca, Dec 11 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides left this afternoon for Luxembourg to attend a meeting of the members of the European Council, the European Commission and associated countries, later this week.

    Replying to questions on departure, the President pointed to the unprecedented international interest for a solution to the Cyprus problem, making special reference to Europe and the US.

    Clerides also described as "entirely unacceptable" a proposal in the Turkish press that Cyprus should start talks for accession to NATO than the European Union (EU), until the illegal entity, unilaterally declared in November 1983, in the Turkish-occupied part of the island is recognised.

    Asked to comment on the UN Chief's report on the renewal of the mandate of the Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), President Clerides said the Greek Cypriot side had made it clear from the start it would not move its sentry-posts in a way that would leave residential areas unprotected.

    He said the Greek Cypriot side had made some suggestions on UN proposals on the issue.

    "What the Turks have said was that if we were to accept the UN proposals, they would also accept them," he added.

    President Clerides will attend the Luxembourg meeting of members of the European Council, European Commission and associated countries, scheduled for Saturday, December 13.

    A working lunch of the European Council, the European Commission and associated countries will take place prior to the meeting.

    President Clerides visits Luxembourg, currently holding the European Union's (EU) six-month rotating presidency, at the invitation of the country's Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Junker.

    CNA KK/MCH/AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1900:CYPPRESS:05

    [05] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Dec 11 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    76.74 (+0.60)
    
    Highest: 82.46 (2/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    
    Sectural Indices
    
    Banks                                  87.73 (+0.22)
    Approved Investment Companies          59.99 (+1.54)
    Insurance Companies                    58.23 (+1.01)
    Industrial Companies                   74.25 (+0.68)
    Tourist Industries                     62.42 (+0.66)
    Commercial Companies                   42.60 (+4.23)
    Other Companies                        62.14 (+1.40)
    
    Trading Volume                         CYP 403112.150
    
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA AP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1930:CYPPRESS:06

    [06] Finance Ministers presents state budgets

    Nicosia, Dec 11 (CNA) -- Cyprus' harmonisation process with the "acquis communautaire", the restructuring of its economy, the fairer distribution of wealth, and the economic recovery are the main priorities of the 1998 state budgets.

    These priorities were presented this afternoon by Finance Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou, at the plenary session of the 56-seat House of Representatives, marking the start of a debate on the 1998 state budgets.

    The three state budgets provide for 1,63 billion Cyprus pounds expenditure and 1,08 billion pounds revenues (one Cyprus pound is equal to 1,9 US dollars).

    The Ordinary Budget envisages 1,28 b. pounds expenditure and 1,07 b. pounds revenues.

    The Development Budget provides for 261 million pounds expenditure, 12, 5 per cent up, compared with that of the previous year, which reflects the government's determination to "upgrade the economic and social infrastructure of the economy", Christodoulou noted.

    The expenditure of the Relief Fund for Displaced and Afflicted Persons is 91 million pounds, with its revenues reaching 7 million pounds.

    Referring to the island's economic prospects for 1998, the Minister of Finance said they are "auspicious", while the international economic developments, which affect Cyprus' economy, are equally favourable.

    The most important of the above developments is the high economic growth rate of the EU member-states, and the East European states, he added.

    As a result, Christodoulou said, the growth rate of the island's economy in 1998 is expected to reach 4,5 per cent, while unemployment in the same year will be around 3 per cent.

    Inflation in 1997, according to the common EU index will reach 2,5 per cent, which fulfils the respective Maastricht criterion, he added.

    Referring to the 1997 fiscal deficit, Christodoulou said it will be around 4,0 per cent of GDP, while the public debt in the same year will reach 55,6 per cent of GDP.

    Cyprus fulfils four of the five Maastricht convergence criteria, which puts the island in a better position compared with a number of EU member- states, the Minister pointed out.

    He also referred to various international organisations and institutions, such as the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Standard and Poor, and Moodys, which have praised Cyprus' economic achievements.

    As for the island's harmonisation process, Christodoulou said it is not a task to be accomplished only by the civil service, and urged all economic and social partners to join forces.

    CNA GG/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2000:CYPPRESS:07

    [07] Joint efforts against Turkey's inclusion in European Conference

    by Emilia Christofi

    Luxembourg, Dec 11 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece will join efforts to dissuade Turkey's participation in a planned European Conference for associated members, Socialist EDEK party leader Vassos Lyssarides told CNA today.

    Lyssarides is this evening attending a meeting of European Socialists, held in view of tomorrow's European Council meeting.

    He stressed the importance of the meeting, pointing out that governments in 12 of the 15 member-states of the European Union (EU) are socialist.

    The aim, Lyssarides said, is that Cyprus should included in the first phase of EU enlargement.

    He added, that European Socialists should reaffirm that Cyprus' accession to the EU would not linked to a prior solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Lyssarides wondered why Europe does not take any measures against Turkey which has not fulfilled any of the conditions it pledged to fulfill upon its customs union with the EU.

    Ankara is demanding a place in a planned European Conference for members-in-waiting, but Greece has threatened to veto its participation.

    The European Commission formally agreed July 15 to invite Cyprus for EU membership talks in the Union's first expansion into eastern Europe along with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Estonia.

    Turkey, smarting at not being included in the envisaged expansion, has threatened to unite with the occupied north of Cyprus if the EU went ahead with entry talks with the Cyprus government.

    CNA EC/MCH/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    2030:CYPPRESS:08

    [08] House denounces Hannay's statements

    Nicosia, Dec 11 (CNA) -- The House of Representatives unanimously denounced today recent statements by British Special Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay.

    The British diplomat had recently stated, in an interview with a local daily, that Turkish settlers married to Turkish Cypriots have acquired the Turkish Cypriot so-called citizenship.

    The House resolution describes as "unacceptable" the approbation and tolerance of the situation created as a result of the Turkish invasion and occupation which violate the fundamental basic rights of the people of Cyprus.

    It also stresses its opposition to attempts aiming to change the demographic structure of Cyprus through the influx of settlers from Turkey.

    Concluding, it calls upon the British government and the House of Commons to fulfill Britain's obligations as a guarantor power of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic and contribute towards a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. CNA SD/MCH/AP 1997

    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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