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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-20

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [02] Tourism one of most important sectors of Cyprus' economy
  • [03] Britain reiterates position on Cyprus' EU course
  • [04] Cyprus deplores Turkish threats
  • [05] Bank of Cyprus Group-Results 1997
  • [06] President Clerides-UN chief to meet in Cyprus
  • [07] Government does not comment on EU draft opening statement
  • [08] Major effort for Cyprus settlement, says Euro socialist leader
  • [09] Eurocypria expands in Britain
  • [10] Cyprus denies reports on Paphos airbase
  • [11] New Horizons to participate in national unity government

  • 1500:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    81.66 (-0.38)
    Highest: 81.97 (19/2/98)
    Lowest : 76.20 (8/1/98)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  94.88 (-0.28)
    Approved Investment Companies          62.11 (+0.39)
    Insurance Companies                    60.55 (-0.64)
    Industrial Companies                   75.79 (-0.69)
    Tourist Industries                     66.88 (-0.59)
    Commercial Companies                   40.81 (-0.66)
    Other Companies                        66.83 (-0.51)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 610476.278
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA MCH/1998

    [02] Tourism one of most important sectors of Cyprus' economy

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- More than two million tourists visited Cyprus during 1997, yielding an income of around 830 million Cyprus pounds (some 1.660 million US dollars).

    Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Michalis Michaelides, described today tourism as "one of the most important sectors of the economy".

    Speaking at a seminar on "Cyprus Tourism in the 21st Century - Regaining Competitiveness", Michaelides said:

    "It is estimated that some 2.100.00 tourists visited our island during 1997, yielding an income of around 830 million pounds".

    Michaelides pointed out that "the contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product is approximately 20 per cent while about 12,5 percent of the working population is employed directly in the tourism industry".

    Noting that "how vital tourism is to the economy of Cyprus", the Minister stressed the need for hard work "in order to meet the challenges of intense competition and new developments in the tourist world".

    Michaelides said that in order to ensure the competitiveness of the tourist industry in the long run, "the Cyprus Tourism Organisation is presently working towards the development of a long-term Tourist Strategy" with a time-span until 2010.

    The main aim of the strategy will be to achieve sustainable tourism development, the maximisation of economic benefits and the protection of the viability of investments, he added.

    CNA EC/MCH/1998

    [03] Britain reiterates position on Cyprus' EU course

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- Britain, who currently holds the European Union rotating presidency, has made it clear once more that a solution of the Cyprus question is not a precondition to the country's accession.

    A spokesman for the British High Commission, Piers Cazalet, reiterated that "a solution will make the accession process easier but it is not a precondition."

    Cazalet was commenting on reports that the draft of the opening statement for accession negotiations says that the objective remains the accession of a bicommunal, bizonal federation on the basis of a comprehensive political settlement.

    The reference does not satisfy Greece, according to diplomatic sources.

    Cazalet said the draft "is subject to internal discussion at the moment" and the government of Cyprus refrained from commenting.

    Asked if Britain's interpretation of the draft phrase is that a solution is a precondition for accession, Cazalet replied "no, not at all."

    He also pointed out that Premier Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook have said on a number of occasions that a solution is not a precondition to Cyprus' accession.

    "It will make the process easier but it is not a precondition," he added.

    Cyprus is due to start membership negotiations at the end of March.

    CNA MM/MCH/1998

    [04] Cyprus deplores Turkish threats

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- Cyprus accuses Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, of intensifying their efforts towards the recognition of the illegal entity unilaterally declared in the Turkish-occupied areas of the island.

    Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides, said today statements made recently by Turkish officials and Denktash are contrary to the spirit of friendship which should prevail during bicommunal talks for a Cyprus solution.

    "Turkey and Denktash, in absolute harmony, are intensifying their efforts towards the pseudostate's recognition and are preparing a long-term plan to achieve their goal," he said.

    Pointing out that a spirit of friendship, cooperation, mutual respect, sincerity, good faith, goodwill and decisiveness should prevail during UN- sponsored bicommunal talks for a Cyprus settlement, Christofides stressed:

    "Statements made by Turkish officials and Denktash are contrary to this spirit."

    Christofides reiterated that the Republic of Cyprus and the government of this Republic are the only ones recognised by the international community.

    He also stressed there is only one sovereignty in Cyprus and that there will be one sovereignty in a future bicommunal and bizonal federation.

    UN-sponsored peace talks reached a deadlock last summer and the UN hope they will resume in the coming months.

    CNA MM/AP/MCH/1998

    [05] Bank of Cyprus Group-Results 1997

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) --The Bank of Cyprus Group's operating profit for 1997 reached 53,7 million Cyprus pounds (some 107,4 million US dollars) showing an increase of 16 per cent, compared to the previous year, Group Chairman, Solon Triantafyllides, revealed today.

    Speaking at a press conference to present the Group's 1997 preliminary results, Triantafyllides said the Group will pay out a 1997 annual dividend of 18 per cent.

    The 1998 operating profit is expected to be even higher, he added.

    The Group's market capitalisation reached 286 million pounds in 1997, an increase of 40 per cent compared to that of 1995 (one Cyprus pound is equal to 1,88 US dollars).

    Triantafyllides characterised the results as "very satisfying", and attributed them to the good performance of the island's economy in the second half of 1997.

    The "remarkable performance" of Bank of Cyprus (Greece) and the Group's life insurance sector, have also contributed to the Group's positive results, he explained.

    Triantafyllides said two major events concerning the Group took place this year; these were the listing of the Bank of Cyprus on the London Stock Exchange in the form of Global Depository Receipts (GRDs), and the listing of the GRDs on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Referring to the island's economy, he said the 1997 growth rate was 2,4 per cent, while the expected rate for 1998 is 3,5 to 4,0 per cent.

    The Group's increased activities abroad have already turned it into a "financial institution of international dimension", Triantafyllides added, revealing that 35 per cent of its 1997 operating profit was generated abroad.

    Referring to the Group's social activities, he said the Oncology Centre, a 7-million-pound hi-tech institution to fight cancer, is expected to operate soon.

    The Centre has been totally financed by the Bank of Cyprus Group.

    CNA GG/MCH/1998

    [06] President Clerides-UN chief to meet in Cyprus

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will make a brief stopover at Larnaca airport, on Sunday, during which he will meet with President Glafcos Clerides, it was officially announced here today.

    This will be the first meeting between Annan and President Clerides this year. Clerides won re-election last Sunday for another five-year term in office.

    The UN chief will make an hour-long stopover at Larnaca airport on Sunday afternoon, on his way back from Baghdad where he flew today in a last-minute peace mission to avert war in the Iraq crisis.

    Earlier today, Annan flew from Paris, in a French presidential jet, to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi leaders and try to avert a threatened US military strike over Iraq's refusal to open presidential palaces to UN arms inspectors.

    CNA AP/MCH/1998

    [07] Government does not comment on EU draft opening statement

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government refrained from commenting over the content of a draft statement prepared by the European Union British presidency, for the opening of accession talks with Cyprus.

    Asked to comment on reports that the governments of Cyprus and Greece disagree with the draft of the opening statement, Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides said today:

    "The government does not have the official statement and does not therefore wish to comment on any reports concerning its content".

    Christofides stressed the content of the opening statement will be defined by the EU itself.

    Commenting on reports that British Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hanney will put forward suggestions concerning Turkish Cypriot participation in Cyprus-EU accession talks, when he arrives, here, next week, Christofides said:

    "The government is open to suggestions over the issue of participation of Turkish Cypriots in negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the EU."

    Christofides also pointed out that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair has expressed, in a reply to President Clerides' letter, his country's will to contribute to Cyprus' European course.

    President Clerides had sent letters to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, asking them to intervene in the direction of Turkey in order to assist efforts for a Cyprus settlement.

    Clinton's reply was conveyed to President Clerides by US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kenneth Brill on Wednesday.

    The UN Secretary General has not replied yet. CNA MM/KN/AA/MCH 1997


    [08] Major effort for Cyprus settlement, says Euro socialist leader

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- The international community is determined to make a major effort in solving the Cyprus problem, said the leader of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament, Pauline Green.

    At the same time, she stressed that it is important for the island "to join as a whole country, a united Cyprus".

    She told the London Greek Radio (LGR) today that she would encourage re- elected President Glafcos Clerides to find some sort of formula by which Turkish Cypriots could take part in the membership talks with the European Union (EU) scheduled to start on March 30, 1998.

    Regarding the Cyprus problem, Green said "there is going to be a major drive... in the coming weeks and months to try and move forward".

    Green referred to her recent meeting in New York with US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, who is looking at the Cyprus case "in very great detail".

    The British Labour Euro-MP said she also had meetings with US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Tom Miller, and other officials at the State Department and the National Security Council.

    "They really do seem very determined that they will put their weight behind and move forward", Green added.

    She also met in Strasbourg with Van den Linden, who has taken over the Turkey and Cyprus portfolios for External Relations Commissioner, Hans Van den Broek. The two discussed in detail the way the "EU will try and drive forward the process".

    "Everybody is absolutely aware of the difficulties with which the solution is beset, but we are determined that we have to make a major effort", Green said.

    Noting that "Cyprus' vocation is in the EU", Green stressed that it is important for the island "to join as a whole country, a united Cyprus".

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

    This east Mediterranean island applied for EU membership in July 1990. It signed an association agreement with the European Community in 1972 and a customs union agreement in 1987.

    She said the comments coming from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkey are unhelpful at the moment.

    "I think it is now down to all of us, with good will and wanting a solution, to demonstrate some visions for the future and some leadership", she said.

    Regarding the participation of Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus' accession negotiations with the European Union, Green said President Clerides was "sympathetic to trying to find some sort of formula" by which they could take part.

    "I would encourage him to keep thinking along that route", she said, noting that Clerides should pursue their participation "in an innovative way".

    The Cyprus government has proposed Turkish Cypriot participation provided that the Turkish Cypriot side would accept the principle of Cyprus' accession to the EU and the Turkish Cypriot representatives would be part of the Cyprus Republic's negotiating team.

    On Turkey's European role, Green said the "offer was always on the table to them. Turkey has to make up its mind whether the conditions are acceptable to it", she said.

    However, Green emphasised there was no indication that the situation has changed.

    Referring to the situation in Iraq, Green said there was a major discussion this week at the European Parliament with Doug Henderson, British European Affairs Minister.

    Green said the European Parliament adopted a resolution which she introduced and was based on three strands.

    "Saddam Hussein must conform with the UN resolutions because these weapons are desperately dangerous, and frankly they are dangerous for Cyprus as well because Cyprus is very close to where they are being stored and manufactured", Green added.

    CNA RG/EC/GP/1998

    [09] Eurocypria expands in Britain

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- Eurocypria will expand its activities in the British market by flying from ten airports.

    During 1998, Eurocypria, sister company of national air-carrier Cyprus Airways, is expected to carry more than 350.000 passengers, which is 15 per cent more than in 1997.

    Around 55 per cent of those passengers will come from Britain, a traditional market for Cyprus.

    The Association of Greek Cypriot Travel Agents, United Kingdom (AGTA, UK), as well as Thompson Holidays and First Choice, considered to be Britain's biggest travel agent companies, are among Eurocypria's associates.

    General Director of Eurocypria Charalambos Hatzipanayiotou stressed that "even though Thomson Holidays has its own airline (Britannia), it has shown great confidence in Eurocypria's quality of services".

    Eurocypria is also cooperating with German travel agencies such as TUI and Neckermann, Scandinavian SLG and Fritidsresegruppen as well as with Swiss and Austrian.

    Flights from St Petersburg established last summer continue with great success.

    CNA KN/MCH/1997

    [10] Cyprus denies reports on Paphos airbase

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government denied today press reports that the recently-built Paphos military airbase will be officially inaugurated on March 25 in the presence of top Greek officials.

    "Press reports alleging that the official inauguration of the Paphos airbase will take place on March 25, 1998, are not true," Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides told journalists Friday.

    He noted that no decision on this issue had been taken and that "no date for its official inauguration has been set."

    The Spokesman said the airbase, situated near the western coastal town of Paphos, should be inaugurated "in a way that no one will be provoked or affect the spirit which could prevail in the forthcoming bicommunal talks" aimed at a Cyprus solution.

    He said the ceremony should in no way affect accession talks Cyprus is scheduled to start with the European Union on March 30.

    CyBC reported last night that the airbase would be inaugurated on March 25, in the presence of Greek Foreign Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and probably the Greek Premier Costas Simitis. It also said Greek fighters would land on that day at the base.

    Christofides said construction works at the airbase, which has handed over by contractors to the Ministry of Defence on January 24, had been completed, noting it is now "operational".

    The military airbase aims to enhance the Republic's defence capabilities in response to Turkey's unprecedented arms acquisition programme and threats against Cyprus.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    A joint defence pact was agreed upon by the governments of Cyprus and Greece in November 1993.

    The base will be named after the late Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    CNA MM/AP/GP/1998

    [11] New Horizons to participate in national unity government

    Nicosia, Feb 20 (CNA) -- Leader of New Horizons party, Nicos Koutsou conveyed today to President Glafcos Clerides his party's positive reply to an invitation to participate in a national unity government.

    In a written reply to the President, New Horizons say they accept the invitation in principle, pointing out that they have supported the idea for a national unity government since May 1997.

    They also note that they expressed this position in a joint statement with President Clerides on February 10.

    Nicos Koutsou was a candidate for the New Horizons party in the first round of the presidential elections and secured 0,91 per cent.

    Ruling right-wing Democratic Rally party, the United Democrats, the Liberals and Alexis Galanos, who broke ranks with Democratic Party (DIKO), have formally accepted Clerides' invitation.

    Socialist-EDEK has responded positively but has not yet handed in its formal acceptance of the invitation.

    Left-wing AKEL and centre-right Democratic Party (DIKO) rejected yesterday President Clerides' invitation.

    A move today by EDEK's leader Vasos Lyssarides to convince AKEL and DIKO to participate in a national unity government failed.

    AKEL and DIKO supported in last Sunday's elections independent candidate George Iacovou, a former Foreign Minister, who lost to Clerides by 49,18 per cent to 50,82 per cent.

    In rejecting Clerides' invitation AKEL cited "fundamental differences" both in the handling of the Cyprus problem and domestic issues.

    It pointed out, however, that "it will continue working consistently in the framework of the National Council towards greater consensus in the handling of the Cyprus problem".

    DIKO President, Spyros Kyprianou also stressed that it was impossible to accept Clerides' proposal because rebel party members have been invited to participate as well.

    CNA AP/MCH/1998
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