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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-09

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Women - Seminar
  • [02] President Clerides - Austrian Defence Minister

  • 1550:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Women - Seminar

    Nicosia, Oct 9 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has pledged to work for increased participation of women in the local political arena.

    Opening a three day workshop entitled "Women and Men in partnership in Cyprus - politics of the future", President Clerides promised that by the year 2005 Cyprus will have approached the 30 percent women's participation in all political fora, as foreseen by the Commonwealth.

    "We are indeed proud of our modern legislation and the safeguard of the fundamental rights of women in family and labour law," the President said.

    He said in the field of politics, there has been relative improvement and "more women are now contesting political positions".

    There are now more women in high ranking positions in political parties as well as in the boards of semi-government organisations and in local administration, he added.

    Clerides said six women are ambassadors in the 30 embassies the Cyprus Republic maintains abroad.

    "Increased and representative participation of women in politics and the consolidation of cooperation between women and men in all walks of political life can only have positive results on our society and the future of our country," the President stressed.

    On her part, the director of the Women's Department of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Eleni Stamiri, said Cyprus has the lowest percentage of women's participation in the House of Representatives and in government in the world.

    She said that female participation in Sweden's Parliament has reached 40 per cent, in Norway 49 per cent, in Finland 33 per cent, in Denmark 33 per cent and in the Netherlands 31 per cent.

    The meeting was also addressed by Justice and Public Order Minister, Nicos Koshis, whose ministry is responsible for the Cyprus National Machinery for the Advancement of Women.

    Koshis said after the last parliamentary elections in May 1996 which elected only three women deputies, the government decided to invite experts to "guide us on how to change the picture of today's political life".

    "We aim to continue this pioneering seminar and other initiatives which would create a better climate for women in the political arena," he added.

    The three day workshop, to take place in the mountain resort of Platres, was also addressed by Lesley Abdela of the British Council, the island's political leadership and women deputies.

    It is organised by the National Machinery for the Advancement of Women, in cooperation with the British Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

    CNA AA/EC/MM/1998

    [02] President Clerides - Austrian Defence Minister

    Nicosia, Oct 9 -- Austrian Defence Minister, Werner Fasslabend, pointed out today that Cyprus is entering a new phase in its history with the start of substantive talks for accession to the European Union on November 10.

    The Austrian Minister also expressed his country's interest in "lowering tensions" on the island but refrained from commenting on the Cyprus government's decision to deploy the S300 defensive missile system.

    Speaking after a meeting today with President Glafcos Clerides, Fasslabend said following the EU Council of Ministers' decision to begin "substantial" talks with Cyprus and five eastern European candidates, the island "will enter a new phase of its history in the past 50 years".

    This phase, he said, will bring Cyprus "much closer to Europe, increase this process and speed it up quite a bit", but pointed out that the process will not be easy.

    The Minister said, judging by his country's experience, the way to accession is long and difficult but worthwhile.

    "After two years of having become member of the EU, Austria is in the presidency now and we can see the difference of working outside and working inside the EU," he said.

    Replying to questions, the Austrian Minister said that security issues were also discussed with the President as well as "the missile question so often mentioned in the past weeks".

    He refrained, however, from outlining Austria's position on the deployment of the missiles, but expressed his country's interest in "lowering of tensions" and "finding solutions".

    "Everything else is the sovereign right of a country to decide," he remarked.

    He said he was confident that there would be no escalation of tension during the Austrian EU presidency, because he was convinced both the Cyprus government and the Greek Cypriot community have "a great interest that peace is kept on and that tensions should be lowered and not increased".

    He also said that "there is an interest by most European countries that Cyprus entering the EU should be on the basis of the whole island, but on the other hand there cannot be a veto from anybody from outside".

    Invited to comment on UN-led "shuttle-talks" due to begin with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, Fasslabend said "every start of a process that has the goal to bring the two sides together is positive".

    He noted that "the situation is not easy" but described the UN process "as a very serious and a positive trial to find solutions."

    The Austrian Minister refrained from saying how a recent Turkish Cypriot proposal for a confederation of two states in Cyprus, which contradicts UN resolutions, could assist such a process.

    "I do not think that it would make sense if I tried to comment on the ideas of other people," he said, adding that he has learnt to "make my orientations on facts and that is what I will do also in this case. So far I am looking forward to the next steps that will come from both sides," he added.

    Asked what he expected from the Greek Cypriot side as a helpful next step, he expressed certainty "that there is quite a strong will to make further steps".

    "I do not think it would make sense if I state some standards or levels that I should wish for. This is not important. It is just necessary that the people who have to do some steps will do them. That is what I am convinced of," he concluded.

    CNA MCH/MM/1998
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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