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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-12-10

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Defence Minister - UN report - Human Rights
  • [02] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [03] Cyprus - Kasoulides - EU
  • [04] Miller - S300 - Cyprus problem
  • [05] President Clerides - EU enlargement
  • [06] Finance Minister - Budgets - Economy
  • [07] Kurds - Protest - Fire
  • [08] Kyprianou - Vance

  • 1455:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Defence Minister - UN report - Human Rights

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- Defence Minister, Yiannakis Omirou, today expressed "surprise" at the UN Secretary-General's references to the Republic's defence, underlining that Cyprus has to face a heavily armed Turkish force.

    Commenting on Kofi Annan's report on the UN Operation in Cyprus for the period June 9 - December 6, Omirou said "we are doing the basics to organise our defence to face Turkey, a heavily armed country with millions of citizens".

    He pointed out that Turkey "continuously builds up its arms with modern weapon systems".

    In his report Annan expresses concern at the upgrading of military equipment in Cyprus and refers to the annual National Guard exercises.

    The Minister was speaking at the Ledra Palace checkpoint, the only place from which one can cross into the areas of the Republic occupied by Turkey since 1974, where he visited a group of women who began a three-day hunger strike yesterday.

    The women are staging the hunger strike to demand the restoration of human rights in Cyprus.

    "We have placed all our hopes (for a Cyprus settlement) with the UN", Omirou said, calling for more care in how the international organisation expresses its views.

    He said that "sometimes this effort to put the victim and the aggressor, i.e. the legal forces of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish occupation troops respectively, on par is a painful surprise".

    On the occasion of today's 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Defence Minister sent the message that "the new world order should be based on this Declaration, respect of people and respect of international law."

    CNA MA/RG/1998

    [02] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
          CSE General Index                          90.32 ( 0.39)
          Traded Value            CYP 2,028,967
          Sectural Indices
          Banks                   CYP   508,507     104.31 ( 0.33)
          Approved Investment
          Companies               CYP   103,442      59.56 ( 0.30)
          Insurance Companies     CYP   787,316      69.57 ( 1.33)
          Manufacturing Companies CYP    93,235      87.67 ( 1.14)
          Tourism Companies       CYP   122,872      67.57 (-0.09)
          Trading Companies       CYP   126,252      43.19 (-1.28)
          Other Companies         CYP   102,014      82.37 (-0.58)
    The third column presents the percentage variation of the indices as compared to the last meeting.

    CNA MM/1998

    [03] Cyprus - Kasoulides - EU

    by Maria Chrysanthou

    Vienna, Dec 10 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides stressed here today the importance of the participation of candidate states for accession to the European Union, in the European Council to be held here Friday and Saturday.

    He pointed out that socio-economic problems faced by the European Union and not the issue of its enlargement will be at the centre of the EU summit.

    Kasoulides said he did not believe there would be any changes to the section on Cyprus, which will be included in the EU presidency final conclusions.

    Replying to questions, Kasoulides said "our presence here testifies our participation in the effort for European integration."

    Asked how a possible delay in the EU enlargement process could influence Cyprus' interests, he replied "our wish is for accession as soon as possible, but this does not depend on us."

    He added, that "what is important for Cyprus is to be treated in the same way as the other candidate countries and for Cyprus to be one of the countries which will be included in the first EU enlargement".

    Kasoulides also pointed out that it is extremely important both for Cyprus and the other canditate countries for the EU to be ready to be transformed from a "15-state Union to a 21 or 22-state Union", from "a Union of little Europe to a Union of big Europe".

    Replying to a question, Kasoulides remarked that the section on Cyprus "has been approved by the working group preparing the enlargement process, has gone to COREPER and has reached the Council of Ministers without any attempt for alteration or charge". He said it was expected that no alterations would be made to the final text either.

    The Cypriot minister pointed out that the Cyprus section includes nothing new to what had been stated earlier, especially the October 5 decision of the Council, which does not link Cyprus accession process to a solution of the island's political problem.

    Kasoulides confirmed that different diplomatic efforts aiming at reducing tension and creating the preconditions necessary for the continuation of UNSG's good offices on the substance of the Cyprus problem are underway.

    He refrained, however, from commenting any further, pointing out that "these efforts have not yet obtained shape or form".

    Kasoulides cited a recent statement by Greek Premier Costas Simitis that "Greece and Cyprus have as their primary aim the reduction of tension and are ready to look into any prospects that would allay the Cyprus people's feeling of insecurity".

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

    CNA MCH/GP/1998

    [04] Miller - S300 - Cyprus problem

    Larnaca, Dec 10 (CNA) -- A US envoy today said that a solution to the deployment of S300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus could open opportunities towards an overall settlement on the island.

    Speaking on his arrival, State Department Cyprus coordinator Thomas Miller said "a mutually satisfactory solution to this (S300) issue could lead to new opportunities to get back focused to what is my job, our objective."

    The US diplomat, who is here for 24 hours to consult with UN resident representative Dame Ann Hercus, underlined that "the objective is, has been and will be a solution to the Cyprus problem."

    "It is important to stay focused on that," he added, noting that the US fully back and cooperate with the UN in efforts for a settlement.

    Miller said that "clearly, the S300s is an issue we are concerned about... we are working with the Cyprus government on this issue to find a solution that I think is mutually satisfactory."

    He said this issue "is going to be a topic of my consultations." The Cyprus government said it would consider not deploying the Russian- made S300s if there is substantive progress in a settlement here or if talks for the reduction of tension, leading to demilitarisation, begin and are on a good course.

    The government ordered the missiles in a bid to build up its air defence in case of a new Turkish offensive.

    Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and has since been occupying 37 per cent of its territory.

    Replying to questions, Miller did not accept that the US is to blame for 25-years of failure in efforts for a settlement here.

    "There has not been success in the Cyprus problem," he acknowledged, underlining however that "that is not exclusively a US failure."

    The American diplomat played down a protest launched by Moscow yesterday concerning statements made here by US ambassador Kenneth Brill against the deployment of the S300.

    Moscow accused the American ambassador for meddling in a purely economic deal between Cyprus and Russia.

    "We don't have any problems with the Russians. We work on a wide range of issues with the Russians around the world. We have very good cooperative relations with the Russians, including on Cyprus," Miller said.

    The US Cyprus envoy will meet Hercus tomorrow and will later leave for Turkey to participate in a meeting to be attended by Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot, Greek and Turkish businesspeople.

    US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke will also attend the meeting.

    CNA MAN/MA/GP/1998

    [05] President Clerides - EU enlargement

    by Maria Chrysanthou

    Vienna, Dec 10 (CNA) -- The political necessity of European Union enlargement, despite the challenges it poses, was underlined by President Glafcos Clerides today in his intervention at an extraordinary European Peoples Party (EPP) Summit held here.

    Describing enlargement as "perhaps the most creative of challenges for the Union itself", Clerides stressed that it "emerges as a political necessity and becomes not a policy chosen, but a must."

    He pointed out that even though eastward EU enlargement is imperative, "one should not underestimate at the same time the necessity for Europe to expand towards the South and the Mediterranean sea and his can be achieved with the accession of Cyprus and Malta."

    "The experiences acquired and the new institutional modifications provide the Union with the capability to deepen its relations with that area, contributing at the same time to stability and modernisation", the President added.

    He stressed that EU priorities to deal with unemployment, economic growth, protection of the environment, internal security and representation of its interests outside its borders are also Cyprus' priorities "in the framework of our harmonisation process."

    Cyprus opened substantive accession talks with the EU beginning of last month.

    "We would like to reiterate our will to contribute to further cohesion of the Union thus promoting stability to what is perceived by us as a zone of peace, freedom, prosperity and social issues," President Clerides concluded.

    CNA MCH/MA/1998

    [06] Finance Minister - Budgets - Economy

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou today estimated the growth rate of Cyprus' economy would reach 4 per cent next year and inflation would be around 2,5 per cent.

    He pointed out that the island's European course would increasingly affect the government's economic policy in the years to come.

    Christodoulou, who was addressing the House on the occasion of the start of a debate on the 1999 state budgets, described the launch of Cyprus' substantive negotiations with the European Union (EU) as "the beginning of a new era" for the island.

    Presenting the three state budgets, Christodoulou said the expenditure of the 1999 Ordinary Budget would reach 1,35 billion Cyprus pounds and its revenues 1,10 billion pounds (one Cyprus pound is trading at 2,0 US dollars).

    The expenditure of the Development Budget would be 264 m. pounds and that of the third budget named "Relief Fund for Displaced and Afflicted Persons" 92 million pounds, while revenues of the latter would be 7 m. pounds.

    Christodoulou said a high percentage of public revenues would be spent for Cyprus' harmonisation with the EU and "the restructuring of all sectors of the economy", but he did not precise the cost of harmonisation.

    He stressed however that the island's harmonisation together with the economy's preparation for accession to the EU were the main goals of the 1999-2003 Strategic Development Plan.

    Referring to the prospects of the economy next year, the Finance Minister said growth rate was expected to reach around 4 per cent in real terms, inflation would be around 2,5 per cent and unemployment would fall to 3 per cent.

    He warned, however, that unless measures were taken, the fiscal deficit would reach 5,8 per cent of GDP and the public debt would be over the ceiling of 60 per cent, which was set out by the Maastricht criteria.

    In view of those negative developments Christodoulou called for structural reforms.

    Presenting the state of the economy in 1998, he stressed that this year's developments proved that "the Cyprus economy is in a constant course of recovery".

    Growth rate this year would be over 5 per cent in real terms compared to 2,5 last year and 2 in 1996 while unemployment would fall from 3,4 per cent last year to 3,3 per cent, he added.

    Christodoulou said in 1998 wages were expected to rise by 2,5 per cent in real terms and inflation would fall to 2,3 from 3,6 per cent in 1997.

    He said the main problems resulted from the high fiscal deficit, which was expected to be 5,4 of GDP, and the public debt, which would reach 59,4 of GDP.

    Cyprus along with Slovenia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic started substantive accession negotiations with the EU last month.

    CNA GG/GP/1998

    [07] Kurds - Protest - Fire

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- "I cannot stand this attitude towards our people. I cannot tolerate Turkish barbarity anymore. This is the only way to express myself," a young Kurd said before he set himself on fire during a demonstration outside the French Embassy in Nicosia today.

    Jehad Shecko, 28, a father of a 5 year-old, tried to burn himself to death in front of his child and wife, believing his hopes for the vindication of his people's struggle for freedom and human rights were shattered.

    He is now being treated in Nicosia General hospital, along with another Kurd who also tried to burn himself, for severe burn injuries. Doctors say their condition is not crucial.

    The tragic incidents occurred during a protest organised by the local branch of the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan, against a decision by a French General Attorney to begin investigation against Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) went to Rome last month where he asked for political asylum.

    During the protest, Shecko poured petrol on his clothes and tried to set himself on fire but was dissuaded by his compatriots at the last minute. However, a few minutes later, he finished off what he was set to do.

    As the young man was wrapped in flames another Kurd, Abu Emad, 40, embraced Shecko in a bid to die with him.

    Other Kurds helped put out the flames and rushed the two men to the Nicosia General Hospital.

    Kurds present at the protest told CNA that Emad's son was killed by Turks and his daughter is active in the Kurdish struggle for freedom from Turkish rule.

    Turkey does not recognise the Kurds as a distinct ethnic group within its borders and violates their rights, such as the use of their language.

    In a note written by Shecko before the incident he expresses commitment to Ocalan and says only the PKK leader can help the Kurds achieve their freedom.

    "It is time for the European countries to break off their relations with Turkey and stop denying the Kurdish people their right to live and have their own identity," he says.

    Nucan Derya, National Liberation Front of Kurdistan representative, told CNA that despite Ocalan's strict orders to Kurds not to set themselves on fire in protest, until today 48 of her compatriots lost their lives in this way. CNA/RM/MA/1998


    [08] Kyprianou - Vance

    Nicosia, Dec 10 (CNA) -- Former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance has expressed opposition to any partition of Cyprus as well as his wish for a settlement here.

    According to an official announcement, Vance is on a private visit but met today with Acting President, House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou.

    After the meeting, Vance said everyone should work towards a settlement in Cyprus and expressed the hope there would be more movement to this effect in the future.

    Kyprianou pointed out he had met Vance years ago and said the former Secretary of State was still interested in the Cyprus problem.

    He added that Vance told him he was against the partition of the island and the policy of ethnic cleansing, according to the press release.

    Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continues to occupy 37 per cent of its territory, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops.

    CNA MA/GP/1998
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