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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 96-11-13

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>

News Update



  • [01] Turks ban bi-communal contacts
  • [02] EU Commissioner denounces murders of Greek Cypriots
  • [03] A role for Cyprus in the economic reconstruction of the Middle East
  • [04] Cyprus question discussed in the German Federal Parliament
  • [05] Government supports political, administrative and financial independence for local authorities
  • [06] Political parties choose candidates for municipal elections

[01] Turks ban bi-communal contacts

The Turkish Cypriot side has imposed a ban on all bi-communal activities in retaliation over the campaign by refugee associations and others at the Ledra Palace checkpoint to stop tourists going to the occupied area of Cyprus.

As a result party leaders from both sides, who meet two or three times a year, were forced to cancel their meeting.

The Turkish Cypriot side has said that the measures they will take regarding the campaign will depend on the Greek Cypriot side.

The Turkish Cypriot press quoted the occupying regime's so-called Prime Minister Dervis Eroglou as saying that "We will act according to the stand adopted by the Greek Cypriot side". He said that 11 tourists were allowed to cross into the occupied area.

Last week the Turkish Cypriot side closed the checkpoint for 24 hours, only reopening it after the UN intervened.

[02] EU External Relations Commissioner denounces murders of Greek Cypriots

The European Union's Commissioner for External Relations, Dutchman Hans Van den Broek, yesterday denounced the recent murders of Greek Cypriots by the Turkish occupation forces, saying that these were aimed at promoting the idea that the two communities on the island cannot coexist.

He was speaking before the European Parliament's Committee of External Relations during the presentation of a report on EU-Turkey relations.

[03] A role for Cyprus in the economic reconstruction of the Middle East

Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides addressed the 1996 Middle East- North Africa Economic Conference in Cairo and underlined that although the set target for peace may not have been achieved yet for the whole region "there is a dynamic process and a momentum in all fields".

"The state must become a more effective vehicle for economic progress", Michaelides said, and in the case of Cyprus the state did everything possible to provide the necessary infrastructure, especially in the area of communications, and to create a positive environment for business. He also acknowledged that it was the private sector which spearheaded economic growth.

Cyprus, he added, is already a business centre in the region with about 25.000 off-shore companies. It is also actively participating in the Euro- Mediterranean Partnership as well as in the Regional Economic Development Working Group.

The Foreign Minister also explained the potential role Cyprus might play in the reconstruction of the Middle East, stressing the friendly ties it has with all the states in the area and that with the island's future within the European Union, it can "become the gateway and the bridge between the EU and the Middle East".

He also cited Cyprus' remarkable economic recovery since the 1974 Turkish invasion - when it lost 75% of economic resources - to the present, with a per capita income of more than 14,000 US dollars and the economy meeting the Maastricht convergence criteria.

[04] Cyprus question discussed in the German Federal Parliament

The situation in Cyprus was discussed in the German Bundestag last week.

Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Dr Werner Hoyer replied to MPs' questions on Germany's position for a Cyprus solution, on EU accession and on German-Turkish relations.

Replying to a question by MP Dr Sigrid Skarpelis-Sperk, Dr Hoyer said: "The opportunities and hopes for a Cyprus solution have never been as favourable as they are now. That's why I consider it wise for us to do something now. The German Federal Government is not only interested in overturning an illegal situation but also in bringing Cyprus in such a position as to be able to join the European Union as a bicommunal, bizonal [federation]. This is what we are fighting for and we shall not be misled in our efforts".

The German Minister replied in the negative to a question whether his government 's position gives vetoing rights to Turkey on the matter of Cyprus' accession to the EU. Dr Hoyer stressed: "I add to this very clear 'no', the idea that it would be a wrong decision if the EU gave any of the opponents a means to pressure the Union".

Regarding Germany's talks during Turkish President Demirel's recent visit there, Dr Hoyer said : "The Federal Government's representatives who spoke with President Demirel emphasised an early acceptable political solution to the Cyprus problem. Turkey can make an important contribution in this direction, including the de-escalation of the situation in Cyprus. [...] Turkey is called upon to act in this direction".

On the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, the German Deputy Foreign Minister said: "The preparation of Cyprus for accession negotiations is taking place in connection with arrangements for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe under the accession, or pre-accession strategy agreed during the EU-Cyprus Association Council of June 1995. Under this pre- accession strategy a structured dialogue is taking place, which includes meetings between Presidents and heads of governments, various Ministers, as well as an intensive political dialogue".

He also referred to a number of EU programmes such as MEDIA II and Leonardo which will include Cyprus.

[05] Government supports political, administrative and financial independence for local authorities

President Clerides has expressed his satisfaction at the way local government is managed by the municipalities and said that the government was in favour of giving them more powers.

Addressing the annual general meeting of the Cyprus Union of Municipalities in Nicosia yesterday, Clerides stressed that the government would stand by the municipalities and support them financially.

"Preparing the cities of the 21st century demands planning and the taking on of more responsibilities by all, especially local authorities", Clerides said.

The President also noted that the biggest problem faced by local authorities was the financial one and he noted that the government was committed to promote certain measures to deal with this.

Speaking at the same gathering, Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides said that local government strengthens and consolidates democracy and promotes to a large extent the government's basic aim which is the improvement of the living conditions of its citizens. He also stressed that Cyprus' European orientation is projected with the application of the principles of the European Charter of local government.

Mr Michaelides pointed out that the government was working towards the securing of political, administrative and financial independence for local authorities with the modernisation of the law and the solution of a variety of problems.

Measures planned include an increase in the annual funding for municipalities, up to 4 per thousand of state income, which for 1996 amounts to approximately Cú2.9 million.

The improvement and simplification of tax returns to municipalities is also being promoted. This year, municipalities are expected to receive Cú600,000 in tax returns.

Studies on whether the amount of contributions for town planning and works should be redefined will also be carried out, Michaelides said.

President Clerides yesterday also inaugurated the Cyprus Union of Municipalities' own building in Nicosia.

[06] Political parties choose candidates for municipal elections

Marathon meetings in political party headquarters are taking place in the last few days in order to make final decisions on candidates for mayors and municipal council members for the forthcoming municipal elections on 15 December 1996.

DISY and DIKO came to an agreement in supporting common candidates for mayors islandwide. A similar agreement has been concluded between AKEL and EDEK. The lists of candidates are expected to be finalised by tomorrow.

The elections will cover all municipalities including those in the occupied areas. Thousands of refugees will vote for the heads of the Turkish- occupied municipalities in polling stations in the free areas.

Mayors and municipal council members will be elected in 33 municipalities, nine of which are in the occupied part of the island. Two of the occupied municipalities are situated in the Turkish-occupied areas of Nicosia district, four in the Famagusta district and three in the occupied northern district of Kyrenia.

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