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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-09-10

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

Wednesday, 10/09/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] European Union will proceed with Cyprus accession process, Luxembourg presidency said
  • [02] State Budgets for 1988 approved by the Council of Ministers
  • [03] US State Department sees no cause for alarm in our region
  • [04] New archaeological finds in ˇHoly Island˛ off Paphos
  • [05] External trade statistics for the period January-April 1997
  • [06] Consumer Index for August 1997


[01] European Union will proceed with Cyprus accession process, Luxembourg presidency said

There is no connection between Cyprus's European Union accession talks and United Nations-led negotiations on the island's political problem, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister and current President of the European Union Council of Minister Jacques Poos stated on Tuesday (9.9.97), adding that the two issues are completely different. He was speaking after a meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides:

Mr Poos said that the European Union will fulfil the obligation it has assumed to begin accession negotiations with Cyprus six months after the Intergovernmental Conference.

Mr Poos' statements assume a heightened importance for Cyprus, given that they are made at a time when Ankara is trying by every means to impede the start of EU - Cyprus accession talks.

The EU Council President warned Ankara in an indirect albeit clear manner that the EU will not accept third party interventions regarding Cyprus' accession process.

Regarding Ankara's position on the issue, Poos said that he does not comprehend it because, as he said, Turkey should have been one of the first countries to support Cyprus' EU accession, not only for economic reasons, but also for political ones given the fact that Cyprus' accession would help in the resolution of the Cyprus problem.

Mr Poos also made it clear there was no connection between negotiations with Cyprus and Turkey's application to join the EU.

"They are two separate problems which must be treated separately", he said. "There is no direct link either between the intercommunity (talks) which must progress as quickly as possible... and the (EU) membership negotiations".

After being briefed by Foreign Minister Kasoulides on last month's direct talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Switzerland, Mr Poos expressed his disappointment at the failure of the talks.

He said the EU would do everything it could to re-start the talks

The Glion talks failed because Denktash wanted Cyprus-EU negotiations postponed.

Mr Kasoulides told Poos the government was ready to resume talks with the Turkish Cypriot side and had also asked them to take part in the EU negotiations provided the Turkish Cypriot side accepts negotiations will be carried out solely with the recognised Republic of Cyprus.

[02] State Budgets for 1988 approved by the Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers has approved the three state budgets for 1998, which provide for a total expenditure of 1.629,9 million Cyprus pounds and revenue of 1.079, 6 pounds (one Cyprus pound is equal to 1,88 US dollars).

Following a special meeting on Tuesday (9.9.97) under the presidency of the President of the Republic, the Cabinet approved the 3-part budget, the Ordinary, the Development and the Budget of the Relief Fund for Displaced and afflicted persons.

Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou in a statement said the budgets "reflect the main aim of the government policy, which is economic stability, expansion of the economy's production capacity, and a fairer distribution of the national revenue".

He said the rate of growth for 1997 would range around 2 per cent, which compares favourably with figures of European Union member-states.

"We have managed to contribute to the recovery of investment and economic activity through expenditure amounting to 15 million pounds, he explained.

The deficit of the three state budgets is expected to reach 550,3 million in 1998, compared with a deficit of 388,8 million, expected for the 1997 budgets.

The 1998 Ordinary Budget provides for 1.277,5 million pounds in expenditure, revenue of 1.072,9 million, and a deficit of 204,6 million pounds, while the respective figures for 1997 were 1.160,7 m., 1.066,2 m., and 94, 5m.

The Development Budget provides for expenditure of 260,6 million pounds, compared with 232,8 million the previous year.

As for the Budget of the Relief Fund for Displaced and Afflicted Persons, its expenditure is expected to reach 91,8 million, its revenue 6,7 million, and its deficit 85,1 million pounds, while the amounts in the 1997 budget were 82,8 million, 21,3 million and 61,5 million respectively.

On the Development Budget the Ministry of Finance says in its statement that the large infrastructure projects concerning water and road development, constitute the main priorities.

The fiscal deficit is expected to reach 244,9 million pounds, or 5,2 per cent of the Republic's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared with 4,1 per cent of GDP, which is expected for 1997.

The public debt, as defined in the Maastricht Treaty, is expected to reach 57,5 per cent of GDP, compared with 55,6 of GDP in 1997.

The expected increase in the deficit, the Ministry said, was due to lower revenues, as protectionist measures are being eliminated as part of the EU harmonisation process, the lower customs rates due to the Customs Union with the EU. In addition, revenues do not increase because Cyprus has yet no access to European Union funds. Mr. Christodoulou, however, did not predict any tax increases for 1988.

[03] US State Department sees no cause for alarm in our region

Acting State Department Spokesman James Foley said on Tuesday (9.9.97) there is no cause for alarm for military action in the Cyprus-Turkey-Greece triangle, and that all sides should refrain from talk of casus belli.

Replying to questions Mr Foley said: "we have urged all sides in the eastern Aegean to tone down the rhetoric... we felt also that talk on either and all sides of casus belli, of the potential for military action were also out of bounds, and that on both the policy and the verbal front we need maximum restraint, and certainly we need a toning down of the rhetoric, So I think on all sides that kind of rhetoric is to be avoided. So we urge all sides to exercise caution in words and deeds".

To a further question he said: "I don't think there's any cause for alarm. On the specific issue of the missiles, we took note of President Clerides' commitment that this sale would not go forward for a significant period of time that stretches into next year. And we indeed look forward to resolution of the issue and to the sale actually not taking place. So I think there is no cause for alarm".

[04] New archaeological finds in ˇHoly Island˛ off Paphos

Archaeological finds during this year' s excavation season at Yeronisos , a small island just off the Western coast, near the town of Paphos, appear to have yielded more evidence of the rituals performed on this ˇHoly island˛, as its name is literally translated.

The dig, according to the government Department of Antiquities, was carried out under the direction of Professor Joan Breton of New York University.

From the foundations of a building there were finds from the 13th - 14th centuries A.D. There were later structures dating the Hellenistic, Medieval and post- Medieval periods.

Quantities of coarse ceramics were found, including some showing basket- like, cross hatched decoration, splattered dots and dribbled red paint. But the most surprisingly abundant material was glass, with over sixty pieces recovered this season, including well preserved stemmed bases of cups and long slender necks of bottles, as well as cup handles and one lamp handle. A small bronze buckle upon which a Christian cross is engraved and one S- shaped link from a chain may have originally belonged to liturgical implements.

A Medieval occupation level was found to rest directly atop a rich Chalcolithic level which yielded a full variety of ground stone tools including pestles, pounders, rubbing stones, axes, adzes, polishers and querns as well as quantities of flint.

A female figurine, which appears to have been ritually deposited in an ash pit may indicate to the use of Yeronisos as a sacred place for even longer than previously expected.

[05] External trade statistics for the period January-April 1997

The Department of Statistics and Research has released figures for external trade statistics in summary form for the period January-April 1997.

The main developments in Cyprus foreign trade during this period as compared with the corresponding period of 1996 were:

The trade deficit decreased to L393,3 compared to L418,4 million. Total exports decreased by 6,5% to L191,5 million as compared with L204,8 million in January-April 1996.

Total imports (covering imports for home consumption and imports placed into bonded warehouses) declined by 6,2% to L584,8 million as compared with L623,3 million during January-April 1996.

Imports for home consumption fell by 4,1% to L467,6 million from L487,7 million in January-April 1996.

The EU countries supplied 48,2% of the total imports as compared with 47,7% during the first four months of 1996.

European Union countries absorbed 54,2% or L38,4 million of Cyprus domestic exports (excluding shipstores), as compared with 58,7% or L43,6 million. The Arab countries followed with a share of 23,7% or 16,7million as compared with 18,8% or L14,4 million.

[06] Consumer Index for August 1997

The Department of Statistics and Research announced on Tuesday (9.9.97) that the Consumer Price Index for August 1997 decreased by 1,96 units or 1, 62 per cent to 118,89 units compared to 120.95 in the previous month. This is mainly due to price discounts in clothing, footwear and furniture items as well as to a decreased in the prices of certain fresh fruit. Increases have been recorded in the prices of certain fresh vegetables.

The average rate of increase of the Index for the last twelve months (i.e. September 1996 - August 1997) compared to the preceding twelve months (i.e. September 1995 - August 1996) was 3,28%.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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