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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-11-07

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/>

News Update

Friday, 07/11/97


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Clerides outlines work of his government
  • [02] President Clerides to seek reelection
  • [03] Holbrooke comes with no agenda
  • [04] Greek Premier reiterates support to Cyprus
  • [05] Stolen treasures of Cyprus on exhibit in The Hague


[01] President Clerides outlines work of his government

President Glafcos Clerides gave a press conference last night during which he outlined the achievements of his government in the past five years. He said that during this period the work done in some sectors was pioneer, unique and enormous.

President Clerides praised the work carried out by the coalition DISY-DIKO government saying that "the harmonious cooperation of all, their creative ideas, hard work and willingness to offer, were the fundamental factors that contributed to the success."

Referring to the economy the President said "we are steadily proceeding to the creation of a strong economy, able to competitively survive in the European Union (EU). He pointed out "we have managed to speed up the harmonisation process of our economy with the acquis communautaire," noting that already Cyprus has complied with four out of the five Maastricht criteria, namely the public debt, inflation, interest rates and par of exchange.

President Clerides said the average rate of inflation during his five years in office was reduced to 3,7 per cent, compared with 4,6 per cent in the previous five years and there was a slight reduction of the foreign debt. He added that the average growth rate was 3,2 per cent noting that this was favourably compared with that of the EU, which was 1,8 per cent.

Moreover the President said the government has been promoting Cyprus as a regional service centre, in order to have a wider economic influence in the region.

Mr Clerides also gave a brief outline of what his government did in the fields of agriculture, industry, services, social policy, education, health, legislation, the problems of women and the youth, as well as big development projects.

On the Cyprus problem, President Clerides said his government's main objective remained a negotiated solution but the Turkish side's position had "been unchanged since 1974" and this could not be changed "by talks alone".

But he said the new factor now at play was "substantial international reaction" to Turkish intransigence.

"I believe that in the coming months, especially after the elections, we will see the parallel activation of the UN and the US. We must be ready, because I believe the decision has been taken internationally that the status quo cannot remain as it is and they will concentrate all their efforts in 1998 for a solution."

The President added that Cyprus's EU accession course might influence Turkey to "acquire" the political will for a settlement. "Turkey will have to concede that EU accession is going to happen and will be good for the Turkish Cypriots," he said.

President Clerides welcomed next week's visit to the island by US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke, saying this was the launching of the US initiative for a settlement.

[02] President Clerides to seek reelection

President Glafcos Clerides announced last night that he will stand as a candidate in February`s presidential elections.

In a statement at the end of the press conference he gave outlining his government's achievements in its five years in office and recent developments in the Cyprus problem, he said:

"I would be happy if, leaving the task undertaken by the government to the judgement of all of you today, I could at the same time withdraw from active politics and let others lead our suffering country into the 21st century with the Cyprus problem solved.

I sincerely believe, however, that I have a heavy historic duty and political responsibility to utilise fully the favourable circumstances we have created for finding a just, viable and workable solution to the Cyprus problem and also for achieving Cyprus' accession to the European Union. These circumstances have already begun to bear their first fruit. However, the time-frame for their full utilisation is immediately after the presidential elections.

I did not hasten to take decisions. As all of you know, I had stressed right from the outset that developments in the Cyprus problem and the prospects for a solution would be the primary factor which I would take into account before deciding.

Deeply aware of my historic duty and political responsibility, I have decided to seek renewal of the people's mandate in the presidential elections".

<Holbrooke comes with no agenda

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin, replying to a question on Turkish military exercises in the occupied part of Cyprus, yesterday expressed concern that both sides had scheduled exercises so close together as they might have risked inflaming tensions.

Asked about the agenda and objective of Ambassador Holbrooke's trip to Cyprus on November 10 and 11, Mr Rubin said that Mr Holbrooke and Special Cyprus Coordinator Tom Miller had arranged meetings and discussions over the past week with Mr. Denktash in Washington and New York, and by telephone with President Clerides.

"There is no pre-set agenda for these discussions; these will be informal. We have no specific game plan. We are working, as you know, to bring about a solution based on the concept of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation for Cyprus. These talks are part of those efforts", he said.

Mr Rubin added that, as a result of recent discussions Mr Holbrooke had in the region and in Washington, he felt that the time was ripe to bring the two Cypriot leaders together with no set agenda and see if they can have an informal discussion, which previously people thought they were not prepared to have.

[03] Greek Premier reiterates support to Cyprus

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis reiterated his country's support to Cyprus during a special debate on foreign policy issues in parliament yesterday.

In his reference to the Cyprus issue, Mr. Simitis said the prospect for the island-republic's EU membership could constitute a catalyst for finding a political solution, and was an independent process without terms and pre- conditions.

Moreover, the Greek Premier said: "The defence of Cyprus is an inalienable right and duty. Greece will stand by Cyprus in any aggressive move by Turkey".

[04] Stolen treasures of Cyprus on exhibit in The Hague

Art treasures from Cyprus' cultural heritage recently retrieved in Germany, will be exhibited in The Hague, Netherlands, as from tomorrow.

The exhibition entitled "The stolen treasures of Cyprus", includes frescoes from the Monastery of Antiphonitis (near Kyrenia) and a mosaic from the Church of Kanakaria in Lythrangomi (Karpass peninsula), both in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.

The items were plundered after the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus and smuggled abroad.

The items have specific archaeological significance as they date back to the 6th , 12th and 15th centuries and form part of the cultural heritage of Cyprus.

The treasures were retrieved last month in Munich with the cooperation of Interpol, the German police, the Attorney General's office in Cyprus as well as the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus.

Turkish national Aydin Dikmen in whose apartments the antiquities were found was arrested by German police.

The display of the religious works of art will be on for a few days in The Hague after which the items will return to the Church of Cyprus, their rightful owner.


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


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