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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-11-10

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/>

News Update

Tuesdayy, 11/11/98


CONTENTS

  • [01] Two Israelis arrested for spying
  • [02] EU countries call for urgent need to solve Cyprus problem to avert EU accession problems
  • [03] Foreign Minister meets with officials of the Western European Union
  • [04] Tourist arrivals up


[01] Two Israelis arrested for spying

Two Israelis were remanded in custody for eight days yesterday for alleged espionage against the Cyprus Republic's National Guard.

Police are investigating a case of espionage by the two men, Udi Hargov, 27, and Igal Damary, 49, against the National Guard between November 6-7 in the southern coastal village of Zygi.

Police said they found sophisticated listening devices and radio scanners, tuned into police radio frequencies.

The Israeli Embassy in Nicosia, said the two Israelis have denied the allegations against them.

Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides, declined to make any statements on the issue saying that police investigations were continuing. He stressed that the government has a duty to see that law and order are enforced and will respect the laws, constitutional provisions and court rulings of the Republic of Cyprus on the issue.

Minister of Defence, Yiannakis Omirou, stressed the case will be decided on by the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus alone, and not by any external third party.

He expressed the need for vigilance to deal with such circumstances "that put the national security of the country at risk and also relate to information about the armed forces of the Republic of Cyprus".

Meanwhile, in an interview yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to bring home the two men, even if they are Israeli government agents.

He said "every Israeli citizen is important to us. We will look into this and will certainly bring them home".

[02] EU countries call for urgent need to solve Cyprus problem to avert EU accession problems

Three EU countries, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, yesterday issued a joint communique stating that unless a solution to the Cyprus problem is found, severe problems will arise with the island's EU accession process.

The statement was submitted at a meeting of the European Union General Affairs Council in Brussels, the day before substantive negotiations are due to start between the EU and six candidate countries, including Cyprus.

"Continuation of the negotiations will raise a series of problems caused by the specific situation of Cyprus. The undersigned countries therefore emphasise the urgent need for a political solution, for this is the only path that will enable us to overcome these problems," the motion said.

It added that admitting a divided Cyprus to the EU would pose "fundamental problems for the operation and the coherence of the Common Foreign and Security Policy"

The three countries also noted that negotiations for a Cyprus settlement have made no progress so far.

Responding to the communique, Greece's Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou submitted a statement on behalf of the Greek government to the EU Council, stating that the accession talks for all candidate countries should be carried out "according to equal criteria".

Any actions or statements not consistent with the 1997 EU Luxembourg summit decisions, the statement added, "put at risk the whole enlargement process". It also accused Turkey of "seeking to take Cyprus' accession process hostage."

It also calls on the EU to act in a positive manner to achieve Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession process and encourage the Cyprus peace effort, while reminding his EU partners that the government of Cyprus has put forward specific proposals to include Turkish Cypriots in the accession negotiations which unfortunately "have yielded no results so far."

Speaking in Warsaw, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that when it was decided to start membership negotiations with Cyprus in 1994, the island's political problem had been known for twenty years and there was no reason why it should present a problem now.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides in a statement today thanked the Greek government for its consistent stand which is supportive of the positions of the Cyprus government regarding its accession to the EU.

"Those who try to link Cyprus' accession process to the procedure for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem do not help the search for a solution, because Turkey sees such a stand as being favourable to its own intransigence", he stressed.

He added that such statements, moreover, weaken the EU's own position that Cyprus' accession process can act as a catalyst for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus' Chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou left for Brussels yesterday, to attend today's official opening of the Cyprus EU negotiations. He travelled via Athens where he was due to meet with Greek Defence Under- Secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and returns to Cyprus tomorrow.

[03] Foreign Minister meets with officials of the Western European Union

Cyprus' Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, met in Brussels yesterday with the Secretary-General of the Western European Union, Jose Cutileiro, and Italy's permanent representative to the WEU, Paolo Foresti, current president of the WEU Permanent Council.

During the meeting, which took place in the context of the dialogue Cyprus has with the WEU since 1995, Kasoulides briefed Cutileiro and Foresti on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the island's EU accession course.

The three also went over relations between Cyprus and the WEU and discussed ways to promote and enrich these relations.

[04] Tourist arrivals up

The number of tourists who arrived in Cyprus in September 1998 reached 270 thousand, an increase of 11,4 per cent compared to last year.

According to the latest figures released by the Department of Statistics and Research, 77,1 per cent of those tourists came from the European Union member-states.

Specifically 51 per cent came from the United Kingdom, 7,2 per cent from Germany, 5,3 per cent from Sweden and 5,3 per cent from Russia and 4,8 from Switzerland.


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


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