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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 00-03-15
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 15 March 2000
 President Clerides addresses French National AssemblyPresident Clerides addressing the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly today, called for France's assistance and support in getting the Turkish side to abandon its barren policy of perpetuating the Cyprus problem.
"I appeal to the international community to exert the right sort of pressure on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, in order to give a definitive push to the search for a solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions", he said.
He added that the conditions that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash sets do not aim at reuniting Cyprus nor do they aim at achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem. They simply aim at consolidating his current position and at legalising the status quo.
Stressing that this was a crucial time for Cyprus, he said that the current talks are a window of opportunity for a solution that the international community has opened and they must not let it close.
He gave assurances that our side has the will and desire to work hard and incessantly until a solution is found. "We are trying to address the problems and concerns of the Turkish side and have also extended an open invitation to them to participate in the team negotiating Cyprus' EU accession", he said.
 Cook says Cyprus solution not a precondition to EU membershipBritish Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, said yesterday that although it would be better for Cyprus to join the European Union as a unified state, a solution to the political problem could not be a precondition for membership.
Speaking after a meeting in London with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mr Cook said that Cyprus' membership should be considered on its own merits, and that there could be no Turkish veto.
 Greek Foreign Minister says EU gives new momentum to Cyprus solutionGreek Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, said yesterday that Turkey's European Union course gives a new momentum to the effort for solving the Cyprus problem.
Mr Papandreou was speaking after a meeting in Athens with the UN Secretary- General's Special Adviser for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, who said he did not foresee face-to-face talks on the Cyprus problem at this stage and noted that meaningful negotiations need not be face-to-face.
 Cyprus in favour of cooperation in the fight against drugs-related crimesThe Cyprus government fully endorses an initiative announced by the British Prime Minister on March 9 concerning cooperation among the candidate countries for accession with the European Union in the battle against drug trafficking and drug-related crimes.
A Cyprus Foreign Ministry press release issued yesterday says that Cyprus' keen interest in this area is demonstrated by the fact that President Glafcos Clerides made a similar proposal at the Vienna European Council in December 1998.
Cyprus has already implemented a number of measures in this area both within the European Union and internationally and expresses willingness to further enhance cooperation with the UK through the services of relevant experts.
 Cyprus and Palestinian National Authority sign agreementCyprus and the Palestinian National Authority yesterday signed an agreement for the construction of two health centres in the West Bank in the Palestinian Autonomous Areas.
Under the agreement, which is the first of its kind, Cyprus will finance the construction and possibly help equip the centres providing the Palestinian National Authority with one million Cyprus pounds.
 Cyprus expects to attract more German touristsCyprus' Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Nicos Rolandis, said the government's aim for the year 2000 is to attract 300 thousand German tourists to the island.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday on the sidelines of the Berlin International Fair, Mr Rolandis described Germany as "a very important country for Cyprus" because it "holds second place" regarding the number of tourists from the country visiting the island. Last year 245 thousand Germans visited the island.
Mr Rolandis said the Cyprus government lays great emphasis on improving its tourist infrastructure and referred to the construction of golf courses and marinas, as well as the holding of various cultural festivals.
He said that the Miss Universe beauty pageant due to be held in Cyprus in May is expected to attract over a billion television viewers from around the world, while hundreds of journalists will visit the island to cover the event.
 British envoy calls for a gear change in talks to solve Cyprus problemBritain's envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay believes that the chances of reaching a Cyprus solution at present are far better than in the past.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the end of two days of talks on the island, the British diplomat called for "a gear change" at the resumption of the third round of UN-led proximity talks on 23 May and invited the two sides to encourage the UN to be proactive in its search to bridge the gaps between them.
Furthermore, he said the two sides should abandon what he described as "zero-sum game", whereby in making any shift each side tries to score a point against the other.
Sir David welcomed the improvement in Greco-Turkish relations, noted the sustained and determined involvement of the international community in the Cyprus peace effort and said the European Union dimension is working in a very positive way as all concerned are now trying to reach the same goal, EU accession.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/