|Sunday, 21 July 2019|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-05-31
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
MONDAY 31 MAY 1999
Diplomatic peace initiatives on resolving the Kosovo crisis intensify, while NATO shows no signs of relaxing its offensive;
Britain's Ambassador to Greece says that a unitary state in Cyprus never formed an agreed objective in efforts towards a solution;
The trial of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan began today, amid tight security measures;
A stampede in Minsk leads to the deaths of over 50 people;
Flights to and from Larnaka airport were today affected by industrial action and bad weather;
Today marked the Greek Orthodox feast day of Kataklysmos.
Today's feast day however also featured the omnipresent street-vendors along urban promenades, as well as swimming competitions and traditional contests, expected to culminate tonight with a series of events in all of the island's coastal towns.
Even though the name "kataklysmos" refers to the biblical flood, hence the association with water, today's feast day commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, 50 days after Easter.
The 12 noon to two p.m. stoppage was held as a show of solidarity with the striking employees of the two Lordos Holding Company hotels, about to enter their fourth month of industrial action.
Strike measures however were not the only thing which hampered operation of Larnaka airport during the past 24 hours, as low visibility in the early hours of this morning led to the temporary stopover, in Paphos, of seven flights which eventually landed in Larnaka several hours late.
After the meeting and answering reporters' questions, Mr Niotis stated that there are no objections to a NATO participation in a peace-keeping force in Cyprus, provided the detachment taks place after a solution is reached. As regards Cyprus' EU-accession process, the Greek official said that this will act as a catalyst towards a final solution, adding that while desirable, a solution has never been a prerequisite for accession. Mr Niotis further mentioned that he was briefed by President Clerides on salient aspects of the Cyprus Issue, while he in turn briefed the Cypriot President on Greece's initiatives for a political solution to the Kosovo crisis.
In closing, Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate matters said that he extended an invitation to President Clerides to attend the workings of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad congress, scheduled to be held in Thessaloniki in December, and that the invitation was accepted.
Ambassador Madden substantiated his statement by references to high-level agreements and UN decisions, adding that what is important is that both communities on the island work within the framework provided by UN Security Council resolutions, something which, he believes, can be achieved.
Asked if a conclusion of Cyprus' EU-accession negotiations is dependent upon a prior solution to the island's long-standing problem, the British diplomat said that a settlement would undoubtedly facilitate accession, and also stressed the motivational nature of a prospective union with the 15-nation bloc.
The Yugoslav statement was issued hours after Russia expressed renewed optimism about a solution to the Kosovo crisis and as Moscow's Balkans envoy prepared to fly to Bonn tomorrow in order to meet with US and EU mediators. The terms dictated by the G8 include an immediate end to violence and repression in Kosovo, the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from the province, the deployment of an international security presence, establishment of an interim administration and the safe return of refugees.
Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed in principle to send Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, the bloc's envoy on Kosovo, to Belgrade this week on a new peace-seeking mission. Diplomats said the visit is very likely and could take place as early as Wednesday.
Yesterday, NATO warplanes struck a bridge in the Serbian town of Varvarin, killing nine people and wounding 17 others. Today, Serbian radio reported that the alliance had hit a sanatorium in Surdulica early this morning, killing 10 people and wounding many others.
NATO aircraft yesterday carried out a total of 772 sorties, the second highest total of the campaign, passing the 30,000 sortie mark overall. Targets included army barracks, command posts, bridges, airfields, ammunition, petroleum and communication sites, while military analysts say an inevitable consequence of the increased bombing tempo will be a rise in civilian casualties, or what NATO officials euphemistically call "collateral damage".
Many in the stampede were drunk and many of those who died were teenage girls in high heels who fell on the slippery steps leading down into the station and were subsequently covered by a huge pile of bodies.
Officials said 150 people were injured, many critically, while most of the dead were between 14 and 18 years old. A mere 10-15 minutes passed between the onset of the downpour and the tragedy.
The crew of the space shuttle Discovery, comprising five Americans, one Canadian and one Russian, today successfully erected a construction crane outside the International Space Station, scheduled to welcome its first long-term visitors next March.
Discovery will also offload more than 15 kilogrammes of supplies, including computers, oxygen canisters and medical equipment, as well as such household necessities as clothing, rubbish bags and signs pointing to the emergency exit, before returning to Earth on Sunday.