|Saturday, 24 February 2024
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 99-09-23
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
THURSDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 1999
 CLER GENASSPresident of the Republic Glafkos Clerides will address the UN General Assembly this afternoon.
Reliable sources mention that in his address, Cyprus' President will voice the Greek-Cypriot side's readiness to respond positively to the UN Secretary-General's expected invitation for talks, as well as its willingness to attend any talks in a spirit of good will in order to reach a solution based on existing UN resolutions.
President Clerides' address, scheduled to start at 5:15 Cyprus time this afternoon, will be carried live on CyBC's First Television and First Radio Channel.
 SPOKESMANGovernment Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, speaking from New York where he is accompanying President Clerides, disclosed to our station that both the US and Britain are pressuring UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to proceed with the sending-out of invitations for direct talks to the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus.
Mr Papapetrou further mentioned that the UN Secretary-General appears concerned over the possible reactions of the Turkish-Cypriot leader, and the terms set by Mr Denktash in order to attend any negotiations. At the same time however he stressed that the UN Security Council has explicitly requested the prompt commencement of direct and unconditional talks.
Refuting reports of existing scenaria on a solution, Cyprus' Government Spokesman said that what takes place during meetings with foreign emissaries is a mutual briefing on the respective positions of the two sides, along with the voicing of certain ideas, always in very general terms.
 DIALOGUE BCKGRDAccording to our UN correspondent meanwhile, any direct talks would begin on October 15th or 17th, at New York State's West Point.
The talks are expected to last for a period of three weeks, at which time a brief recess in order for the Cypriot delegation to attend the Commonwealth Meeting and President Clerides to attend the OSCE Conference in Constantinople.
Following the two international meetings, US President Bill Clinton will carry out official visits to both Greece and Turkey. The talks are scheduled to resume around the end of November, with the prospect of the significant progress achieved prior to the Helsinki EU-summit meeting in December.
Our correspondent further mentions that despite an apparent slight shift in Turkish positions, also ascertained by the US and Britain, the Cyprus Government stresses that one should not be over-optimistic, given the fact that Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has yet to agree to attend any talks.
On the sidelines of the autumn session of the UN General Assembly, President Clerides and Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides yesterday held a series of meetings.
During a meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Cyprus' President was assured that the US is currently interested as never before in a solution to the island's problem, and will do everything possible to help realise the expected talks.
President Clerides also met with his Albanian counterpart and discussed bilateral relations, the situation in the Balkan country and prospects for Cypriot investments in Albania. Present at the meeting were also the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, and it was reported that Cyprus' Foreign Minister accepted an official invitation to visit Albania. The visit is expected to be realised early next year.
 CLINTON ANNANStill on the Cyprus Issue, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last night expressed his intention to keep working towards a resolution of the island's problem in collaboration with current US efforts.
The statement was made by a White House spokesperson following a meeting between the UN Chief and the US President Bill Clinton yesterday. The spokesperson added that the UN Chief expressed his appreciation of the special role which can be played by the United States in current efforts, and mentioned that he sought President Clinton's opinion as to the time and duration of the talks, and the best possible way in which they could be held.
 RUSSIA CHECHNYARussian forces this morning bombed the airport at Grozny, capital of the breakaway Chechnya republic.
According to the airport's chief of operations, the bombardment resulted in the destruction of a plane and the death of one technician, Armenian by nationality. A spokesman for the Russian air force in Moscow confirmed the attack, which took place at 0810 GMT.
Russian forces have been intermittently bombing what they say are guerrilla bases inside Chechen territory but deny claims that their strikes have damaged villages and killed civilians, instead accusing Chechnya of sheltering guerrillas trying to set up an Islamic state in the North Caucasus region. Moscow has also linked the guerrillas to a series of bomb blasts in Russia which have killed nearly 300 people.
 INDONESIA CLASHESThousands of students clashed with security forces in Jakarta and Indonesia's second city of Surabaya this morning, protesting against a new security law which, they argue, gives the military even more power.
At least 5,000 protested in different parts of Jakarta where security forces, firing warning shots over their heads and using teargas, blocked attempts to march on parliament. In one protest, police fired at the students but it was unclear if they used plastic rounds or live bullets. In Surabaya, witnesses said they saw two students seriously injured when a group of about 1,000 protesters was baton-charged by security forces, who also fired teargas canisters.
The Indonesian Parliament today passed the new bill, which the government insists is in line with long-promised democratic reforms in the country.
 TAIWAN SIT'NIn Taiwan, local and international rescue teams today are racing against the clock, desperately looking for survivors among those buried in rubble for nearly three days now, following Tuesday's earthquake, at 7.6 Richter the strongest-ever recorded on the island.
More than 4,000 aftershocks have jolted the island since the quake, with several of the aftershocks above 6.0, making them dangerously strong tremors in their own right.
Meanwhile, and according to an official Taiwan Interior Ministry report which came in just over half an hour ago, the number of people feared buried under the rubble has fallen sharply, from some 2,000 to 424, as authorities have accounted for those stranded in remote areas of the country. The same report puts the latest death toll at 2,106, with more than 76 hundred injured, and 210 still unaccounted for.
 WEATHERThe weather will be generally fair this afternoon, with some isolated cloud. Winds will be mainly southeasterly to southwesterly, light to moderate, 3-4BF, on slight seas, rising to moderate in windward areas. Temperatures are not expected to exceed 31C inland, 30C along the south coast, 28C in the west and 23C at higher altitudes.
Generally fair conditions are also forecast for tonight, with winds turning to northeasterly to northwesterly light, 2-3BF, on slight seas, and temperatures dropping to 19C inland and in coastal regions, and 16C on the higher reaches of the Troodos mountains.
The fire hazard is extremely high in all forest areas.