/ Caution over G8 statement
THE G8 (Group of Eight) document on Cyprus, which called both sides to
return to the negotiating table without setting any pre-conditions,
continued to dominate yesterday's front pages. There was a mixed reaction
to the announcement.
_ called for caution in both its front-page editorial and lead story. It
cited a statement by Akel, which said that the G8 document allowed Rauf
Denktash to bring to the negotiating table his "unacceptable positions
regarding confederation and recognition of two states in Cyprus, which
suggested that the new peace effort would in failure."
It also quoted Akel parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou as saying that
the changes to the original G8 document confirmed the view that "certain
people" were trying to take the Cyprus problem out of the UN framework. The
paper said these developments underlined the need for "planning,
collectivism and responsibility" in the handling of the peace talks.
_ focused on all that had gone on before the document was approved.
According to a senior US diplomat, G8 foreign ministers had approved the
original text, which said that UN resolutions would be the basis for
negotiations, by mistake. The Cyprus government, which had welcomed the
original text, tried to stop it being changed but failed. British envoy Sir
David Hannay said it had to be changed because it was not attractive enough
It was "a very rare phenomenon" for heads of state to attempt to change
diplomatic texts that had already been approved by foreign ministers. The
paper speculated that the changes were made after Turkey had threatened not
to attend negotiations the basis of which would be UN resolutions.
_ said that the November deadline for progress, set by the G8, put added
pressure for results. Envoys from the countries involved in the Cyprus
problem would be visiting the area in the next few months in order to
discuss ideas with the parties concerned.
The Greek government had said it was satisfied with the G8 document as it
referred to UN resolutions, stipulated talks without pre-conditions and had
set a deadline for progress. The Cyprus government was more low-key in its
reaction, adopting a wait-and-see approach, it said.
_ made gloomy forecast about the peace prospects. It said that Ankara and
Denktash were refusing to "to dance the tango of peace with President
Clerides as G8 had suggested". Both were insisting that the pseudo-state
should be recognised before there were any negotiations. This, in
combination with the Cyprus government's refusal to recognise the north,
meant there would be no progress.
The Turkish foreign ministry has rejected the G8 suggestion. Apart from
demanding recognition in advance, Denktash proposed that negotiations
should focus exclusively on the territorial issue rather than all aspects
of the problem.
_ reported that the tabling of the tax package to the House for approval
would be postponed. It claimed that the foreign ministry had decided to
submit the package for approval in September together with the state's
budgets for the year 2000.
The decision was inevitable given the refusal of the political parties to
give their views about the package to the government, which had hoped to
secure approval by July 15, before the summer recess. The ministry says it
will use the period until September for more contacts with the political
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999