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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 00-01-11

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Critical fortnight for settlement efforts

A CRITICAL fortnight for Cyprus peace efforts lies ahead, two of yesterday's papers predicted. Haravghi described the fortnight ahead as critical because of today's visit to Cyprus of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the subsequent meeting of the National Council in preparation for the second round of proximity talks in Geneva. During this time, the collective organs of the political parties would be briefed about developments in the wake of the EUís Helsinki summit. During his two-day visit, Papandreou would have talks with the government and the leaders of the political parties, who would have a clearer picture of the how the peace efforts were progressing. This and the National Council meeting would help clarify the picture. The foreign ministries in Athens and Nicosia had already agreed how to proceed in view of the proximity talks, the paper said.

Phileleftheros said that, despite the lack of transparency surrounding the peace process, there was persistent information about developments. Two factors were of critical importance, the paper said. First, the Cyprus issue would be raised during Papandreou's forthcoming visit to Ankara, even though the agenda of his meeting would focus on Greek-Turkish relations. Second, the two sides would be forced to make their final choices' at the Geneva talks. Meanwhile, the US government had approached the Turkish military leadership to secure a more flexible stance in the talks. US diplomats were expected to discuss the possibility of territorial concessions and the issue of security with the Turkish generals, the paper claimed.

Simerini claimed that the Turkish government wanted to turn the eastern Mediterranean into a 'closed Turkish lake' so as to be the 'dominant power', economically and militarily, in the region. This plan, included in a Turkish foreign ministry report obtained by the paper, would be implemented over the next 20 years and had the support of the US and Israel. If it materialised, Cyprus would become the 'geo-strategic hostage' of Turkey, said the paper. Ankara's main objectives were the following: to use EU and US financial aid to develop its southeastern region; to bring in multinational companies to handle oil pipelines from the former Soviet Union; to sell water from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers to Israel, via the Karpas peninsula in Cyprus.

Alithia led with a report about the Syria-Israel peace talks. It quoted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as saying the talks with Syria would be 'a tough diplomatic battle' and that there was no way of knowing how long it would take for an agreement to be reached. The head of Israeli diplomacy, David Levy, admitted that there were serious disagreements between the two sides over the re-drawing of their borders. This was the first time since the Israeli invasion of the Golan Heights in 1967 that the two countries were discussing the re-drawing of their borders.

Politis reported that the Co-operative movement was going on the 'offensive' with the establishment of Demetra, the biggest investment company on the island. The new company, starts with a share capital of £150 million, which could be increased to £250 million. The nominal value of each share is one pound. The catalogues for applications opened yesterday and the minimum amount for application is £500. Co-op officials expect that Demetra will be listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange be the end of April. The Co-op movement also plans to set up an insurance company and a brokerage firm.

Machi reported that Greek American businessmen and journalists had met in New York to discuss the establishment of a bilingual US TV show that would appeal to Greeks between 18 and 34 years of age.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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