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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 00-01-19

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Storm of protest over Themistocleous remarks

THE STORM of protests sparked by Minister of Agriculture Costas Themistocleous general remarks about a confederal settlement was given extensive coverage by the papers.

Haravghi gave prominence to Akel leader Demetris Christofias comments that any Adirect or indirect reference to confederation could only harm the country and our case@. Recently, a school of thought had appeared which, Ain the name of modernisation and for the sake of Cyprus probable accession to the EU... considers as old-fashioned those who want a federal settlement,@ he was quoted as saying. Christofias expressed the belief that the political leadership of Greece and Cyprus Aen masse, should repeat the message of their commitment to what has been agreed - a bizonal, bi- communal federation@. Edek said it would demand that Themistocleous remarks be discussed at the next National Council meeting. Diko also criticised the minister.

Alithia reported that the government had Afully backed@ Themistocleous after the attacks by the opposition parties. AThere is no problem for the government,@ government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou was quoted as saying, adding that the issue was of Atheoretical value@. He also said that the government would have been more than happy to accept a confederation based on the system in operation in Switzerland. The spokesman declined to comment on Edek leader Dr Lyssarides= calls for the resignation of Themistocleous and on Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou=s claim that the governments of Athens and Nicosia were leading Cyprus to Athe completion of the 1974 treachery@.

Phileleftheros said that the Greek government had resorted to strong language in its response to Kyprianou, referring to Aaccusations not based on reality@ and Aunjustified fears@. Greece=s government spokesman Demetris Reppas said that everything that Kyprianou Aimagined has not relation to the Greek government=s efforts for a Cyprus settlement@. Reppas did not hide the fact that Greece was unhappy with Kyprianou’s= Aunfair and unsubstantiated accusations@. The Greek government had no reason to work for so long with other countries, for the issuing of specific resolutions that would provide the framework for Cyprus settlement, if it had other objectives. Diko however stuck to its positions about Athens= and Nicosia= ‘mistaken’ handling of the issue.

Politis reported that Disy deputy Rikkos Erotocritou was engaged in an attempt to deprive the Attorney-general of certain of his constitutional powers. The deputy had asked the House Legal Affairs Committee to discuss the passing of special legislation that would prevent the Attorney-general from drafting bills and at the same time presenting cases in court. Erotocritou wants the responsibility of appearing in court cases to be assigned to another state official. Given that the Attorney- general is also an adviser in the drafting of bills, he could take decisions that would affect cases he was involved in. The paper noted that this could be a continuation of the Attorney-general=s row with Disy over certain legal differences.

Simerini said that Turkey=s response to the Helsinki summit=s decision was to spend Amammoth@ amounts ($7.61 billion) of money on arms. AAt a time when Athens is being fully co-operative, with peace and development of the region as its objectives, Ankara is responding with arms programmes that require astronomical amounts of money,@ it said. The money is to be spent over the next 13 years and German, American, Ukrainian French and Israeli companies have expressed an interest in supplying Turkey with arms, the paper said.

Machi said that a taxi driver who had tried to smuggle into Cyprus heroin and cocaine was in intensive care after one of the plastic bags that he had swallowed had burst inside him.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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