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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 96-10-27

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <dist@hri.org>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus should remain offshore centre, says Minister
  • [02] Turkey warned about human rights

  • 1335 :CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus should remain offshore centre, says Minister

    Nicosia, Oct 27 (CNA) -- Cyprus must develop further the services it offers to the business and financial community if it wants to remain a regional offshore centre during accession talks with the European Union (EU), Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides has said.

    ''The government is determined to take all necessary measures to ensure that Cyprus will not only remain a services centre but develop further,'' Michaelides said in his address to the Employers and Industrialists Federation.

    He said Cyprus will study careful the experience of the 15 EU member states and try to benefit from it.

    ''We are already committed to speed up our harmonisation process with the EU but it is equally important for us to maintain our role as a financial and services centre,'' he said.

    Cyprus-based offshore units (about 25,000) bring into the country an estimated annual revenue of more than 161 million Cyprus pounds (about 322 m. US dollars) and employ two per cent of the labour force, he added.

    Cyprus is set to start accession negotiations six months after the end of the EU Intergovernmental Conference. It applied for membership in July 1990.

    The Minister explained that the island's geographic location, the high quality of services, its market economy, well-trained workforce, excellent telecommunications and democratic institutions, attract offshore companies.

    Addressing local businessmen, Michaelides urged them to modify their approach and abandon the mentality of protectionism and isolation to enable their enterprises not only to meet the challenges of the future but also to be competitive.

    CNA MM/EC/1996
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1500 CYPPRESS:02

    [02] Turkey warned about human rights

    Nicosia, Oct 27 (CNA) -- Turkey must not only make promises about improvement in its human rights record, the Cyprus problem and the Kurdish issue, but must do things if it wants its relations with the European Parliament restored, Pauline Green, leader of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament, has said.

    Speaking to London Greek Radio, Green said the resolutions blocking funds to Turkey have conveyed ''a very strong message.''

    ''We do not play games lightly with human rights, with the Cyprus problem or the Kurdish issue,'' she stressed.

    She warned Turkey that if it comes forward and not only promise things but does things, ''then Turkey will see an improvement in its relations with the European Parliament. Otherwise they will not''.

    She said last month, the European Parliament passed a political resolution saying it would block all the money for Turkey because of what happened in Cyprus over the summer (four unarmed Greek Cypriot were killed by Turkish occupation troops), the Kurdish issue and human rights abuses in Turkey.

    ''This month we had to bring that into being in the budget of the Parliament for 1997. We blocked into reserve funds provided by the financial protocol on the EU-Turkey customs union agreement,'' she explained.

    Green noted that Euro MPs had to find a way to block funds to Turkey under the MEDA programme, which also applies to other countries of the Mediterranean basin.

    She said they found a ''mechanism whereby we will insist that when the European Commission wants to spend any money on any project in Turkey, it has to come for prior approval to the European Parliament before any of the money is released.''

    The resolution, drafted by herself and Greek PASOK Euro MP Yiannos Kranidiotis, was passed by the Parliament by a majority of 423. ''It was an immense supportive vote, right across the Parliament, and now the European Commission cannot spend money without coming to the Parliament first'', Green explained.

    She pointed out, however, that, despite the very good position things stand at present, there has to be a second vote in December on the issue and the resolution has to be confirmed.

    ''I am very anxious that before December we have the negotiations with (Jacques) Santer (President of the Commission) and (Hans) Van Den Broek, (External Affairs Commissioner) so we know exactly the rules to which we are playing. But at this present moment, I hope a very strong message has gone out to Turkey'', she remarked.

    Green said Turkey, a year ago during the customs union, made promises which were not fulfilled.

    The Parliament last week, voted on planning to set aside 375 million ECUs (470 million US dollars) between 1996 and 2000 aimed at helping Turkey's customs union with the EU start.

    The Parliament also voted to review substantial aid for Turkey from the MEDA programme.

    CNA EC/MM/1996
    Note to editors: there will be no CNA transmission tomorrow, Monday, 28 October, because of a national holiday.
    Normal transmission of CNA reports will resume on Tuesday, 29 October.
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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