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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Clinton outlines US efforts for Cyprus settlement
  • [02] Profile of presidential hopefuls
  • [03] Estonian Minister condemns dividing line

  • 0900:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clinton outlines US efforts for Cyprus settlement

    Washington, Jan 15 (CNA) -- "US diplomacy to advance progress towards a Cyprus settlement continued at an intense pace" during the period October - November 1997, President Bill Clinton says in his bimonthly report on the Cyprus question.

    The US President also outlines efforts to support Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU) and closer EU-Turkish relations, in this period.

    In his report to Congress, published by the White House yesterday, President Clinton mentions the meetings held by his special emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, and State Department Special Coordinator, Tom Miller, both in the US and abroad.

    He says the two men travelled to the region, to follow up on discussions Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, had in the US in September.

    "Senior US officials met extensively during the reporting period with officials of the EU, EU member states and others, to support Cypriot EU accession prospects and to encourage stronger EU-Turkish relations," he adds.

    The EU has decided to open accession negotiations with Cyprus on March 30, 1998.

    The US President refers to the privately sponsored conference between business leaders from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, which Ambassador Holbrooke moderated in November, in Brussels.

    He also mentions the rising of tension on the island during the Greek- Greek Cypriot military exercise code-named "Nikiforos", held in October, and the Turkish-Turkish Cypriot military exercise code-named "Toros", held the following month.

    Meanwhile, the Cyprus question and EU relations with Turkey will be on the agenda of today's meeting in Washington, between Madeleine Albright and her British counterpart Robin Cook.

    Britain is currently holding the EU six-month rotating presidency. European Commission Vice-President Sir Leon Brittan will also be present at the meeting.

    Commenting on the meeting yesterday, Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides said "coordination between the US and the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus question, which will be stepped up in March, will be useful."

    He expressed the view the EU and the US could substantially contribute to a settlement in Cyprus.

    UN-sponsored efforts to solve the protracted Cyprus problem are expected to resume in March, after next month's presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus.

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory in 1974.

    CNA DA/MA/GP/1998

    [02] Profile of presidential hopefuls

    by Maria Myles

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- An array of seasoned politicians are seeking the people's vote in February's presidential elections, many of them for the second or third time, along with fairly new comers into the local political scene.

    All seven presidential hopefuls in next month's (February 8) elections focus their campaign on their strategy on the Cyprus question, but most seem little reluctant to deal a blow below the belt against their opponents on many other issues, including the contestant's age and state of health.

    The youngest (Nicos Koutsou) contestant is 52 and the oldest (Glafcos Clerides) 78.

    Past escapades in public life come under scrutiny and past statements or adjectives former foes or partners have used are also put to the service of the electoral campaign.

    Below is a brief outline of the contestants' curriculum vitae.

    Incumbent President Glafcos Clerides, 78, is a British educated lawyer, and a veteran politician, who founded and led for years the rightwing Democratic Rally (DISY), his main supporter in the presidential race.

    He joined the British Royal Air Force in 1939 and as an RAF pilot he was shot down over Germany in 1942 and taken prison until the end of the War.

    During Cyprus' struggle for independence from British colonial rule 1955-59, Clerides defended many Greek Cypriot fighters. He participated in the 1959 London Conference on Cyprus and during the transitional period, from colonial administration to independence, he served as Minister of Justice.

    In 1960, when Cyprus became an independent Republic, he was elected President of the House of Representatives, a post he held until 1976. Between 1968-1976 he was the Greek Cypriot negotiator in talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for finding a settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    Clerides took over as Acting President of the Republic in July 1974, in the wake of the military coup (July 15) that forced the late President, Archbishop Makarios, into exile and the Turkish invasion (July 20) and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory. Makarios returned in December 1974 and resumed his duties as President of the divided island.

    Clerides is married to Lilla-Irene and has one daughter, who is a deputy.

    His main rival 60-year-old George Iacovou studied economics, management and political science in London and Boston and has served in the private sector at home and abroad.

    Shortly after the 1974 Turkish invasion, he was responsible for the rehabilitation effort of thousands of refugees and from 1976 to 1979 he served at the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and then as the Republic's ambassador to the former Federal Republic of Germany.

    In 1983 he was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry and later the same year Foreign Minister, a post he held until 1993.

    From May 1993 to March 1997, he served as chairman of the National Foundation for the Repatriation of overseas Greeks in Greece. He returned to Cyprus last year and announced his candidacy for the presidency. He is backed by leftwing AKEL party and the centre-right Democratic Party.

    He is married with four children.

    Long involved in local politics, leader of the socialist EDEK party, Vassos Lyssarides, 77, a doctor by profession, decided to run for the presidency for the third time.

    He fought in the struggle for independence and was first elected to the House in 1960. Served as vice-president of the Organisation of Afro-Asia Solidarity and as general secretary of the Solidarity Committee against Apartheid and for Nelson Mandela's release.

    In 1969 he founded the socialist party EDEK and is since then its president.

    In July 1974, there was an assassination attempt against him and one of his closest aides was killed.

    He served as House President from 1985 - 1991.

    He is married to Barbara Cornwell, writer and journalist.

    Former Cyprus President, George Vassiliou, 66, economist by profession, was elected President of Cyprus in 1988 when, backed by AKEL, he beat Clerides by a marginal vote. Five years later, he lost the presidency to Clerides by just over 2,000 votes.

    He is the leader of the United Democrats party, with two deputies (himself and his wife).

    He set up the Middle East Research Centre, one of the largest research and consultancy firms in the region, with offices in 23 countries.

    He currently serves in many capacities in various international organisations. He is married to lawyer and deputy Androulla Vassiliou and has three children.

    Nicos Rolandis, 64, studied law but did not practice the legal profession for long. In March 1978 he was appointed Foreign Minister and served this post until 1983.

    In September 1986 he set up the Liberal party and is its president since then.

    In 1994 he was elected vice-president of Liberal International. This is his first bid for the presidency.

    He is married with three children.

    The youngest contestant is Nicos Koutsou, 52, who works as managing consultant in a private business. He studied law and political science in Athens. During the Greek military junta, he was barred from entering Greece and in October 1974 he returned to Greece to continue his studies.

    He was a founding member of the Cyprus Research Centre and served as his president from 1987 to February 1996 when he left to set up New Horizon party. Since April 1997 he is the party leader.

    This is his first bid for the presidency.

    He is married with two children.

    Democratic Party deputy, Alexis Galanos, 57, studied in Athens and Cambridge to become a barrister-at-law. Founder member of the Democratic Party (DIKO) and served as general secretary and vice-president.

    He was elected deputy in 1976 for Famagusta constituency and was president of many House committees. In 1991 he was elected House President.

    He announced his candidacy for the presidency a day after his party decided to back Iacovou.

    He is married with two children.

    CNA MM/GP/1998

    [03] Estonian Minister condemns dividing line

    Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Estonian Foreign Minister, Toomas Hendrik Ilves denounced here today the existence of a dividing line in Cyprus, stressing there is no place for such a wall at the turn of this century.

    He was speaking at the end of Ledra Street, a central commercial street in the walled city of Nicosia, where through a military observation post he viewed a part of the dividing line and the Turkish-occupied area.

    He was accompanied by the capital's mayor, Lellos Demetriades.

    "Coming from a country that was cut off by a war for 50 years, it is quite distressing to see that wars such as this still exist," he said.

    Ilves said this might be "an emotional reaction, but Estonians know very well about wars, cutting off people and I don't think there is a place for a wall in this era, at the end of the 20th Century."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    The Estonian minister is on a five-day official visit to Cyprus, at the invitation of his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides.

    CNA KK/MA/GP/1998
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