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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-23

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Clerides - Cyprus problem
  • [02] Omirou - Turkish violations
  • [03] Cyprus - President Clerides - Business centre
  • [04] US President - Cyprus issue
  • [05] Central Bank Governor - Cyprus economy
  • [06] Interior Minister - Parties - Resignation
  • [07] Limassol Bishop - Resignation

  • 1505:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] President Clerides - Cyprus problem London, Nov 23 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides today said

    he does not expect the present standstill in efforts to settle the

    Cyprus problem, created by the Turkish side, will continue for long. Speaking to some 100 participants at a conference organised

    here on "Cyprus a regional business centre", the President said he has indications that an effort will be made for negotiations on

    the Cyprus question to restart. "I believe that we are at the moment at a situation of

    standstill which I do not expect to last for very long," he said. President Clerides explained that the present impasse was

    created after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash "attempted unilaterally to change the basis of negotiations which were laid

    down by the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 which were based on Security Council resolutions." He said the resolutions provided that a solution in Cyprus

    "must be based on a bicommunal bizonal federal republic, with one single sovereignty, single international personality and a single

    citizenship." The President said Denktash wants to create a separate sovereign state and a very loose confederation "each one with

    separate ties, one with Turkey and one with Greece." The Turkish Cypriot leader had made a proposal along these

    lines last August, but was rejected by all interested parties. "We oppose this idea because it abolishes the independence of

    Cyprus and creates a Turkish protectorate in the north and a Greek protectorate in the south," Clerides said. However, he underlined that "this new attempt by the Turkish

    side to delay the negotiating process has not found any international response neither from the EU, nor from the US or the

    permanent members of the UN Security Council or the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries." "There are indications," he added, "that an effort will be

    made to return to the negotiating table." The President reiterated that "it is our policy and we have

    declared it that we are seeking a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem through the good offices of the Secretary - General as

    provided by Security Council resolutions." He pointed out that these positions have the support of the

    international community, the Security Council, the EU, the NAM and the Commonwealth. "Therefore there is no reason to worry about the events which

    will take place in the near future or in the future in Cyprus," President Clerides added. The conference, organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce

    and Industry and the Confederation of British Industry, aimed at encouraging investments in Cyprus.

    CNA KT/MA/EC/1998

    [02] Omirou - Turkish violations

    Nicosia, Nov 23 (CNA) -- Defence Minister, Yiannakis Omirou said he will propose to the Foreign Ministry to make representations over yesterday's violation of the Cyprus airspace by Turkish military aircraft, which were on their way to Israel.

    Omirou explained that representations must be made because it should be made clear to Israel that it cannot legalise the expansionist policy of Turkey by accepting aircraft which earlier violated the Cyprus airspace.

    Twenty-four Turkish military aircraft and three re-fueling aircraft yesterday set off from their base in southern Turkey and flew over the northern tip of the island, violating the Republic's airspace.

    The Turkish aircraft returned to Turkey later in the day following the same route.

    Speaking after meeting Acting President, House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou, Omirou said Turkey's invading attitude constitutes an "affront" to those who appear to be interested in maintaining the stability in the region.

    He criticised the US and Britain for not reacting to Turkey's attitude and said Israel was also responsible because it accepts the Turkish aircraft after they had violated the Cyprus airspace.

    Cyprus expressed concern over the military cooperation between Israel and Turkey. Its concerns were conveyed to the Israeli President, Ezer Weizman during his visit to Cyprus last month.

    Invited to comment on reports by the Greek newspaper, "To Vima", that the S300 Russian anti-aircraft missiles will be installed in Crete instead of Cyprus, Omirou urged journalists to wait until the meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, in Athens on Friday.

    To a remark that President Clerides said yesterday the missiles will not be discussed at the Athens meeting, Omirou said all aspects of the Cyprus problem will be examined.

    Omirou is to take part in the meeting which will also be attended by Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides.

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

    CNA SD/EC/GP/1998

    [03] Cyprus - President Clerides - Business centre

    London, Nov 23 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides and Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis outlined here Monday the geographical and other advantages Cyprus has as an industrial, business and services' centre.

    Speaking to some 100 people that attended a conference in London on "Cyprus: A regional business centre" they pointed to the island's strong economy and the incentives offered to attract investments.

    Noting that throughout its history Cyprus has been known as an important trading centre, President Clerides said that "during the last two decades we have witnessed the transformation of Cyprus into a regional business centre and a centre for services of high quality."

    He attributed this to "the stable macroeconomic environment and favourable business climate, the versatility and adaptability of its business community, the high education level of its manpower and the low cost of services provided."

    President Clerides also noted "the sound industrial relations between the social partners, the strategic geographical location of Cyprus as well as the modern infrastructure in ports, airports and telecommunications."

    Referring to government policy for attracting foreign investment, he said that "foreign investors benefit from tax incentives and the relatively low level of taxation" and noted that the government recently liberalised and simplified procedures for the approval of foreign direct investment.

    The President also said the peace process in the Middle East and the transition of former socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe "have created a new climate conducive to entrepreneurial activity and economic development" in these geographical areas.

    "Within this changing environment, a new challenge as well as a new potential for Cyprus is created to enhance its role as a regional business centre and as a base for foreign enterprises wishing to penetrate the promising markets of these regions," he added.

    On his part, Rolandis said the island's economy this year is expected "to show a higher rate of growth, 4.7 per cent in real terms, reaching 5.64 billion pounds Sterling with inflation at 2,5 per cent and unemployment at 3.2 per cent." (One pound sterling is about 80 Cyprus cents)

    "The growing importance of Cyprus as a business and distribution centre in the region is underlined by the performance of exports and re- exports," the Minister said.

    Rolandis described the UK as "Cyprus' most important trading partner" adding that trade exchanges reached 333 million Stg. in 1997, 22 per cent of which represented Cyprus' exports to the UK.

    He said the attraction of foreign investment is amongst the primary objectives of Cyprus' development policy, adding that "exchange controls are being phased out and over the last years there has been a further relaxation regarding investments by non-residents".

    The minister referred to the professional services sector, underlining that "the fact that Cyprus is today a well established commercial, financial and services centre in the region is mainly the result of numerous services available and the high professional skills."

    Rolandis also pointed to the island's strategic location, its good political and economic relations with neighbouring countries and the sophisticated banking system.

    The conference, organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of British Industry, aimed at promoting Cyprus as a regional business centre.

    CNA MA/EC/1998

    [04] US President - Cyprus issue

    Nicosia, Nov 23 (CNA) -- US President Bill Clinton has assured that he is "just as committed to finding a solution to the problems that have plagued Cyprus" as he is to the Middle East and Kosovo.

    In a letter to Greek-American leaders, President Clinton also says he has asked his assistant for National Security Affairs Sandy Berger "to meet with you and other Greek-American leaders to discuss the way forward", towards a Cyprus solution.

    The American President's letter, dated November 17 and made known today, was sent in reply to a letter sent by prominent Greek-Americans who asked him for his "strong personal involvement" to move the Cyprus issue towards peace.

    The letter was signed by the presidents of the Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus Philip Christopher, the Council of Hellenes Abroad Andrew Athens and the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes Andrew Manatos.

    They pointed out that since the US breakthrough for peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East "Cyprus now stands alone".

    UN-led efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus reached a stalemate beginning of this year when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said he would not negotiate unless his illegal regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognised.

    Denktash also demanded the withdrawal of Cyprus' application to join the European Union.

    In August he made a proposal for the establishment of a "confederation of two states" in Cyprus, that has been rejected by both the Cyprus government and the UN as it is contrary to UN resolutions calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [05] Central Bank Governor - Cyprus economy

    London, Nov 23 (CNA) -- The per capita income of Cyprus ranks 16th internationally, exceeding the level of eight European Union (EU) member states, Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou said here today.

    Speaking to some 100 delegates attending a conference organised in London on "Cyprus: A regional business centre", Afxentiou also assured that the Central Bank is making efforts to liberalise and modernise the local financial sector.

    "According to the latest (March 1998) 'World Development Indicators' of the World Bank, per capita Gross Domestic Product in Cyprus, measured in terms of purchasing power parity, is estimated at about 20.500 US dollars," he said.

    He added that "at this level Cyprus ranks 16th internationally, while in comparison with EU member states our GDP per capita exceeds the level of eight countries."

    Afxentiou also said that "an evaluation of the recent macroeconomic performance, judged with respect to the EU convergence criteria, shows that the Cyprus economy meets the criteria on price stability, exchange rate stability as well as the criterion on long-term interest rates."

    He added that "the criterion on the ratio of public debt to GDP is also met, but there is a clear divergence as regards the fiscal deficit which stands for this year at an estimated level of 5,7 per cent of GDP, in relation to the 3.0 per cent of GDP level prescribed by the relevant criterion."

    To ratify this situation, Afxentiou said, the government intends to take appropriate measures and to that effect a package of tax measures is pending before the House of representatives.

    "The Central Bank has been making efforts even before the EU perspective to liberalise and modernise the Cypriot financial sector for economic reasons, such as improved efficiency and competitiveness, as well as enhanced macroeconomic management," its Governor added.

    CNA MA/EC/1998

    [06] Interior Minister - Parties - Resignation

    Nicosia, Nov 23 (CNA) -- The majority of political parties disagree with President Glafcos Clerides' decision not to accept the resignation of Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, who is facing corruption allegations.

    Left-wing EDEK and the United Democrat parties, which are participating in the government, as well as the main opposition party AKEL and the small New Horizons party have underlined that Michaelides' resignation should have been accepted as a matter of "political ethos".

    On his departure for London Sunday, President Clerides vehemently defended his decision not to accept Michaelides' resignation, basing it on reports prepared by the Attorney General and the Auditor General on the allegations.

    On Saturday, the cabinet dropped eleven charges against the Interior Minister, relating to acquisition of wealth by improper means, and ordered an inquiry into two allegations.

    The allegations have been made by ruling right-wing Democratic Rally (DISI) deputy, Christos Pourgourides who supports that it is Michaelides' political duty to resign and that the issue should not be seen strictly within a legal framework.

    In statements issued today both EDEK and the United Democrats agree with the cabinet decision to order an inquiry, but support that the minister's resignation should have been accepted as public opinion believes he cannot remain in his position pending investigations.

    "Principles of political sensitivity should prevail", EDEK says, while the United Democrats believe that "the public discussion on this issue leaves the government and parties participating, politically exposed".

    The General Secretary of left-wing AKEL, Dimitris Christofias told a press conference that the minister cannot remain in his position pending investigation.

    "The President should have accepted his resignation... If he is proved innocent then the President could have invited him to take up his duties again," he said.

    New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou expressed the view that the minister's resignation is a matter of political responsibility and supported that "institutions have been vilified".

    Ruling DISI leader Nicos Anastasiades has called on Pourgourides to stop making public statements on the issue before investigations are completed.

    The Democratic Party (DEKO) has not yet taken a position on the President's decision.

    CNA MA/EC/1998

    [07] Limassol Bishop - Resignation

    Paphos, Nov 23 (CNA) -- Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos has handed his resignation to the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, following months of investigations into his economic dealings by both the state and the Church.

    Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos today confirmed that the Limassol Bishop decided to hand in his resignation and said the Holy Synod will examine the issue in an extraordinary meeting tomorrow.

    However, he expressed certainty that Chrysanthos' resignation will be accepted.

    Earlier this month, a three member investigating committee appointed by the Holy Synod indicted the Bishop of Limassol on eight breaches of ecclesiastical law.

    Charges against him include acting from greed and for his own benefit, profiteering through currency speculation and taking advantage of his ecclesiastical position for illicit profit.

    Bishop Chrysostomos said that he met the Limassol Bishop last Tuesday and after they exchanged views they agreed that "for the good of the Church and his person (the Limassol Bishop) it was better he handed in his resignation the soonest."

    He said they informed Archbishop Chrysostomos on the decision at a meeting last Thursday.

    The Bishop of Paphos said Chrysanthos believes "he is innocent, but because of the harm done to the Church and the way his name was slandered, he believes the best solution is to resign."

    He described it as "a big decision" as this year Chrysanthos completes 25 years as the Bishop of Limassol.

    CNA SS/MA/EC/1998
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