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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-08-12

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Trade Minister - Visit to Japan
  • [02] Israelis - Pardon - Barak - Opposition

  • 1630:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Trade Minister - Visit to Japan

    Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- Cyprus Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis will visit Japan on October 11 to 15 at an invitation from the Japanese government to discuss issues his ministry deals with.

    An official announcement says discussions will focus on trade between the two countries, which shows a large unbalance, as well as promoting tourism from Japan to Cyprus.

    Rolandis will also discuss ways of cooperation in the high technology field and the services sector, where Cyprus can be of benefit to Japanese investors.

    According to official statistics, in 1998 imports for home consumption from Japan were 104.8 million pounds and domestic exports in the same year only 0.4 million pounds.

    (One Cyprus pounds trades at about two US dollars) Cyprus mainly imports electrical appliances and cars from Japan.

    CNA MA/MCH/1999

    [02] Israelis - Pardon - Barak - Opposition

    Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- While Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak welcomed the release today of two Israelis jailed here for approaching a restricted military area, all opposition parties in Cyprus have condemned the President's decision to grant them pardon and criticised him for giving in to pressure.

    The Cypriot parties recognised the President's right to give pardon, according to the Republic's constitution, but raised questions as to why the decision was taken.

    According to international new agencies, the Israeli Premier sent a letter to Clerides expressing appreciation.

    A statement issued by Barak's office says the Cyprus President's gesture "was received with much appreciation by the Israeli public and it will serve to enhance good relations between Israel and Cyprus".

    President Clerides gave pardon to Udi Hargov, 37, and Igar Damary, 49, at the opinion of the Attorney General, because their imprisonment "no longer served the national interest".

    The two were arrested in November 1998 and charged with spying. The spying charges were then dropped and in February 1999 they were sentenced to three years imprisonment for approaching a restricted area and possessing banned listening equipment without the permission of the Cypriot authorities.

    In a statement main opposition party AKEL expressed "anger and indignation" with the President's decision and said it proves the government is "dangerously susceptible to foreign pressure".

    The party says the government appears to "give in and satisfy a demand put forward by Israel, that wants to play the role of a watchdog in the region."

    Israeli officials had often called on the Cyprus government to release its two citizens.

    Left-wing AKEL also blames Attorney-General Alecos Markides for the President's decision, recalling that during a debate on the issue in Parliament he had said the two Israelis would serve their sentence.

    Centre-right party DIKO, of House President Spyros Kyprianou, says the President's decision could be viewed as a confirmation of a prevailing impression that the spying charges were dropped because of "political give and take".

    "We would be the first to express satisfaction if President Clerides' citing of national interest would be proved right, with concrete results, and not an excuse due to pressure," DIKO says.

    Former Defence Minister and first vice-president of socialist EDEK party Yiannakis Omirou told CNA that "the two convicted Israelis had put into danger our country's national security, by helping those who illegally occupy part of our country for the past 25 years."

    Omirou, who was heading the Defence Ministry at the time of the two Israelis' arrest, was referring to the military cooperation agreement between Israel and Turkey that raised concerns in Cyprus due to the continuing Turkish occupation of 37 per cent of the island's territory since 1974.

    The small New Horizons party believes the President's decision is "a national self-humiliation" and says that national security reasons are always cited as an excuse.

    CNA MA/MCH/1999
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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