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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 98-02-13

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>

News Update

Friday, 13/02/98


  • [01] Election campaign closes before Sunday's final round
  • [02] Madeleine Albright: More attention to Cyprus after the election
  • [03] No preconditions for Cyprus EU accession talks, Lamberto Dini says

[01] Election campaign closes before Sunday's final round

The month-long presidential election campaign closes tonight Friday 13.2.98 midnight with the run-off voting taking place on Sunday, 15th February. The 446,976-strong electorate in the government-controlled areas will have to choose between incumbent president Glafcos Clerides and challenger George Iacovou as the President of the Republic for the next five years.

The two leading contenders received 40.06% and 40.61% respectively in the first round of elections on 8.2.98 when the ballot included seven candidates.

During the week the smaller parties have realigned themselves, with the four candidates endorsing the candidacy of Glafcos Clerides, while Socialist party EDEK, which polled a surprising 10.5%, chose to advise its supporters to vote on conscience.

Those backing president Clerides's re-election are:

The United Democrats (3%), former president George Vassiliou's party, decided to back Clerides in view of the crucial times expected immediately after the election: international initiatives for a political settlement with UN-led peace talks and EU accession negotiations. Mr. Vassiliou said he looked forward to "a full, sincere and effective co-operation for the benefit of Cyprus".

President Clerides announced on 12.2.98 that he would place Mr. Vassiliou as head of the Republic's delegation for the EU accession talks next spring, if he is re-elected.

Mr. Clerides reiterated his intention to form a national unity government in view of crucial decisions that will have to be taken soon on national issues.

Democratic Party (DIKO) rebel Alexis Galanos', who received a 4% vote last Sunday, also pledged his support for Mr. Clerides. Behind Mr. Clerides are also another two smaller parties, the Liberals and the New Horizons, which received nearly 2% between them.

This support has created a momentum in favour of the incumbent president who has pursued a non-partisan, above party strategy in his campaign, although the closeness of the first-round results would not exclude a neck and neck race between Mr. Clerides and Mr. Iacovou, who has the support of communist party AKEL and the Democratic Party (DIKO), which however has seen its supporters deserting to the camp of Mr. Galanos.

Final election results, according to Chief Returning Officer Thanos Michael, should be available before midnight and the winner formally declared at midnight at Nicosia's Eleftheria Stadium.

[02] Madeleine Albright: More attention to Cyprus after the election

During a discussion of general foreign policy issues at the Senate International Relations Committee on 12.2.98, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked by Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews the following question:

"In your prepared statement you indicate that the administration supports the expansion of the European Union into Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey's desire to be a part of that process. I believe, and many people believe that that accession to the EU for Turkey should be conditioned upon Turkey's active and constructive participation in a settlement of the Cyprus question. Do you agree that that should be a condition to Turkey's accession? And secondly, what role is Turkey presently playing in the constructive conclusion of the Cyprus problem?"

Mrs. Albright replied:

"Let me just say that this is a very complex issue because Turkey is very important, I believe, for all of us, to have Turkey look Westward rather than East or South. We need to have it be a part of the new European Community. It's -- because of all the things that are going on there and my dealings with Prime Minister Yilmaz and Foreign Minister Cem, who are trying very hard to turn Turkey Westward.

We have talked to them a lot about what needs to be done in terms of becoming members of the EU.

And we have obviously spent a great deal of time with them in trying to deal with the Cyprus issue, which is the longest-running and a source of great problems to all of us.

We are pressing on them to be of greater assistance in Cyprus. Ambassador Holbrooke is now trying to carry on those negotiations. The elections in Cyprus are in between two rounds at the moment, and we will pay even more attention to it as soon as everybody's settled."

[03] No preconditions for Cyprus EU accession talks, Lamberto Dini says

Italy's Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini has underlined that the European Union will accept no preconditions for Cyprus accession talks to begin.

In an interview with the Turkish daily "Milliyet" Mr. Dini replying to a question whether the European Union's invitation to Turkey to attend the European Conference has any preconditions attached, said:

"The invitation has no preconditions. Turkey has been invited to the Conference without any preconditions. But on the other hand, we neither accept any preconditions for the start of EU accession negotiations with Cyprus. This has been decided".

The Italian Foreign Minister also said that everyone believes that Turkey overeacted against EU's Luxembourg decision of December 1997. The intention of the decision, he said, was not to close the door to Turkey, but to help define a proper European course, urging Turkey to make progress on the issues the EU considers important for candidate members.

From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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