|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: News in English, 00-01-25
From: The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation at <http://www.cybc.com.cy/>
TUESDAY 25 JANUARY 2000
 HEADLINES--- The National Council met today to prepare for proximity talks on the Cyprus problem, scheduled to begin at the end of January.
--- Greek Foreign Minister, Giorgos Papandreou, urged for patience in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
--- A European Union delegation arrives in Cyprus today, to discuss chapters to be negotiated on, in the context of Cyprus accession course.
--- Russian troops battled their way towards the centre of the Chechen capital of Grozny today.
--- In Turkey, radical Islamist prisoners in a Constantinople jail protested against attempts to force their leader to attend a court hearing.
--- Palestinian President Yasser Arafat arrived in Cairo today to discuss delays in final status talks with Israel.
 NATIONALThe National Council began a meeting today, chaired by President Glafcos Clerides, to conclude preparations for the second round of proximity talks on the Cyprus problem, to begin on January 31 in Geneva.
The Council will review the notes of a sub-committee, set up to study the proposals of the Greek Cypriot side for the proximity talks.
It will also discuss the content of Greek positions.
The meeting is attended by Democratic Rally chairman Nicos Anastasiades, AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias, Socialist Party EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides, and United Democrats chief George Vassiliou, among other top officers from the political parties.
Also participating are Attorney-General Alecos Markides, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, and Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.
 PAPANDREOUGreek Foreign Minister, Giorgos Papandreou, urged for patience and perseverance in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and improve Greco-Turkish relations.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr. Papandreou said that the European Union Helsinki Summit conclusions opened new prospects for Cyprus' accession negotiations and for bringing both communities closer together.
He also described the Helsinki conclusions as a shield for Greece and as a new peace framework for the region.
 GAMAThe Portuguese presidency of the European Union has expressed satisfaction regarding what it sees as positive developments in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Portuguese Foreign Minister, Jaime Gama, said that the presidency is also satisfied with the improvement of relations between the European Union and Turkey, which are a direct result of the improvement of Greco-Turkish relations.
 SOLANAGreek Foreign Minister, Giorgos Papandreou, has asked the European Union Foreign Policy representative, Javier Solana, to help towards EU involvement in the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Solana discussed Cyprus' EU accession course and the Cyprus problem, during a meeting in Brussels.
According to the Athens News Agency, Mr. Solana responded positively, but noted that the issue must be discussed at the Council of Ministers.
Mr. Papandreou also urged Mr. Solana to re-establish the EU Committee of Wise Men on Greco-Turkish differences over the Aegean.
The Committee had terminated its work after 1997, when relations between Ankara and the EU froze.
 VASILIOUA European Union 12-member delegation arrives in Cyprus this afternoon, to prepare the chapters on which Cyprus and the Portuguese presidency must negotiate.
The team, under EU negotiator for Cyprus Leopold Maurer, will meet with Cyprus' chief negotiator George Vassiliou, the Law Office of the Republic, the Foreign Ministry, the Planning Bureau, and House of Representatives committees.
Mr. Maurer's team will evaluate Cyprus' capability to apply the acquis communautaire, and will also note progress made to date.
The visit was discussed this morning at a meeting between Mr. Vassiliou and President Glafcos Clerides, after which no statements were made.
 CHECHNYARussian troops battled their way towards the centre of Grozny today and carried out intensive artillery bombardments.
An official report issued in Mozdok, Russia's biggest army base in the region, said that six servicemen had been killed and 14 wounded in the rebel Chechen republic over the last 24 hours.
The figure was in sharp contrast to unofficial reports in the media over the last week that the Russian death toll stood at about 20 a day since the army hit fierce resistance from the rebels in the regional capital Grozny and southern mountains.
Sources in the security forces said yesterday that the death toll in the last month alone had been 529 and was more than 1000 since Russia began its fight against Chechen rebels in neighbouring Dagestan in August.
Russian forces are reported to be 500 metres away from the central Minutka Square, site of dramatic battles in the 1994-96 war which led to Russia's withdrawal from Chechnya.
Establishing control over Minutka, a main road junction leading into the heart of the devastated city, is vital for further advances.
The rebels were quoted as saying that they had turned all nine-storey apartment blocks surrounding Minutka into "true fortresses", and were using numerous underground passages between them as covered supply and escape routes.
In some districts the rebels have given up frontal resistance to the troops and are resorting to guerrilla warfare.
 TURKEYTurkish radical Islamist prisoners began a fire at a Constantinople jail today and set up barricades in protest at attempts to force their leader to attend a court hearing.
The private NTV television channel said paramilitary gendarmerie troops were engaged in an operation to regain control of the jail after militants loyal to the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders-Front set fire to blankets and blocked themselves in at the Metris jail early this morning.
The Front is one of several illegal Islamist guerrilla groups in Turkey seeking to set up an Islamic republic based on strict Sharia religious law. It is unrelated to Hizbullah, held responsible for dozens of gruesome murders in recent weeks.
One of the prisoners, the Front's leader, is due in court tomorrow on charges of trying to overthrow the overwhelmingly Moslem country's secular order.
He has so far refused to attend hearings, saying he does not recognise the authority of the Turkish republic.
 MIDEASTPalestinian President Yasser Arafat arrived in Cairo today to discuss delays in final status talks with Israel.
He will also brief Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the result of his talks in Washington, Tunis and Brussels.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has said he may not attend what Palestinians said was a summit meeting with Mr. Arafat and US President Bill Clinton in Switzerland next weekend.
Palestinians want the summit in a last minute attempt to iron out a framework agreement for final status talks due to be completed by September 13.
In talks with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and Jordan's King Abdullah earlier this week, Mr. Mubarak discussed the possibility of holding an Arab summit to support Syria and the Palestinians in their talks with Israel.
 WORLD IN BRIEFAnd now for a look at developments around the world in brief.
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Thai commandos stormed a hospital seized by Myanmar Karen guerrillas, freeing hundreds of hostages and killing nine of the captors.
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German parliamentary investigators widened an inquiry into ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl after allegations that he took secret campaign donations arranged by late French President Francois Mitterrand.
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US Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush jumped into the lead in the Democratic and Republican Iowa caucuses, the first vote of the 2000 US presidential campaign.
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With fighting persisting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, African leaders on all sides of the war re-committed themselves to a cease-fire and called for the United Nations to send in troops.
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The grandmothers of young Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez left Miami for Washington after failing to see the boy in the middle of an international custody battle.
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US President Bill Clinton stepped up pressure on Congress to approve a landmark trade agreement with China, telling lawmakers that the pact would encourage Beijing to improve human rights and speed the pace of economic reform.
 STOCKThe Cyprus Stock Exchange general price index closed today at 620 units, compared to 637 yesterday.
Total dealings increased, reaching 18 million pounds, compared to 17,5 million yesterday.
 KYPRIANOUHouse of Representatives President and Democratic Rally chief, Spyros Kyprianou, has come out of the Cleveland Foundation intensive care unit, where he was being treated after his heart operation last week.
Doctor Costas Zambartas told the CyBC that Mr. Kyprianou has been transferred to another ward, where he will remain until the end of the week.
After he is discharged, Mr. Kyprianou will spend a week in a Cleveland hotel, before returning to Cyprus.
 WEATHERThis afternoon will be rainy with isolated thunderstorms and snow on Troodos mountain.
Winds will be southwesterly, moderate to strong, four to five beaufort, and locally six beaufort, over moderate to rough seas.
Tonight there will be local showers and snow on Troodos.
Winds will be northwesterly, moderate, four beaufort, over moderate seas.
Temperatures will drop to 4 degrees inland, to 6 along the coast, and to 1 over the mountains.
The snow on Mount Olympus is 40 centimetres deep, and in Troodos Square 30.