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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-11-08

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, November 8, 1997

Holbrooke visit linked to elections

PRESIDENT Clerides' announcement that he would seek re-election was the lead story in all of yesterday's papers, most of which linked his decision with sudden news of the visit to Cyprus of US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke.

Alithia said that the closeness of Clerides' announcement to the news of Holbrooke's visit was just coincidence. It did however quote Clerides as saying that the Holbrooke visit constituted the start of the long-awaited US initiative on Cyprus.

The paper noted that Clerides satisfied the three conditions he had set himself for seeking re-election - he was in good health, he had public support and, most importantly, prospects existed for a Cyprus settlement.

If Holbrooke's visit signalled the start of the US initiative, then the prospects for a settlement in 1998 were good and therefore Clerides had an obligation to seek re-election, the paper said.

Phileleftheros said all the party leaders believed there was a link between Holbrooke's visit and Clerides' announcement. It quoted Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou accusing the US of "interfering" in the presidential elections. Kyprianou also said that Clerides could not enter negotiations because he did not enjoy the support of the majority.

Meanwhile the Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who is also considering being a presidential candidate, was under pressure from certain quarters not to stand so as to leave the field clear for Clerides, the paper said.

Haravghi described Clerides' conference, at which he gave a rundown of the work done during his term, as the "swan song" of the government. It said the president's presentation consisted of a "dull" itemisation of projects, the aim of which was to give a gloss to the government's performance.

To do this Clerides used adjectives such as "enormous", "pioneering" and "unprecedented" to describe the government's achievements, it said.

Machi said Clerides' decision was enthusiastically received by Disy supporters as well as other people who wanted his presidency to continue. The only thing that surprised was the timing of Clerides' announcement.

Simerini reported that no-one knew what Holbrooke would be discussing with Clerides and Rauf Denktash next week. It quoted Denktash as saying that Holbrooke would make new proposals, which would have to be evaluated by the two sides.

Holbrooke would not seek get the negotiations resumed, something which suited both sides, the paper said.

© Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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