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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-11-20

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, November 20, 1997

Cordovez reluctant to visit?

SPECULATION about the Cyprus peace efforts and the presidential elections continue to dominate the front pages.

Phileleftheros said the chances of UN envoy Diego Cordovez achieving any concrete results from his first visit to Cyprus were minimal. Recognising the difficulties he would face, Cordovez was reluctant to visit Cyprus but agreed to do so after some pressure from the US and Britain, both of which wanted to maintain some mobility until the presidential elections.

The UN Secretary-general had informed President Clerides and Rauf Denktash in writing about the agenda of their meetings with Cordovez. The primary objective was to secure the agreement of the two to a new round of talks after the elections.

Alithia made a big issue out of the government's confirmation of reports that Denktash, under pressure from US envoy Richard Holbrooke, had committed himself to the establishment of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

The paper quoted government spokesman Manolis Christofides as saying that Denktash had neither chosen nor volunteered to make this commitment, suggesting that he had been forced.

Machi, citing an article by State Department official Thomas Farr, said that Holbrooke's objective was to promote a "loose confederation", recognise "Turkish Cypriot sovereignty" and to transform Cyprus into a Nato base. This would also keep Turkey happy, the paper said.

Simerini takes a look at the latest goings on at Diko with regard to the elections. It said the party's only choice would be to back the candidacy of Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who had not yet decided to stand.

If Markides decided not to stand, Diko would try to persuade Akel to abandon its candidate, George Iacovou so that another candidate, one who enjoyed the support of both parties, could be found. However, the Akel leader was quoted as saying that his party would stand firmly behind Iacovou. If the third option did not work out, then Diko would back the candidacy of Alexis Galanos, as co-operation with Clerides was out of the question.

Haravghi accused Clerides of being partially responsible for the impasse in the peace efforts because "he had worsened the negotiating framework". Akel leader Demetris Christofias accused Clerides, through his "clumsy handling of the national issue", of failing to break Turkish intransigence.

He called on all opposition parties, including Diko, to back the candidacy of Iacovou.

Agon said that a united Disy was putting all its weight behind the campaign to re-elect Clerides. And soon non-Disy individuals and organised groups would publicly express their support for Clerides.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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