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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-05-05

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Wednesday, May 05, 1999

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/'Double strike' response to Belgrade good will/ THE BOMBING of a bus in northeastern Kosovo by Nato planes, which killed 17 people and injured 20, was given extensive coverage by yesterday's papers.

Haravghi described the attack as "bordering on genocide". Nato spokesmen in Brussels "had no information" about the bombing, but a correspondent of the French news agency AFP, who was in the area at the time, said that he had seen 11 bodies by the bus. Twenty metres from the burnt-out bus - which did not look like it had been hit - there was a huge crater, 30m in diameter and 15 metres deep. Pieces of the Nato bomb were found in the area surrounding the destroyed bus, the paper said.

Simerini accused Nato of responding with "double strike" to Yugoslavia's goodwill gesture to release the three American soldiers being held in Belgrade. Nato pilots had hit the main power station, ensuring that all of Belgrade and most of Serbia was in darkness on Monday night. This was followed by the strike against the bus. The attack on the power station was aimed at weakening the Serbian army and to show that Nato could easily wreak havoc on the Yugoslav economy. However, ordinary citizens insisted that the attack on the power station was aimed at destroying civilian morale.

Machi, in sarcastic lead story, reported that Nato's "smart" bombs had made another "tragic mistake", but the alliance had refused to apologise. This was the seventh "horrific" mistake by Nato, taking the number of people killed by accident to 182.

Alithia reported that if the European Union asked candidate countries to adopt sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia, the Cyprus government would make a decision based on the national interest. Asked to explain Cyprus' policy on the Yugoslavia crisis, the government spokesman referred to Cyprus' EU accession course, which "we do not want to put under question". He said the government's policy on Yugoslavia was the same as Greece's.

Phileleftheros reported that the government's package of economic measures aimed at improving public finances would be ready by the end of the month. The government's target was to secure the support of the political parties so that the new tax package could be passed before the summer recess of the House, which begins in July. One of the economic measures would be the liberalisation of interest rates, which has been pending for some time now. The Finance Minister as well as the Central Bank Governor insisted that the liberalisation was a matter of great urgency at Monday's House Finance Committee meeting.

Politis warned that France and The Netherlands were playing a "new game of blackmail" regarding Cyprus' EU accession course. Citing "technical issues", they had threatened to block accession talks. Greece's representative in Brussels had been given instructions to block the accession talks of the other five candidate countries if France and The Netherlands carried out their threat. France's representative in Brussels insisted that the Cyprus problem should be resolved before any of the accession issues under negotiation were concluded.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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