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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-05-12

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 12, 1999


Job Centre



/US tries to appease China/ CHINA'S reaction to the bombing of its embassy in Belgrade continued to attract front-page headlines as did Yugoslavia's offer for a partial withdrawal from Kosovo. The papers also covered the row between the Cyprus government and opposition parties who had slammed the decision to impose an oil embargo against Yugoslavia.

Haravghi reported that Beijing was demanding an apology from Nato and the punishment of those responsible for the attack on the embassy building. The demand was made by the Chinese foreign minister to US ambassador in Beijing James Sasser. China also called for an "in-depth inquiry" into the attack and publication of the findings.

Politis claimed that the US government was making frenzied efforts to appease China, which was outraged by the attack. The strong reaction of the Chinese government, which has suspended negotiations with Washington on a number of issues, signalled the countdown to the end of the bombings, according to some analysts.

Simerini led with the news that some Yugoslav troops and security forces had withdrawn from Kosovo, after destroying all the fortifications set up by the Kosovo Liberation Army. However, the number of men withdrawn was unknown. No-one could say whether there had been a withdrawal or whether its announcement was a diplomatic move by President Milosevic.

Alithia gave prominence to the Cyprus government's defence of its policy on Yugoslavia. It quoted Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides as saying that Europe's socialist and social democratic parties, as well as the majority of non-aligned countries had backed the EU position on Kosovo. Meanwhile the government spokesman accused the Cyprus media of showing partiality as they did not give adequate coverage to the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians.

Haravghi, in a front-page editorial, accused the government of attempting to justify "the terrible crimes" committed by Nato; it accused Cassoulides of acting like the Nato spokesman. Cassoulides' repeated reference to the ethnic cleansing was an attempt to deflect attention from the real issue, which was the "barbaric, murderous Nato bombings of Yugoslavia".

Phileleftheros claimed that the UN Under-secretary general Kieran Prendergast had mentioned the word 'confederation' with regard to a Cyprus settlement, in order to test the reaction. Prendergast had said that while European governments spoke of a federation, what they really meant was a confederation. The Cyprus government was very concerned about the statement, but was keeping its cards close to its chest.

Machi reported that the government would take important decisions today about its oil policies. It will have to decide the level of oil reserves, storage and what to do about the refinery. Consultants were expected to prepare reports on all aspects of the matter. As things are today, oil reserves cannot be increased because of a lack of storage facilities.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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