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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-05-20

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, May 20, 1999


Job Centre



/High commission 'spies' named in MI6 list/ THERE was a variety of lead stories yesterday, ranging from revelations about spies working for the British High Commission in Nicosia to Spyros Kyprianou's adventure in Teheran.

Politis reported that the fuss caused in Britain by the revelation of the identity of 116 MI6 agents had also affected Cyprus. Six British agents whose names had appeared on the list - posted on an internet web page - had served at the High Commission in Cyprus, primarily as press spokesmen, the paper said. The British government has barred the publication of the list, which the Foreign Office described as "a mix of fact and fiction". According to the paper, Cyprus' security services had information about foreign agents arriving in Cyprus as diplomats of mainly big countries. However, the paper was unable to establish whether the six British diplomats were included on the list of the Cypriot secret services.

Machi led with a report of how a group of Iranians, believed to have links with the Turkish secret service MIT, had left a box of explosives outside the Cyprus embassy in Iran. The group had beaten up the embassy building's guard, but fled when the police, who had been called by the ambassador's wife, arrived at the scene. While this was happening, ambassador George Virides was at the airport waiting for House President Spyros Kyprianou to arrive in Teheran at the head of a parliamentary delegation. Confusion was caused by a report in an Iranian paper suggesting that there had been a bomb attack at the embassy while Kyprianou entered the building.

Alithia reported that the government had decided radically to change the procedures for buying arms. It will no longer buy weapons directly from manufacturers, but from the manufacturers' agents in Cyprus. In this way, it hoped to keep track of the commissions paid to the agents. Under the old system, the manufacturer's local agent would still get commission on a deal but this was paid under the table and therefore was not taxed. By going through the agent, the percentage paid in commission would be known and therefore be taxed.

Phileleftheros, for the third successive day, led with another pessimistic report about the new initiative being worked out for Cyprus. It said that the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus, during last week's talks, agreed that this was the worst possible time for an peace initiative. Well-informed sources claimed that Turkey's active involvement in the Nato operations against Yugoslavia was a very negative development, raising fears that the content of an imminent initiative would not be favourable to the Greek side.

Simerini reported the existence of a rift within Nato with regard to the use of ground troops in Yugoslavia. It said that Greece, Italy and Germany had "attempted to close the door of war and to open the window for democracy". Greece had been trying to create the conditions that would allow the settlement of the crisis by the UN Security Council, while the German Chancellor, after talks with the Italian Prime Minister, said that the deployment of ground troops was not under consideration.

Haravghi said that communist party Akel had worked out its own proposals for the economy to counter the government's "neo-liberal" taxation plans. The Akel proposals envisaged modifications to the taxation system that would make it "socially fairer".

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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