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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-05-26

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


Wednesday, May 26, 1999

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/'EU powers seek to block accession course'/ THE GOVERNMENT'S attempt to secure House approval for its defence budget, Russian proposals about the Cyprus peace efforts and reports about obstacles to the EU accession course were the topics of yesterday's lead stories.

Politis reported that France, Britain and Germany, using the Cyprus House of Representatives' resolution about Yugoslavia (which had failed to mention the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo) as an excuse, had blocked the island's EU accession course. The resolution was cited as proof that Cyprus had not aligned itself with the EU's Common Foreign Policy and Security. As a result, the three countries suggested that the relevant chapter in accession negotiations should not be considered closed. There was now the possibility that this chapter would be closed for all applicant countries except Cyprus at the June 22 meeting of EU foreign ministers, the paper said. The news was greeted with disbelief in Athens and Nicosia, which were bracing themselves for another diplomatic battle. The paper described this as "the most serious obstacle encountered", by the island in its accession course.

Haravghi said that Russia insisted that any paper drafted by the G8 (the Group of seven richest countries plus Russia) about Cyprus should include a reference to UN resolutions. It quoted Russia's ambassador to Cyprus Georgi Muratov as saying that his country was the only one insisting on this reference, ahead of June's G8 summit. The paper noted that Britain and the US had flatly refused to include any reference to the UN resolutions in the document about Cyprus. Their aim, according to the paper, was to get round the UN resolutions so that the peace talks, scheduled for September, would not be within the framework set by UN resolutions.

Phileleftheros, quoting an anonymous Russian source, said Moscow was worried that Britain and the US were attempting to scrap the UN basis of the intercommunal talks. The source said it did not matter that the talks would be under the auspices of UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan as the invitation would effectively eliminate past UN decisions. The UN Security Council was expected to call on the leaders of the two communities to respond positively to Annan's invitation to peace talks. This invitation would signal the start of a new procedure which will be linked to a G8 initiative, the paper said.

Alithia claimed that the meeting of party leaders at the presidential palace, called by President Clerides to secure support in the House for the government's 1999 defence budget did not provide answers to issues of substance. These would be answered after the scheduled discussions on defence between the governments of Greece and Cyprus. In view of the expected resumption of peace talks, all the government's moves in the defence field would be "very cautious", which was welcomed by the government.

Machi said that the parties which took part in the above-mentioned meeting had committed themselves to making an effort at bridging their differences with the government. Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou did not attend in protest against the government's inability to brief him about its plans.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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