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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-04
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Saturday, October 4, 1997
 Ledra Palace police deny obstructing people wanting to crossBy Jean Christou
A NICOSIA couple has claimed that Ledra Palace checkpoint police attempted to dissuade them from crossing to the north with a list of curious demands.
Two months ago, officers who are stationed at the checkpoint received a letter from headquarters instructing them to allow any Greek Cypriot who wished to cross to the occupied areas to do so without any restrictions.
Technically, there have never been any restrictions since the Greek Cypriot side does not recognise that any border
exists, but in practice Greek Cypriots could not even attempt to cross unless there were special circumstances.
The new instructions were issued after difficulties began arising for the growing number of people wanting to attend bi-communal activities at the Ledra Palace.
They were not being allowed to pass unless their names were on a special list. After the intervention of the UN, the lists were recently abolished and police at the checkpoint said the instructions also applied to any Greek Cypriot who wished to go to the north, and not just to the Ledra Palace.
However, when an American woman living in Nicosia went to the checkpoint to cross with her Greek Cypriot husband, they claim they were told they could not cross to the other side without first registering with the police and paying a form of tax.
In a letter to the Cyprus Mail, the couple said one police officer said the tax was £50 and another said it was £70.
"We were also told that even after completing both the above-mentioned prerequisites, he would also need some kind of guide to go across with him, " the letter said.
The couple stressed the entire conversation took place in Greek, so there was no room for misunderstanding.
They claim one of the officers also told the man his wife was free to cross at any time since she was American, "but he should not recommend or permit his wife to cross since many female tourists re-entering the free areas came back with their clothes torn and terrible stories of bad experiences".
The couple said they didn't believe a word of this: if it were true, both the press and the demonstrators protesting at the crossing "would have a field day with just one such true story from a tourist," they said.
"Perhaps the officers were not informed of this new regulation or deliberately gave out misinformation that it was such an expense and a bother to comply that we would give up the idea of crossing over," the letter said.
A police officer at the checkpoint yesterday confirmed the new instructions were still in place. They said many Greek Cypriots had gone through but had been stopped by the Turks at their checkpoint.
The officer also said no "guide" was needed and that Greek Cypriots who wished to cross could do so in the same way as tourists - by giving in their names and returning to the free areas by 5pm, "if the Turks let you pass".
A source at police headquarters said he found it impossible to believe any officer at the checkpoint would risk his job by acting in this way.
Diplomatic sources, however, said it was well known that police at the checkpoint tried to dissuade people from crossing.
"I have spoken to tourists who have been advised not to go because they will be raped or killed," the sources said.
"The leadership is saying one thing, but some people at the bottom are screwing things up out of a misplaced sense of patriotism."
 Bill will help us beat smuggling - KoshisJUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday backed a controversial bill to regulate movement of goods from the occupied areas.
Koshis said the new bill would aid the police considerably in its aim to smash smuggling rings and illegal trade with the occupied areas.
He said the changes were such that stiffer punishments for smuggling would act as a deterrent.
Koshis observed that illegal dealings with the occupied areas had now become a daily norm and the police needed every legal assistance to help beat the criminals.
The minister's vote of confidence comes after the bill got a choppy ride in the House Legal Affairs Committee on Thursday.
Fears were raised that it would open the floodgates for Turkish produce and goods usurped from Greek Cypriot property.
Deputy Attorney-general Loukis Loucaides, who drafted the bill, tried to allay such fears yesterday.
He said that imposing stringent checks was better than the current situation of having no controls at all.
The proposals are also a move to satisfy the EU that Turkish Cypriots can trade with the Greek Cypriot side and that this is regulated, as Cyprus is a united entity, said Loucaides.
Under the bill's provisions, an inspector would have to clear all goods from the occupied areas.
Persons moving or selling goods without the appropriate permit will face a maximum four-year jail term and/or a £2,000 fine.
 Clerides to talk business with US investorsTHE GOVERNMENT is giving the US the hard sell on Cyprus as a financial centre for American investors, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou stated yesterday.
"What will be discussed is basically the projection of Cyprus as a significant regional commercial and economic centre for interested American businessmen," the minister said in reference to business contacts President Clerides is expected to have while in New York next week.
Clerides and Central bank governor Afxentios Afxentiou are to meet with a group of US economists and banking experts.
Christodoulou said the meetings had nothing to do with encouraging joint ventures between Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen.
"I do not consider that at this stage the discussion will concern activities between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus with intervention by (US emissary Richard) Holbrooke," Christodoulou said.
However, in the same context, Holbrooke spoke of the value of trade links between the two sides in Cyprus.
"If the borders between the two parts of Cyprus opened up for international business, it would be mutually beneficial. Trade between people should proceed," the US diplomat said in New York.
"Many peoples and countries have trade when they do not have their political differences settled," Holbrooke said.
Holbrooke has been the instigator for a conference in Brussels later this month aimed at promoting economic co-operation between businessmen from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.
Asked to comment on Holbrooke's remarks, Christodoulou said:
"All these things were always within our aims." But he warned of the dangers of recognition of the occupation regime.
For his part, UN special envoy Gustave Feissel welcomed the idea of US efforts to promote commercial activity between the two sides. "Anything that facilitates contact is good
 Feissel confirms talks pause until after electionsBy Jean Christou
THE NEXT major effort on the Cyprus issue will not take place until after the February 1998 presidential elections, UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel said yesterday.
Feissel, who will be away from the island until October 26, was speaking on his departure at Larnaca Airport.
Referring to President Clerides' upcoming meeting with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan in New York, Feissel said he expected the two men to review the situation and decide how to proceed in efforts for a settlement.
"I think Kofi Annan will take advantage of this meeting to have a very thorough review of the situation, see how things have evolved over the past several months, what the assessment is and how to proceed," Feissel said.
Two rounds of face-to-face talks between Clerides and Rauf Denktash in Troutbeck New York and Glion in Switzerland earlier this year came to nothing after the Turkish Cypriot leader insisted Cyprus' EU accession negotiations be postponed until after a settlement.
Yesterday's Turkish Cypriot press quoted Denktash as saying there was "no meaning any more in sitting at the negotiating table with the Greek Cypriots."
"I cried out at the Troutbeck and Glion talks that our rights were being taken away from us," Denktash said. "Finally I have understood just one thing quite well. I will not sit at the negotiating table to discuss an agreement with the Greek Cypriots until the TRNC has been recognised."
He said the responsibility for the failure of the talks lay with the outside world which accepted the Greek Cypriot side as the government of all of Cyprus.
Feissel, however, said talks would resume, but not until after the presidentials: "We all understand that a major effort on the overall settlement is not likely to take place until after the election in February."
"But in the meantime we can still take a number of important small steps such as the July agreement on humanitarian issues and what we are trying to do on security," Feissel added.
Two meetings on humanitarian issues between the two leaders took place in July and a meeting on security, orchestrated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was held last week.
At the humanitarian meetings it was agreed both sides would exchange information on the missing.
Feissel said representatives from both sides would meet next week to exchange the information and discuss arrangements for the return of remains.
He added he expected the UN chief to give "very careful" consideration to the appointment of a new third member to the Committee for Missing Persons (CMP).
Referring to last week's meeting on security, Feissel expressed regret that an agreement had not been possible.
"We haven't given up hope and we will continue because we believe that even a modest step on security will be very important for both sides," Feissel said.
He added an agreement on security would help bring about a better climate which would facilitate UN efforts in the coming months and "the big step, when the time comes".
Meanwhile, the US is also intensifying its efforts to restart the Cyprus talks.
Within the framework of improving Greco-Turkish relations, Marc Grossman, State Department official responsible for European Affairs is expected to visit the region next week, the Turkish Daily News reported yesterday.
 Broad political opposition to Denktash call for national congressTURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has chided three of the political parties in the north over their opposition to his proposal for a National Congress on the Cyprus issue.
Turkish Cypriot press yesterday reported that the party leaders in the occupied areas all attended a meeting on the issue.
Before the meeting, Denktash said he had proposed the formation of a national congress to create the movement he needed on the Cyprus issue.
He had "sown the seeds of a national congress and they were now sprouting," he said. He added his proposal arose from the need to take the Cyprus problem to the people "to make them aware of the danger".
Political parties - including one of the governing coalition parties, the National Unity Party (UBP) of `Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu - have charged that the proposed congress would by-pass `parliament'. In response, Denktash said: "You do not have to teach me that the Assembly is the highest authority and that in a democracy there is no organisation above the Assembly. My need is to go to the people. I wanted to do this with you."
Denktash also said the UBP had been in too much of a hurry to reject his proposal. He said he had spoken to Eroglu, who was in Ankara receiving medical treatment when his party came out against the congress, and claimed the `prime minister' had no knowledge of his party's decision.
Co-governing Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktash, son of the Turkish Cypriot leader, said after the meeting that a national congress would be set up without delay, but the UBP said there was no question of the party reconsidering its decision.
Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the opposition Republican Turkish Party (RTP), said there had been no consensus on the issue at the meeting, while Mustafa Akinci who heads the opposition Communal Liberation party reiterated his call to abandon the National Congress and look to improving national revenue.
 Miller promoted to ambassadorPRESIDENT Clinton has announced his intention to nominate US special co- ordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller to the rank of Ambassador.
Miller, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Athens since 1994, was appointed as special Cyprus co-ordinator earlier this year.
The announcement of his promotion was made in Washington on Thursday.
 Murder over who would wash the dishesA DISAGREEMENT between two dish-washers at a hotel in occupied Kyrenia led to the death of one of them, according to yesterday's Turkish Cypriot press.
Reports said that an argument over who was to wash that night's dishes broke out on Thursday between Mehmet Reyhan and Ali Yesilirmak at the Lapithos hotel.
Tempers escalated and Reyhan grabbed a knife, stabbing his co-worker twice.
Yesilirmak was rushed to hospital, but died on the way. Reyhan has now been arrested by Turkish Cypriot 'authorities' and charged with murder.
The papers said sources close to the two claimed the incident may have begun as a prank between friends.
 Further remand for drug youths, but one releasedTHREE youths were yesterday remanded for a further eight days in connection with what police have described as the biggest ever seizure of marijuana destined for the local market.
Andreas Charalambous, a 23-year-old private employee from Latsia outside Nicosia, unemployed 20-year-old Akis Afxentiou, from Yeri near Nicosia, and Nicos Nicolaou, also from Yeri, were arrested on September 24. Police said seven-and-a-half kilos of marijuana and just over a kilo of cannabis resin had been discovered in Nicolaou's hand-luggage when he arrived on a 9pm flight from Amsterdam.
A fourth youth arrested at the same time, Michalis Psaris, 20, unemployed, from the Nicosia suburb of Aglandjia, has since been released without charge for lack of evidence against him.
Larnaca District Court heard that police believed the three suspects were couriers for a drug smuggling gang headed by a special policeman consigned to Larnaca airport. Twenty-four-year-old Andreas Flourentzou, from Latsia outside Nicosia, was remanded in custody in connection with the case on Monday. He has been suspended from his duties.
Charalambous, Afxentiou, Psaris and Flourentzou were all implicated in a confession police said Nicolaou had made after his arrest.
Investigating officer Andreas Vrionis told the court police were searching for four other men thought to be involved in the smuggling and were also after a man Nicolaou had allegedly named as his contact in Holland.
 European court to rule on Chlorakas shooting next weekTHE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights will deliver a judgement on Thursday over the case of Lefteris Antoniou and Elsie Constantinou, the young couple killed in a police raid on Constantinou's flat in Chlorakas on Christmas Eve 1993.
Members of the anti-terrorist squad MMAD surrounded the flat after Antoniou held his fiancée at gunpoint following a domestic dispute.
A four-man rescue squad broke in to the apartment, there was an exchange of fire and the couple were both killed. One policeman was injured.
A commission of enquiry which looked into the case exonerated all concerned.
In August 1994, however, the couples' parents appealed to the European Commission alleging violation of their children's right to life and of their own right to bring a civil action against the police.
In May 1996, the Commission expressed the opinion that there had been a violation of the right to life, but said the second claim was unsubstantiated.
 Unions threaten hotel havoc in support of Azur strikersNEXT week could see more than 70 hotels in the Limassol area brought to a standstill as over 8,000 Peo and Sek union members threaten to walk out in support of striking employees from the Azur Hotel who have been on strike for ten weeks.
Union bosses said yesterday whether or not the walkout went ahead depended on the outcome of a last-ditch meeting to be held at the Labour Ministry on Monday morning as part of a government mediation bid.
The Azur staff went on strike in July after claiming that the hotel owner had illegally hired foreign workers. The owner denies any wrongdoing. The situation has remained deadlocked as both sides have refused any compromise.
 Government to offer incentives to encourage bourse listingsGOVERNMENT plans to attract more companies to the stock exchange by offering tax breaks received a positive response from bourse officials and traders, but they argued that more was needed to help the infant market.
The Finance Ministry plans to reduce corporate tax by five percentage points for companies seeking a listing on the market, which trades in 93 securities of 44 listed companies. Corporate tax rates currently stand at 20 per cent on net income below £40,000 and 25 per cent above that figure.
Other planned government incentives include an increase in tax free allowances on proceeds from dividends and government bonds.
The planned incentives were discussed during a hearing yesterday at the House of Representatives finance committee. A House decision on the government bill is expected within 15 days.
Responding to the government's proposals, Cyprus Stock Market Chairman Dinos Papadopoulos told the committee: "The incentives are welcome, but my personal view is that the reduction of corporate tax on its own is not enough."
Former president George Vassiliou, a committee member, said tax allowances should be introduced on the distribution of profits for private companies converting into public and listed ones.
"Our stock exchange lacks depth. We need more companies and more investors, " said Vassiliou, himself a prominent economist.
Stockbrokers' association chairman Louis Clappas told the committee that traders wanted to see more tax allowances on dividends and bond proceeds.
The Cyprus Stock Market, which became official in March last year, could use all the help it could get to attract more foreign and domestic investors.
It faces competition from other emerging markets in the region which, through liberalisation and lucrative privatisations, have attracted sizeable foreign investments.
The political uncertainty looming over the island's future, however, appears to stand in the way of the market's evolution into a key regional bourse, but sustained confidence in the country's economic fundamentals and the strength of some sectors, such as banking and insurance, have kept it afloat.
 Evik boss resignsPANOS Ioannides, the chairman of the Union of Cypriot Industrialists (Evik), has resigned over differences with other organisations, he said yesterday.
In a statement issued yesterday, Ioannides, who was president of Evik for nine months, said his organisation's efforts had constantly been undermined by the island's other two main bodies, the Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev) and the Chambers of Commerce (Keve).
"Their behaviour had definite negative consequences on the work of Evik," Ioannides said. He did not elaborate.
 Do more to held the agedBy Andrew Adamides
THE ASSOCIATION of Welfare Groups for Pensioners, Poseh, yesterday announced at a press conference that it was dissatisfied with the provisions the government had made for the aged, and unveiled a package of demands aimed at improving the lot of pensioners.
Bishop Chrysostomos of Kitium, spokesman for the group, said that on the occasion of the October 1 Day of the Aged, Poseh called on the House of Representatives to find a fairer way to distribute national income in order to give pensioners a fairer deal. He also called for the abolition of taxes on pensions.
In addition, the Bishop said the Pensioners Card issued by the government was useless and that legal amendments must be made to change this situation, and to allow a variety of other measures, including spot checks on old peoples' homes to ensure that the quality of care met required standards.
Many of the demands centred around the needs of the enclaved, the majority of whom fall into the over-60 age bracket. The Bishop said Poseh wanted free access for subsidised busses to and from Karpasia, improved medical care and government funding for repairs to the homes of the enclaved.
He also said the enclaved needed another priest.
In the free areas, the Bishop complained that there were still no specialised geriatric wards in hospitals, and that far too many old people were ending up in old people's homes. He called for the government to give tax breaks to young people in order to persuade them to keep older relatives
 Top officials to address human rights seminarA SEMINAR on "The European Convention on Human Rights" will be held today at the St. Raphael Hotel in Limassol.
Beginning at 9am, the seminar is hosted by the International Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Cyprus and the Directorate of Human Rights.
Among the speakers will be the President of the Association and deputy Attorney-general Loukis Loucaides, Attorney-general Alecos Markides and Minister of Justice Nicos Koshis.
The issues addressed will include the missing and the problem of large- scale violations of human rights.
 Russian boy in tragic holiday drowningAN 11-year old Russian boy drowned at a hotel swimming pool in Limassol yesterday just hours after arriving on the island with his parents for a holiday.
Minutes after checking in at the hotel at around 3 p.m., Yuri Alexander Kamenniki and his 10-year-old sister went to the pool.
According to police, a short while later the little girl's shouts brought their parents down from their room to the pool where they saw Yuri in the water.
His father pulled out the unconscious child and administered first aid until an ambulance arrived.
Yuri was taken to Limassol hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. Police said there were no signs of external injuries.
 Turks unveil `Water of Peace' projectBy Martin Hellicar
THE GOVERNMENT has had no contacts with the Turkish side concerning a Turkish government plan to transport water from Asia Minor to Cyprus.
According to a report in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris, the ambitious plan would be able to meet the needs of the free areas as well as of the north, and was therefore being christened the "Water of Peace" project by its instigators.
But the director of the Water Development department, Christodoulos Christodoulou, said yesterday there had been "no official contact" with the Turkish side on the issue.
He said he was "aware" of the proposed project, but that was all.
Kibris reported that the project, approved by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, envisaged the creation of a pipeline to carry water from a dam on the Manavgat river on Asia Minor's south coast to the occupied areas.
The $122 million project would be completed by the end of this year or early in 1998, Kibris said. The plan provides for 180 million cubic metres of water to be transported to the north annually. The water will be stored at the Yialia installations on occupied Morphou bay and pumped from there to meet the requirements of all of occupied Cyprus, Kibris stated.
The project also aims to sell water to the "south" of Cyprus, and, by ship or "balloon", to Israel and Libya, the paper said.
Kibris reported that $57 million had already been invested in the project.
Meanwhile, meteorology service statistics released yesterday showed there was no immediate sign of an end to the drought.
Rainfall in September was 478 per cent of normal, but average precipitation over 12 months from October to September was only 78 per cent of normal. A dry winter and virtually rain-free summer have left dams at only around 25 per cent
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