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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-28

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Tuesday, October 28, 1997

CONTENTS

  • [01] Clerides to announce decision next month
  • [02] CHOGM concerned over missile threats
  • [03] EU to gauge Turkish reaction to Cyprus accession talks
  • [04] Cordovez to visit next month
  • [05] Witness says Aeroporos brothers carried out gangland murders
  • [06] Arms build-up in north to be monitored
  • [07] Civil defence 'grossly undermanned'
  • [08] Delta force claims 'nonsense'
  • [09] Crackdown on planning permission violations needed
  • [10] Burglary suspect remanded
  • [11] Burnt man suspected of arson
  • [12] Boy missing for more than a year
  • [13] Ombudsman seeks increased powers
  • [14] PIO booklets useless and a waste of money, says MP
  • [15] Four remanded in animal smuggling case
  • [16] Man remanded after 'road rage brawl'
  • [17] Storm havoc in Larnaca
  • [18] Popular Bank expands in Canada

  • [01] Clerides to announce decision next month

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Conference that he will announce whether or not he is to stand in the next presidential elections between the 15th and the 20th of November.

    Clerides followed up earlier statements that his candidacy would depend on his health, his popularity and the state of the Cyprus problem, saying he felt the first two were in a good state, but that there could be developments on the third criteria that might prevent him from standing, although he did not elaborate on this. He also said that his wife would prefer him not to stand, but added that she would support him in whatever his decision was.

    When asked whether he would support Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou if he didn't run, Clerides said he had not agreed to support Kyprianou, merely to vote for him. He added that he could not bind Disy to supporting Kyprianou as he was no longer head of the party.

    Meanwhile, Diko announced yesterday that its executive committee will meet on November 4 to discuss the future of the party's troubled alliance with Disy and the participation of Diko ministers in the Clerides government.

    Asked about Clerides' statements regarding his support for Kyprianou's candidacy, party spokesman Andreas Constantinou cited statements he said were made by the government spokesman on September 11 as proof Clerides had pledged his full support for Kyprianou and not just his vote.

    [02] CHOGM concerned over missile threats

    By Jean Christou

    COMMONWEALTH leaders yesterday expressed concern over Turkish threats to use force against Cyprus and integrate the occupied areas with Turkey.

    In its final five-page communique, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which concluded yesterday in Edinburgh makes extensive reference to Cyprus.

    The Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic.

    They also expressed their concern about recent threats by Turkey to use force against the island if the Russian S-300 missiles are deployed on the island next year.

    Turkish threats to integrate the occupied areas was also of concern to CHOGM, the document said, and called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops and settlers from the island and the return of refugees to their homes.

    The Commonwealth heads also said they regretted that negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem have been at an impasse for too long, and strongly supported the process of direct intercommunal talks under the UN secretary-general's mission of good offices.

    They expressed concern and disappointment that progress had been impeded by efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side to introduce pre-conditions to the talks, and called for a attitude of co-operation on all sides to achieve a workable settlement.

    During the closing press conference, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said his government's role in efforts for a Cyprus solution will be intensified.

    Blair pointed to the importance of a Cyprus settlement in relation to the country's EU accession course.

    "It is very important to the accession negotiations of Cyprus with the EU and we will carry on doing whatever we can to bring about a proper settlement and rapprochement," Blair said.

    Asked whether a British initiative will be launched on Cyprus, Blair said: "It is not a question of some initiative but it is a question of carrying on the work that we are doing and trying to intensify where we can."

    "We will obviously continue to play our part in trying to search for a solution. We want that very much," he added.

    [03] EU to gauge Turkish reaction to Cyprus accession talks

    By Jean Christou

    EU COMMISSIONER Hans van den Broek is expected to visit Cyprus at the beginning of December, it was confirmed yesterday.

    Van den Broek will also visit Turkey during his trip to the region but there is no confirmation Athens will be included, officials said.

    While on the island van den Broek will meet President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Turkish Cypriot press yesterday reports said the EU Commissioner wants to see the reaction of the Turkish side to the opening of accession talks with the Cyprus government at the beginning of next year.

    Denktash said on his current visit to the US that Cyprus-EU accession is now the Cyprus problem, and that if the EU negotiations go ahead he will withdraw from the UN-sponsored political dialogue.

    December's visit to Ankara will be the EU Commissioner's second trip to Turkey in the space of six weeks.

    He will also be there on Thursday to build bridges with the Turkish government over the upcoming Cyprus-EU talks.

    Reports from after the weekend EU Foreign Ministers' summit in Luxembourg suggested van den Broek hopes to persuade the Turks to help "create a more positive climate" for talks aimed at resolving the Cyprus problem.

    In exchange the EU will hold out the prospect of Turkish participation in a European Conference being set up next year for aspiring EU members.

    But when the proposal was raised during the Luxembourg meeting Greece opposed the move unless Turkey acts to end the division of the island.

    Germany is also against including Turkey, seeing the country as a separate case. "Turkey itself knows it won't be part of the EU in the near future," German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said.

    But he added that Germany, where 2.1 million Turkish nationals live, will not turn its back on Turkey. "We feel committed in a special way to help Turkey... but we also have to say clearly what is doable and what is not."

    At the informal weekend meeting, the 15 EU foreign ministers neared agreement on a European Commission proposal to start entry talks with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus in 1998.

    However the first newcomers will probably not take their seats until at least 2003 or 2004.

    [04] Cordovez to visit next month

    By Andrew Adamides

    CYPRUS can expect a visit next month from United Nations Special Advisor on Cyprus Diego Cordovez, President Glafcos Clerides said yesterday.

    Clerides said he had been told about the visit in a letter from UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan. He added that similar letters had also been sent to the Greek and Turkish governments as well as to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    According to the letter, Clerides said, Cordovez' visit will be to examine whether or not the two sides are ready for open-ended talks on the Cyprus problem.

    The visit was also confirmed yesterday by UN Resident Representative Gustave Feissel.

    Speaking on his return from the United States, Feissel said he had not yet seen the letter, but that he understood it also suggested that Cordovez would go on from Cyprus to visit both Greece and Turkey.

    While in New York, Feissel said he had held meetings with Annan on "a whole range of matters", including the possibility of further talks on security issues.

    But he avoided commenting on whether or not Clerides could commit the Greek Cypriot side to further talks in view of the presidential election next February.

    Feissel also refrained from directly commenting on reports that the Turkish side had recently brought more weaponry into the occupied areas recently. He said he did not know of any new developments on this front, but that "normally Unficyp is pretty much aware of what is going on".

    Feissel also reiterated the UN position that in spite of Denktash's threats to block Cyprus' bid for accession to the European Union, both sides are expected to co-operate in moving forward on the issue.

    The accession talks are scheduled to begin next spring.

    [05] Witness says Aeroporos brothers carried out gangland murders

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE FANIEROS trial turned into a who's who of unsolved gangland hits yesterday when a prosecution witness tried to pin past murders on the Aeroporos brothers.

    Tassos Simellides, chief prosecution witness in the Fanieros trial, gave Nicosia Assizes a list of murders he claimed the Aeroporos brothers were responsible for.

    Under a third day of cross-examination by defence lawyer Efstathios Efstathiou, Simellides said he had good reason to be scared of the brothers.

    The witness said he was forced to take part (as a driver) in the attempted murder of Larnaca club owner Antonis Fanieros on May 29, because he and his relatives were threatened by members of the Aeroporos family.

    Three Aeroporos brothers - Hambis, 35, Andros, 30 and Panicos, 25 - are charged with conspiracy and the attempted murder of Fanieros.

    Efstathiou put it to Simellides that on no occasion was he ever threatened by his clients, and that he never met the brothers on the day of the drive- by shooting.

    Simellides said his fear of the brothers was very real as "they murdered Panicos Michael and his children".

    Panayiotis Kafkaris is now serving a life sentence for placing the bomb under Michael's car ten years ago, killing him and his two young sons.

    "Kafkaris is in jail because he was scared to talk about them (the Aeroporos brothers)," Simellides told the court. "That's the reason why they are not in jail."

    Father of three Simellides has already been sentenced to nine years in prison for his part in the shooting.

    But the witness repeated his claim that the Aeroporos brothers left him no other choice than to drive the motorbike which he said carried Panicos Aeroporos to the scene.

    Simellides told the court he was told by the brothers: "If you don't go and do the job you will suffer the same fate as the others."

    When he was asked who the others might be, he said: "Melios Athinis and Petros Yiannakis."

    Both the men he named were victims of so far unsolved murders thought to have been gangland hits.

    Athinis, a night club owner, was gunned down in Limassol on November 8, 1995, and Yiannakis was killed in Ayia Napa by a car bomb last year.

    The trial continues.

    [06] Arms build-up in north to be monitored

    THE government is closely monitoring the movement of weapons to the occupied areas, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.

    Speaking to state radio from Edinburgh where he has been attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Cassoulides said he could not confirm reports about the arrival of scores of special units at occupied Famagusta port, but said the situation would be monitored.

    "We knew there was a chance Turkey would boost its military presence on the pretext of next week's manoeuvres," Cassoulides said, referring to war games planned for November 1 in the occupied areas.

    "We are therefore watching the situation very carefully to see whether the new weaponry will be sent back after the manoeuvres, and act accordingly."

    Asked if the transfer of arms creates tension on the island, Cassoulides said: "Anything that increases unnecessarily Turkey's military presence in occupied Cyprus, which is already very strong, creates tension because it raises many questions."

    State radio yesterday reported that infantry and artillery divisions in the north have been boosted and that the Turkish navy has unloaded 80 tanks and 30 personnel carriers over the past few days.

    [07] Civil defence 'grossly undermanned'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE COUNTRY'S civil defence system is severely hampered by a lack of personnel and equipment, Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides conceded yesterday.

    For the system to work effectively and respond to any emergency, civil defence needed at least 88 staff - 82 more than it has, he said.

    Michaelides also told the House Finance Committee that civil defence needed an annual injection of 5.5 million to meet its needs.

    At present the civil defence network is managed by six civil servants in the various districts, which Michaelides admitted was way below what was necessary.

    "It is not possible for a system to work on this basis. We can't expect one civil servant in each district to respond to any event effectively."

    He said a report prepared by experts said a well-organised network in Cyprus needed 88 personnel "as the absolute minimum. The experts said that even eighty-seven wouldn't be enough for it to operate efficiently."

    Although Michaelides said he was satisfied with the way civil defence responded in its present predicament, "its capabilities are very limited".

    Independent deputy Marios Matsakis said the public were of the view that the government's civil defence budget was geared to spending 500,000 on salaries while "offering absolutely nothing in return".

    Michaelides replied that public opinion had been misinformed.

    The minister also pointed out that volunteer recruitment would concentrate on older people and women in order not to clash with those needed for National Guard duty.

    The Council of Ministers will study the civil defence plan, completed by the commissioned experts, on November 5.

    Michaelides said that his ministry was also in the process of categorising specific buildings deemed as suitable shelters in times of emergency.

    [08] Delta force claims 'nonsense'

    CLAIMS that crack US special forces are training in Akrotiri have been shot down by the British Bases.

    The newspaper Tharros yesterday splashed a headline story "exclusively revealing" that the secretive Delta Force was currently active in Cyprus.

    Tharros says it has acquired a Pentagon document which contains a decision to send the special forces outfit to Cyprus in order to protect "American interests" in the region.

    It claims a Delta Force unit, which has links with the SAS, is being accommodated by the Akrotiri RAF base.

    "That's absolute nonsense - and you can quote me on that," bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones told the Cyprus Mail.

    [09] Crackdown on planning permission violations needed

    THE government wants to impose tougher penalties on those who violate building restrictions.

    Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides said yesterday that most people apply for building relaxations after they have already constructed a house or a hotel.

    "Many apply for planning relaxations just for a joke," he said.

    The minister was responding to a question by Diko's Tassos Papadopoulos on why the public is not treated equally when it comes to planning permission.

    He suggested that building relaxations, after permission has already been given, should be abandoned altogether.

    Michaelides said that some restrictions to town planning law need to be relaxed in the "public interest".

    But he said the government wanted to get tougher with those who defy building restrictions.

    He said the onus will put on the architect and the building contractor to ensure no violations take place. Otherwise they could lose their jobs and have their equipment confiscated as part of any new legislation.

    "We believe that such penalties will restrict the growing number of town planning violations," said Michaelides.

    [10] Burglary suspect remanded

    A NATIONAL Guardsman from Sotira village was remanded for eight days by Limassol Court yesterday on suspicion of carrying out 13 burglaries over a 12-month period.

    Panayiotis Kakousis, 19, is suspected of stealing goods and cash worth more than 7,000, mostly from petrol stations and electrical shops, since the summer of 1996.

    [11] Burnt man suspected of arson

    A PAPHOS man who was admitted to hospital with severe facial burns has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a truck in the town on Sunday.

    Andreas Constantinou, 27, from Tremithousa, was arrested after police investigations into the arson attack on the truck belonging to Evripides Charalambous from Paphos.

    They took Constantinou to Paphos hospital where he is being treated for burns to his face and neck and his right hand.

    A forensic pathologist was sent to the hospital later yesterday to examine his injuries to establish whether Constantinou is linked to the crime.

    [12] Boy missing for more than a year

    POLICE yesterday appealed for information about a 7-year-old London Cypriot boy who has been missing for more than a year.

    Antonakis Stylianou was brought to the island on September 2 last year by his father, who is divorced from the boy's mother, and three days later the two left for Beirut.

    There has been no contact with his mother since then.

    Antonakis has light brown hair and brown eyes, and anyone who might know of his whereabouts is asked to contact the nearest police station.

    [13] Ombudsman seeks increased powers

    By Charlie Charalambous

    OMBUDSMAN Nicos Charalambous has proposed that he be given the powers of a criminal investigator to enable him to probe allegations of police brutality.

    The Ombudsman's draft amendment bill was submitted to the House Ethics Committee yesterday and received initial backing from Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    But the Justice Ministry said it was opposed to upgrading the powers of the Ombudsman.

    Charalambous wants to be given the mandate to collect evidence against the police, National Guard or prison authorities and for it to be admissible in court.

    Although the Ombudsman can follow up brutality complaints his evidence cannot be used in any legal proceedings.

    Under his proposals he would have similar powers of any criminal investigator and submit his evidence to the attorney-general who could based criminal proceedings on the Ombudsman's findings.

    Markides told the committee that his first impressions was that there was no legal obstacle to upgrading the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

    "I can find no legal objection to that which the Ombudsman proposes."

    But the Justice Ministry rejected the idea, saying the tradition of an Ombudsman is based on different principles and objectives.

    The ministry stands by a Council of Ministers decision in 1995 to reject such a change.

    It was argued that the Ombudsman had an advisory role only, had a separate jurisdiction, and was not bound by rules governing criminal investigators.

    But despite the official objections, the consensus among committee members seemed to favour giving the Ombudsman more power.

    "This would help give the public the impression that there was an independent complaints process," said Edek's Doros Theodorou.

    [14] PIO booklets useless and a waste of money, says MP

    GOVERNMENT publications promoting the Cyprus issue are a waste of time and money, Diko deputy Tassos Papadopoulos claimed yesterday.

    He questioned whether the government had got its priorities right on foreign language 'awareness' publications because he found them a pointless exercise.

    "What benefit does 1.5 million worth of PIO publications have when they contain a speech by the president given two months ago?"

    Papadopoulos said he had read such publications which he considered of no benefit to the diaspora and no help in influencing international public opinion.

    "These are useless publications which interest anybody," Papadopoulos told yesterday's House Finance Committee review of the Interior Ministry budget.

    He said awareness literature should be specifically targeted to the country in question - it was no use sending English publications to Russia, for example.

    Papadopoulos also claimed that many of these "dry publications" never saw the light of day, and just gathered dust at the various embassies.

    "They are sent to embassies who don't know what to do with them."

    The deputy also queried the wisdom of having civil servants employed to review foreign press reports at embassies abroad.

    He wondered whether it would not be better for them to improve contacts with foreign journalists rather than just read their articles.

    [15] Four remanded in animal smuggling case

    By Jean Christou

    FOUR men were remanded by Nicosia court yesterday on suspicion of smuggling hundreds of animals from the occupied areas.

    They are Sotiris Charalambous, 45, an iron worker and Avram Mouzouris, 63, both from Lymbia, and shepherd Panayiotis Christodoulou, 30, and Andreas Demetriades, 55, an animal breeder, both from Dhali.

    They were arrested on Sunday after police took statements from two Turkish Cypriots who were arrested last week during a police sting operation near Lymbia.

    Police say the four were named by the Turkish Cypriots as their accomplices in the free areas.

    The court heard yesterday that between them the four men had been involved in bringing over hundreds of animals from the occupied areas over a period of several years.

    Two Turkish Cypriots were remanded by the Nicosia court on Friday for eight days on suspicion of smuggling guns and animals from the occupied areas.

    Butcher Mustafa Veli, 33, and Osman Konotoz, 41, a shepherd, both from Louroujina, were arrested on Thursday after a sting operation by police, who said they found a pistol and 19 bullets in their possession when the two were detained.

    The Turkish Cypriots say the two men were "abducted by the Greek Cypriot police" and have called for their immediate release.

    Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Society president Hassan Isik has said they will protest about the 'abduction' to the UN.

    He also called for the complete closure of the 'border' if the two Turkish Cypriots are not freed before November 15.

    [16] Man remanded after 'road rage brawl'

    AN EGYPTIAN national was remanded by the Limassol court for eight days yesterday for allegedly injuring four teenagers with a knife during a roadside brawl on Sunday evening.

    The court heard that Khalil Ishak Mourad, 22, pulled a knife on the four youths aged 16-18 during a row after a confrontation when the Cypriots overtook his motorbike.

    Police say the row began after the four Cypriots stopped their car "for reasons now being investigated by the police".

    Mourad threw stones at the car and smashed the back window, according to police. But yesterday the court heard the four had shouted abuse at Mourad while overtaking him.

    He allegedly shouted back, and the youths then blocked the road by pulling in front of his motorbike.

    Police told the court Mourad then pulled out a knife and hit out at the youths.

    All five were taken to hospital with light injuries. Three of the youths were also arrested but later released.

    Mourad has been in Cyprus illegally since January 1996, police told the court.

    [17] Storm havoc in Larnaca

    HEAVY rain and hail yesterday caused havoc in the Larnaca area between 10am and 12 noon, flooding roads and toppling trees.

    The storms were particularly severe in eastern Larnaca, where they caused devastation at the Kokkines refugee housing estate.

    Falling trees damaged the homes of two residents, Diamandos Phillipides and Giorgios Kyprianou.

    Villages on the Dhekelia road were also temporarily cut off by floods which blocked access roads, and the contents of an Aradippou grain storeroom were destroyed by flood water.

    [18] Popular Bank expands in Canada

    THE Cyprus Popular Bank has expanded its presence in Canada with the opening of a second Representative Office in Montreal. The original Representative Office was established in Toronto in 1995.

    The bank said yesterday that the new office's objective is to offer financial services to the Cypriot and Greek community in the area, as well as contributing towards its "financial, cultural and social well-being".

    © Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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