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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-04

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, November 4, 1997


  • [01] Ayios Kassianos gunfire 'blown out of all proportion'
  • [02] Feissel concern over military tension
  • [03] Guided tour of Fanieros crime scene
  • [04] Police probe 'graveyard satanism'
  • [05] Cyprus will not sell national interest for EU entry
  • [06] Cassoulides announces image offensive on laundering claims
  • [07] Kythrea refugees plan protest march
  • [08] Brigadier in promotion row
  • [09] Tourism council meets for the fist time
  • [10] Ukrainian to be extradited to Germany on prostitution charge
  • [11] Truck driver killed
  • [12] Police arrest seven Iraqis
  • [13] Diko ministers to resign tomorrow
  • [14] Turkish troops start exercise

  • [01] Ayios Kassianos gunfire 'blown out of all proportion'

    By Jean Christou

    AN INCIDENT in which shots were fired on Nicosia's Green Line on Sunday night was blown out of all proportion, Unficyp said yesterday.

    Initial reports from the occupied areas had one soldier dead and another injured in an alleged exchange of fire between Greek and Turkish Cypriot forces near Ayios Kassianos.

    The reports were denied by the Cypriot authorities and later by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Unficyp said shots had been fired but had little detail.

    "There are shootings on the Green Line quite often," an Unficyp spokesman said. "This one was picked up and blown out of all proportion because of the prevailing situation."

    National Guardsmen also heard shots, but Defence officials said they had been fired from deep within the occupied areas.

    The UN spokesman said the shots could have come from a firing range within the occupied areas or may have been an accidental discharge.

    According to the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris, the Ayios Kassianos area was "rocked by gunfire" on Sunday night.

    The paper said first a single shot, then five to six more shots were head.

    "Panicked by the gunfire, the residents poured out onto the streets and unusual activity was observed in the military units in the area," Kibris said.

    The paper quoted a Turkish source as saying there had been an exchange of fire between Greek and Turkish Cypriot soldiers after a Greek Cypriot was seen trying "to infiltrate the Turkish Cypriot guard post".

    The shots were fired after he was "told to stop," the paper said.

    The Defence Ministry, however, dismissed the reports.

    "There was no exchange of gunfire. Shots were heard about 500 metres within the Turkish occupied areas," a spokesman told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

    "There were no shots either from a National Guard post to a Turkish occupation army outpost."

    The spokesman added that it seemed the Turkish side was "aiming to create some kind of tension".

    Government spokesman Manolis Christofides said the National Guard had heard shots but "these had nothing to do with the National Guard".

    Yesterday afternoon the Turkish forces also denied the reports that an exchange of fire had taken place.

    According to Bayrak radio, only a few warning shots had been fired after a Turkish soldier saw a suspicious shadow "which could have been that of an animal".

    "The guard on duty saw some suspicious movements and he fired one or two shots into the air," a Turkish Cypriot military official told Reuters in the north. "This is nothing important."

    Unficyp is investigating the incident with the police and military from both sides, the spokesman said.

    In the area where the shots were heard, opposing forces are in close proximity, though not as close as they used to be.

    "They are further apart since the 1989 unmanning agreement but it's still not a matter of kilometres," the Unficyp spokesman said.

    [02] Feissel concern over military tension

    By Jean Christou

    THE UN is concerned about military exercises on both sides of the island, permanent Representative Gustave Feissel said yesterday.

    Speaking after a meeting with President Clerides, Feissel said the UN Security Council was concerned with the military situation in Cyprus and mentioned the resolution calling for a reduction of troops and a freeze in the military build-up.

    "Unfortunately until now this hasn't been heeded by anybody," he said, adding that if the situation remained as it was today, it had the potential to worsen and create tensions.

    "We are concerned about all kinds of military exercises and I think it would be much better if none take place because it certainly does not help in creating the right kind of climate and reducing tensions," Feissel said.

    The UN Representative said that during his 50-minute meeting with Clerides they had discussed a letter sent by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan proposing a visit by his special adviser on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, who is due on the island on November 18.

    Annan wrote to the two sides as well as to Greece and Turkey proposing a visit by Cordovez to investigate whether they would be willing to participate in open-ended talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    "I will also discuss the matter with Denktash when he comes back. I expect a meeting hopefully on Friday," Feissel said.

    Cordovez chaired two rounds of Cyprus peace talks this year which ended in deadlock after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to negotiate unless Cyprus' EU accession talks next year were postponed.

    Feissel declined to comment on what might be expected from Cordovez's visit in view of Denktash's statements that he would not be able to meet the UN envoy.

    Denktash said he would be in Turkey for medical tests when the UN adviser will be on the island.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader has also said he will not participate in any further peace efforts until December when the EU will discuss the Agenda 2000 report on enlargement.

    "Let's see what happens. I don't think we should anticipate things and today Mr Denktash will meet with the Secretary-general and I will see him after his return," Feissel said.

    Denktash, who is currently in the US, was expected to meet Annan later yesterday.

    Feissel and Clerides also discussed the issue of the exchange of information on the missing.

    The exchange was agreed at a meeting on humanitarian issues between the two leaders in July.

    "I received a letter from Mr Clerides saying that he was now ready to exchange that information on his side," Feissel said.

    The exchange was scheduled to take place at the end of September but has been postponed several times.

    However, Feissel said Denktash "has continued to indicate that he was going to deliver on his end of the deal".

    "It has taken them a little bit longer because they needed to do some work, " he said.

    [03] Guided tour of Fanieros crime scene

    By Martin Hellicar

    ASSIZES judges trying three Aeroporos brothers for attempted murder were given a tour of the scene of the crime yesterday.

    First port of call for judges Dimitris Hadjihambis, Fotos Yiassemis and Efthimoulla Kolatzi was the Larnaca gambling club where 57-year-old Antonis Fanieros was shot as he stood at a window on the night of May 29.

    Father-of-three Tassos Simellides, already convicted for acting as motorbike driver for the drive-by shooting, has testified before the court that the Aeroporos brothers Panicos, 25, Andros, 30, and Hambis, 35, were, respectively, hit-man, organiser and instigator for what he said was a gangland hit. The Aeroporos brothers, who joined in in yesterday's tour, deny charges of attempted murder.

    A massive security operation was mounted for the court's day out, with dozens of armed riot squad (MMAD) officers on the ground and a police helicopter patrolling overhead.

    After the club on Atalantis street, the court drove by the victim's apartment. In his testimony, Simellides told the court that he, Andros and Panicos had sat in a car outside the flats a few days before the attack while Andros mulled over ways to kill Fanieros.

    Fanieros appeared at a window yesterday and seemed to be trying to shout something at the Aeroporos brothers, but could not be heard. His voice has been impaired by wounds suffered in the attack.

    The court then headed for Limassol, stopping off at the Kofinou turn-off, where police officers Nicos Makrides and Yiannoulla Leonidou came under machine-gun fire while in pursuit of Fanieros's suspected hit-men shortly after the attack. Simellides has stated it was Panicos who shot at the officers after getting him to stop the bike.

    The court then went a few miles up the road to Mari quarry, where Simellides claims the get-away bike was dumped. A motorbike was recovered at the quarry a few days after the attack.

    Next stop was the Ayios Yeorgios Alamanou bridge, where Simellides, 28, has said he and Panicos were picked up by Hambis after dumping the bike and throwing the kalashnikov used in the attack into the sea at Mari.

    The marathon trial is expected to resume in its usual location, the Nicosia district court, today.

    [04] Police probe 'graveyard satanism'

    By Martin Hellicar

    "SATANIC activity" in a graveyard in the Ypsonas suburb of Limassol has got the church worried and police investigating.

    The local priest, Father Ioakim, said yesterday a number of "shocking items" had been found at the cemetery.

    "At around 12.45pm on Sunday a woman rang the church to tell us something strange had been going on at the graveyard," Father Ioakim said.

    "I went up to investigate and found a human bone and a black paper sheet spread on the ground with a demonic face on the front of it and inscriptions scrawled on the back of it, in Latin, English and Hebrew," he said. The priest said the English scrawlings read "Sacrifice to Satan".

    There were also five half-burnt candles placed at the points of two triangles drawn on the ground around the black sheet, Father Ioakim said. "The candles were of a type given to those who go on pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem," he added.

    "There is absolutely no doubt satanists are involved," Father Ioakim said. He said police had taken the "satanic" items for examination and had launched an investigation into the matter.

    He also said "strange goings-on" had been reported at the same cemetery two years ago but no concrete evidence had been found that time.

    The priest said the church was very concerned about satanic activity and the dangers it posed for young people.

    Police said the matter was being investigated and the large bone found by the priest had been sent for tests to determine if it was human. A police spokesman said satanic activity was illegal, but could not say what suspected satanists could be charged with under law.

    [05] Cyprus will not sell national interest for EU entry

    CYPRUS will not forsake its vital national interests in return for entry into the European Union.

    It should not demand that EU states issue a "blank cheque" that the Cyprus problem will not be an obstacle to entry.

    But accession talks will start next April as agreed and Cyprus will be in the next phase of EU enlargement.

    These are some of the main points to emerge from Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides' meeting yesterday with the House Finance Committee.

    Cassoulides - who was answering questions during the committee's examination of his ministry's budget for 1998 - said there were no plans to open new embassies next year.

    Studies were under way to establish how the enlightenment campaign could prove more effective. The ministry has already decided to hire a third public relations firm in the United States, but to stop using such services in Europe, he said.

    On the S-300 missiles, Cassoulides reiterated that the missiles would be deployed unless there was progress towards a settlement or agreement on demilitarisation. But he agreed with Edek's Takis Hadjidemetriou's suggestion that Cyprus should seek international support for a decision to buy weapons which are clearly defensive.

    Most of yesterday's three hour committee meeting focused on Cyprus' bid for EU membership - an issue on which Cassoulides was explicit.

    He said accession talks would start on schedule next April. They would not be difficult, but Cyprus would face as an obstacle the fact that the Cyprus problem remained unsolved. Its job was to convince the EU this was no fault of its own.

    Accession talks could operate as a catalyst for a settlement by making Turkey realise Cyprus would be part of the next enlargement.

    Cypriots must be realistic and take things step by step, rather than insist on a priori guarantees that partition would not prevent accession.

    "The first important thing is for talks to start properly, to proceed well and to reach a positive conclusion. We must take it step by step. We cannot insist on a blank cheque," he said.

    But he said he had made clear to his EU counterparts Cyprus would not sacrifice vital national interests in order to join the EU. "I have made clear that we see accession as a way of helping a settlement, and would never agree to it if it were to make the partition permanent," he said.

    Cassoulides said working groups being co-ordinated by the Planning Bureau were preparing for the start of the accession talks - and for eventual membership.

    "We will be ready for the accession talks. But as regards

    adapting local legislation, priority will be given to those laws which do not entail any cost. Those that carry a cost will be left to last and on some issues we will be asking for exemptions or extensions," he said.

    [06] Cassoulides announces image offensive on laundering claims

    CYPRUS will take the offensive to defend its reputation against claims it is used for money laundering, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.

    He told the House Finance Committee the government was preparing a national report it would use to brief foreign governments, and particularly the European Union on the issue.

    This report would in part rely on findings by foreign experts outlining Cyprus' measures against money laundering - including tough regulations by the Central Bank.

    Cassoulides, who was replying to questions during the committee's examination of his ministry's budget for 1998, said EU experts and other officials were being invited to Cyprus to see what was being done for themselves.

    Cypriot officials from the customs, the Attorney-general's office and other government departments will participate in international gatherings on the issue, particularly in meetings organised by the European Union.

    "Cyprus is being slandered that it is a place where dirty money is being laundered. I can reveal that this claim came close to being included in the European Union's Agenda 2000 and was only avoided because of our concerted action," he told the committee.

    Foreign experts will be invited to Cyprus to see the system in force. Cypriot experts will play an active role in meetings abroad.

    "At such specialised meetings we will not be represented just by our diplomatic representative in the specific country who is necessarily an observer, but will send our experts who will take an active part," he said.

    [07] Kythrea refugees plan protest march

    KYTHREA area refugees plan to march to the Mia Milia UN post outside Nicosia on Wednesday afternoon in their annual anti-occupation rally.

    At the dividing line a church service dedicated to the patron Saint of refugees, Ayios Dimitrianos, will be held, the chairman of the Kythrea refugee committee, Petros Kareklas, said at a press conference yesterday.

    The event has in previous years passed off without incident.

    [08] Brigadier in promotion row

    A NATIONAL Guard (NG) Brigadier wants the members of the cabinet and NG Commander, Nicolaos Vorvolakos, imprisoned for not promoting him.

    Brigadier Costas Vyronos lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court yesterday against the NG Officer Assessment Board for failing to comply with an October 1995 Supreme Court ruling stating that he was entitled to promotion on merit. The 1995 ruling followed Vyronos's appeal against an Assessment Board decision that he was due for promotion on grounds of seniority but not merit. Vyronos was passed over for promotion because of this assessment.

    In a statement before the court yesterday, Vyronos claimed the Assessment Board's refusal to reconsider his case in the light of the 1995 ruling constituted contempt of court.

    Contempt of a Supreme Court decision is punishable with imprisonment or a fine or both.

    The Assessment Board is made up of Vorvolakos, Defence Minister Costas Eliades, Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides and Justice Minister Nicos Koshis. Vyronos also wants the rest of the cabinet punished for endorsing the Board's decision.

    [09] Tourism council meets for the fist time

    THE NATIONAL Council for Tourism met yesterday for the first time, under the aegis of president Clerides.

    Set up by the Council of Ministers, the council includes six ministers as well as 45 representatives from the private sector.

    Commerce and Industry Minister, Kyriakos Christofi, said there had been a good exchange of views, mainly from the private sector on the role and function of the Tourism Council. This was important as the Council would have to tackle many diverse issues in the future.

    "The general consensus," said Christofi, "was that the formation of this body was a positive move, and all expressed willingness to act, each in his own way, for the successful... functioning of the body."

    Christofi said committees dealing with specific issues would be appointed and the Council would re-convene at the end of the month to decide committee regulations. Draft regulations would be prepared by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

    The Minister also stressed the advisory role the Council would play, complementing government tourism policies.

    Asked why it had taken so long to set up the Council, Christofi replied that few European countries had such bodies and that there had been no delay on the Cypriot front. In this matter, said Christofi, Cyprus might even be regarded "a pioneer".

    [10] Ukrainian to be extradited to Germany on prostitution charge

    A 37-YEAR-old Ukrainian man is to be extradited to Germany, charged with soliciting and abducting women for prostitution.

    The Justice Ministry announced yesterday that three German officers were expected to arrive on the island to return him for trial.

    Alexander Karpenko has been wanted by the German authorities since August 1994, and was arrested by Cypriot police at Larnaca Airport on May 16, 1997. After the relevant procedures, the Nicosia District court agreed to hand him over to the German police on August 6.

    Karpenko contested this decision by applying for Habeas Corpus. While the Supreme Court was reviewing his application, he fled police custody on September 11. He was found and arrested on October 3 and sentenced to six weeks imprisonment for escaping. This term expired on October 27.

    In the meantime, the Supreme Court has dismissed Karpenko's application for Habeas Corpus.

    He will be escorted back to Germany on Saturday upon the arrival of the German officers to the island.

    [11] Truck driver killed

    A GEORGIAN lorry-driver lost his life on Sunday after his loaded dump truck overturned at the Skouriotissa mine in the Morphou district.

    Fifty-three-year-old Avdandir Magdalianov, resident in Larnaca, suffered serious head and chest injuries in an accident at 10.15am, police said. He was rushed to the Evrichou medical centre and then to the Nicosia general hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival there.

    Alternative site could end Akamas exercises

    THE NATIONAL Guard may have found an alternative to Akamas for the British to hold their military exercises, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides indicated yesterday.

    But the site has still to be reviewed and British troops will therefore still use the Akamas over the next few months, beginning with a five day stint later next month.

    Cassoulides was speaking to the House Finance Committee during its examination of his ministry's budget for 1998.

    He was responding to a question by independent deputy Marios Matsakis on what the government was doing - in view particularly of calls from the House - to end British military exercises in the unspoilt peninsula. New exercises are scheduled for November 16 to 21, Matsakis said.

    Under the Treaty of Establishment, British troops have the right to train in the Akamas for up to 90 days a year. After talks between the two sides, it was agreed Cyprus would find an alternative site which would be less ecologically sensitive than the Akamas.

    The National Guard had initially indicated none of its training sites would be available. But the situation may have changed.

    "It appears there is a new development, the National Guard has proposed an alternative site which must however first be examined. This could take a few months," Cassoulides said.

    [12] Police arrest seven Iraqis

    SEVEN Iraqis were last night being held by police on suspicion of entering the country illegally.

    The seven, Goran Saidi Samal, 23, Mohmad Sarbst Taocik, 29, Evan Rahim, 19, Lukman Ali Noori, 23, Hishear Ahmed Rahman, 22, Manouel Latif Antoon, 28, and Abdel Hamza Dussef, 30, arrived at the United Nations check-point at the Ledra Palace checkpoint at around 12.30, and asked for political asylum.

    The UN notified local police who took the seven into custody after finding they had entered by sea three days ago, and had no immigration papers.

    [13] Diko ministers to resign tomorrow

    By Andrew Adamides

    DIKO ministers participating in the Clerides government look set to resign tomorrow - but will probably attend a press conference to be given by President Glafcos Clerides on Thursday.

    The party said yesterday that the decision of whether or not the ministers were to resign would be taken by the executive committee today, but if the resignation did go ahead, they could probably still be present at the press conference, the first of two Clerides is giving to announce whether or not he will seek re-election at the upcoming presidential elections.

    Diko also said that the party conveyed a proposal for cooperation to Edek yesterday as a replacement for the current troubled alliance with Disy. Party sources said the proposal had not been passed unanimously by the committee. It said some party members objected to the idea of an alliance with Edek, while others objected to the proposal's content.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou met Clerides yesterday morning, but after the meeting, the two said they had not discussed party political matters.

    [14] Turkish troops start exercise

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE use of F-16 fighter jets in mock air-raids during Turkish war games in the occupied areas of Cyprus is proof that the government's decision to buy the S-300 anti aircraft missiles was the right one, government spokesman Manolis Christofides said yesterday.

    He added that the government condemns the exercises, which began yesterday, and considers them a "show of force" and a display of "unwillingness to respect international law and order."

    Christofides was speaking after the military exercise, codenamed Toros 97, began with the arrival of Turkish military hardware on the island.

    According to reports in the Turkish Cypriot press, taking part in the exercises, will be eight warships which docked at occupied Kyrenia and Famagusta harbours on Sunday, as well as the F-16s and F-4 which arrived at occupied Lefkoniko airport yesterday, before going on to strike simulated S- 300 launching pads.

    The eight warships, which include two submarines, are expected to be joined by other vessels before the exercise ends on November 5. They arrived straight from the first part of the week-long Determination 97 exercises, which began on Saturday in the Aegean.

    Reports said that for the first time since the 1974 invasion, airborne and amphibious landings will take place. Cape Kormakitis will also be bombarded during the exercises which will feature troops stationed both in mainland Turkey and the occupied areas.

    At a ceremony yesterday to welcome the warships, Turkish Cypriot "Defence Minister" Taner Etkin said the manoeuvres would serve as a deterrent to Greece and Greek Cyprus and were going ahead "to safeguard the balance of power" in the region.

    On his part, United Nations Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel said the UN would "rather none" of this sort of exercise took place.

    © Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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