|Sunday, 24 January 2021|
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-12
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Wedesday, November 12, 1997
 Holbrooke leaves with no progress to showBy Jean Christou
Richard Holbrooke (centre) with President Clerides (left) and Rauf Denktash at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia yesterday (Photo: Christos Theodorides)
US PRESIDENTIAL envoy Richard Holbrooke arrived in Ankara yesterday after talks with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel in Nicosia.
Prior to his departure, he told a bicommunal press conference at the hotel that the four-hour meeting had been "candid and confidential."
"This is in itself a positive fact, the fact we met is a positive thing. I have no expectations. As I said we just want to keep talking and create opportunities."
Holbrooke had made it clear on his arrival on Monday night that he wasn't expecting any breakthrough on the Cyprus problem during his short visit.
He also said he would be travelling to the region frequently "and you should not assume that each trip means we are on the edge of a major negotiating breakthrough".
The US envoy said both President Clerides and Denktash saw some value in the meetings which have taken place, but admitted their positions were far apart on some basic issues of the Cyprus question.
Holbrooke said the public positions of the two leaders indicated that there were profound disagreements on two or three central issues.
He also mentioned a "legacy of distrust based on the events of the last several decades" which have made the Cyprus problem defy 30 years of attempts to find a negotiated solution.
"It's remarkable how often they (the two leaders) refer to events which they lived through," Holbrooke said.
"One of the things which makes me sad is that when I try to talk about the future the people here, the leaders, talk about the past."
The US envoy said the differences between the two sides range from very small details to basic issues such as the rights of refugees to return to their homes.
He said there was still plenty of work to be done but added he was leaving the island with a "very much improved" understanding of the views of the two leaders who are both "effective, articulate, intelligent and tenacious exponents of their points of view."
He also expressed Washington's concern over tension between Nato allies Greece and Turkey.
"They have a serious unresolved disagreement," Holbrooke said. "We are very concerned about his. We believe that stability in the area is absolutely essential."
He noted that many differences divided Greece and Turkey, but added: "In my personal view the other issues cannot be dealt with unless Cyprus is dealt with. It is the core issue."
Holbrooke denied, however, that the recent escalation in tension during military exercises by both sides in Cyprus constituted a crisis. He said the tension had been created by the press.
"There never was a real crisis. History isn't even going to notice the last few weeks. I don't see it as a crisis. I see it as a problem which has to be dealt with."
President Clerides declined to discuss the talks. But Denktash later said new "facts and factors" were coming forward regarding Cyprus, which he said was a good sign.
He reiterated his opposition to Cyprus becoming a member of the European Union. "We have to be persistent in our defence while showing flexibility but certainly not bowing to the EU's attempts to impose Greek Cypriots on us as the legitimate government of Cyprus and as the sole interlocutor," Denktash said. The Cyprus government is due to start EU entry talks next year.
Denktash said Turkish Cypriots could agree to take part in EU accession talks if they were regarded as having equal sovereignty. "If we were recognised... then we would not hinder the application to the EU. We would be ready to subscribe to a new joint application."
Denktash has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from settlement talks if Cyprus's EU membership talks go ahead.
In Ankara yesterday evening Holbrooke had talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. He later met Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for two hours of talks he described as positive. A planned meeting with Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz did not take place.
From Ankara, Holbrooke is expected to travel to Brussels to chair a meeting of Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen.
UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel described yesterday's meeting between the two leaders as "a positive thing".
 Charity fund-raiser nets over £1 millionRADIOMARATHON, the charity fund-raiser for children with special needs, passed the magic £1 million mark last night.
The two-day series of events wound up yesterday with a TV gala on CyBC and a sports fiesta at Nicosia's Eleftheria stadium.
Organisers had hoped to break the £1 million barrier but many believe that once all the money is collected the final figure will be nearer a record £2 million for needy children.
Among those helping to edge the final amount beyond £1.3 million at the latest count last night was President Clerides. A picture of the president in the Holy Land fetched a whopping £10,000 when auctioned on TV.
A lighter belonging to Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou fetched £750 but a wall clock offered by Akel leader Demetris Christofias could only muster £200.
 Squaddie held on suspicion of burglaryBy Charlie Charalambous
A BRITISH soldier was remanded in custody yesterday in connection with a spate of burglaries in Ayia Napa earlier this year.
Keith Hollywood, 23, of the First Battalion Kings Regiment stationed at Dhekelia base, is suspected of handling stolen property worth over £17,000.
Hollywood has been linked to a series of burglaries from pubs and restaurants in Ayia Napa and Protaras.
Police told a Larnaca court that a fellow Kings Regiment soldier, Paul Walsh, is also wanted in connection with the crimes but is currently absent without leave and thought to be in the occupied areas.
British bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones told the Cyprus Mail: "A soldier by the name of Paul Walsh has been absent from duty for several months. His whereabouts are unknown."
Police believe that Walsh sent a container to England full of stolen goods (electrical equipment and alcoholic drinks) which was intercepted with the help of Interpol earlier this summer.
When the container was returned to Cyprus the goods inside were confirmed to have been stolen between January and May of this year.
Hollywood was implicated in the investigation when a stolen television was found in his possession.
The court heard that under police questioning Hollywood admitted carrying out the robberies in Ayia Napa with Walsh.
He is also said to have confessed that they sold some of the stolen goods to their army friends.
Of the £17,400 worth of goods reported stolen only £4,000 worth has been recovered.
Hollywood was remanded in custody for eight days to help police with their inquiries.
 Holbrooke gives optimists a reality checkBy Hamza Hendawi
AS EXPECTED, Richard Holbrooke gave nothing away in yesterday's news conference. Instead, the burly US diplomat gave everyone a reality check, one that could hardly have been welcome in a country that has been divided for more than 23 years.
Although concealed by carefully-weighed syntax, several seemingly insincere laughs and even a touch of philosophy, the US envoy's message was clear: Don't expect a Cyprus solution any time soon.
For 30 minutes, President Bill Clinton's emissary on Cyprus was at pains to dampen expectations that he, hero of the 1995 Dayton peace accord for Bosnia, had a magic wand which he can wave to make everything all right on the island. At times, he even appeared to suggest that the Cyprus problem might have become so intractable that the search for a solution could only bear fruit a few years from now, or perhaps beyond the lifetime of some.
Told by a reporter that, judging by his track record, he must be leaving the island with something from his talks with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Holbrooke's reply suggested that a few more years of waiting for a solution might be in order.
"You forget that I was in the 1968 (US) delegation in Paris negotiating on the Vietnam war. The war went on for five years after that. You do me too much credit."
"I leave with the very much improved understanding of the views of the two leaders. They were both effective, articulate, intelligent and tenacious exponents of their points of views," he said later of Clerides and Denktash.
Appointed presidential envoy for Cyprus in the summer, Holbrooke used the word "profound" at least a half dozen times to describe differences between the two sides and the views held by Clerides and Denktash.
Bordering on the poetic, he referred to Cyprus as "this troubled land."
So downbeat was the US official about the prospect of a breakthrough in the near future that, according to him, the fact that Clerides and Denktash met was in itself a "positive thing."
Could Holbrooke have chosen not to publicise progress if it had been made by the two leaders during their four-and-a-half-hour meeting yesterday? Judging by all available evidence, there is little chance that this was indeed the case.
"I have no expectations," he said, laughing. "We want to keep talking and create opportunities.
"I am basically an optimist by nature but I also like to consider myself to be a realist. I feel this morning's discussions were held in a very positive atmosphere with a willingness to try and address the problems in a future-oriented manner, but the past is such a heavy legacy when you try and talk about the future of Cyprus.
"I know I am talking in what may sound like riddles, but after all we are in the area of Socrates, and in any case all I can say is that I am hopeful."
Holbrooke turned philosophical when he commented on the obsession with the past displayed by Clerides and Denktash.
"I don't think that we should ignore the past, we should learn from it. But we cannot be imprisoned by the past, we cannot be imprisoned by history, particularly history which is disputed and turns myths into historic facts."
 Businessmen prepare for top bi-communal Brussels meetingBy Jean Christou
LEADING Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen will gather in Brussels tomorrow night on the eve of a joint seminar chaired by US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke.
Former Chambers of Commerce (Keve) president Phanos Epiphaniou and ex- deputy Constantinos Lordos will be among those travelling to the Belgian capital to participate in the US-sponsored seminar.
Twelve leading businessmen form each side of the Green Line plus six participants each from Greece and Turkey will attend the one-day seminar aimed at establishing further links between the two communities.
In addition to being addressed by Holbrooke, who only left the island yesterday after a brief visit, the seminar will hear from Britain's Cyprus envoy Sir David Hannay, EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek and former Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring.
The agenda of the seminar will focus on the economic advantages that could result from improved relations, strategies for regional co-operation, prospects and small steps towards implementation and follow-up. There will also be open discussions.
Epiphaniou said it was hoped the results of the seminar would be positive and did not rule out the possibility of a joint resolution.
"We are expressing out willingness to offer what we can to these efforts," Epiphaniou said.
He added that as the seminar was unofficial, he was not sure if anyone from the government would be attending as an observer.
Lordos, who unveiled a 20-point plan for rapprochement between businessmen on both sides at their recent Athens meeting, said yesterday he would be presenting the document at the Brussels seminar on Friday.
The proposals are designed to address both the general need for understanding and confidence between the two sides and are in line with 1979 high-level agreements on the Cyprus problem.
They aim for free and unhindered communication leading to a climate of elementary trust which would in turn be followed by a series of joint activities and programmes.
However, dissent was already evident in yesterday's Turkish Cypriot press.
According to reports in the north, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met leading businessmen on Monday to discuss the Athens meeting.
Denktash said that according to the Greek Cypriot side, there would be no commercial relations with the Turkish Cypriots before a Cyprus solution was reached.
"The Greek Cypriots must recognise the TRNC so that these problems can be surmounted," he said.
He also said the Greek Cypriots did not recognise the Chambers of Commerce in the north.
The Turkish Cypriot papers reported that the businessmen claimed the real goal of their Greek Cypriot counterparts was EU membership. "We received concrete proof of that during our contacts. Nevertheless it is beneficial to continue such contacts," they said.
 'Kicked out like a rat'By Martin Hellicar
A COLOMBIAN woman yesterday claimed she was wrongfully refused entrance to the island by aggressive Larnaca airport immigration officials.
Maria Clara Pareja said she was refused entry to Cyprus because she did not have a visa for Switzerland, her next destination.
Police yesterday promised the woman's complaint would be investigated.
Pareja arrived at the airport on November 1 after flying from Montreal, Canada, via Zurich.
"As soon as the customs officer saw my passport he gave me a weird look as if I was coming from hell. I know the bad reputation my country has... but it doesn't mean all Colombians are drug dealers, guerrilleros or whatever," she said.
Pareja said she answered a barrage of questions from the official, explaining that she had been invited to visit the island by a Cypriot family and was then to fly back to Zurich with a Cypriot friend.
"He repeatedly insisted that I needed a visa to enter Switzerland, which is false, for Colombian citizens don't need a visa to enter Switzerland," she said. "Then he asked me to go out and look for my friend who was waiting for me at the airport," she said.
Pareja found her Cypriot friend and returned to the passport control area with him. When they got there, they found three other immigration officers had joined the first, Pareja said.
The officials insisted, despite her friend's protestations, that she could not be allowed to enter Cyprus because she had no visa for Switzerland, Pareja said. She was apparently told she could only stay if she bought a ticket from Cyprus to Colombia.
"My friend was desperate. He could not do anything. He tried, but it was impossible," she said.
"Suddenly some five men came towards me, they grabbed me by my right arm and started yelling at me: 'You are out of here. You can't stay, your papers are not in order. You don't have a visa to enter Switzerland,'" Pareja said.
"They kicked me out like a rat. The humiliation could not have been worse. I was sent back to Zurich on the same plane I had arrived on a few minutes before," she said. "They didn't even let me take my handbag with me. My coat and winter shoes along with all my personal stuff were in that handbag, " Pareja said.
She said she had travelled all over the world but had "never been treated this way in my life."
Senior police officer Christakis Mavris said the matter would be investigated, but declined to comment an any specific aspect of the complaint. "We will ask for a full report from the immigration department," he said.
An officer in the police immigration department said visitors from "far- away countries like Colombia" were treated with "scepticism" by immigration officials "because there are many instances where they come in to work illegally."
 Kyprianou: 'I'll have a strategy soon'By Charlie Charalambous
DIKO leader and presidential candidate Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday his party would have a clear election strategy by the end of the week.
Kyprianou described behind-the-scenes negotiations with other parties as "progressing on the right road", but said all contacts had been suspended during the visit of US envoy Richard Holbrooke.
Diko is desperate to secure a broad alliance which would give Kyprianou a more than even chance against election front-runner and incumbent president, Glafcos Clerides.
The Diko leader is expected to meet all party leaders once Holbrooke has left to test the waters on possible co-operation deals.
Diko's main charm offensive will be concentrated on Edek and some bridge- building with former coalition partners Disy.
Kyprianou said an approved election plan should materialise by next week.
However, Kyprianou's well-laid election plans could be scuppered if the popular Attorney-general, Alecos Markides, decides to put his hat into the ring on a multi-party ticket.
Following the resignations of Diko's five ministers at Kyprianou's behest, Clerides will today swear in their replacements.
The favourite to take over the new posts for a period of four months are; former Nicosia district officer George Haralambides (Defence), ex-commerce minister Michalis Michaelides (Commerce & Industry), businessman Stathis Papadakis (Labour), former Larnaca district officer Andreas Mantovanis (Agriculture) and former judge George Stavrianakis (Interior).
The new appointees will have their first big test on Friday when the cabinet meets to tackle 90 outstanding issues.
 New rules will upgrade the Cyprus flagBy Bouli Hadjioannou
DRAFT new regulations on the manning of ships will help to improve the quality of the Cyprus flag and to make it more competitive, the House Communications Committee heard yesterday.
The new regulations, modelled on similar rules in force in traditional European maritime nations, will eliminate loopholes by removing the Department of Merchant Shipping's discriminatory authority to allow special manning agreements.
Though the new regulations could lead to smaller crews, they would bring higher quality by insisting on stricter qualifications.
Officials from the Department of Merchant Shipping said existing rules dating back to 1984, were antiquated and out of date with international reality.
And they said the proposal would introduce a regime similar to that in force in Germany, Holland, Sweden and other traditional maritime nations.
The Cyprus Shipping Council had words of praise for the proposal. Its spokesman said shipowners had been pressing for urgent action on this front since 1993.
"When we say the new regulations will make the Cyprus flag more competitive, we mean it in the positive, not the negative sense. It will show a commitment to quality and make it more desirable to join the Cyprus register," he said.
Modernisation of the regulations was one of the demands of the European Union, and was in line with Cyprus' commitment to align its laws with Europe, he added.
Previous, antiquated regulations had led to abuse by some shipowners who had managed - through the provision which allows special manning agreements - to get away with using smaller crews. The new regulations would reduce this discriminatory power to only the most essential cases, he added.
There was support too for the proposal from the Cyprus Association of Travel Agents and the Association of Shipping Agents.
Peo trade union federation queried the lack of prior consultation with the unions, while Sek said it could not comment before consulting the International Transport Federation with which it has links.
The committee asked for details on the number of Cypriots employed at sea - one estimate given yesterday was 100 officers and 500 other crew.
Committee chairman Nicos Pittokopitis gave officials a month to carry out the inquiry and come up with specific figures. And he said the House Communications Committee hoped to decide on the new proposals before the winter recess.
 Football management in committeeBy Bouli Hadjioannou
LOCAL football coaches enjoy no job protection, despite clear stipulations that only qualified coaches should be employed by clubs.
Foreigner trainers come in with practically no restrictions - and stay on even when their contract is broken.
"It is only football coaches and domestic help that come in only with the approval of immigration and do not need the approval of the Labour Ministry, " Andreas Michaelides - the chairman of the football coaches' association told the House Education Committee yesterday.
He said his association was not targeting foreigners - anyone who was not qualified, whether foreign or not, should not be allowed to work. But it was unfair for a foreigner to come to Cyprus, have his contract broken and be able to stay on doing something else, until another opening came up.
Costakis Koutsoukoumnis of the Cyprus Football Association (KOP) acknowledged there were problems, but said KOP had decided on firm action to resolve them.
"It is true there is a provision that coaches must hold qualifications either from KOP or from the association of their country. We have not been very effective in implementing it," he said.
Though clubs had to submit the names and qualifications of their coaches, KOP had not chased them up. But it has already decided to change this. Names have again been requested, and any team that fails to comply will face sanctions - including the possibility of their coach not being allowed to sit on the team bench during matches. "I believe the problem will be solved this year," he said.
On the situation in Europe, Koutsoukoumnis said the EU was moving towards implementing a common qualification for all coaches - but this was still a few years away.
The Cyprus Sports Association (KOA) said strict regulations governed the employment of foreign coaches for other sports - with provisions to protect qualified Cypriots.
But the situation surrounding football was more complex. The KOA is supposed to advise immigration on whether to issue a work permit for a football coach. It has the authority to decide only in so far as its actions are in line with practice and regulations of the European and International football Federations, neither of which have yet given a clear line, they said.
The officials noted that in Europe too there was confusion - only recently the European Court had been brought in to rule on the employment of a coach from one EU country who was employed in another.
There was considerable discussion on what level of coaching qualifications should be required, whether the House had a say in the issue and what regulations should apply to player managers. The issue remains before the committee.
 Priest pleads for his daughter's release from nunnery"AS A father, this whole affair troubles me deeply; I am the one who knows my daughter's ambitions, hopes and dreams," said Tryphonas Papakyriakos yesterday, referring to his daughter Nectaria's decision to enter a convent.
Papakyriakos, the priest of Letympou village, has attempted to pressure the abbess of Ayios Iraklidion to allow 23-year-old Nectaria the chance to re- consider her decision. To this end, Papakyriakos was recently on hunger strike to secure a meeting with his daughter as the convent abbess was against all contact between Nectaria and her family.
A brief meeting eventually took place on Sunday in the presence of a policeman, but very little was achieved: Nectaria is still within the confines of the convent.
Her father said she had always shown a "self-sacrificing attitude towards the church" but felt in this case that she had "been influenced" by people he "did not wish to name."
"I am not against monasticism in itself," said Papakyriakos "but it must be based on logic, not enthusiasm". He maintained that if his daughter truly had a monastic calling he would have known. Instead, Nectaria had always dreamed of raising a family of her own and had received many proposals for marriage. Moreover, her family had built a house in preparation for her future marriage.
Papakyriakos wants his daughter to come back to Letympou for a short period to visit her sick mother and think the matter through again. However, during the Sunday visit, Nectaria said she had been told at the convent that leaving would merit divine punishment.
Papakyriakos said he had written a letter asking for Nectaria to be granted 24 hours with her family, but this had been ignored by the abbess, compelling him to air his complaint publicly. He still hopes, however, that the archbishopric will pressure the abbess to grant his request.
 Ukrainian extradited to Germany for procuring womenCYPRUS has extradited to Germany a Ukrainian national suspected of operating a white slave trade.
Alexander Karpenko, 37, was handed over to German police yesterday and flown back from Cyprus to stand trial.
The Ukrainian has been on the run from the German authorities since August 1994.
He was jailed in Cyprus for six weeks for escaping legal detention, while the Cyprus Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against extradition.
This followed his immediate detention in May after he was arrested on his arrival at Larnaca airport.
Karpenko faces charges of exploitation, abduction and procuring women.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.
 Turkish Cypriot opposition calls on Akin to resignA LEADING opposition party leader in the north has called for the resignation of 'Agriculture Minister' Kenan Akin.
Akin is wanted by Interpol in connection with the death of Greek Cypriot protestor Solomos Solomou.
In a statement to yesterday's Turkish Cypriot press, Republican Turkish Party General-secretary Ferdi Soyer called for his resignation over the scandal.
Soyer said that although people could not be declared guilty without trial, "all the necessary legal procedure should be put into practice."
"As long as this is not done, the allegation remains and the accused stays condemned in people's consciences," Soyer said.
However, he also pointed out that for a 'Minister' to make the statements that Akin had made about Solomou was unacceptable.
In an interview with Turkey's Sabah daily newspaper, Akin reportedly said: "I didn't do it and I was not on the scene of the event. But were I there, I'd have done this honourable deed."
In a previous interview, Akin said Solomou was "a dog".
Soyer branded the comments "a disgrace".
"This logic will only help those who want to brand the TRNC as a haven for criminals, but it will also put Turkey into a difficult situation before international law," Soyer said.
He said Akin's statement was enough in itself to warrant his resignation. "It is sufficient reason not to keep him in his post even for five minutes, " he said.
Akin and another senior official of the Denktash regime have been put on Interpol's list in connection with the death of Solomou.
Solomou, 26, was shot three times as he climbed up a Turkish flagpole on August 14 last year during a protest in the Dherynia buffer zone.
Six international arrest warrants were issued by the
government last year for five Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials suspected of involvement in the killing.
Bullets from two different types of gun were found in his body.
 Three held for 'brothel in flat'TWO Greek women and a Paphos man were remanded yesterday on suspicion of running a brothel in an Limassol flat.
Limassol District Court heard that police had put the flat under surveillance after being tipped-off that 36-year-old Charalambos Georgiou was pimping there for Nomiki Karaconstanti, 25, and Nectaria Vlachou, 28.
The flat was raided on Monday night, the court heard, and the three suspects arrested on the premises. A man acting as a police mole was also in the flat during the raid. The court heard he had just paid Georgiou £30 for sex with one of the girls.
During the raid, Georgiou assaulted an arresting officer while Karaconstanti hit a policewoman, the court heard.
A number of condoms, used and unused, TV cameras and a closed-circuit TV system were found in the flat, police said.
The three suspects were remanded for eight days.
 Sacked workers camp outside British High CommissionTWELVE BBC relay station workers made redundant at the end of last month yesterday protested outside the British High Commission in Nicosia.
A spokesman for the workers, who had manned the Zigi relay station, said the BBC had "given no reason" for letting them go.
He also accused the British government of failing to keep a promise to carry on paying the axed employees while a Labour Ministry mediation on the dispute was ongoing. "Whom is the Foreign Office trying to fool, us or the Ministry?" he said.
The protesters vowed to be camped outside the High Commission again today.
 Men make more efficient suicidesTHE majority of successful suicides in Cyprus are men, but women try to take their lives more often, according to the findings of a recent workshop on the prevention of poisoning.
Those attending the workshop looked at statistics compiled during the first six months of 1997, outlining trends in suicide on the island.
Of the 164 attempts at suicide by poisoning during this period, 20 had resulted in death. Fourteen of these suicides had been induced by drinking plant chemicals and the other six by a cocktail of other poisons.
These formed part of 355 cases of poisoning during this period, 97 of which included children between the age of one to four.
Another survey examined by workshop participants showed Cypriots to have consumed an astonishing 40 million panadols during the course of 1996.
This would mean an average of 100 pills per person, on an estimate of approximately 400,000 adults. The figure rises well above that, if one takes into consideration that some people take very few if any of the pills.
Such figures have led to a call for further control over the sale of such medication and the Drug Information Centre will be launching a campaign to prevent poisoning in children.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997