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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, November 23, 1997


  • [01] Bicommunal office to be set up at Ledra Palace
  • [02] Efforts to secure recognition will fail
  • [03] Twelfth century frescoes lost forever
  • [04] Cyprus re-elected to IMO
  • [05] Pilgrimage sparks caccusations of nepotism
  • [06] Meningitis cases reach 25
  • [07] Presidential election plot thickens
  • [08] No end in sight to Nicosia road works
  • [09] Former Paralimni players sink old club

  • [01] Bicommunal office to be set up at Ledra Palace

    By Jean Christou

    A central office to be used by Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace hotel will start be operating in about six weeks.

    The decision to open the office, which was taken at the recent Brussels meeting for businessmen from both communities, chaired by US envoy for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke ten days ago, will be ratified on December 1.

    Constantinos Lordos, who was at the Brussels meeting, said yesterday that a small group from both sides would be meeting on that date.

    He said Turkish Cypriot businessman Cetin Khursad would likely be voted to oversee the Ledra Palace office project "because he was the one who came up with the idea".

    "Cetin has undertaken to decorate the rooms on behalf of the committee," Lordos said.

    He added that the donation of furniture for the two rooms in the hotel, provided by the UN, was already underway.

    One room will be a sitting room and the second an office.

    It is hoped the centre would be open at least six days a week, with the office being manned full-time, on an alternate basis, by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    "It will be open from early until late," Lordos said.

    He added that use of the office would not be confined to the circle of businessmen who have already established contact.

    Anyone wishing to contact people on the other side will also be able to use the facility "as a guest".

    "Any businessman, trade unionist, politician or craftsman is welcome," Lordos said. "We intend to expand the circle of membership gradually."

    All that remained was to receive assurances from the Turkish Cypriot side that people would be allowed to cross freely to the Ledra Palace, said Lordos. He said Holbrooke had agreed to take up this issue.

    Representatives from the Greek Cypriots group of businessmen met President Clerides on Friday to discuss certain technical issues relating to the new contacts.

    Nicosia businessman Phanos Epiphaniou described the planned contacts as "innocent ones".

    He said there were no plans for any actual business transactions or trade with the Turkish Cypriot side.

    "We don't want to create any misunderstandings or make it look as if we are trying to get around legislation or legal frameworks," he said.

    Epiphaniou said the new office at the Ledra Palace will afford businessmen the chance to communicate and plan ahead.

    The centre could soon after the December 1 meeting but added with Christmas coming up a New Year deadline was probably more realistic.

    The new centre will also be used as a dropping off point - another Brussels decision - for the courier service to be established between the two sides. This was one of the ways to improve communications.

    The first step made in this direction was the decision to automate and increase the number of UN phone lines to 20, a project which should become operational in a few months.

    In the meantime a joint meeting will be held to discuss the water shortages on both sides. The meeting will be chaired by US ambassador Kenneth Brill but no date has yet been fixed, a spokesman at the American embassy said.

    [02] Efforts to secure recognition will fail

    Turkish efforts to secure recognition for the Denktash regime will fail, President Clerides said yesterday.

    "If this did not happen since 1974, it cannot be justified to expect that it will be achieved now," Clerides said.

    The President was commenting on recent statements by Britain's special envoy Sir David Hannay that a number of settlers would remain on the island after a settlement.

    Clerides said the comments had disturbed him but not worried him. "We are not committed to what Hannay has said," Clerides said adding that Turkey's efforts to have the north recognised would come to nothing.

    "A lot of influential people have repeatedly stressed to the Turkish side not to expect any recognition," he said.

    Sir David came under fire last week for his comments which served up a reality check to the Greek Cypriot side.

    Comments by US emissary Richard Holbrooke and, in the past few days, by UN envoy Diego Cordovez have also provoked a reaction from the Greek Cypriot side.

    Cordovez made it clear that unless progress was made in the next round of talks in March, the international community and its host of mediators could lose interest in Cyprus.

    New Horizons yesterday accused Cordovez of blackmail and said the government was under pressure from foreign quarters to establish a federation.

    The party called on the government to make it clear that any settlement should be based on international law.

    George Iacovou, Presidential candidate for the communist party Akel said the fact Cordovez had admitted mistakes had been made during the talks at Troutbeck and Glion confirmed his own evaluation.

    Iacovou said that the Greek Cypriot side had accepted to go to the talks without a prior plan and that during the talks it appeared all efforts were geared towards satisfying the demands of Turkey and its aims to join the EU.

    [03] Twelfth century frescoes lost forever

    Staff reporter

    <blockquote> MORE than half the 12th century frescoes, hacked by thieves from the walls of churches in the occupied areas, are lost forever, according to Honorary Consul of Cyprus in the Hague, Tasoula Hadjitofi. Hadjitofi was addressing a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE) on Cultural Issues and Cultural Identities in Europe. She said 20,000 Byzantine icons and some 15,000 Cypriot works of art have been removed from churches in the occupied areas over the past 20 years. "More than half of the 12th century wall paintings have been destroyed forever because they were not removed properly from the walls," she said. She added that the surviving ones are placed in a carton or a suitcase together with many other pieces and are smuggled abroad. Hadjitofi said that art dealers involved are difficult to catch because they usually only act as intermediaries in sales and never buy the items in their own names. At the same time, there are countries, the legislation of which favours the possessor rather than the legal owner of the artifact. Hadjitofi was recently instrumental in recovering a number of Greek Cypriot icons in Germany. The raid on the two Munich apartments of a Turk, Dikman Aydin, 60, who claims to be an archaeologist, took place on October 10. Police uncovered 14 boxes with icons and mosaics while a subsequent search revealed another 15 to20 boxes. Aydin has been arrested by German police and faces charges of trading in stolen artifacts, an offence which carries a 15 year sentence. </blockquote>

    [04] Cyprus re-elected to IMO

    CYPRUS has been re-elected a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for another two years.

    The island was re-elected by the 16-member IMO council during Friday's session of the organisation's bi-ennial general meeting in London.

    An official announcement yesterday described the re-election as a "great international success".

    Addressing the IMO meeting, Communications and Works Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou underlined the importance Cyprus attached to its shipping industry.

    He underlined Cyprus' adherence to international regulations, particularly on security and prevention of pollution.

    [05] Pilgrimage sparks caccusations of nepotism

    By Jean Christou

    <blockquote> Initial disappointment by those not selected as Ayios Andreas pilgrims has turned into outright condemnation and accusations against the government humanitarian service. Only 1,000 out of 10,500 applicants will travel to the monastery in occupied Karpasia on November 30, the Saint's Feast Day. While a few complaints were received on the first day the list was published, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Takis Christopoulos said yesterday "the phones haven't stopped ringing for the past four days". Complaints by the disgruntled refugees and their relatives who didn't make the list have been lent weight by an official announcement from the Karpasia Coordinating Committee. The Committee blasts the Humanitarian Affairs Office of not consulting it when the names were being chosen and goes on to accuse the government service of giving places to "relatives and friends" of its employees. It also accuses them of including people who have influence with deputies. But Christopoulos told Cyprus Mail yesterday: "My conscience is clear." "This is all nonsense. We stuck to the criteria as religiously as we could," he said. The criteria gave priority to as many elderly people as possible because they may not have the chance again, followed by the sick and refugees from the Karpass and some from abroad. "Why should we consult them? They are not part of the service. Why should we consult anyone?" asked Christopoulos. In August 600 Greek Cypriot pilgrims crossed the north to visit the monastery. Christopoulos also hit back at further claims by the Karpasia Committee that during a recent free trip to the Holy Land for the enclaved, relatives of employees of his office brought their families either free of charge or at a reduced cost. Christopoulos admitted a woman from his office made the trip with the enclaved and that she had taken her mother and father in law. "But they paid," he said. </blockquote>

    [06] Meningitis cases reach 25

    So far this year the number of bacterial meningitis cases has reached 25 but the Health Ministry says there is no need for concern.

    The ministry was responding to fears that Cyprus was in the grips of an epidemic following a meningitis scare at a school in Meneou.

    Officials say that only an eight-year-old girl has contracted the illness and all precautions have been taken to prevent it from spreading.

    This hasn't prevented a number of parents stopping their children from going to school.

    According to the statistics, out of the 25 meningitis cases only one elderly person has died.

    The ministry has stressed that the figures were no worse than the average for other countries nor were they higher than previous yearr.

    [07] Presidential election plot thickens

    By Charlie Charalambous

    Whatever Diko decide today regarding the presidential elections (if a decision is finally taken) it will have far-reaching implications for a party not used to standing on the sidelines of power.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou will consult his party's Executive Office and Central Committee today, on the options for a winning ticket in the presidentials.

    Ever since Kyprianou withdrew his ministers from President Clerides' alliance government - as a result of the realisation that Clerides would be seeking re-election - Diko has been a party in crisis, split into various factions.

    There is Diko vice-president Dinos Michaelides, a former minister in the Clerides government. who openly champions a Disy-Diko alliance. He disagreed with abandoning the Clerides administration and confronted Kyprianou on the issue. Even this week Michaelides met Clerides to discuss the election, despite Kyprianou's insistence that he would not co-operate again with Clerides.

    The next best thing for Michaelides, (and he has publicly supported this stand) would be for Kyprianou to stand as the Diko candidate. Kyprianou would never receive enough votes to enter the second ballot and Diko would have no choice, but to strike another deal with Clerides. Diko member Kypros Chrsyostomides, this week also called on Kyprianou to go ahead with his candidacy.

    Another grouping in Diko, headed by Kyprianou, believe that a third candidate such as Attorney-general Alecos Markides would be the best option for the party. Kyprianou had also tried to get Edek's support for Markides' candidacy, but it was not forthcoming. Markides, who is currently abroad, has been keeping his cards close to his chest.

    The smallest faction consists of the left-leaning members of Diko who want the party to back the Akel candidate George Iacovou. Akel, aware of the importance of securing Diko's backing for Iacovou, had, reportedly offered six ministries to Kyprianou, in exchange for his party's support.

    It it understood the alternatives that Kyprianou will offer his beleaguered party today are: supporting Markides, if he decides to stand, and co- operating with disaffected Disy elements who are opposed to Clerides; striking a deal with Akel; or going ahead with his own candidacy which would be welcomed by the Clerides camp.

    Of the three, backing Markides would seem to be the most likely option, particularly as opinion polls have been giving him a very good percentage of the support.

    Disy fears the Markides scenario, because it knows this could split the Clerides vote. Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades has made it quite clear he will not tolerate any party member not voting for Clerides and has threatened dissidents with expulsion from the party.

    Anastassiades' stance is directed against Disy's anti-Clerides camp which seems set on throwing its support behind Markides' candidacy. This is why the party is today holding a hastily-organised gathering at Nicosia's International Conference Centre, at which Clerides will be the main speaker. Disy officials want to show that the party is united behind Clerides' candidacy.

    The disaffected Disy followers are supporters of former leader Yiannakis Matsis, who was unceremoniously forced out of the leadership by the presidential palace and its people within the party. Matsis still wields influence in the party and there is a sizeable number who favour, as he reportedly does, someone like Markides to challenge Clerides.

    But will Markides jeopardise his career and political future to jump to stand now, given that Edek's support is out of the question?

    But if Kyprianou's behind-the-scenes consultations have discovered that many in Disy would back the Markides ticket, then he could put his own ambitions on hold for a sight of the winning post.

    Meanwhile Akel's general-secretary Demetris Christofias has been trying to woo Diko in recent days with ministerial offerings if it got behind their chosen candidate George Iacovou.

    However it seems that Kyprianou has distanced himself from this option.

    Akel's unashamed carrot-and-the-stick approach, towards a party it has blamed for allowing Clerides to make mess of the Cyprus issue and domestic policy in general, highlights Diko's significance as the third largest party.

    It also signifies Akel's own predicament.

    Akel got into a mess with the "Coalition of Hope" and was left with egg on its face when it had to pull out.

    This made relations with the other two members of the coalition, Edek and the United Democrats of George Vassiliou less than cordial. Akel has been involved in a damage limitation process ever since, but it seems unlikely that the two parties would strike a deal with the communist party.

    For now Clerides is the front runner, but maybe it is no coincidence that on the day Disy kick-starts its campaign for president Clerides, Diko is also expected to announce its own plans for the elections.

    [08] No end in sight to Nicosia road works

    By Andrew Adamides

    The disruptive roadworks in Nicosia which have been causing havoc since July are set to continue into the new year.

    An engineer at the Department of Public Works said that not only would the two major roadworks, on Acropolis Avenue and Prodromos Avenue continue until sometime after January, but that the department had plans for more.

    Several years are to be spent carrying out work on the Limassol Highway, with the installation of new, updated traffic lights and the creation of a roundabout at the entrance ramp. Other, smaller projects are planned for the Engomi area and elsewhere around Nicosia.

    The roadworks on Acropolis Avenue, which have at times seen whole sections of the road closed to traffic, are being carried out with the intention of installing concrete islands in the middle of the street and widen the Avenue to take four lanes of traffic. This has angered residents while shopkeepers along the street, claim their livelihoods ar at risk.

    At a protest outside the House of Representatives, earlier in the year, shopkeepers said no less than four businesses had closed down as a result of losing customers, and others were on the verge of bankruptcy.

    The situation has not improved since then. One shopowner, who did not wish to be identified said yesterday: "No-one can park now, so no one is coming to my shop. If this plan for a traffic island goes ahead, I will be finished here."

    The shopkeepers have suggested a hatched island - painted markings on the road surface - be used rather than a raised concrete one, and this suggestion is now under consideration by the Works Department.

    Residents of the area are no less annoyed by the disruption. One female resident said that on several occasions the roadworks had "played havoc" with her life, adding "the roads are supposed to be for public convenience, not public inconvenience."

    There has also been dissent over the scheme from official figures. In July, Strovolos Mayor Savvas Eliophotou went on record as saying the municipality "did not want a repeat" in Acropolis of the traffic problems caused by the installations of traffic islands on Strovolos Avenue.

    [09] Former Paralimni players sink old club

    SECOND HALF goals by Serbian duo Michailovic and Krismarevic, yesterday gave league leaders Anorthosis a 2-0 victory over Paralimni and extended their run of straight wins to nine.

    Omonia left Limassol with three points after beating Ael 4-0 on a day when all home sides lost. It was the Nicosia club's sixth successive victory.

    Ethnikos Achnas, riding high in fifth place, continued their winning run by beating Apop 2-1 in Paphos for their second away victory of the season.

    Fourth-placed Aek once again relied on the finishing of the Brazilian players to overcome Salamina 2-1.

    Champions Anorthosis, despite dominating most of the first half, had to wait until after the interval to score. And even then, Michailovic, a former Paralimni player, had to exploit sloppy defending by the home side to head in the opener.

    Krismarevic, who left Paralimni in the summer put the score out of the reach of his former side, after some good work at the byline by Kotsonis. This was Paralimni's third defeat at home where they have still to win a game.

    Omonia rose to second place in the table for a few hours at least (Apollonas were playing Apoel last night) in yet another big-scoring victory. Malekkos put them on the way to victory, scoring in the 37th minute after being set up by Kaiaphas.

    Seven minutes into the second half, Omonia were two up after a bizarre mistake by the Ael keeper Christofi, who missed the ball, from a gentle back pass by Socratous.

    German striker Raufman, the league's top scorer got the other two to take his goal tally to 11. He has scored six in his last two games.

    For the second week running, the boys from Brazil came to Aek's rescue. Toinze, who scored a hat-trick last weekend, put his side in front with a long range effort in the 34th minutes.

    In the second half Toinze combined with Alexandrou to set up Edvaldo's goal. Salamina had Adamou sent off for a second bookable offence, before they pulled a goal back through Louca.

    The irrepressible Mousic scored Ethnikos' second half winner in Paphos after the first half had finished level. It was Mousic's 10th goal of the season.

    Neocleous had shot Ethnikos in front and Jovanovic levelled on the stroke of half-time.

    The four bottom clubs, three of which have still to win, are involved in league action today. Bottom club Alki are at home to Anagennisis, while second from bottom Ethnikos Ashia entertains Evagoras in Nicosia.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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