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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-04

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, December 4, 1997


  • [01] UN has yet to ask for position papers on talks
  • [02] Accession talks 'should involve Turkish Cypriots'
  • [03] Government plays down "two legislations" comment
  • [04] University row over symposium
  • [05] Lawyer claims police witness 'adjusted' testimony
  • [06] Roller-blade thieves skate off with designer gear
  • [07] Stricken ship towed to port
  • [08] Two British soldiers attempt suicide
  • [09] Markides' advice sought on torture case cops
  • [10] Greens protest uprooting of 'refugee trees'
  • [11] More help for the handicapped
  • [12] Protest over Brussels job
  • [13] Net result: more Cypriots get wired
  • [14] Kyprianou promises Diko decision today

  • [01] UN has yet to ask for position papers on talks

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THE UNITED Nations has not asked the Greek Cypriot side to prepare any documents in anticipation of the resumption of intercommunal talks after the February 1998 presidential elections, the government said yesterday.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides said that it was up to the UN to determine what procedure will be followed at the next round of talks, but no request has yet been submitted for documents.

    "Mr Cordovez has simply stated that the previous agreed procedure was not successful and he will follow a new one, but we have no such request for specific documents," Christofides said.

    The spokesman was asked whether the government had committed itself to the UN to submit documents. UN secretary-general's special envoy on Cyprus Diego Cordovez told reporters in New York on Tuesday he would resume negotiations aimed at reuniting the island after the presidential elections.

    The Ecuadorian diplomat spoke of an "incremental negotiation", adding that the sides would have to thrash out five separate documents. They would consist of a new constitution and documents dealing with security arrangements, territorial issues, displaced persons and property rights, and economy and financial co-operation.

    "Documents have not been requested. But what is widely expected is that at a new round of talks the two sides will have to express their views and positions on various aspects, which are specific and which are the basic aspects of the Cyprus problem."

    How will they be submitted? "We await instructions," was Christofides' reply yesterday.

    [02] Accession talks 'should involve Turkish Cypriots'

    By Andrew Adamides

    ITALY feels that Cyprus' European Union accession negotiations should be carried out by a joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot committee.

    Speaking in Nicosia yesterday after meeting President Glafcos Clerides, visiting Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Piero Fassino said that it would, however, be "up to the two sides to decide how to solve this issue".

    Fassino, who said the purpose of his visit was "to help" in the run-up to the EU accession talks, also met Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash and conveyed the same opinions to him.

    He added, however, that Italy and the EU "could not interfere" in the matter.

    On Tuesday, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said Italy expects Turkey to refrain from obstructing Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    Speaking in Washington after talks with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, he told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that Cyprus' EU bid has "strong backing" from Italy and all other EU states, and as such the EU expects Turkey "not to put any spanners in the spokes".

    Commenting on Turkey's participation in the upcoming European Conference in Luxembourg this month, Dini said Italy supported Turkish involvement in the EU. He added that Italy had taken this position "openly" and that it was backed in this by most EU members.

    [03] Government plays down "two legislations" comment

    By Jean Christou

    THE government yesterday said comments EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek's made on Tuesday referring to two legislations in Cyprus are "not an issue".

    Van den Broek came under fire from Greek Cypriot journalists at a bi- communal press conference at the Ledra Palace Hotel after speaking about the 'legislation' in the north and the south.

    After an attack on his comments by a CyBC reporter who said there was only one recognised legislation in Cyprus, the EU Commissioner clarified that he said different legislation applies "de facto".

    He suggested that both sides get together to begin work on compatible legislation as a first step before possible Turkish Cypriot participation in the EU accession talks.

    "If it is the wish of both communities to be a member of the EU as a federated Cyprus, then obviously there will be one law that is applicable to the whole of the island," Van den Broek said.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday the government would not be making representations regarding what he called "a slip of the tongue" by the EU Commissioner.

    He said the comments have caused no serious problem and that Van den Broek had made it clear he was talking about "de facto" and not "de jure" legislative situations.

    "I don't think it would be correct to ask for any clarification as we would exacerbate an incident which in fact is non-existent," Cassoulides said.

    He said that what was important was the EU Commissioner's statement that if a federal Cyprus joins the EU European law will be apply throughout the island.

    "We are the ones to change out legislation and harmonise it with that of Europe, not vice-versa," Cassoulides said.

    [04] University row over symposium

    MEMBERS of the Byzantine and Neo-Hellenic studies department at the Cyprus University protested yesterday about who should represent the university at a two-day symposium at Middlesex University in England next week.

    They say the December 12-13 symposium's theme - 'From Nationalism to Multiculturalism: New Interpretations of the Literatures of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey' - means members from their department should represent the university.

    "The two colleagues who will attend the symposium are not members of the department and do not have the scientific and academic credentials" to speak on Greek literature, members of the department said yesterday.

    They also said that from an academic point of view, Cypriot literature should not be classed separately from Greek literature. They claimed such a divergence in the symposium title and programme were for "ideological and political" reasons.

    The symposium was mentioned by EU Commissioner Hans Van den Broek on Tuesday, when pledging Commission support for bi-communal projects. A representative from the University of the Eastern Mediterranean in the occupied areas, will also attend.

    [05] Lawyer claims police witness 'adjusted' testimony

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE LAWYER defending three Aeroporos brothers charged with the attempted murder of Antonis Fanieros yesterday claimed a police witness had "adjusted" her testimony to fit in with the prosecution line.

    Efstathios Efstathiou alleged before the Nicosia Assizes that officer Yiannoulla Leonidou had originally told investigators a blue and silver motorbike recovered in the Mari area was not the one she had seen two suspected hit-men riding on the night of the attack.

    Efstathiou said Leonidou changed her story in a later statement to police because chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides, 28, had meanwhile told police this was the bike used in the May 29 machinegun attack in Larnaca.

    Efstathiou is defending brothers Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, Aeroporos against charges of attempting to murder 57-year-old Fanieros. Father-of-three Simellides, already convicted as getaway driver in the attack, has testified that the three brothers conspired to kill Fanieros and forced him to drive the bike from which Panicos, riding pillion, shot Fanieros.

    Leonidou told the court how the patrol car she and her colleague Nicos Makrides were in came under automatic fire near Lefkara village when they tried to intercept the suspected hit-men shortly after the attack.

    "I suggest that both you and Makrides... are trying to adjust your statements to describe the bike as Simellides did," Efstathiou said to the witness.

    "No, we are not trying to do this," Leonidou, taken aback by Efstathiou's aggressive cross-examination, replied.

    She did not deny changing her statement, but said she thought at first the bike found by police had lower handlebars than the one used in the shooting "because the policeman I saw riding it in a re-enactment was short and was therefore bent over."

    She also said it was dark when she saw the suspected hit-men, so her view of the bike was limited.

    The court also heard testimony from state pathologist Panicos Stavrianos, who had seen Simellides in police custody on May 30.

    Stavrianos told the court scratches he saw on the detainee's cheek could have been the result of grazing on a low wall at his Limassol pub. Simellides has claimed the Aeroporos brothers threw him against the wall while threatening him to make him take part in the attack on Fanieros.

    However, Stavrianos could not be certain the injury was sustained in this manner because Simellides had refused to allow a hands-on medical examination. Also, the court heard, the pathologist did not get to see the pub wall until long after the injury was meant to have taken place - so any traces of body tissue would not have been evident.

    The trial, already in its fourth week, continues.

    [06] Roller-blade thieves skate off with designer gear

    By Charlie Charalambous

    POLICE are investigating what is believed to be the island's first roller blade smash-and-grab break-in.

    Street-smart thieves broke into Micromania's new store on Nicosia's Engomi disco strip on late Tuesday night and skated away with more than 11,000 worth of sought-after designer goods.

    Micromania, which only opened on the strip two weeks ago, believe their extensive range of hip Oakley outdoor designer wear was too much of a temptation.

    According to Micromania boss Karl Tate, the thieves broke in through the back door, appear to have donned two pairs of roller blades worth 120 each, and then helped themselves to 80 pairs of Oakley glasses selling at 100 each.

    "They helped themselves to Oakley T-shirts, hats, snowboard jackets, filled a black bag with the glasses, and must have skated down the disco strip with the bag on their shoulders," Tate told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "It was callous and casual," he added.

    The electronic and outdoor sports outlet is no stranger to ingenious criminals. Two months ago thieves made off with 25,000 in cash from the Micromania computer store in Makedonitissa, Nicosia.

    The culprits came in via the roof and swung through the toilet window on a rope before stealing the money.

    Although Tate's business has suffered, he blames the lack of facilities for teenagers and an uncaring society as the real problem.

    "Where is the hope when nothing is organised? What the hell do we expect these kids to do? It's time for the adults to wake up," he said yesterday.

    Tate argues that without anywhere for teenagers to play and interact they turn to the streets for kicks.

    "Kids are being forced into crime because they have nothing to do and nowhere to go," he said.

    Tate believes it's about time that the adult world showed more concern for the younger generation by allowing them to let off steam in a friendly environment.

    "We need to look after our bad boys - but culturally we are 20 years behind."

    [07] Stricken ship towed to port

    THE Cypriot-flagged container vessel MSC Rosa M was towed to the French port of Cherbourg yesterday to have water pumped from the ships's main body.

    Salvage teams abandoned efforts to pump the Rosa at sea because of heavy seas and high winds and decided to tow it to Cherbourg.

    French and British helicopters on Sunday rescued the 32 crew when the vessel which began listing in the Channel after its freight shifted or it sprang a leak 10 miles off the French port of Barfleur.

    Yesterday the master and a skeleton crew were back on board the vessel to assist with the salvage, a shipping official on the island said yesterday.

    The cause of the incident has yet to be determined but there was no danger of pollution from the vessel and none of the containers was lost.

    The Shipping Department may send an inspector to France but since there were no casualties they may rely on the French authorities for information, the official said.

    The Rosa M was built in 1978 and was bought by Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company ten years ago.

    [08] Two British soldiers attempt suicide

    By Jean Christou

    TWO BRITISH soldiers, one from the bases and another from the UN, have made suicide attempts in the space of three days, it was revealed yesterday.

    One of the soldiers, a 35-year-old, reportedly left a note citing a failed romance for his decision to take his own life.

    And at the weekend a British soldier from Episkopi base also tried to kill himself.

    The most recent incident, on Tuesday, involved a soldier who was named by Cyprus police as a member of the British contingent of Unficyp, UN Spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski confirmed yesterday.

    A police report said the man was found at a flat in Dhekelia after taking an overdose. The letter was found beside him, the report said.

    The soldier was first taken to Dhekelia hospital and then to Larnaca hospital.

    Rokoszewski said his condition is stable.

    "An investigation into the events surrounding the incident is under way and the appropriate medical and welfare support will be made available," Rokoszewski said.

    He said initial results "lead to the conclusion it was personal issues (that made him do it)".

    Rokoszewski said the soldier would be likely to return to the UK as soon as he is discharged from hospital because the British contingent is currently rotating having completed its six-month stint.

    A British bases spokesman said yesterday the soldier involved in the weekend suicide attempt is now out of hospital and is on leave.

    The spokesman said he was taken to Limassol hospital because the incident occurred outside the bases. He would not reveal how the soldier had tried to take his own life.

    [09] Markides' advice sought on torture case cops

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THREE SENIOR policemen whose dismissal was overturned by the Supreme Court remain in limbo until the government receives legal advice on how to comply with the ruling.

    Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides, asked yesterday whether the Council of Ministers had discussed last week's ruling, said the Justice Ministry has asked for advice from Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    The court ruling was not being questioned. "There is no question of failing to comply, it is what form it should take. The advice of the attorney- general is required and we are waiting for it," he said.

    Asked whether this meant that in anticipation of this advice, the three policemen could report back to work, Christofides replied: "In anticipation of the legal advice there will be no other action."

    He said the advice was expected very soon and the issue would be handled speedily "in the next few days".

    Last week the Supreme Court overturned the dismissal of the three - Elias Kyriakides, Theodoros Stylianou and Charalambos Taliadoros. They had been sacked by the Council of Ministers in March 1996 after they and nine others were named in an independent inquiry which concluded that torture of remand suspects had been systematic at Limassol police station between 1990 and 1993.

    Kyriakides was Limassol police chief and the other two were high ranking CID officers at the time the torture allegations were made.

    The Supreme Court agreed that the sackings were unjustified because a criminal court had already cleared Taliadoros and Stylianou, and no disciplinary proceedings were taken against them.

    All three have demanded their immediate reinstatement.

    Christofides was also asked yesterday whether the government was also waiting for legal advice on what action was possible on the more general issue of the claims of torture.

    "There is no connection between the two," he said. On the more general issue of torture claims, Christofides said public opinion was wondering how there could be claims of torture, but no-one seemed to be responsible.

    Would there be further action? "It will depend on what further facts there are for further investigation. If there aren't any then the issue unfortunately will remain as it is," he said.

    [10] Greens protest uprooting of 'refugee trees'

    Martin Hellicar

    GREENS are up in arms about the destruction of trees in the condemned Kokkines refugee housing estate outside Larnaca.

    But the Larnaca Town Planning department said yesterday every effort was being made to save as many trees as possible.

    Work began last month on knocking down the ageing estate to make way for new homes, but the Ecological Movement complained that no effort was being made to protect trees planted in the estate.

    "Pines, cypress trees and eucalyptus trees up to twenty years old, planted and raised by estate residents during the bitter refugee years to transform barren land to an oasis of green, are being remorselessly chopped to pieces by demolition equipment," the environmentalists stated in an announcement.

    They said the relevant authorities had ignored their pleas for the trees to be spared.

    "We are doing everything we can to save trees within the estate and build round them," a Larnaca Town Planning Department officer responded yesterday.

    But he admitted many trees would go during demolition: "Where trees were planted in the gardens of condemned properties it is impossible to save them."

    He said the existing houses were in a poor state and residents had been moved to temporary accommodation until their new homes were ready.

    [11] More help for the handicapped

    A SCHEME is being put before the Council of Ministers to promote and safeguard the rights of the handicapped.

    Speaking yesterday on United Nations International Handicapped Peoples' Day, Labour Minister Stathis Papadakis said the scheme would aim to prevent discrimination against the handicapped in employment and provide funding for more public facilities for handicapped people.

    He said a significant step had already been taken towards affording better rights for the handicapped through a proposed set of regulations due before the council soon.

    This stipulates that there should be easy access for handicapped people to roads and other public places.

    The handicapped have the same rights as the able-bodied, Papadakis said, and added that UN Handicapped Day acted as a reminder that handicapped people "do not always have the opportunities to enjoy these rights".

    [12] Protest over Brussels job

    THE CIVIL servants' union Pasydy protested yesterday over the appointment of Nicos Agathocleous, recently retired Cyprus Ambassador to the UN, as chief of the island's diplomatic mission to Brussels.

    In a letter sent to the Foreign Ministry, Pasydy saidwas against such extensions of service beyond retirement, and that the union had not been consulted by the government on the appointment.

    [13] Net result: more Cypriots get wired

    By Andrew Adamides

    CYPRIOTS are hooking up to the internet at record rates, according to computer magazine publisher Michalis Mavromichalakis.

    Speaking yesterday at the press launch of the 1997 Computer and Internet show, Mavromichalakis said there are currently around 15,000 internet users in Cyprus, compared to just 5,000 a year ago.

    Mavromichalakis also pointed to the growing global popularity of the internet, saying that there are now 100 million pages on the world wide web viewed by 70 million users using 30 million servers worldwide.

    The show, opening tomorrow at Nicosia's International Merchandising Centre (IMC), will feature computers, internet servers and other computer-related products with special deals available.

    It is sponsored by The Popular Bank, Mavromichalakis' Ploigos Plyroforikis magazine and Kiss FM, all of whom will be represented.

    The exhibition will run over the weekend, closing on Sunday. Opening hours are 4pm to 10.30pm.

    [14] Kyprianou promises Diko decision today

    By Aline Davidian

    THE executive committee as well as the central committee of the Democratic Party, (Diko), will meet this afternoon to resolve the question of the party's candidate in the February presidential elections.

    Attorney-General Alecos Markides, is widely expected to announce his candidacy today.

    Markides is believed to have secured the full backing of Diko for the February presidential elections.

    Diko president Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday that the "story would end tomorrow", promising to give detailed information on the chosen Diko candidate at a press conference on Friday.

    Senior Diko sources were saying yesterday they would be surprised if the Attorney-General did not break his silence on the matter today.

    Meanwhile, Disy officials have said developments will be "completely different" to the course widely predicted.

    Disy president Nicos Anastasiades, expressed confidence yesterday that his party had generated the strongest bid for the elections, adding that this would be proved within the next few days.

    "I speak of my faith, not my hope, that situations will be generated to disprove those who hoped Disy would be divided" he said.

    Right-wing labour union Sek, which supports the continuation of Disy-Diko cooperation, said yesterday the next 24 hours would be crucial.

    Sek General Secretary Michalakis Ioannou, who met with Clerides yesterday, said the government had shown a positive attitude and it would be "saddening if everything achieved was interrupted".

    Referring to Markides' possible candidacy, Ioannou said "it is such a complicated issue" that the union "would not wish to get involved".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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