|Wednesday, 29 November 2023|
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-20
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Saturday, December 20, 1997
 Russia dismisses FT report of possible S-300 cancellationBy Jean Christou
RUSSIA yesterday denied a report that it would halt the sale of the S-300 missiles to Cyprus in exchange for financial compensation.
Yesterday's Financial Times said Russia had signalled is was ready to stop the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles in return for compensation.
But both the Russian embassy in Nicosia and Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Tarasov, speaking in Copenhagen on the sidelines of the European security conference, denied the report.
"We categorically deny this," Tarasov said. "This is absolutely unfounded... it has nothing to do with reality."
A spokesman at the Russian embassy in Nicosia told the Cyprus Mail there had been "no change in the Russian stance on this issue".
"I don't know where the Financial Times got its information, but they should check their sources," the spokesman said.
The newspaper quoted Nato sources as saying that Yevgeny Primakov, the Russian foreign minister, had passed on the message about the missiles during a visit to Nato headquarters in Brussels this week.
But Tarasov said the subject was never brought up during the meetings Primakov had with his colleagues in Brussels. "Our position is unchanged," he said.
The Financial Times said the US and other Nato members saw tensions over Cyprus "with alarm" because they threatened a regional military confrontation between Greece and Turkey. "This is one of our biggest worries in 1998," a Nato diplomat told the newspaper.
"The Russian government's motive for selling the surface-to-air missiles to the Greek Cypriot government appears to be financial, rather than an attempt to sow discord within Nato, according to officials familiar with the deal," the newspaper said.
"The officials declined to reveal Moscow's price for stopping the shipment. But according to senior Greek Cypriot sources, the cost of the missiles is $200 million with the down-payment of $20 million."
The paper adds that the EU and Nato fear the Cyprus government "may have left itself little room for manoeuvre" on the missiles issue, especially in the light of the impending presidential elections.
 Clerides sets out his platformBy Charlie Charalambous
PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday avoided economic and domestic policy in order to outline his credentials as the man to solve the Cyprus problem at his first election press conference.
The president, hoping for a second term in office, laid his cards out straight away when speaking of a "new climate" and "fresh impetus" on the Cyprus problem.
On the evidence of yesterday's performance, Clerides will fight his campaign on the island's so-far successful bid towards EU accession and the international community's push for a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus problem.
But the veteran politician, standing underneath the slogan "The Responsible Choice", steered clear of his perceived weaknesses on the economy and domestic policy in general.
He assured the nation that there was an American initiative in the pipeline and said those who said otherwise were "badly informed".
"After the election, there will be an American initiative," said the president confidently.
Clerides pointed out that Cyprus had secured EU accession talks without the precondition many had feared that a solution should come first and that accession talks must involve Turkish Cypriot participation.
"The road to Europe is difficult, but we secured talks without progress on the Cyprus problem."
According to the president's evaluation, accession talks - due to start in April - should take three years.
Clerides was also unmoved by threats from Turkey concerning the S-300 missiles and the island's EU entry, saying the international community would now allow renewed tension on the island.
"I believe that the danger of these threats being carried out should not worry us."
He added that the international community would not allow tensions in Cyprus to destabilise the wider region, which could reach as far as the Balkans.
Asked whether he was prepared to admit to making mistakes, Clerides said: "I do not always consider myself infallible... I am not the Pope."
He conceded that it had been a mistake to insist on the issue of finding common ground in the negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side.
"It would have been easier to support Akel's proposal to meet on the issue of sovereignty only, as a precondition for talks," said Clerides.
Security for both sides was an obstacle, acknowledged Clerides.
Repeating his disarmament proposal, he said the void should be filled by an "interventionist" international force to ensure a workable solution.
"To reach a solution, both sides must feel safe... so we need an international force to intervene if either community behaves illegally."
 Ledra Palace gate cancelled on deliveryBy Jean Christou
POLICE yesterday mysteriously cancelled an order for a four-metre high gate at the Ledra Palace checkpoint, just five minutes before it was to be erected.
The huge automatic fence was to be erected by Christmas to control the daily traffic as well as demonstrators.
But just as workmen went with the gate to the checkpoint yesterday, they were told the order had been cancelled.
Baffled company representative Andreas Kyriakides told the Cyprus Mail he was told not to install the gate just after he got to the checkpoint.
It is believed the order to cancel came to the Ledra Palace officers from police headquarters.
Kyriakides said he had "no idea" why, but added he was due to meet police on Monday to see what the situation was.
Police sources said earlier this week that the gate, believed to cost £7, 500, would be ready by Christmas.
It was designed to provide more effective crowd control for the frequent demonstrations, and to check the daily flow of people crossing to the occupied areas.
Informed sources suggested work on the gate had been halted yesterday because work to erect it would have continued well into today, hindering weekend crossings, including those of the Maronites.
The sources also suggested that is was possible the initial decision to put up the barrier at the Ledra Palace had been taken without political approval.
"Perhaps they decided that dividing the two areas even more was not a good idea," the sources said.
 Cancer children to go to Apostolos Andreas tomorrowBETWEEN 70 and 100 children with cancer from the Makarios Hospital in Nicosia will travel to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery tomorrow.
The monastery in the occupied Karpass peninsula is a shrine for the sick and disabled.
The visit is being organised by the UN, and it is the first time since 1974 that non-refugee children will be allowed to go to the occupied areas in such a large group.
The children are mainly under 15 years old and will travel with their parents.
The entire group will total around 200, Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday.
The largest number of Greek Cypriots visited the shrine was when over 1,000 who made the three-hour journey on November 30, the Apostle's feast day.
Yesterday, the voluntary group Cans for Kids, which works for children with cancer, handed over medical equipment worth £7,800 to the Makarios Hospital.
So far, the organisation, which collects and recycles aluminium cans, has donated equipment worth £61,000 to the hospital.
 Vast majority of software used is illegalEIGHTY-five per cent of computer software in use on the island is pirated, the local branch of the international Business Software Alliance (BSA) claimed yesterday.
BSA Cyprus president Nicos Nicolaou said the alliance had so far focused on combating the import and sale of bootleg software, but now planned a major offensive against illegal software use.
He said offices buying one copy of a programme and then using it on all their computer terminals were the main culprits. The BSA plan is to "make an example" of some companies by taking them to court in the hope that such illicit copying will be wiped out.
"When you buy a computer programme you are only purchasing the licence to use it, it is not your property and it can only be used under certain conditions and not copied," BSA member and lawyer Achilleas Demetriades said.
The Cyprus BSA, set-up three years ago, has been working hard to preach the anti-piracy gospel and feels it has given "fair warning" to the law- breakers.
"We have sent letters to all companies informing them of the law and what they must do. We have also created a BSA label to be put on all authorised software," Nicolaou said.
BSA say their efforts to alert police and customs officials to the dangers of software piracy are beginning to bear fruit, with a the first customs seizure of 4,000 bootleg compact discs recently.
 'Breeding the credit junkies of the future'By Andrew Adamides
A CREDIT scandal has blown up around a Nicosia elementary school canteen.
An enraged mother of two pupils at the school contacted the Cyprus Mail, claiming the woman who runs the canteen was offering food to children on a "buy now, pay later basis".
She said the canteen woman would keep tally of the amounts each child owed. When the debts amounted to £10, the parents would be contacted and payment demanded.
The mother said she first realised what was going on when her daughter informed her that she had a tab amounting to £6.
"It's obscene," exclaimed the 37-year-old parent. "They're breeding the credit card junkies of the future."
She added that not only had her children been offered credit by the canteen, but on one occasion her son had ordered one tachini pie, only to be given two by the woman.
When he pointed out that he had asked for one, she allegedly said it "didn't matter", but added the cost of two pies to his tab.
Tachini pies are on a list of sweet foods forbidden at government school canteens by the health ministry. However, the mother claimed the food worker was keeping the pies in a bin under the counter along with other banned sweets.
The Cyprus Mail contacted the headmaster of the school, who
said he was unaware of the claims. He confirmed that the canteen was not allowed to serve tachini pies and promised an immediate investigation into the situation.
 Page-Three girl flown out to cheer the troopsBy Charlie Charalambous
A SUN Page-Three girl and a ton of Christmas goodies were flown to Cyprus yesterday to entertain 1,200 British troops.
British Airways got together with the British tabloid and the Asda supermarket chain in order to bring the Christmas spirit to the HMS Invincible crew who won't make it home for the festive period.
The aircraft carrier is now 3km off Akrotiri and will remain in the region - on routine standby - for possible deployment in case of developments in Iraq.
The Christmas goodies arrived at Larnaca Airport early yesterday morning on a British Airways Boeing 777 and were taken by truck to Akrotiri where they and the Page-Three girl, Kelly Brook, were shuttled by helicopter to the carrier.
Kelly, 18, was in traditional Santa gear as she gave out presents, pulled some of the hundreds of crackers and posed for photos with the sailors on board.
"The reaction from the boys was of delight, and they were pleased to see her (Kelly)," said Bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones told the Cyprus Mail.
Among the festive goodies flown over from Britain were ten six foot Christmas trees, decorations, calendars and Yuletide snacks.
"The sailors will be having a traditional Christmas lunch; while obviously sad not to be home with their families, they will enjoy Christmas as much as they can," said Wynne Jones.
 Three held on suspicion of drug dealingTHREE Famagusta district villagers were remanded yesterday on suspicion of drug dealing.
Famagusta District Court heard that Kyriacos Nikola, 32 from Avgorou, was caught red-handed receiving one-and-a-half kilos of hashish from Vasilakis Zachariades, known as Vasilakas, 44 from Paralimni, in Larnaca late on Thursday night. Drug Squad officer Georgios Stylianides told the court the two suspects were arrested and later named 50-year-old Stavros Kourouniades, from Dherynia, as their supplier.
All three were remanded for eight days.
Stylianides said police staked-out the port roundabout in Larnaca on Thursday night after receiving a tip-off that a drug deal was imminent.
At about 11.20pm, police spotted Vasilakas approaching the roundabout in a pick-up truck, the court heard. Nikola approached the truck and was handed a plastic bag, Stylianides said.
Police moved in and apprehended Nikola, while Vasilakas managed to drive away but was stopped by a police patrol car, the court heard.
The plastic bag was found to contain 1,452 grammes of hashish while £1,472 and $200 were found in Vasilakas' truck, Stylianides said.
Kourouniades was arrested after police said Nikola and Vasilakas had named him as their supplier.
Stylianides told the court the Drug Squad were investigating information that Kourouniades had 88 kilos of hashish stashed away.
 Elijah's shed gets the X-Files treatmentMYSTERY surrounding the "Shed Miracle" of Kato Lefkara received some X-File treatment yesterday when the island's top UFO expert visited the site.
UFO aficionado Andreas Achilleas took his Geiger counter and an open mind to the scene of the rising shed, allegedly destroyed by the prophet Elijah earlier this week.
Accompanying Achilleas on his two-hour investigation into the unexplained phenomena, was state pathologist Panicos Stavrianos.
The UFO buff took eye-witness statements and checked to see if there was a magnetic force field surrounding the shed. His investigation proved negative.
But Achilleas vowed to continue his investigation into how and why a shed was lifted six metres off the ground and sent flying a distance of 250 metres.
 First stone laid for new university campusBy Aline Davidian
PRESIDENT Clerides laid the first foundation stone for the future campus development of the Cyprus University yesterday. This is expected to provide services for up to 8,000 students when the building is completed.
"The campus will be the spiritual centre of Cyprus, which will inspire and direct our society to a better future," the President said.
He said the Council of Ministers had approved the masterplan for the campus, making accommodation a priority and aiming to house 4,300 students.
Providing the means for high-level public education and research was also an important goal, said Clerides.
The original estimate for the cost of the campus was set at 80 million in 1993, but inflation has added to the figure since then. The Education Ministry, which is in charge of financing construction, has agreed to meet the increased cost.
The campus will be built in the undeveloped Athalassa area of Nicosia and integrated with the forest there.
"The project is predicted to be finished over the next 10 to 15 years", said a spokesman for the University technical services, adding that indications of further cost would be known after completing the first phase.
The campus grounds would be open to the public, he said, although present security levels would be maintained.
He also said an architectural competition to design a Pure and Applied Science Faculty would probably be announced next month.
 Why Keve opposes Greek labelling of foodTHE CYPRUS Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve) yesterday issued a list of reasons why it feels the proposed labelling of foodstuffs in Greek is a bad thing.
Keve said Greek labelling would create an oligopoly, endangering small businesses. The Chamber added that Greek labelling could not be used for frozen or ready-cooked food as the labels would not stick.
Greek labelling would moreover cause problems for non-Greek speaking tourists, Keve said, and thus "undermine" the tourist industry.
The decision to label all foodstuffs in Greek as of January 1 was taken by the House of Representatives on Thursday.
 Clash for top spotBy George Christou
APOLLONAS will take over the top spot in the table if they beat champions Anorthosis in tonight's big clash in Limassol.
The Limassol side are only two points behind the league leaders and for this they should thank village club Ethnikos Achnas who last Sunday inflicted Anorthosis' first home defeat in four years and nine months. Now- defunct Epa was the last club to win at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium, back in March 1993.
All the first division should be grateful to Ethnikos because, just when it seemed that Anorthosis would be cruising to their second successive championship, they punctured the air of invincibility surrounding the Famagusta side with a 2-0 win.
After nine straight wins and a goal average of five per home game, the impression given was that visitors to Antonis Papadopoulos stadium were intimidated into accepting defeat before kicking a ball. Brave Ethnikos, the club of a village of less than 2,000 people, changed all this last Sunday, denting the champions growing reputation.
Anorthosis seem to be suffering from a bout of over-confidence, which has seen them take only one point from their last two fixtures. Coach Dusan Mitosevic slammed his players' complacency after Sunday's defeat.
"Some of the players were not ready for the game and thought we would win easily," he said. "There is still a long way to go in the title race and we should learn from this defeat and fight."
Apollonas could feel the full force of an Anorthosis resurgence tonight even though tradition favours the home side. The visitors have lost seven times in their last 10 visits to Apollonas and won only once. They lost last season's tie to a last-minute goal.
But Apollonas, despite being in second place, have not performed very convincingly, often struggling to overcome modest opposition. They may be good defensively, but their attack lacks a goalscorer, relying too heavily on midfielders finding the target.
The champions are undoubtedly the better side and must be the favourites to break with tradition and take the three points, even without the injured Melanarkitis and Engomitis. And after last Sunday's defeat, Mitosevic's players will be more fired up than ever for the game. One thing is certain, it will be a tight game.
Third-placed Omonia, three points behind Anorthosis, could close the gap today with a home win over beleaguered Paralimni who have suffered four defeats on the trot. Paralimni will not take much encouragement from their previous encounters - one point from their last 10 league visits to Omonia.
Paralimni are having a disastrous season, languishing in ninth place. Last week they created half a dozen chances, but lost to Apollonas - their fourth home defeat. To compound their misery, Nigerian striker Isimbor Lakky went home two weeks ago and has not returned.
After winning their first game under Andreas Mouskallis last Sunday, Apoel travel to Dherynia today looking for another three points. Mouskallis will not allow any complacency as Apoel lost the corresponding tie against Anagennisis last season.
The Paphos derby, between Apop and Evagoras, already has the look of a relegation dogfight. Evagoras are second from bottom with seven points, while Apop are two places above them with two more points.
Apop have developed a knack of taking first half leads and then collapsing in the second half. They did it against Apollonas a couple of weeks ago and again last Saturday when they managed to lose 4-2 to Omonia after leading 2- 0 at the interval.
Evagoras, though well-organised defensively, has been struggling to score (10 goals only) which is the main reason for their lowly position.
Ael, buoyed by last Saturday's victory over Anagennisis, will be looking for a point from their visit to Salamina, in a mid-table clash.
On Sunday, Ethnikos Achnas, riding high in fourth place after a run of seven wins and one draw in their last eight games, make the short trip to Larnaca to play fifth-placed Aek, unbeaten in their last 10.
Finally Alki will be looking for their fourth consecutive victory when they travel to Nicosia on Sunday to play bottom club Ethnikos Ashias.
 Denktash planning to cut bi-communal contactsBy Jean Christou
TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is planning to cut off all contact with the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish Cypriot press reported yesterday.
Kibris said among the measures being proposed in retaliation over the EU decision to open accession negotiations with Cyprus is the breaking off of bi- communal contacts.
This would include meetings of political party leaders, sportsmen, trade unions, businessmen, students, journalists and conflict resolution groups.
Under the measures, foreign ambassadors accredited to the Cyprus Republic would not be able to hold `official' talks in the occupied north unless they recognise the Denktash regime, Kibris said.
The spectre of the Turkish Cypriot side pulling out of the intercommunal talks has already been raised in a letter from Denktash to the UN's special Cyprus adviser Diego Cordovez on December 10, two days before the EU decision.
The paper said the `government coalition' parties have adopted the measures and "will soon be putting them into practice". Opposition parties however oppose the move.
The `general assembly' of the regime was due to meet today to discuss the implications of the EU decision and what steps they will take to counter it, but postponed the meeting to another day due to budget discussions, the TAK news agency reported last night.
Kibris said the planned measures are expected to be put into force within the next few days.
UN Permanent representative Gustave Feissel said he was unaware of any such measures. He referred to his meeting on Thursday with Denktash and said the Turkish Cypriot leader had been upset over the EU decision but had mentioned nothing of cutting off bi-communal contacts.
Feissel added Unficyp had so far not noticed any effects on bi-communal contacts.
But leading Greek Cypriot businessman Constantinos Lordos who is involved in rapprochement efforts said yesterday his Turkish Cypriot counterparts had mentioned there might be "a couple of difficult weeks" in view of the EU decision "but it would soon be back to normal".
Referring to the proposed measures published yesterday, Lordos said: "This would be a very bad development and would set us back enormously from the excellent work done already."
He said thee are a number of projects on the table at the completion stage. "If something like this happened, all the work of the last year will be out the window," he said "not only for us but for the large number of bi- communal groups who are in contact with each other."
 Child discovers bombA CHILD discovered a bomb triggered to explode in a Nicosia garden yesterday.
According to a police report, the child, whose age they refused to reveal, was playing in the yard at the home of Christos Andreou, 50, in Lycavitos when he found the bomb.
Explosives experts went to the house to examine the device and found it contained sticks of dynamite. It was triggered to go off, they said but miraculously didn't. Officers defused the bomb and took it away to be examined.
The police report said the device was found near a wall in a spot where Andreou's son Pambos usually parks his car.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997