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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-07

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Wednesday, January 7, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Exchange of information on missing 'this week'
  • [02] Turkish Cypriots refuse to release Greek
  • [03] Government not worried by Turkish exercise
  • [04] 'Clerides and Eoka B must go'
  • [05] Britain 'in a strong position to play a role in Cyprus'
  • [06] Clerides announces top-level visits after polls
  • [07] Tourist claims rape in Nicosia car park
  • [08] British soldier killed in road crash
  • [09] Top cancer researcher briefs doctors on vaccine
  • [10] Armenians mark Christmas

  • [01] Exchange of information on missing 'this week'

    By Jean Christou

    REPRESENTATIVES for the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides will exchange information on the missing this week, newspapers in the north said yesterday.

    Rustem Tatar, the Turkish Cypriot side's representative on the issue of missing persons, told reporters on Monday that he would meet his Greek Cypriot counterpart this week to exchange the information.

    Tatar was speaking after a meeting with UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel.

    The Turkish Cypriot representative said he would be meeting Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos to exchange documents on the sites of the graves of 1,619 Greek Cypriots missing since 1974 and some 300 Turkish Cypriots missing from inter-communal clashes in 1963-4.

    The reports said the issue of how graves would be opened and how the remains would be identified would be taken up at a later stage.

    The UN yesterday confirmed that Feissel had met Tatar, but had no information that the exchange of documents would take place this week. "They met for review and update of the progress made so far," a UN spokesman said.

    Christopoulos said yesterday he had not heard of any developments and had not been notified of any new meetings this week. "There is nothing new," he said.

    The two sides agreed in July to exchange the information, initially by the end of September last year.

    The Greek Cypriot side met the deadline, but the Turkish Cypriot side asked for more time.

    In his December report on Unficyp's mandate, UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan said the July agreement on the missing represented a significant breakthrough, which "if faithfully implemented should have a positive effect on the remaining work with regard to missing persons".

    Annan was referring to the work of the tripartite Committee for Missing Persons (CMP) which the UN supports with a third member.

    The last UN appointed member resigned almost two years ago and has not been replaced, but Annan said as soon as the July agreement was effectively implemented, he would proceed with the appointment of the third member.

    [02] Turkish Cypriots refuse to release Greek

    By Jean Christou

    GREEK national Spyros Lilles was remanded for another week by the Turkish Cypriot regime yesterday, dashing hopes for his release.

    Lilles, 24, appeared at a military court in occupied Nicosia at around 11.30 a.m. It ruled that his remand be extended for a third time to allow 'police' to complete their investigations.

    But sources told the Cyprus Mail the 'police' investigation was already completed. "It appears their holding him is politically motivated," the sources said, alluding to cases involving Turkish Cypriots in the government-controlled areas.

    A Turkish Cypriot was jailed for six years last month on spying charges while another two Turkish Cypriots are being held on charges of smuggling from the occupied areas. They will appear at Nicosia court on January 19.

    Lilles, a salesman from Larissa in northern Greece who is resident in Cyprus, was 'arrested' by Turkish forces in the early hours of December 20 in the Ayios Pavlos area of Nicosia.

    The Turks claim Lilles had entered a first-degree military zone.

    Reports suggested the salesman, who works for a company which distributes wines and spirits, was so drunk he didn't know what he was doing when he entered the occupied areas at 5.45 a.m.

    Lilles's fiancée was allowed to cross to the north to visit him over the Christmas holiday period. She was allowed to visit him for an hour yesterday, the fourth time she has crossed to the north.

    [03] Government not worried by Turkish exercise

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE GOVERNMENT is confident that Turkish military exercises in the Mediterranean will not cause tension in the region.

    Defence Minister George Charalambides yesterday said the government believed military manoeuvres between Israel, Turkey and the United States would not heighten tension on Cyprus.

    "Rising tension leading to dangerous episodes in the region seems to be over," Charalambides said after a ceremony in Paphos yesterday.

    He said the current political climate put an onus on ensuring security and safety for Cyprus.

    The minister also dismissed reports that President Clinton had given Turkey assurances that the S-300 missiles would not be deployed on the island.

    "All these rumours are the work of third parties," said Charalambides cryptically.

    The United States has gone out of its way to stress that naval manoeuvres with Israel and Turkey are strictly humanitarian in nature.

    "The object is to practice co-ordinated emergency search-and-rescue procedures. It is not related to any real world events, nor is it directed against any party," said State Department spokesman James Rubin.

    The exercise dubbed 'Reliant Mermaid' will not involve shots being fired, said Rubin.

    Turkish and Israeli government spokesmen have also underlined the "friendly" scenario of the three-way exercise which takes place today between 20 and 100 miles off the coast of Israel.

    Israeli Rear Admiral Yedidia Yaari told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA): "the FIR of Cyprus is not being used in this exercise, apart from where the maritime patrol cruises, which combine all the international procedures, and there is nothing unusual about that."

    He also confirmed that the search and rescue centre at the Episkopi British base was not participating in the 12-hour exercise.

    "The centre in Cyprus is not part of this particular exercise for no specific reason, but we are not only open but looking forward to working with any civilian entities," said Yaari.

    US Commodore Joseph Sestak Junior said the American naval presence in the Mediterranean was not a threat to peace but "one of the best guarantees for stability in this region."

    Two Turkish frigates, a US destroyer with two helicopters and four Israeli vessels will participate in Reliant Mermaid.

    [04] 'Clerides and Eoka B must go'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias yesterday turned on President Clerides with a scathing attack, and told him to quit, along with his Eoka B cohorts.

    With polling-day drawing closer, Christofias pulled no punches in a statement which denounced Clerides as a leader ready to sell out to the Turks.

    "Supporters of Akel and other democratic and presidential forces consider it a national necessity that Mr Clerides should go, and with him Eoka B," said Christofias' statement.

    He accused Clerides of being an apologist for Eoka B criminals, as a man who had undermined Makarios, and of being the first person to speak of a bi- zonal solution.

    This public criticism of Clerides echoed the tone and language used by Diko's Spyros Kyprianou in his "mini-junta" speech.

    Both Kyprianou and Christofias back independent candidate George Iacovou, and are looking to the darker sides of the island's history in a bid to score political points.

    Linking Clerides with the infamous Eoka B is also a move to secure the important pro-Makarios vote.

    In this vein, Christofias branded Clerides a concessionist and a man ready to hand over sovereignty and the seat of power to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    On the domestic front, Christofias chastised the Clerides administration for destroying democratic institutions, ruining the economy, doubling unemployment and championing nepotism.

    The Akel leader also highlighted the president's age as a liability.

    "Mr Clerides at the age of 80 cannot govern. His possible election will leave Cyprus, in effect, without a president, without a negotiator, and with the threat of foreign partitionist solutions much increased," said Christofias.

    [05] Britain 'in a strong position to play a role in Cyprus'

    By Jean Christou

    BRITAIN is in a stronger position than other countries to play a powerful role in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

    In an interview with the Financial Times, Blair said a settlement was not a precondition to Cyprus joining the European Union, but "plainly" it would make the island's accession easier.

    Britain has just taken over the EU's six-monthly rotating presidency.

    "We are in a stronger position perhaps than others to play a powerful role here," Blair said, adding that Britain would use "whatever good offices we have" to try to achieve a settlement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

    But Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was yesterday reported as saying the existing inequality in Cyprus would grow even bigger if the EU began talks with Cyprus for the membership of the whole island and if these led to Cyprus' accession to the Union.

    Admission of 'South Cyprus' would be wrong, Yilmaz said; if the EU persisted with such a wrong, this would lead to the partitioning of Cyprus and in these circumstances Turkey would not abandon the 'TRNC'.

    Since the EU decided last month to approve accession talks with Cyprus while sidelining Turkey, Ankara has pulled out of a European Conference for prospective candidates.

    In the Financial Times interview, Blair recognised that a crisis with Turkey would tax his diplomatic skills.

    "I am still hopeful of getting Turkey involved in the European Conference," Blair said, "despite its disappointing response so far."

    Ankara sees anti-Turk and pro-Greek hands in the EU's requirement that participants in the European Conference uphold human rights and settle territorial disputes. But, Blair said, "it's very important that Turkey understands there are no different criteria being applied to Turkey than would be applied to any other country."

    Blair remained vague on the possibility of Turkey eventually becoming an EU member: "There is a process in which people see the potential for Turkey to be a member of the European Union - obviously that is some way away but we have got to start the process."

    [06] Clerides announces top-level visits after polls

    UN SPECIAL negotiator Diego Cordovez will be the first of many high-profile diplomats to converge on the island after the February presidential elections.

    President Clerides announced yesterday that Cordovez would visit Cyprus to kick-start the peace process at the end of March.

    He said this visit would be followed by the arrivals of top US diplomat Richard Holbrooke and Britain's special envoy Sir David Hannay.

    Clerides revealed this flurry of diplomatic activity in a curt response to presidential opponent George Iacovou, who had questioned whether an American or any other peace initiative would materialise in the spring.

    The Akel and Diko-backed candidate also came under criticism from Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades.

    He doubted whether Iacovou had the experience - unlike Clerides - to handle significant new developments on the Cyprus problem.

    Anastassiades described Iacovou as the "Akel candidate", saying a party like Diko could not seriously support a candidate who did not reflect its policies.

    Meanwhile presidential hopeful George Vassiliou has warned the Greek Cypriot side to show willingness to enter peace negotiations even when the Turkish side seems unwilling to do so.

    Failure to enter into peace talks due to the other side's perceived stubbornness could jettison the island's EU ambitions, Vassiliou argued.

    [07] Tourist claims rape in Nicosia car park

    A 22-YEAR-OLD Norwegian tourist claims she was raped by two men in an underground car park in the centre of Nicosia.

    Nicosia CID are investigating the alleged incident, after the Norwegian claimed she was taken by two unknown men from a disco, before being violently raped.

    According to the woman's statement, she was offered a lift to her Nicosia hotel from the disco at around 4am on Sunday morning by the two men, who are thought to be Cypriot.

    But instead of taking her to the hotel, the tourist told police they took her to the car park beneath the Capital Centre where they raped her.

    Nicosia CID are continuing their investigations.

    [08] British soldier killed in road crash

    BASES police are investigating a fatal traffic accident which claimed the life of a British soldier.

    British soldier Craig Bowles, 23, was fatally injured on Monday morning when he tried to overtake a lorry on the road between Achna and Xylotymbou.

    Police said Bowles' vehicle crashed when he tried to pass a lorry driven by Andreas Michael, 38, from Achna.

    Bowles was stationed at nearby Dhekelia base.

    [09] Top cancer researcher briefs doctors on vaccine

    GREEK scientist Vasso Apostolopolou arrived on the island on Sunday to brief the Cypriot medical profession on her work on an anti-cancer vaccine.

    Speaking at Larnaca Airport on her arrival, Apostolopolou whose vaccine goes on clinical trial this year, said she was convinced cancer would one day become an illness of the past.

    She added that the results of her research had gained international recognition and that she was co-operating with the medical professions in the US and the UK.

    However, the results of the clinical trials into Apostolopolou's vaccine will not be known for at least five years. She will leave for the US by the end of the month after returning to Greece.

    [10] Armenians mark Christmas

    A SPECIAL service to mark the celebration of Christmas was held at the Armenian Church in Nicosia yesterday.

    The Armenians adopted Christianity in 301 AD, and still celebrate Christmas according to the old Julian calendar. The date coincides with the new calendar celebration of Epiphany.

    Members of the 2,000 plus Armenian congregation packed into church yesterday to celebrate the birth of Christ.

    Greek Cypriots meanwhile turned out in force yesterday for the traditional celebration of Epiphany, many attending ceremonies for the throwing of the cross into the sea at Limassol and Larnaca, and its retrieval by swimmers.

    The main celebration held at Limassol's Old Port and was attended by President Clerides.

    The Larnaca service was attended by House President Spyros Kyprianou and presidential candidate George Iacovou.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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