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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, January 20, 1998


  • [01] Handover of missing persons files set for Friday
  • [02] Brave face put on Diko rift
  • [03] Pilot charged with helping Nadir flee
  • [04] Turkey 'abandons sabre-rattling on S-300s'
  • [05] Crisis talks on sports violence
  • [06] 1,000 polling stations
  • [07] Missing seamen presumed dead
  • [08] More than one solution, Canada believes
  • [09] Sit-in protesters halt road works
  • [10] Game warden's car bombed
  • [11] Pet Alsatian bites boy's head
  • [12] SBA car flips during chase
  • [13] Yiangos Papadopoulos dies in the UK

  • [01] Handover of missing persons files set for Friday

    Jean Christou

    REPRESENTATIVES of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides are expected to exchange information on missing persons from both communities on Friday.

    Unficyp spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said yesterday the meeting will take place at the buffer-zone home of UN Permanent representative Gustave Feissel.

    It was there that the agreement to exchange information was first made on July 31 last year, between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Only three people will attend Friday's meeting: Feissel, Greek Cypriot Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos, and Turkish Cypriot representative Rustem Tatar.

    The Turkish Cypriot side is expected to hand over information on 400 of the 1,619 Greek Cypriots missing since 1974.

    Christopoulos will in turn give Tatar information on some 200 Turkish Cypriots of the 803 Turkish Cypriots missing since the intercommunal troubles broke out in 1963.

    Rokoszewski said he had no details of what format the meeting would take.

    Nicos Theodosiou, president of the Committee for the Relatives of the Missing, said yesterday the information being exchanged is expected to include maps indicating the location of possible mass graves.

    Theodosiou said the information which will be received will be evaluated by government experts. "It's not our job to do this but we will be involved," he said.

    He said it is unlikely the families of the 400 on whom information will be given will be informed at this stage.

    "This can't be done until a positive identification is made," Theodosiou said.

    A DNA bank has already been set up at the bi-communal Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Nicosia, and samples have been taken from relatives.

    The identification process is expected to take a very long time.

    But Theodosiou said for now "we are waiting to see what they give us". He said Friday's exchange would probably be "ceremonial", not "substantial".

    The meeting is just the first phase and the two sides are expected to continue working on the issue of the missing and gathering more information.

    In his December report on Unficyp's mandate, UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan said the 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".

    [02] Brave face put on Diko rift

    By Charlie Charalambous

    AKEL is confident that election partner Diko is fighting hard to get George Iacovou elected as president next month, despite growing dissent among Diko rank and file members.

    Akel leader Demetris Christofias yesterday met his Diko counterpart Spyros Kyprianou to discuss election strategy, and afterwards both men put a brave face on the widening rift within Diko which threatens to derail the pro- Iacovou bandwagon.

    "Diko is working hard to get Iacovou elected on the first Sunday (of balloting on February 8) and we are satisfied with that," Christofias said.

    Kyprianou said his party stood firm on its decision to expel the rebels and confidently predicted: "Iacovou will become the new president of Cyprus."

    But there was further criticism of Diko backing for Iacovou from the party's Strovolos branch yesterday, highlighting a ground swell of support for the rebels.

    "We consider the party's decision to support Mr Iacovou to be wrong and dangerous. It was clearly not based on political or national criteria but on vested interests," said a declaration by members of Diko Strovolos.

    To make matters worse for Kyprianou, Diko vice president Dinos Michaelides said there was no case for him to face disciplinary action.

    "I've done nothing wrong," said an unrepentant Michaelides.

    He also practically endorsed the move by Diko deputy Alexis Galanos to defy the party and go it alone as a presidential candidate.

    Galanos himself raised the election stakes by accusing Kyprianou of degrading his position as House President to put pressure on wayward Diko members.

    "The office of the House President should not be used as a campaign platform and to put pressure on party members," said Galanos, a former House President himself.

    He also alleged that Diko district offices had been sent a document asking them to blacklist any member which took an anti-Iacovou stance.

    Although Galanos said he had evidence to back up his claims he was not ready to divulge it in public.

    When asked to comment on the allegation, Kyprianou was abrupt and unforgiving: "I do not comment on accusations made by Galanos. For the Democratic Party he is history."

    Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades added insult to injury by declaring once again that Iacovou will not be elected president "in the first round or in the second".

    He also made it clear that President Clerides would appeal to the Diko voter and achievements of the alliance government to help get him re- elected.

    In the continuing battle of claim and counter-claim, Kyprianou said yesterday that disillusioned Diko supporters were coming back to the party since it had left the Clerides administration.

    And Anastassiades scorned Diko claims that Disy had resigned itself to Clerides being defeated at the polls.

    Meanwhile Justice Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday confirmed reports that some police officers had been reprimanded for campaigning on behalf of various parties.

    He said the police command had dealt with the issue and efforts were being made to isolate such incidents.

    The first online poll of the election, published yesterday, gives Clerides an 11 per cent lead over iacovou, his nearest opponent.

    Clerides garnered 42% of the 819 votes cast on the Internet, with Iacovou a distant second with 31%.

    This contradicts a Sigma TV poll which gave Iacovou (34.6%) a slender lead over Clerides (33.9%).

    [03] Pilot charged with helping Nadir flee

    A BRITISH pilot has been charged in the UK with perverting the course of justice by helping fugitive Turkish Cypriot tycoon Asil Nadir to flee Britain.

    Peter Dimond, 56, was detained at Fishguard in Wales while trying to board a ferry to the Irish Republic.

    According to the Sunday Times, he is alleged to have masterminded the getaway of Nadir, the former chairman of Polly Peck when the failed tycoon jumped his sterling 3.5 million bail in 1993.

    Two planes and six airfields were used in the flight from Britain.

    Nadir made the dramatic night-time flight from Compton Abbas in Dorset to Beauvais in northern France, just four months before his trial on charges of theft and false accounting amounting to 31 million sterling.

    In France he was picked up by a private jet and flown to the occupied area, which has no extradition treaty with Britain because it is an unrecognised state.

    The newspaper said it is believed that Dimond has spent most of the past five years living in the north, at the Jasmine Court Hotel in Kyrenia.

    Yesterday's Daily Telegraph quoted a spokesman for Scotland Yard as saying Dimond had been charged with one count of perverting justice.

    [04] Turkey 'abandons sabre-rattling on S-300s'

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    TURKEY has been persuaded to abandon its sabre-rattling over Cyprus' plans to deploy S-300 missiles after a "re-evaluation", a newspaper said yesterday.

    According to the Turkish Daily News the change of heart came after Ankara decided Greek Cypriots would never use the missiles because it would lead to war between Greece and Turkey.

    Turkey's reported softening on the missiles is matched by a tougher stance on the Cyprus problem. Citing "official Turkish sources", the same paper said Ankara and the Denktash regime have decided to abandon efforts for a federation and to insist instead on a "two-state settlement".

    On the missiles the paper said Ankara was dropping its previous position to do whatever possible - including preventive military strikes - in order to prevent their deployment. It has instead decided to "respond in an adequate manner" if there is ever an attempt to use the missiles. According to unconfirmed reports the new approach was adopted after the US told Ankara it had a right to defend itself.

    In a related story, the Turkish daily Hurriyet said the US had persuaded Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz that the Greek Cypriots would never use the missiles. Turkey also feared that a strike against the missiles during their shipment or once they are deployed in Cyprus would lead to confrontation with Russia and possible trouble with Greece.

    On the air base at Paphos, the Turkish Daily News quoted sources as saying the base may open on January 24 but it has not been fully built and could not become operational in the near future.

    The same sources told the Turkish paper there were only six fighter hangars at the base, capable of holding 12 aircraft. "Those planes may fly once, but they cannot return to Paphos... If they manage to, they won't be able to find a base there," the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

    On the substance of the Cyprus issue, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sources told the newspaper policy would now focus on mutual recognition of two states on the island, security, border demarcation and land claim issues.

    This stance lends support to "ultra-nationalist Turkish Cypriots" who have argued since 1974 that the current situation in the island was the solution, it added. Minor changes would be needed to the Green Line, but there would be no substantial land concessions.

    This policy is a response to the European Union's decision to begin accession talks with Cyprus in spring, it added.

    "We have warned the Europeans that if they decide to open accession talks with Greek Cypriots as the sole government of the island, and demonstrate once again that the principle of equality of the two peoples of the island is just a matter confined to the intercommunal talks process, the parameters of our approach to the Cyprus problem would be altered," the source told the Turkish Daily News.

    "Now, parameters have changed... talks could resume at two-states level and the aim could only be to resolve the issues of security, border demarcation and land claims," the source said.

    The paper also notes that even though February's presidential elections have shifted international efforts for a settlement into low gear, intense behind the scenes efforts are continuing. It said Washington has been despatching senior officials for secret talks in the region to prepare for a new initiative in March. As an example the paper said US State Department special Cyprus co-ordinator Tom Miller travelled to Ankara last week.

    [05] Crisis talks on sports violence

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday called for a crisis meeting to combat hooliganism in sport after weekend crowd trouble in Nicosia at football and basketball matches.

    Worried about the growing number of violent incidents at sporting venues, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis will convene an emergency meeting between sports bodies and the police later this week.

    After clashes between rival supporters at the Omonia-Apollonas football game on Sunday, Koshis partly blamed the clubs for the behaviour of violent supporters.

    He said they must do more to tackle violent offenders.

    The Sports Federation has also called for an emergency session of the National Committee Against Hooliganism.

    Police said around 200 rival fans clashed after the Omonia game, which resulted in two arrests and five people being slightly injured, including a police officer.

    The trouble started when sets of fans started throwing rocks at each other before and during the game. The violence then spread outside the Makarios stadium.

    It is not the first time this season that local derby games have been marred by crowd violence, despite increased security and policing.

    Sunday's disturbances at the Makarios stadium followed acts of hooliganism at the Apoel-Ael basketball match the previous day, when two policemen and a civilian were injured during crowd trouble.

    Five Limassol students were arrested by police after cars and shops were smashed after the basketball game.

    The five youths were later remanded for six days.

    Sports Federation chairman Demos Georgiades described the recent incidents as "disturbing" and said he would attend the meeting requested by Koshis.

    [06] 1,000 polling stations

    MORE THAN 1,000 polling stations will operate islandwide on election day, the chief returning officer announced yesterday.

    According to an official press release 1,023 polling stations will be manned in five districts, (polling will not take place in the sixth district, which is occupied Kyrenia).

    Nicosia will have the most polling stations with 379, followed by Limassol (318), Larnaca (162), Paphos (120) and Famagusta district (44).

    One polling station in each of the major towns will be made available for the enclaved.

    With 18-year-olds being allowed to vote for the first time, some 410,000 people are eligible to vote on February 8.

    [07] Missing seamen presumed dead

    THE search for six crewmen missing from a Cypriot-flagged vessel which sank off Canada on Friday has been called off, the Cyprus Shipping Department confirmed yesterday.

    "There is little hope of finding them," said Department Director Serghios Serghiou of the six crew members still missing from the Flare.

    The six missing crew who are now believed drowned bring the death toll from the Flare to 21.

    The bodies of 15 have been recovered, while four of the crew survived. The three Filipinos and a Romanian were picked up holding to an overturned lifeboat suffering from hypothermia.

    The bulk carrier went down off the French-governed islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. It was sailing from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to pick up a cargo of grain in Montreal.

    A Shipping Department inspector is in Canada for the investigation into the cause of the tragedy.

    [08] More than one solution, Canada believes

    CANADA has "a continuing interest" in Cyprus and believes there is more than one way to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, Canadian Foreign Affairs Secretary Ted McWhinney said yesterday.

    Speaking in Nicosia after meeting President Glafcos Clerides, McWhinney said there was always close contact between Canada and the United States on the Cyprus problem. But he added that Canada was a country which "pursues its own initiatives", although he emphasised that these would "never be in conflict with the UN initiatives or with those of the US".

    McWhinney also pointed to the Canadian involvement in the United Nations peacekeeping force (Unficyp) on the island as an example of the strong ties between Canada and Cuprus. He added that these ties had been strengthened by Clerides' signing of the Landmines Treaty initiated by Canada.

    In separate meetings yesterday, McWhinney and Canadian Representative on Cyprus Michael Bell also met Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and UN Representative Gustave Feissel.

    [09] Sit-in protesters halt road works

    A BUSY Nicosia street was blocked yesterday morning by people protesting against the construction of a traffic island.

    Members of the Acropolis Avenue residents' committee staged a sit-in at around 7.35am, physically blocking the path of construction equipment being brought in to lay out the island.

    Officials then ordered the construction team out of the area, and put the building of the island on hold indefinitely.

    Speaking after the protest by residents and shop owners, Nicos Solomides, head of the residents' association, said that if the island is eventually built, association members will hand in their election booklets and refuse to vote.

    The committee claims that if the island is built, it will restrict parking and adversely affect businesses in the area. They have already held a protest outside the House of Representatives, claiming that four shops have already been forced out of business by the protracted road works which began last July.

    [10] Game warden's car bombed

    POLICE yesterday released three men who had been detained on suspicion of carrying out a Limassol bomb attack late on Sunday night.

    The device exploded under a car belonging to game warden Nicos Agathocleous outside his house. There were no injuries.

    Police believe the bombing was carried out as part of a vendetta against game wardens in the area, as it is the 10th in a series of similar incidents.

    A further 15 people were questioned about the explosion, but no arrests were made.

    Agathocleous is due to testify against a suspected poacher in Limassol district court today.

    [11] Pet Alsatian bites boy's head

    An eight-year-old boy is seriously ill in hospital after being bitten on the head by a pet Alsatian.

    Nicolas Nicola was attacked on Sunday morning while feeding the dog in the Paphos village of Peyia, leaving him with deep cuts on his head and hands. The animal was eventually pulled off him by his mother and elder brother.

    Nicolas was rushed to Paphos hospital for emergency surgery and is now described as out of danger, although his condition is still serious.

    Police in Peyia say the dog's owner, Alecos Arkadiou, is related to the Nicola family. The animal has since been destroyed.

    Last year a 10-year-old Larnaca boy, Charalambos Charalambous, was killed by an alsatian which attacked him while he was playing near his home at Livadhia.

    That dog's owner, 24-year-old builder Costas Constantinou, was sentenced to three months in jail.

    [12] SBA car flips during chase

    TWO SBA police officers were slightly injured on Sunday after their Pajero overturned on a beach track in Episkopi.

    A British bases spokesman said the two police officers, one female, had been pursuing a motorcyclist "who had committed a number of traffic offences".

    During the chase in which the motorcyclist got away, the Pajero overturned several times on the beach track.

    "Both occupants were treated in hospital for minor injuries," the bases spokesman said. He said the SBA police were investigating.

    [13] Yiangos Papadopoulos dies in the UK

    WELL-KNOWN Greek Cypriot businessman and philanthropist Yiangos Papadopoulos, 73, owner of the Agora and Residence Yiorki, died in the UK on Saturday after open-heart surgery.

    Papadopoulos, who was originally from occupied Marathovouno, began his career as a journalist with the Cyprus Mail in the 1940s, after which he emigrated to the Belgian Congo where he set up the colony's biggest bakery.

    Last year on his 73rd birthday Papadopoulos opened the Yiorki, a shopping mall and luxury hotel in Nicosia.

    On January 1 he became unwell and was admitted to Nicosia General hospital. He was taken to the UK on January 13.

    Last Friday Papadopoulos underwent open-heart surgery. He died on Saturday without regaining consciousness.

    Papadopoulos leaves a daughter and two grandsons.

    A book of condolences has been opened at Yiorki. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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