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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, January 21, 1998


  • [01] 'Palace conspiring to annihilate Kyprianou'
  • [02] Poll sees front-runners neck and neck
  • [03] Gruesome murder shocks Kyrenia
  • [04] Albright: we can't give up here
  • [05] Turks extend remand on Greek man
  • [06] Canada offers help to clear mines
  • [07] Friendship with Israel bears fruit
  • [08] Lombard NatWest boasts 'impressive' profits
  • [09] Infrastructure to swallow much of university budget
  • [10] £16.25 million set aside for Cyprus sports
  • [11] Lebanese man jailed for fake $100 bills
  • [12] Thieves make off with hotel jewellery
  • [13] Denktash fury at UK visa ruling

  • [01] 'Palace conspiring to annihilate Kyprianou'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE PRESIDENTIAL Palace was yesterday accused of trying to destroy the democratic process and annihilate Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou.

    The allegations were made by Kyprianou himself at a press conference in which he said Diko supporters were being secretly approached by the palace to vote for President Clerides.

    "A large number of our supporters are either summoned to the Presidential Palace or to other offices and asked to change their mind in favour of Clerides."

    Kyprianou added that in some cases pressure was being brought to bear by introducing some kind of "trade-off".

    "The case is that a climate is being created which is unacceptable."

    Continuing his claims of a sinister plot against him and his party, Kyprianou said the whole democratic process was in danger of extinction.

    "Apart from the co-ordinated plan to get Clerides elected, there is another co-ordinated plan of political annihilation against me."

    The Diko leader was also in bullish mood answering criticisms from party vice president Dinos Michaelides and expelled rebel candidate Alexis Galanos that Kyprianou should resign as House President because he had gained the position on the back of Disy votes.

    "I don't accept any lessons on democracy from anybody. Not from Michaelides, not from Clerides, not from anybody."

    However, in what is seen as an attempt to outflank party rebels, Kyprianou did say he would call internal party elections just days after the presidential ones were over.

    He said he would resign his position and call on the leadership to do likewise so fresh elections could take place.

    The Clerides administration also came under attack from Akel, which accused Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides of abusing his office in order to fight the president's re-election campaign.

    The criticism came from Akel spokesman Nicos Katsourides after Cassoulides accused independent candidate George Iacovou of avoiding the issues and having no real policies on defence and the handling of the Cyprus problem.

    "I warmly invite candidate George Iacovou finally to explain to the Cypriot people what his policies on the Cyprus problem are," Cassoulides said yesterday.

    The foreign minister said he found it difficult to see how Iacovou could bridge the opposing opinions of his backers Akel and Diko on defence and the national issue.

    "(Iacovou) can't go on denying the fact that there will be a US initiative and he must start avoiding generalisations."

    Yesterday Iacovou moved away from these central issues, and assailed Clerides for his statements on education.

    Clerides' claims that 41 new schools and 30 nurseries had either been built or were under construction during his administration were described as "inaccurate and an affront to educationalists" by his opponent.

    Iacovou said that only 20 new schools had been built over the last five years; there was no land appropriated or plans drawn up to construct the other 21, he claimed.

    Clerides was also accused of taking the credit for the establishment of new nurseries budgeted for by the previous administration.

    Iacovou claimed that in fact the Clerides government was only responsible for five new nurseries.

    While attention was focused on the barbed exchanges between the two major presidential camps, New Horizons boss Nicos Koutsou used a press conference yesterday to accuse Galanos of hijacking his policies.

    "There is a trend by Mr Galanos to adopt many of our policies and we've seen him claiming our positions as his own, soon after we've made them public," said Koutsou.

    [02] Poll sees front-runners neck and neck

    CHIEF presidential contenders Glafcos Clerides and George Iacovou are running neck and neck in the first round of the presidential elections, according to an opinion poll released yesterday.

    The two take a lion's share of the vote (38.85 per cent for Iacovou and 38.15 per cent for Clerides). Some 9 per cent either cast blank votes or were undecided, leaving the five other candidates to share out the remaining 14 per cent.

    The poll was carried out by Avgoustis &amp; Associates Marketing Research Bureau over the period January 10 to 17 and covered an islandwide sample of 750 people, of whom 5 per cent refused to participate. The rest made their preference known by casting a ballot.

    The opinion poll was not commissioned by any political party or presidential hopeful, Andreas Avgoustis and Dr Harris Menelaou told reporters yesterday. And they stressed that the poll (which has a margin of error of 3 per cent) represented public opinion trends for the period in which it was carried out.

    The results are as follows:

    Asked who they would vote for in the first round those asked replied:

    George Iacovou - 38.85% (42.81%)

    Glafcos Clerides - 38.15% (42.04%)

    Vassos Lyssarides - 5.61% (6.18%)

    George Vassiliou - 3.36% (3.71%)

    Alexis Galanos - 1.68% (1.86%)

    Nicos Koutsou - 1.12% (1.24%)

    Nicos Rolandis - 1.96% (2.16%)

    Blank - 2.10%

    Undecided - 7.17%

    (Figures in brackets reflect candidates' strength after the undecided and blank votes are distributed, assuming the same voting patterns are adopted).

    Asked how they would vote if there the race went to a second round and assuming Clerides and Iacovou were the two candidates, respondents said:

    Iacovou - 43.84%

    Clerides - 42.12%

    No-one - 2.29%

    Undecided - 11.75%

    According to the poll, 88 per cent of Akel's 1996 voters back the party's choice of Iacovou, 8 per cent are undecided and 4 per cent opt for Vassiliou. Disy supporters (in 1996) are loyal - only 6 per cent said they would not vote for Clerides. The greatest confusion is in Diko where only 53 per cent of the Diko voters of 1996 opted for Iacovou. The next biggest group (20 per cent) were undecided, 15 per cent opted for former Diko vice president Galanos, 5 per cent said Clerides and 4 per cent were blank.

    Of Edek voters 77 per cent backed Lyssarides, 13 per cent were undecided, 4 per cent chose Iacovou, 2 per cent Clerides and 4 per cent another candidate.

    The same poll shows Iacovou's votes coming mainly from Akel (73 per cent) and Diko (23 per cent). New voters represent 3 per cent and others only 1 per cent. Clerides' votes come from Disy (89 per cent); first-time voters represent 3 per cent and others 8 per cent. Lyssarides votes come from Edek (91 per cent), Diko (6 per cent) and others 3 per cent. Finally Vassiliou takes 54 per cent of his votes from his United Democrats, 42 per cent from Akel and 4 per cent from others.

    [03] Gruesome murder shocks Kyrenia

    AN 82-YEAR-OLD Turkish Cypriot woman resident in Kyrenia was raped and brutally murdered on Sunday, Turkish Cypriot papers reported yesterday.

    According to the papers, Ulviye Ahmet, who lived 50 to 60 metres from Kyrenia harbour, was stabbed and had her head split open by unknown assailants. The elderly woman was raped before her death and police also found signs that she had been tortured, the papers reported.

    Nothing was stolen from the victim's home, 'police' reportedly said.

    The papers said 'police' had made three arrests in connection with the killing. All three suspects were reported to be Turkish nationals.

    Kibris also carried a story about a young student nurse being raped by two masked assailants. The young girl from occupied Famagusta, was returning to a nurse's hostel in Nicosia at around 7.30pm on Monday when she was abducted by two men wearing stockings on their heads, Kibris reported.

    The nurse was then driven to a beach near Kyrenia where she was raped by her two attackers before being abandoned in an unconscious state, the paper stated. The girl apparently contacted 'police' by phone when she came to.

    Kibris said 'police' had launched a man-hunt for the two masked rapists.

    [04] Albright: we can't give up here

    US SECRETARY of State Madeleine Albright believes Cyprus is one of the "difficult" areas of the world, but will press on with efforts to improve ties between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

    Albright made the comments to the Reuters news agency in an interview to mark her first anniversary as Secretary of State.

    "I think that, you know, we can't give up here," Albright said. "This is one of he difficult areas of the world. We are obviously concerned about Greek-Turkish manoeuvring in the Aegean and about the lack of a resolution on Cyprus."

    Albright pledged to "keep" US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke "on the job".

    Referring to the presidential elections on the island next month, Albright said Washington would see whether "that will allow the process... to move forward".

    Meanwhile Holbrooke's right-hand man, US Cyprus co-ordinator Thomas Miller, has come under fire from the Turkish side for his decision to address a "pro-Greek" dinner in Chicago on February 3, Turkish papers said yesterday.

    Reports said 'TRNC' Washington representative Ahmet Erdengiz called Miller's action "a breach of his impartiality" and would be expressing his protest to the US State Department. Miller was in Athens yesterday for a round of talks.

    [05] Turks extend remand on Greek man

    A GREEK national who crossed to the occupied areas nearly two weeks ago was yesterday remanded for a further four days by a military 'court' in the north.

    Turkish forces arrested George Constantinou Kantarakis, 32 from the Greek island of Santorini, on the afternoon of January 8 in the buffer zone on the outskirts of Nicosia.

    He was initially remanded for three days, then another eight days and yesterday for a further four.

    Reports from the north did not indicate why Kantarakis was still being detained.

    Kantarakis, who was staying with friends in Nicosia, has told UN officials who visited him that he crossed to the north deliberately and wants to stay there.

    A second Greek national, Spyros Lilles, 24, was last week sentenced to one month's imprisonment in the north for allegedly entering a sensitive military zone. He has appealed against the conviction.

    Lilles strayed north on December 21 in the early hours. It is thought he had been drinking heavily.

    [06] Canada offers help to clear mines

    CANADA would be willing to assist Cyprus in the removal of landmines, the country's Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ted McWhinney said yesterday.

    McWhinney was speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    He said the removal of landmines was one of the issues he and Canadian special representative Michael Bell discussed with the minister.

    "There is a lot of expertise in Canada about landmines, and we will be looking forward for action there and if it occurs I think there will be a strong argument for the Canadian government in helping for the removal of landmines here," McWhinney said.

    Two Argentine peacekeepers serving with Unficyp narrowly escaped injury last week when a mine exploded under their vehicle near the Turkish- occupied village of Lefka in the Morphou district in the western part of the island.

    There are some 38 minefields and booby-trapped areas in the 180-km long buffer zone which divides the island and a further 73 minefields located within 500 metres of it.

    It is estimated there are more an 16,000 landmines buried on the island.

    Last year a 37-year old father of three became the latest victim of the island's 1974 legacy of landmines after following his dog into a minefield in a government-controlled area, near to but not inside the buffer zone.

    Cyprus is one of the countries which recently signed the treaty for the global ban on landmines, a move welcomed by the UN which has repeatedly asked for the mines to be removed.

    McWhinney said the issue would probably be raised in a scheduled meeting with senior Unficyp officials.

    He also said Canada, which gave a contingent to Unficyp for 30 years, would be ready to participate in a future multinational peacekeeping force once a Cyprus settlement was reached.

    "I think there will be very strong support in Canada for further involvement," he said.

    McWhinney said he was "encouraged" by what he has seen and heard on his visit to the island.

    "Generally I am very impressed with the possibilities here after my visit," he said. "I am encouraged: there is quite enough pragmatism around; all of us want to see the Cyprus issue settled and a solution that respects the integrity of the island."

    [07] Friendship with Israel bears fruit

    ENHANCED diplomatic ties between Cyprus and Israel have brought about an increase in tourism and trade between the two countries.

    According to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) in Tel Aviv, more than 50,000 Israelis visited Cyprus last year, a 20,000 rise on 1995, when the Tel Aviv CTO office first opened.

    CTO Tel Aviv director Louisa Varaclas puts this down to Cyprus' "good image" amongst Israelis who are undeterred by the island's political situation.

    She said although Cyprus was more expensive than other nearby destinations, Israelis in the higher income brackets did not mind paying more to come here.

    In addition, 1996 saw a £15 million increase in Cyprus' trade with Israel, a result of the 1994 trade agreement between the two countries, according to Cypriot Commercial Attaché in Israel Eleni Pitsillides.

    Pitsillides said the agreement had seen exchange visits by businessmen and officials, and had contributed greatly to the 35 per cent increase in trade.

    Cyprus exports animal produce, gypsum, fruit juice, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, plastics, plastic products and paper to Israel.

    Products imported from Israel include petroleum oils, chemicals, machinery and plastics. Last year's Israeli imports cost Cyprus £31 million.

    [08] Lombard NatWest boasts 'impressive' profits

    LOMBARD NatWest Bank (Cyprus) yesterday announced a pre-tax profit increase of 63 per cent for last year.

    "Profit before tax for the year was £3.22 million, representing an increase of £1.25 million, or 63 per cent, on the profit before tax for 1996 which was £1.97 million," chairman of the board Michael Colocassides said at a press conference to present the bank's results for the financial year that ended on September 30, 1997.

    Colocassides attributed what he described as "impressive" profit increases to "growth in business and income but also in significant efficiency gains through automation."

    "Despite adverse economic conditions, the bank managed to achieve enviable results in terms of profitability and business growth," he said.

    The total assets of Lombard NatWest (Cyprus) rose by £49 million, or 19 per cent, to reach £301 million by the end of 1997, Colocassides said.

    "Total customer deposits increased by £46 million to £236 million. This translates into a growth rate of 24 per cent, which is much higher than the 16 per cent growth rate achieved by the banking sector as a whole during the same period," the chairman said.

    "Loans rose by £26 million to £169 million. This represents an 18 per cent growth rate compared to 12 per cent for the banking system as a whole," he said.

    Lombard NatWest (Cyprus) holds a three to four per cent share of the local onshore banking sector.

    The bank has a network of five main branches and 18 sub-branches on the island. The main branches in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos were expanded during 1997, and there are plans for further expansion this year, Colocassides said.

    [09] Infrastructure to swallow much of university budget

    INFRASTRUCTURAL work on a new university campus will absorb £6 million or one third of the Cyprus University's budget for the year. Another £1.5 million will be spent on experts' fees and other services for the campus project.

    The £18.89 million university budget was submitted to the House of Representatives earlier this month but has still to go before the committees and the plenary for approval.

    A total of £6 million will go on infrastructural work, such as roads and water provision at the University of Cyprus campus for which the foundation stone was laid late last year. Actual construction of the campus is expected to begin in 1999. This year, the university also expects to spend £1.5 million for consultancy and other fees to do with the design of the university campus, including architectural competitions.

    The university expects to spend over £1 million on salaries for teaching staff. It hopes to take on an extra 18 academics and 10 administrative employees.

    Research activity will receive £308,000; student activities will be sponsored to the tune of £40,000, while another £20,000 will go on the university's sports programme. Computer links and equipment - including Internet and e-mail, will absorb £150,000 of the budget. Students who work at the library, the computer centre or elsewhere at the University will be paid from the £50,000 being budgeted for the purpose.

    The library is also set to receive a boost, with the university planning to spend £550,000 on books, magazines and other subscriptions.

    The university budget is balanced with £13.7 million coming direct from the government in the form of a state grant. Tuition fees and other levies account for £5.1 million. Most tuition fees are also covered by the state.

    [10] £16.25 million set aside for Cyprus sports

    THE CYPRUS Sports Authority (KOA) wants to spend £4.3 million this year to sponsor sports clubs, national teams and other specialist meetings.

    An explanatory report accompanying the KOA budget for 1998, submitted to the House of Representatives last week, notes that this year Cyprus will be taking part in the Commonwealth Games and in 14 European and world meetings for different events.

    Money will also go on anti-doping and anti-violence programmes, high performance athletics, the Cyprus Rally, as well as to local clubs.

    KOA is also budgeting £7.25 million from a total budget of £16.25 million for new sports grounds or improvement to existing facilities. There are two key priorities - swimming pools and indoor sports halls to meet growing demand with the increase in popularity of basketball, volleyball, handball and badminton.

    KOA also plans to spend £1.7 million on various projects aimed at combatting violence.

    The budget, which is still subject to the approval of the House, provides for revenue of £16.25 million, with much of it coming from lotteries and other lucky games. They include a hefty £6.3 million as a subsidy from a betting tax on Pools and Fixed Odds games, £1 million from Pro Po and £6.47 million from lotto.

    [11] Lebanese man jailed for fake $100 bills

    A LEBANESE labourer was sentenced to two months' imprisonment yesterday for possession and circulation of fake $100 bills.

    Rakheb Housein Jafar had pleaded guilty before the Larnaca Assizes to tendering three fake bills in the Larnaca tourist area on November 16 last year.

    The court heard that Jafar had managed to pass off two counterfeit $100 bills - at a supermarket and a kiosk - before he was found out when he tried the same trick at a second supermarket. The store-owner noticed the bill was fake and alerted police, the Assizes heard.

    The court heard Jafar had worked with fellow-Lebanese Andrew Michael Koseiki to bring 25 fake $100 bills from Beirut.

    Koseiki is due to appear before the same court on February 19.

    Presiding judge Dimitris Hadjihambis described circulation of counterfeit notes as a "serious offence" warranting a sentence of up to seven months behind bars. However, he told the court he was being lenient with Jafar because the offender came from a big family in Lebanon.

    [12] Thieves make off with hotel jewellery

    POLICE were yesterday searching for daring thieves who got away with gold jewellery worth more than £3,000 after smashing the glass of display cabinets at a luxury hotel in Paphos.

    The jewellery in the display cabinets of the Ayios Yeorgios hotel in Chlorakas outside Paphos, worth an estimated £3,256, belonged to two local jewellers.

    Police said the jewels had been stolen sometime between December 22 and January 18. The theft was reported on Monday.

    [13] Denktash fury at UK visa ruling

    By Jean Christou

    RAUF Denktash will refuse to see Britain's special Cyprus envoy Sir David Hannay unless London lifts visa requirements for Turkish Cypriots.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader will, however, continue to see British High Commissioner David Madden, "but only to discuss the visa issue and not for any other reason," he told the BBC in an interview yesterday.

    Britain last Thursday said it was withdrawing the right of people from the occupied areas to enter the UK without a visa after processing almost 1,000 unfounded asylum claims over the past two years.

    A British High Commission spokesman told the Cyprus Mail last night: "The decision to require visas was not a political one and was only taken on immigration grounds."

    But the move has shocked and angered the Turkish Cypriot side.

    "I have no intention of seeing Sir David," Denktash said. "I am not going to see Sir David while the British government is enforcing this visa nonsense on my people. Why should I see anyone who is doing all these injustices to us and is smiling at us as a friend?"

    Denktash said that although he got on well with Sir David personally, he would not agree to meet the British diplomat who has just been appointed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's personal envoy to Turkey.

    Denktash said Britain was using the visa issue as "a big stick".

    "This is a deliberate and timed action by Britain in order to tell us that if we insist on state-to-state talks we will be isolated even more," Denktash said, referring to the Turkish side's demand to be recognised as a state during the intercommunal talks.

    He repeated his claim, first made after the EU's decision on December 13 to open entry negotiations with Cyprus, that the intercommunal talks were dead.

    Denktash said the visa issue was "all the more insulting" because the visa application has to be paid in Cyprus pounds and not in Turkish lira.

    He added that even he himself would now require a visa for the UK, but said he had "no intention" of applying for one. He also admitted to having cancelled two upcoming trips to Britain, one of which is an important conference on Cyprus organised by the British Foreign Office.

    The High Commission spokesman said some of the key speakers in the mid- March conference would be Turkish Cypriots. "Ironically, it's a place where their voices can be heard," he said.

    Denktash also told the BBC that after March he would be reviewing all the procedures relating to foreign diplomats "based in the south".

    He suggested that if any of the diplomats wished to visit him they could go through Ankara.

    Denktash yesterday also met UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel who told the Cyprus Mail the meeting had been "general".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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