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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-31

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

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


Saturday, January 31, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Kyprianou trumpets Clerides 'sell-out'
  • [02] US rights report raps Cyprus police
  • [03] Lyssarides to step down after elections
  • [04] Inia villagers hand in voting books
  • [05] Holbrooke highlights political problems
  • [06] Tatar pledges maximum effort on missing
  • [07] Water figures remain dire
  • [08] Sharp fall in car sales
  • [09] Police probe murder reports over missing French woman
  • [10] Ministry to decide on skirts next week
  • [11] Market will not be flooded with fake olive oil
  • [12] Loucaides to stand down to take new Euro post
  • [13] Illegal migrants jailed
  • [14] Omonia eye top spot

  • [01] Kyprianou trumpets Clerides 'sell-out'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    PRESIDENT Clerides favours a rotational presidency and is prepared to allow Turkish Cypriot participation in the EU accession talks, Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou has claimed.

    At a press conference yesterday, Kyprianou produced two documents from "British officials", which he said proved Clerides' "treacherous" intentions. One was a letter from Labour MP Robin Corvett to a Greek Cypriot, and the other a letter from Foreign Office under-secretary Doug Henderson to friend of Cyprus and Labour MP Tom Cox.

    Corvett suggests in his letter that it was Clerides, and not then British shadow foreign secretary Robin Cook, who proposed the rotating presidency as far back as 1994.

    Meanwhile, Henderson's letter - dated January 15, 1998 - says "we remain committed to the start of Cyprus-EU accession talks with the participation of the Turkish Cypriots."

    According to Kyprianou, the letters prove Clerides was prepared to strike a deal with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on a rotating presidency, and had committed himself to linking Turkish Cypriot participation to the island's EU accession talks.

    "All these points need to be explained," said Kyprianou.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said Kyprianou's accusations could not be treated seriously; Corvett's view related to a Labour blue-print when they were in opposition.

    Last January, Robin Cook, then shadow foreign secretary, visited Cyprus with the blue-print, which included a discussion point for a rotating presidency.

    Cassoulides said this approach had been rejected by Clerides, who said "it was not possible for nine per cent of the population to elect a sovereign government."

    The minister suggested that Corvett turned the blame on Clerides to win Greek Cypriot votes for Labour during last May's election.

    Going on the offensive, Cassoulides said that Kyprianou's vitriol could only be explained by the fact that his own bid for the presidency had not been backed by Clerides.

    He questioned why Kyprianou had stayed in the alliance government if he had proof that Clerides was ready to make significant concessions.

    "If Clerides supported Kyprianou for the presidency there would not be an issue over Corvett."

    On the issue of Turkish Cypriot participation in EU talks, Cassoulides said British Prime Minister Tony Blair had made it quite clear that Turkish Cypriot participation was desired, but was not a precondition.

    The main thrust of the rest of the campaigning yesterday made a detour from the national issue and concentrated on health and education.

    Edek spokesman Yiannakis Omirou said his party would fight to push through a comprehensive national health scheme, and chastised the government for dragging its feet over the last five years.

    Diko rebel candidate Alexis Galanos and the Free Democrats' George Vassiliou both trumpeted education as being high on their agenda.

    Galanos said he would take politics out of education and invest in the quality of teaching.

    Vassiliou promised he would champion the idea of having all-day schools and developing the Cyprus University.

    Meanwhile, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades slammed George Iacovou for saying the government had overseen the worst economic slump the island had ever seen.

    He said that Iacovou's negative attitude did more harm than good and was contrary to the opinion of international organisations that respected the government's economic performance.

    In turn Iacovou, took a swipe at Clerides' "grand finale" on the Cyprus issue, by suggesting he was preparing for a "grand clear out sale" instead.

    An independent poll conducted by Larnaca's PA College gives Iacovou (35.21 per cent) a slender lead over President Clerides (34.69 per cent) in the first round.

    This contradicts an earlier CYBC poll which put Clerides four per cent ahead in the first ballot.

    According to PA College, a second round face-off between Iacovou (42.59 per cent) and Clerides (42.66 per cent) has them neck and neck.

    [02] US rights report raps Cyprus police

    By Jean Christou

    POLICE on both sides of the Green Line come under fire in the US State Department's latest report on human rights.

    The report, released yesterday, notes that although the police forces on both sides respect the rule of law "instances of police abuse of power continued".

    The 16-page reference to Cyprus mentions a "series of allegations" against police in the government-controlled areas, mainly by non-Cypriots.

    It says Turkish Cypriots living in the Republic "also appear to be subjected to harassment and surveillance by the Greek Cypriot police."

    In addition, they have difficulties in obtaining identification cards and other government documents.

    In the occupied north, there are "credible reports" of pervasive abuse of power and routine harsh treatment of detainees by Turkish Cypriot 'police'.

    Complaints were also made by some Turkish Cypriot journalists in the occupied areas about surveillance and intimidation.

    The US report says the Denktash regime has not responded adequately to these allegations.

    It also says the regime failed to conduct a "credible" investigation into the 1996 murder of Turkish Cypriot journalist Kutlu Adali, who had criticised Turkey's role in the occupied areas.

    Neither did the regime carry out any "significant investigations" into the killing of Greek Cypriot demonstrators Solomos Solomou and Tassos Isaac in the Dherynia buffer zone in August 1996.

    The report repeats its standard reference to the plight of the enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites and to complaints by Greek Cypriots over the destruction of the Greek cultural heritage in the north.

    [03] Lyssarides to step down after elections

    VASSOS Lyssarides, the veteran leader of socialist party Edek, has announced that his candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections will be the "last act" of his political career.

    The 76-year-old's intention to step down if he does not win election to the highest office was confirmed by the party yesterday. Opinion polls predict Lyssarides will secure about 8 per cent of the vote in the February 8 polls.

    Lyssarides has been Edek leader since the party was formed 29 years ago, and has also been a deputy throughout that period.

    Edek said Lyssarides would not be giving up his seat in the House.

    [04] Inia villagers hand in voting books

    RESIDENTS of the remote Akamas area village of Inia yesterday turned in their electoral registration booklets in protest at plans to declare the area a national park.

    All but five of the 300 registered voters in the village have handed over their booklets to mukhtar Sofoclis Pittokopitis who yesterday went down to Paphos town and handed them over to Paphos District officer Nicos Roussos.

    But Roussos warned the villagers they were breaking the law and said he would be handing the 295 booklets to police so they could return them to the village.

    The protestors - who want to be allowed to develop their land for tourism - risk fines or imprisonment if they fail to cast ballots in the February 8 presidential elections as voting is compulsory in Cyprus.

    Pittokopitis said a village meeting would be called to discuss their next move. He repeated that Inia residents wanted to register their protest at the government's handling of the national park issue.

    Environmentalists have long campaigned for the remote peninsula - whose beaches are nesting sites for endangered loggerhead and green turtles - to be protected from mass tourist development.

    Greens have backed a government-commissioned World Bank report proposing the area be declared a national park with development limited to within existing village boundaries.

    The report is still being considered by the government, but local residents have openly opposed it.

    [05] Holbrooke highlights political problems

    By Jean Christou

    THE UNITED States, the European Union and the United Nations must take leadership roles if the Cyprus problem is to be solved, US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke has said.

    Holbrooke made the comments in an address at Colombia University in the US.

    "The reality of the Cyprus problem is that pressure has to be brought to bear at the highest levels," Holbrooke said.

    He added, however, that the involvement of third parties could not always be neutral.

    "There are times when you can't remain morally neutral because there are times when one side is right and one side is wring."

    Holbrooke is expected to become seriously involved in new efforts to solve the Cyprus problem after the elections.

    He said the issues of substance dividing the two communities were not so "technically" difficult.

    "What is difficult is the political aspect, which is real and deep," he said.

    Holbrooke said that to bring about a solution, these differences had to be discussed by the governments of Greece and Turkey, and by both sides.

    The Cyprus problem is expected to be raised today at London talks between British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

    The issue was discussed in London yesterday at a working lunch that Cook had with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday he was not aware of the meeting.

    A British Foreign Office spokesman said Annan and Cook had a "friendly discussion".

    Meanwhile, US State department spokesman Jim Foley has reiterated that Turkey has the right to raise the issue of the Paphos air base with the UN Security Council.

    Foley said the US remained concerned about the increasing militarisation of Cyprus on both sides of the cease-fire line.

    "We have been urging the parties all along to avoid taking actions and also making statements which result in increased tension in the region and that detract from efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace on the island," Foley said.

    [06] Tatar pledges maximum effort on missing

    By Jean Christou

    THE TURKISH Cypriot side's representative for the missing yesterday pledged to exchange as much information on the issue as possible.

    Speaking on London Greek Radio (LGR), Rustem Tatar said the missing issue was a humanitarian one, "and we should keep it to that confine and hopefully resolve it."

    "Our aim is to exchange information a far as possible, and we expect things to be done reciprocally," Tatar said.

    Last week, Tatar and Greek Cypriot representative Takis Christopoulos exchanged information on missing persons.

    The exchange was part of an agreement reached last July between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for the exchange of information on the missing from both sides.

    Christopoulos handed over information on 200 of 803 Turkish Cypriots missing since between 1963 and 1974 and received files from Tatar on 400 of the 1,619 missing Greek Cypriots.

    Further meetings between the two are expected.

    UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel yesterday said the missing issue would remain a top priority for the UN.

    Feissel was speaking after a meeting with President Clerides and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    The UN official refrained from commenting on Thursday's claims by a former Turkish soldier in Germany that he had seen 100 of the Greek Cypriot missing slaughtered in 1974.

    "We will see what information is available. At this stage we cannot say anything," Feissel said.

    The former soldier, a Kurd who now lives in Germany, told the pro-Kurdish daily Oezguer Politika that around 100 Greek Cypriot civilians, mainly elderly men along with some women and children, were slaughtered and buried near Nicosia during the Turkish invasion.

    According to the published report, 45-year-old Mustafa Ongan said he was serving in the Turkish army at the time of the invasion and was brought with his regiment to Cyprus.

    He said Turkish and Turkish Cypriot army chiefs ordered the killing of fleeing civilians, who were later buried in a mass grave.

    The government is taking the matter seriously.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis yesterday again said the matter would be thoroughly investigated.

    "We will handle the matter with complete confidentiality and complete secrecy in order to secure the success of our efforts," Cassoulides said.

    [07] Water figures remain dire

    THE WATER situation on the island remains desperate, with dams only 12 per cent full and no end to the drought in sight.

    Meteorological service records show that rainfall for the month of January, up till Thursday, was just over half of that expected.

    The Water Development department reported yesterday that there were 33,012, 000 cubic metres of water in reservoirs.

    "This represents 12.3 per cent of capacity, which is very, very, low," a departmental officer said.

    He added that even during last year's drought, the dams held 53,400,000 cubic metres of water (19.9 per cent of capacity).

    Flow into reservoirs has increased over the past two months as rains have saturated the ground and led to increased stream flows, but experts warn only a very wet February and Spring will lift the spectre of serious Summer water shortages.

    In October 103,000 cubic metres of water flowed into dams, in November this figure reached 1,349,000, in December it shot up to 4,475,000 and for this month so far the flow stands at 4,365,000 cubic metres.

    [08] Sharp fall in car sales

    THE NUMBER of vehicles registered in 1997 was significantly down on 1996, the Department of Statistics and Research announced yesterday.

    Last year, 31,857 vehicles were registered, an 8.4 per cent drop on the previous year's 34,768.

    Private saloon car registrations also dropped 0.1 per cent from 19,189 to 19,164. Of the saloon car registrations,, 12,710 were used, while only 6, 454 were new.

    The number of goods conveyance vehicles also fell to 6,284 from 8,097, a 22.4 per cent decrease. Light goods vehicle sales dropped 22.5 per cent, from 7,459 to 5,780, while the number of heavy goods vehicles sold decreased by 21 per cent, from 638 to 504.

    Motorbike sales were down too, from 5,175 to 4,552, a drop of 12 per cent.

    The vast majority of vehicles were still brought in from Japan, with Japanese vehicles accounting for 67.5 per cent of total registrations.

    [09] Police probe murder reports over missing French woman

    POLICE are investigating "various reports" concerning the disappearance of a French visitor not seen since she failed to catch her flight home on January 1.

    But police spokesman Glafcos Xenos said yesterday he could not confirm widespread media reports that an informer had told police that 49-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomic had been murdered by a local taxi driver.

    "We are investigating various reports but we cannot comment further while investigations are ongoing," Xenos said.

    Chomic, from St.Vallier, arrived on the island for a holiday on Christmas Day last year. Police have said she has not contacted her mother in France or her travel agent's office since missing her return flight over four weeks ago.

    Xenos said Cyprus police were liaising with their French counterparts and with Interpol in their search for Chomic.

    A French embassy spokeswoman told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) the embassy "would like to know whether her disappearance is related to information reported in the press about a foreign woman being murdered." She said the embassy did not believe Chomic had left Cyprus.

    Police have appealed for anyone knowing anything that might help with investigations to come forward. Chomic is described as 1.70m tall, slim, with red hair and blue-green eyes.

    [10] Ministry to decide on skirts next week

    A DECISION on whether or not secondary schoolgirls will be allowed to wear trousers to school will probably be taken by the end of next week, a ministry official said yesterday.

    The statement came after parent groups spoke out in support of the uniform change.

    The row over whether or not schoolgirls should be allowed to wear grey trousers similar to those worn by male classmates has been going on for several years now.

    On Wednesday, Pancyprian Secondary Education Parents' Association president Antonis Antoniou said there would be a discussion on how best to approach the situation next Thursday.

    He added that the stand taken by the parents' association "was positive", but that moves made by students themselves to protest against the "no trousers for girls" rule were detrimental to the cause.

    Education ministry die-hards fear that allowing girls to wear trousers might lead to the total disappearance of school uniform.

    [11] Market will not be flooded with fake olive oil

    OLIVE oil bottlers Sekep yesterday allayed fears that the local market would be flooded with fake olive oil in the wake of a strike at the company.

    Sekep Administrative Council president Andreas Michael and strikers' spokesman Constantinos Yiangou both said that, although it was easy to fake olive oil with peanut oil or other cheap oils, Sekep was releasing its last 3,600 litres of olive oil onto the domestic market.

    This is expected to last for at least 10 days. In addition, 50 tons of Cretan olive oil are expected to arrive on Tuesday.

    The outcome of a midday Labour Ministry mediation between strikers and management was not yet known last night.

    Six employees are on strike, demanding an improvement in working conditions.

    The oil shortage will not affect consumer prices, as Sekep is absorbing the extra cost itself.

    [12] Loucaides to stand down to take new Euro post

    DEPUTY Attorney-general Loucis Loucaides will resign later in the year to take up a Judge's post at the European Court of Human Rights, he told the Cyprus News Agency yesterday.

    The new, full time Court of Human Rights is based in Strasbourg. It will start operating on November 1.

    Loucaides must stand down as Deputy Attorney-general, as a condition of the new post is that judges should have no second jobs.

    The new position was, he said, "an honour and a challenge".

    [13] Illegal migrants jailed

    TWELVE Arabs whose boat ran aground on rocks off Protaras last week were yesterday found guilty of illegal entry by Famagusta District Court.

    The 10 Syrians and two Lebanese were arrested on January 20 after coming ashore without travel documents.

    The court heard that ten of the suspects had paid to be ferried from Tripoli in Syria to Limassol or Crete. The other two - who owned the boat - took $500 off the passengers for the trip to Limassol or $1,500 for the trip to Crete, the court heard.

    The boat hit rocks in the Nisia area off Protaras, Famagusta, after developing engine trouble, the court heard.

    The twelve told the court they were heading to Cyprus or Crete in the hope of finding work because they could not do so in Syria.

    They were sentenced to two months imprisonment each, but the sentences were suspended for two of them because they are minors.

    The two minors are to be deported while the other 10 will also be thrown out after serving their sentences.

    [14] Omonia eye top spot

    By George Christou

    OMONIA look to reclaim the top spot in the league table today when they travel to Larnaca to play fifth-placed Aek, the only team to inflict a home defeat on Omonia this season.8

    A draw would suffice for the Nicosia club to go top, at least for 24 hours, as leaders Anorthosis play tomorrow, when they are at home to Salamina. The two sides are level on points, but Anorthosis, who regained top spot a fortnight ago, have a better goal difference.

    After Anorthosis' slip-ups towards the end of the season the top of the table has become quite congested, only three points separating the top club from fourth-placed Apollonas.

    Even Aek, six points behind the leaders in fifth place, could be regarded as title contenders. The gap could be covered with a good run, if only Aek showed some more consistency.

    Both Aek and Omonia were knocked out of the cup last weekend and will be eager to put that disappointment behind them by concentrating on the league. Aek will be without the injured Markou and Alexandrou, while Omonia's Kaiaphas and Kalotheou are suspended.

    Aek won the first round fixture in Nicosia 1-0, but today they will face a different Omonia side, one bursting with confidence and boasting the league's best striker and top scorer - German Rauffman who has scored 14 goals in 14 games.

    Cup holders Apoel, who surrendered a two-goal lead in their last league game - a 3-3 draw at struggling Alki - are at home to Ael today in a night game. The Nicosia side who are nine points off the lead, have also surrendered any title hopes.

    With only one foreigner on the books, Apoel coach Andreas Mouskallis will be happy to use the league in order to keep his players fit and hungry for the cup. Under him, Apoel have still to lose, but have drawn too many games - five out of nine.

    Ael, in seventh place will be satisfied to leave the Makarios stadium with a point, especially after las weekend'd 4-1 defeat at lowly Anagennisis in the cup.

    Fourth-placed Apollonas will be without the inspirational Niki Papavassiliou in today's clash against relegation-threatened Evagoras in Limassol, but should take the three points.

    Evagoras are outside the relegation zone thanks to a better goal difference than Alki who also have 11 points. With only five points separating second from bottom Anagennisis, from eighth-placed Apop, the relegation battle is set to be as closely fought as that for the title.

    Today Apop, who returned to winning after the arrival of a new coach, are at home to Alki in what could be regarded a relegation clash. A win for the visitors would lift them to within one point of Apop, who defeated Ashi 2-0 in their last league outing.

    Paralimni will be hoping to score their first win of the season at their home ground, where they have won only once since moving there a year ago. They play bottom club Ethnikos Ashia.

    In a sense, they overcame their home ground jinx last weekend, defeating Apoel 1-0 in normal time of a cup tie. The match finished level after extra- time, and Apoel went rhtough to the third round of the cup.

    League leaders Anorthosis and third-placed Ethnikos Achna, who are just two points off the lead, both play on Sunday. Anorthosis are at home to Salamina in the Famagusta derby and should be good for the the three points, as the visitors, who are having a terrible season, will be without three first-choice players.

    Ethnikos are at home to second from bottom Anagennisis in what should be an easy game for the league's most in-form side.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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