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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-06-07
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Sunday, June 7, 1998
 EU official appeals to Turkish CypriotsBy Jean Christou
EU TASK Force chief Nikolaus van der Pas said yesterday his visit should be seen as a sign to the Turkish Cypriots to join the accession negotiations with Cyprus.
"Regrettably, the Turkish Cypriots decided not the join the negotiations," van der Pas said. "But we hope that sooner rather than later they will change their minds."
Van der Pas, Director General of the European Commission's Task Force for the accession negotiations, was speaking at a press conference in Nicosia yesterday at the close of his three-day visit to the island.
The EU official said the Cyprus government was very much determined to make progress in the negotiations, and had the political readiness to welcome the Turkish Cypriots.
"The Turkish Cypriot community must understand that the EU accession process is very much considered to be of benefit to both communities," van der Pas said.
"When the Turkish Cypriots think of the EU, they should think of it as a positive project. It is a peaceful project to bringing people together for their own benefit."
He repeated that the offer by the Cyprus government was a positive one and that the bridge was there. "We can't offer any more positive signal at this time," he said.
Asked what would happen if Cyprus was on the brink of accession and the Turkish Cypriots had still not joined the negotiations, van der Pas said: "There are bridges that you can only cross when you reach them and there is still some distance between us and that bridge."
"We must continue our journey and solve the problems and hope in the meantime the situation will change," he added.
Referring to the upcoming EU Cardiff summit and what it might mean for Cyprus-Turkey relations, van der Pas said the EU had opened many doors to Turkey for improving relations and strengthening co-operation.
"This is what we will continue to do. You don't give up. We want to make progress here (with Turkey) and hope there will be a positive side-effect on this country," he said. "Much depends on Turkey though."
 Government plays down US letter scareA LETTER issued to American citizens in Cyprus is not a sign that the embassy fears a war on the island over the Russian missiles, the government said yesterday.
In a written statement, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the embassy had assured them that such letters were routine and normal.
Stylianides was responding to a TV report on Friday night that the US embassy had issued a letter to its citizens living in Cyprus, requesting information on the number of Americans living on the island.
The report had suggested that the letters were sent because of American fears over the planned deployment of the Russian S-300 missiles on the island later in the year.
The TV station said the embassy denied any such letters had been sent.
"It has been clarified after an investigation, and assurances have been given by the US embassy that the letter is normal practice in order to fill in the personal data of the list of American citizens living in Cyprus," Stylianides' statements said.
He said the embassy had also assured the government that the process was carried out at regular intervals.
The embassy said earlier in the week that it did have a contingency plan for the evacuation of the 2,000 or so US citizens on the island.
The US-fact sheet on Cyprus was last updated in January this year but does not mention any threat of war.
A similar report in the British press a week ago caused outrage on the island when it was revealed that the British government had a contingency plan to evacuate 250,000 British tourists in the event of war.
Cyprus openly accused Britain's Defence Ministry of leaking the damaging information in an effort to prevent the deployment of the missiles.
The strain in relations between the two countries showed on Friday when President Clerides snubbed the Queen's official birthday celebrations on the British bases.
 Bullets riddle couple's bedroomBy Charlie Charalambous
A LARNACA couple received a rude awakening in the early hours of yesterday when their slumber was shot to pieces -- literally.
Maria Christofi, 27, miraculously escaped unharmed after a bullet whizzed over her head, almost grazing her before shattering the bed post.
The bullet passed only inches from her 31-year-old husband Petros, who was sleeping beside her.
Builder Petros Christofi told Kofinou police that at around 2am yesterday he was woken up by gunfire coming from the nearby Limassol-Nicosia highway.
He claims a spray of bullets smashed the front door window-pane before peppering the nuptial bed.
The terrified couple, shaken by their close brush with death, said their biggest fear had been for their two-year-old son who luckily was sleeping in another room.
Police found three bullet holes in a large road sign on the highway, leading them to believe that the couple were possibly not the targets of a drive-by shooting.
 Adolf's two-day drinking odysseyA GERMAN tourist reported missing by his wife was found out for the count at a Paphos bus stop two days after embarking on a drinking odyssey.
Tourist Ruth Hunermund, 51, filed a missing persons report on Friday morning after her husband Adolf failed to return to their hotel the night before.
Paphos police searched all the usual watering holes, but failed to come up with the missing 55-year-old German, who they feared may have gone under ground.
There had been alleged sightings of Adolf at some Kato Paphos taverns and bars, but police were unable to follow up the trail.
The couple were finally reunited yesterday morning after a good Samaritan discovered the German lying in a drunken stupor at a bus shelter and delivered him to his hotel.
Police were baffled how he had ended up at the bus stop, but suspect he had one too many tankards of beer inside him.
 World Cup fever hits the HiltonBy Charlie Charalambous
FOOTBALL fans searching for a World Cup haven should look no further than the Nicosia Hilton for blanket coverage and cut-price drinks.
The Hilton will establish itself as a World Cup '98 information centre come Wednesday's kick-off between Brazil and Scotland, and hopes to become a Mecca for the football addict.
A large two-metre projection screen will be set-up in the far end of the lobby lounge, showing all 64 matches. In addition, a computer will offer up- to-the-minute information on matches, standings, scores, history and trivia.
The information centre will operate on a 24-hour basis and the lounge has a seating capacity of up to a hundred spectators.
To get revellers in the mood, discount draught beer and soft drinks are to be served during games. There will also be a special World Cup buffet for just over £6.
When Italy are playing, expect pizza to be on the menu and Jamaican Jerk Pork when the Reggae Boyz are strutting their stuff.
"The World Cup is the biggest sports event on the planet and we are doing our best to bring all the excitement of France '98 to the Hilton," said the hotel's general manager and England fan Ashley Spencer.
"Having the tournament held in France works to our advantage, as we'll be able to watch the matches live and at a reasonable hour."
With 32 teams competing, it is the biggest World Cup ever, which means more games over the six-week period.
Games will be played in one of four slots, from early afternoon to evening at 3.30pm, 5pm, 6.30pm and 10pm.
"From June 10 to July 12, the World Cup is the only thing to watch and the Cyprus Hilton is the place to do it," said Spencer.
 Electricity workers threaten to strikeELECTRICITY authority employees are threatening to go on strike, claiming the government has torpedoed an agreement with management.
Workers say an agreement over pay and conditions has been scuppered by the government, and yesterday decided to hold a one-hour stoppage on Thursday.
Unions warn that if the government does not change its stance, a 24-hour strike will be held on June 23.
 Man held after dynamite findA LIMASSOL quarry owner was remanded in custody yesterday after a police search found almost 150 sticks of dynamite in his possession.
Demetris Kyriakou was remanded for six days by a Paphos court on suspicion of illegally possessing explosives found on his property.
Although Kyriakou has a permit to purchase and use explosives, police said the quantity found in his possession was beyond that normally needed.
Kyriakou is being linked to a spate of recent bomb attacks in Limassol.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998