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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-06-17

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

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


Wednesday, June 16, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek jets land at Paphos base
  • [02] Kyprianou dismisses House guards in cutback protest
  • [03] Supreme Court to decide on new Jensen evidence
  • [04] Government plays down 'missile ship' detention
  • [05] EU summit draft welcomes accession progress
  • [06] 'Multi-dimensional diplomacy at work'
  • [07] Bank secretary held over 135,000 embezzlement
  • [08] Cyta denies secret service pressure in contract cancellation
  • [09] Road death gives transplant hope
  • [10] Doctors endorse breakaway union
  • [11] Man jailed on gun charge
  • [12] Denktash ire at US diplomat's bicommunal invitation
  • [13] On-line banking from the Popular Bank

  • [01] Greek jets land at Paphos base

    By Jean Christou

    FOUR Greek fighter jets landed at the new Paphos air base yesterday for the first time, prompting angry protests by the Denktash regime and Turkey.

    "This is an action that cannot be ignored," Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash told the local TAK news agency.

    Turkey's response was equally forthright. "The use by Greek planes of the base is an extremely grave and provocative development that is directed to breaking trust and stability on the island and in the region," said a written statement from the Turkish foreign ministry.

    But Cyprus Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou said the fact the planes landed at the Paphos base gave a "specific" political message "that the defence dogma (with Greece) will exist and develop as long as Turkish expansionism exists".

    The Cyprus-Greece defence pact was signed in 1993.

    The four F-16s landed at the Paphos base - designated as the home of the Russian S-300 missiles due later in the year - at around 10am yesterday.

    A Greek C-130 Hercules transport plane also landed at the Paphos base, named after late Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, early on Monday.

    All five aircraft left the island directly for Greece before 2pm yesterday.

    "The landing of the Greek fighter jets at the Andreas Papandreou air base is within the framework of the implementation of the joint defence dogma," Omirou said. "At the same time it proves the base is operationally ready and able to meet its mandate".

    The government took delivery of the base on January 24 this year.

    The construction of the base, which is intended to strengthen Cyprus's virtually non-existent air defences, was condemned by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Denktash threatened to take counter-measures, including the opening of an air base in the occupied areas.

    [02] Kyprianou dismisses House guards in cutback protest

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    HOUSE President Spyros Kyprianou yesterday began a one-man campaign against a government decision to slash the numbers of politicians' bodyguards by getting rid of all remaining police deployed to watch over his person and the House.

    The cabinet decided to reduce the numbers of political bodyguards by 50 per cent last month, following allegations that bodyguards were under-employed and were acting instead as chauffeurs or were being sent off on shopping errands. The cutbacks came into effect yesterday.

    Kyprianou took matters into his own hands when President Glafcos Clerides refused to appease him yesterday morning. The Diko leader had already dismissed 20 of the remaining 33 guards in charge of looking after his personal safety and House security before his morning meeting with the President. Ten officers were transferred to other positions and the other 10 were sent to Nicosia police headquarters.

    But Clerides was unmoved, so Kyprianou returned to the House and ordered the remaining 13 police officers to report to Paphos Gate police station for new assignments.

    Speaking to journalists after his day's activities, Kyprianou said that the House's views on matters relating to the House itself had been "completely ignored".

    "When the government is interested in collaborating with the House on matters concerning them, such as ministers' salaries, they come to us. But when the House wants to have input into matters concerning us, the government is not interested," he said.

    Kyprianou was driven home by a Parliamentary clerk without the usual police escort.

    Minister of Justice and Public Order Nicos Koshis said he was sorry about this turn of events, but stated that "we should all respect government decisions". The Minister pointed out that the government had found an "alternative" means of protecting the House and its president, with Paphos Gate police assigned the task of guarding them.

    The ad-hoc committee on House Security also yesterday called on Koshis to delay any decision regarding the security of the House until the committee examined the matter. Committee chairman, Diko deputy Andonis Karras, stressed that the committee was not necessarily against the government's decision, but simply wanted time to examine the matter, as it comes under its brief.

    Karras said the committee may come out in favour of the reduction, but added that the government should have waited for its position on the issue as a "matter of principle".

    But he added that the government had now contacted him as chairman of the committee and assured him that the matter would remain open and that ministers would discuss it with the committee.

    He said the whole issue had been blown out of proportion, but tried to avoid passing judgement on his party leader Kyprianou.

    "I respect the House President and he has the right to act as he deems necessary," Karras said.

    Kyprianou was particularly hard hit by the bodyguard cutbacks. His protection was cut from 30 personal guards, at a cost of 300,000 pounds a year, to 13. The overall slash will bring in 2 million a year to the Government.

    [03] Supreme Court to decide on new Jensen evidence

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THREE British soldiers serving life for killing Danish tour guide Louise Jensen must wait an anxious few weeks while the Supreme Court decides whether new evidence can be heard in their appeal.

    Defence lawyers for two of the three believe controversial testimony by a retired British policeman could see their clients acquitted.

    Justin Fowler, 30, from Falmouth, Alan Ford, 29, from Birmingham and Jeffrey Pernell, 27, from Oldbury, West Midlands, were jailed for life without remission in March 1996 for the abduction and manslaughter of Jensen.

    During yesterday's short proceedings, Pernell's lawyer, Antonis Andreou, withdrew his application to bring former City of London chief inspector Michael Flack as a defence witness.

    "After analysing the facts, I have decided to withdraw the application in support of the request by the prosecution," Andreou told the court yesterday.

    Following the move, Supreme Court president George Pikis said the court reserved judgment on whether Flack's allegedly crucial testimony would be admissible.

    Lawyers expect the supreme court decision to be announced within the next three weeks.

    Flack last year spent time in Nicosia Central prison where he met the three British soldiers.

    The former senior detective turned private-eye had been convicted on burglary charges while investigating alleged patent piracy by local pharmaceutical companies. He was freed on appeal last September.

    If allowed to testify, Flack, 53, is expected to give the first full account -- based on conversations with the soldiers -- of what happened on the night Jensen was sexually assaulted then savagely beaten to death with a spade.

    Andreou and Ford's defence lawyer, Tassos Katsikides, are keen for Flack's evidence to be heard in an effort to get their clients' conviction overturned or at least their sentence reduced.

    Andreou on Monday told the court he believed the evidence could lead to his client's acquittal: "The issue here is who hit the victim with the spade. It appears one of the applicants confesses he dealt the fatal blow to the victim. If the court accepts this, then there may be an issue of acquittal."

    But prosecutor Petros Clerides believes Flack's testimony will reinforce the guilt of the accused and keep them behind bars.

    Fowler's lawyer, Christos Pourgourides, has described Flack as an unreliable witness and a "publicity seeker".

    During the criminal trial, one the longest and most expensive in Cypriot legal history, the three soldiers declined to testify. Their police statements were submitted as part of their defence.

    None gave a clear picture as to who struck the fatal blow with the spade.

    Before yesterday's hearing, Ford and Fowler could be seen chatting amicably with each other, while Pernell kept his distance.

    Ford also seems to have acquired enough rudimentary Greek to converse with his police guards.

    Jensen's naked and battered body was found in a shallow grave two days after she was abducted from a petrol station in Ayia Napa on September 13, 1994.

    [04] Government plays down 'missile ship' detention

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS will not respond to "Turkish paranoia" over the way the Russian S- 300 missiles will be brought to the island, Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou said yesterday.

    Omirou was commenting on Turkey's detention of a Maltese-registered ship on Monday, which Ankara suspected of carrying missile parts to Cyprus.

    The ship finally left the Turkish port of Gelibolu yesterday morning for Egypt after being cleared by customs officials.

    It was the second such incident involving a ship bound for Egypt since the missile crisis erupted in January 1996.

    "We are facing these provocations with calm," Omirou said.

    "The Cyprus Republic is exercising its sovereign rights and repeats that it will continue to organise its defence as long as the occupation exists and as long as Turkish threats continue to exist."

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides called for the implementation of all international shipping laws and conventions.

    Turkish customs officials stopped the Maltese freighter Natasha-1 in the Dardanelles, searched it for anti-aircraft missiles and released it after eight hours.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Necati Utkan said yesterday the Natasha-1 had left for Alexandria.

    "What was announced as the cargo of the ship and what was in fact in the ship, were two different things... it was established the ship was destined for Egypt and it was released," Utkan told a news conference.

    Anatolian news agency said seven missile launching pads were found in the ship, which had left from Ukraine. The bill of loading for the ship described its cargo as tractors and cars.

    Turkish newspapers printed photographs of olive green vehicles in the ship's hold, which they said were missile ramps.

    "We could see something which looked very much military but I don't know that it is," Utkan said.

    He said Turkey had the right to inspect ships passing through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits if their cargoes were seen as a threat to Turkey's security.

    "If something similar happens, regulations will be applied," Utkan said.

    [05] EU summit draft welcomes accession progress

    THE LAUNCH of Cyprus' EU accession course is "evolutionary and inclusive", according to draft EU summit conclusions released yesterday.

    The draft of conclusions reached at the Cardiff summit also referred to the meeting of the ministers of Justice and Interior of Cyprus and other applicant countries with their EU counterparts, describing the contacts as "productive". It said further ministerial meetings would take place as and when the need arose.

    Good progress had already been made in the actual negotiations, the draft added, as "the screening exercises for seven chapters of the acquis have been completed".

    The draft also welcomed the Commission's line on the union's strategy to prepare Turkey for membership, saying this strategy could be "enriched over time, taking into account Turkey's own ideas."

    In Luxembourg last December, the EU linked Turkey's EU prospects with improvement in human rights and relations with Greece, with economic and political reforms and support for a Cyprus settlement.

    Earlier, the government had described as "positive" the absence of any attempt to suspend Cyprus' accession talks by any member states. Last week, a French spokeswoman said it would be difficult for a divided Cyprus to join the EU, and hinted that France might ask for negotiations to be put on hold until the Turkish Cypriots joined the negotiating team.

    "We consider the fact that there has been no attempt by any country to cause any problems in our accession negotiations as a positive development, " Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said.

    [06] 'Multi-dimensional diplomacy at work'

    INTERCOMMUNAL talks may be stalled and Holbrooke may not be returning to these shores anytime soon, but US Ambassador Kenneth Brill remains optimistic about a settlement.

    Speaking after a routine meeting with President Clerides yesterday morning, Brill said there were no plans for US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke to visit Cyprus.

    But he said Holbrooke -- whose last visit in early May failed to break the talks deadlock -- was not the only Cyprus problem card that the US had up it's sleeve.

    "Just because Holbrooke is not here today, it does not mean we are not working on things that will have some benefit for Cyprus," he said.

    "The US has a multi-dimensional diplomacy, which is geared to working on various facets and issues that relate to each other," Brill said. "We work on Cyprus, we try to promote improvement between Greece and Turkey and between Turkey and the EU and generally in the region."

    The Turkish side is refusing to return to talks unless the break-away 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' is granted international recognition.

    [07] Bank secretary held over 135,000 embezzlement

    THE SECRETARY of a Limassol Cooperative bank was yesterday remanded on suspicion of embezzling 135,000 of the bank's funds.

    Sozos Pavlou was arrested by police late on Monday night after a complaint was made by the manager of the Ayios Tychonas branch where he has been employed since September 1994.

    The Limassol District Court heard yesterday morning that 38-year-old Pavlou was the only staff member at the cooperative authorised to issue and receive cheques during the time when the 135,000 went missing between December 31, 1997, and June 14 this year.

    Case investigator Michalakis Papaeliseou said in court that police also had a statement implicating Pavlou.

    The alleged embezzlement came to light after a 52,000 cheque issued by a customer of the Ayios Tychonas branch bounced. The Cooperative Banks inspector, Erotokritos Chlorakiotis, ordered an investigation, which found that 135,000 had gone missing from branch funds.

    Papaeliseou told the court that Pavlou initially intended only to borrow the money from the bank, but then failed to return it. He said the suspect had so far declined to make any statement to police.

    Case investigators needed to get statements from about 30 people, Papaeliseou said.

    Pavlou was remanded in police custody for eight days.

    [08] Cyta denies secret service pressure in contract cancellation

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS Authority (Cyta) has that denied national security considerations were behind the cancellation of a contract with an Israeli firm.

    Last month the authority ripped-up a 7 million contract for the provision of a surveillance system for Cyta installations. The contract had been signed with ICTS Global International last year.

    Press reports suggested that the Communications Ministry had intervened to cancel the contract on the recommendation of the Secret Service (Kyp). A Kyp report stated Israeli technicians working for ICTS in Cyprus were former Mossad agents and had been asking questions about sensitive security sites, local parers stated. The Kyp report apparently also noted the fact that Israel had a military pact with Turkey.

    But Cyta tenders board member Sparsis Modestos dismissed these reports yesterday. "Quite simply, execution of contract was not in keeping with contractual provisions," Modestos told the Cyprus Mail.

    "We have a report from specialist consultants stating that both the design and equipment they offered was not in keeping with provisions of the contract."

    "We gave the company a warning, in keeping with our contractual obligations, but they did not comply, so we decided to cancel the deal," he said.

    The Israeli firm is now suing the Authority for compensation for breach of contract.

    [09] Road death gives transplant hope

    THE HEART of a woman who died in a Nicosia car accident on Sunday night was yesterday flown to Israel to be transplanted into a Cypriot cardiology patient.

    The 35-year-old donor, Marina Iacovidou, was pronounced clinically dead upon arrival to hospital after being injured in a car accident on Sunday night in the Nicosia suburb of Aglandja.

    Her organs were removed yesterday morning at the Paraskevaidio Transplant Centre in Nicosia and the heart was immediately flown to Israel to be transplanted into 66-year-old Andreas Miltiadou from Dasoupoli.

    The director of the Paraskevaidio Transplant Centre, Dr George Kyriakides, told the Cyprus Mail that the heart was in an excellent condition and there were good chances of a successful transplant because Miltiadou was in "good shape".

    The donor's liver was taken to London on the same plane as a four-year-old Cypriot boy into whom it was transplanted on arrival in the UK.

    The kidneys were transplanted into two patients at the Paraskevaidio.

    [10] Doctors endorse breakaway union

    GOVERNMENT doctors met yesterday afternoon to discuss the formation of their new breakaway union, after 90 per cent of them voted in favour of abandoning civil servants' union Pasydy.

    Monday's nationwide vote on the formation of a new union had been announced at a press conference last week, at which the doctors complained that Pasydy was ignoring their needs. They called for an upgrade in salary scales, reorganisation of hospitals to increase efficiency and minimise hours spent on call, organised overtime and a standard overtime pay rate.

    On Monday, Pasydy officially removed Doctors' Branch head Stavros Stavrou, his second-in-command Petros Petrides and Doctors' Secretary Chrisoulis Christofi from their positions, accusing them of inciting the doctors to quit the union.

    Petrides told CyBC yesterday that Pasydy was still "turning a deaf ear" to the doctors. Yesterday's meeting was held to decide what form and direction the new union would take.

    Reacting to the doctors' decision, Pasydy General-secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou said the union would seek to convince the rebel medics to return to the fold, and would not allow them to cause a rift in the union.

    [11] Man jailed on gun charge

    A DRIVER from Livadia near Larnaca was yesterday jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to illegal possession of a Sterling automatic and nine bullets.

    The lawyer defending 51-year-old Artemis Nicolaou, Georgios Georgiou, told the Larnaca District Court his client had found the gun and ammunition in the garage of his home and had put them in a wardrobe in his home while he wondered whether to alert police or not. The weapon and bullets were found during a police search of Nicolaou's home earlier this year.

    [12] Denktash ire at US diplomat's bicommunal invitation

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is accusing an American diplomat of urging Turkish Cypriots to rebel against his regime, Turkish press reports said yesterday.

    According to the reports, Denktash told a meeting of the Turkish Cypriot branch of the Brussels Women's Group that the female official had urged the Turkish Cypriots to come to the Ledra Palace for bicommunal activities.

    If this was true, he said, civil servants' freedom of travel should be limited.

    Denktash was meeting with the group to be briefed on their recent contacts in London. He was also presented with the declaration adopted by the group at the London Link conference.

    Denktash said that he would meet with the group again in the future and that he had extended a similar invitation to meet with Turkish Cypriot businessmen.

    Referring to the accusations against the American diplomat, he said his regime had taken the decision to put a stop to bicommunal contacts and that if diplomatic missions wanted them to resume, they would first have to recognise his decision, and "not force my citizens... by extending invitations".

    If Turkish Cypriots were to accept such invitations, he said, it would create the impression that the 'government' wanted one thing and the people another. He added that, if necessary, a law would be passed to stop civil servants leaving the country for bicommunal meetings.

    About two months ago, Denktash refused to allow four Turkish Cypriot women out of the occupied areas to attend a trade union meeting alongside their Greek Cypriot counterparts. He suspended all bicommunal contacts on the island in December last year following the EU's Luxembourg summit decision to open accession talks with Cyprus.

    [13] On-line banking from the Popular Bank

    THE POPULAR Bank yesterday launched its new on-line banking service, Laiki Online, which it described as the "dynamic response to the banking needs of the millennium".

    Many of the bank's services are now available over the internet, allowing customers instant access to their accounts 24 hours a day, every day of the year and from anywhere in the world.

    Services available include account balances, money transfers, bill and credit card bill paying facilities, cheque-book ordering and bank information services.

    The bank's website address is

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