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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-06-18

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

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


Thursday, June 18, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Don't make tension worse, appeals Annan
  • [02] 'Stop the rot in hotel industry'
  • [03] Turks slammed for 'ludicrous' reaction to F-16s
  • [04] Police guard parliament from a distance
  • [05] Government pleased at Cardiff conclusions
  • [06] Blair repeats there are no preconditions for Cyprus accession
  • [07] Bleak vision for CyBC
  • [08] Auditor raps Cyta for not spending on development
  • [09] The potato sack fiasco
  • [10] Man held by Turks after straying north
  • [11] Turks jail 'spy' for ten years
  • [12] Survey shows high environmental concern
  • [13] House calls for overhaul of Turkish Cypriot property allocations
  • [14] Transplants all successful
  • [15] Cyprus businessman thought murdered in US
  • [16] Three held on brothel charge

  • [01] Don't make tension worse, appeals Annan

    SECRETARY-GENERAL Kofi Annan yesterday urged all parties in the Cyprus dispute to abstain from any action that could further exacerbate tension, and said his special adviser intended to visit the island again in the coming weeks.

    Annan's appeal was contained in a brief two-page report on the long-running UN mission aimed at reuniting the divided island under a federal system, Reuters reports from New York.

    Annan's special adviser on Cyprus, former Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Diego Cordovez, has been trying in vain to revive talks between the two communities which broke down after inconclusive meetings at Troutbeck, New York, last July and at Glion, Switzerland, in August.

    After giving a factual account of his own efforts and those of Cordovez and others involved in the Cyprus question, Annan wrote: "It is regrettable that, so far, all these efforts have not proved sufficient to lead to a resumption of the process.

    "I strongly hope that all parties involved will abstain from any action which could further exacerbate tension and I count on their fullest support in the United Nations continuing efforts." He added: "In this context, in order to continue to explore possibilities that may lead to a new momentum, my special adviser on Cyprus intends to visit the island in the coming weeks." After the failure of last year's talks, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said negotiations could not continue on an inter-communal basis, as in past decades, but must be on a what he called a state-to-state basis. This would involve recognition of the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot 'state' which only Ankara recognises.

    Denktash was reacting to accession negotiations by Cyprus to join the European Union. He does not recognise the right of the internationally recognised Cyprus government headed by President Glafcos Clerides to speak for the Turkish Cypriots, and opposes the EU talks - especially since Greece but not Turkey is an EU member.

    [02] 'Stop the rot in hotel industry'

    By Jean Christou

    HOTEL managers heard a call yesterday for a stop to the rot in an industry "in deep crisis".

    "Everyone agrees that our quality standards are generally not what they used to be - but nobody is ready to do anything about it," Cyprus Hotel Managers' Association Chairman (CHMA) John Wood told its annual general meeting.

    He said many well-qualified managers were being laid off by companies which then brought in lesser skilled people at much lower salaries in order to improve profits.

    Wood added that all that was now needed to become a hotel manager was a simple graduation certificate, which did not take into account skills learned while "working one's way up in the industry".

    "This will not work, but by the time this is realised it will be too late unless action is taken now to stop the rot," Wood said.

    "In many hotels the blind are leading the blind."

    The CHMA believes that if nothing is done to save tourism, Cyprus will enter the new millennium with an outdated and unwanted tourism product, which it will be difficult even to give away at knockdown prices.

    Wood said the planned time-frame of four to five years for a government plan for tourism was too long.

    And he referred to the plans for four new marinas, six or seven golf courses, two casinos, three theme parks and sports training centres: "If they can be operational by 2000, then we have a chance of being able to compete with other destinations in the new millennium."

    The island's infrastructure, environmental consciousness and safety record also came under fire.

    "Regretfully Cyprus' reputation for being a safe place is being tarnished badly, and the reputation for the honesty of its people is also deteriorating rapidly as more and more visitors are being mugged and unscrupulously overcharged," Wood said.

    "Visitors regularly complain of not feeling welcome, and hardly a day goes by without a serious complaint about touts on streets virtually forcing visitors to use the bars and restaurants they are working for."

    Wood said the infrastructural work in Limassol was also a major headache. He said that in order to avoid paying large compensation claims to injured tourists, tour operators are now warning potential visitors of how bad the situation is.

    "Noise and dust do not go hand in hand with quality tourism," Wood said. "We have to get our act together."

    He also called on the government to come up with "drastic measures" to reduce littering. "If you get cleanliness right, people do not notice, but if you get it wrong everyone notices how bad it is."

    Wood said Cyprus tourism needs a vision to succeed. But it also needs "an unflinching will to make it work", he said.

    [03] Turks slammed for 'ludicrous' reaction to F-16s

    By Jean Christou

    THE TURKISH reaction to Greek fighters landing at the new Paphos air base is "totally ludicrous", the government said yesterday.

    The government has also protested against the arrival of Turkish naval vessels in the occupied areas.

    On Tuesday Ankara called the landing of jets at the air base "an extremely grave and provocative development" directed at breaking trust and stability on the island and in the region.

    Two of the four F-16s were still at the Paphos base yesterday morning, while a second C-130 Hercules transport plane flew in to replace the one which left on Tuesday.

    Ankara said that as a guarantor power on the island it would take all necessary measures to counter moves to station Greek planes at the base.

    "It is ludicrous that a guarantor country, which violated the unity of the Cyprus state and has been an occupation force since 1974, should lecture Cyprus on sovereign rights and defence agreements," Government spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday.

    The two remaining F-16s and the transport plane left the island at around noon. According to reports, a team of Greek military officials arrived on the transport plane to inspect installations at the base, which was completed in January this year.

    Stylianides said Ankara's reaction to the air base was equally ludicrous at a time when Turkish warships were visiting the occupied north.

    Four Turkish warships, two submarines, a destroyer and a frigate docked at Famagusta early yesterday, and another warship arrived at Kyrenia.

    The ships are all taking part in Turkish naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Stylianides described the docking of the navy flotilla as an "illegal action" and said the government would make the necessary representations.

    Cyprus said on Tuesday the Greek planes landing 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.

    [04] Police guard parliament from a distance

    SECURITY at the House of Representatives was yesterday left in the hands of two police officers barred from entering the building unless invited by House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    This makeshift solution was enforced after Kyprianou dismissed all remaining police officers guarding his person and the House on Tuesday. The move was in protest at the government's decision to halve the numbers of police officers guarding politicians.

    "The House President has issued instructions that no guard enter parliament, so the building is being guarded from the outside," Paphos Gate police chief Stavros Lifiotis said yesterday.

    The two officers patrolling the parliament grounds in yesterday's sweltering heat had been among the House guards that Kyprianou sent back to the Paphos Gate police station on Tuesday. The government has handed Paphos Gate police the task of guarding the House and its President until a permanent solution is reached.

    There was no control on those entering the House yesterday as the police booth in the building was empty. Parliamentary officials expressed concern that the House was being left unguarded, but Officer Lifiotis said the present system of guarding the House was satisfactory.

    [05] Government pleased at Cardiff conclusions

    THE GOVERNMENT is satisfied with the conclusions reached on Cyprus by the two-day EU summit in Cardiff, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday.

    Stylianides said the conclusions were "positive" and reaffirmed that Cyprus' accession course would proceed unhindered without any preconditions. For this, he added, Cyprus had Greek Premier Costas Simitis and his "decisive and nationally dignified" position to thank.

    Stylianides expressed surprise at the French position on accession, which claimed that Cyprus was a "special case" due to the Cyprus Problem, but said the leaders of the other 14 countries had reacted clearly to the statements in favour of Cyprus. It was, he said, "wrong" of France to have adopted this approach.

    Referring to a Tuesday telephone call by US President Bill Clinton to Simitis in which he urged Greece to release blocked EU funds for Turkey and adopt a more conciliatory attitude to its neighbour's EU aspirations, Stylianides said Clinton should have addressed himself directly to Turkey.

    Although neither Cyprus nor Greece was against the concept of Turkey's accession, he added, Turkey needed to understand that it had to give before it could take.

    The summit conclusions relating to Cyprus said the union's priority was to maintain the enlargement process.

    [06] Blair repeats there are no preconditions for Cyprus accession

    BRITAIN wants Cyprus' EU accession negotiations to proceed, but thinks this would be easier if there was a settlement on the island, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday.

    Speaking in an interview on Greek television, Blair said that as current holder of the rotating EU presidency, Britain began the accession talks with Cyprus and wanted "to see them go ahead".

    He added that it had been made clear that "there are no preconditions" for the talks, or for the island's final accession.

    On the subject of Turkey's relations with the EU, Blair said that the EU did not wish to discriminate either in favour of or against Turkey.

    Asked whether there were any indications that Turkey might be prepared to meet the criteria required by the EU of candidate countries, Blair said the criteria would be the same for Turkey as for any other country; "what happens as a response to that is up to Turkey."

    [07] Bleak vision for CyBC

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE cash-strapped CyBC will sink without trace if it continues to dither over necessary, but painful, cost-cutting measures, the Auditor-general's report has warned.

    Auditor-general Spyros Christou's 1997 financial report on CyBC, released yesterday, offers little relief to a corporation barely kept afloat on loans, credit and subsidy.

    "The corporation's financial situation continued to worsen in 1997 and its operation, to a large extent, depended on continued financial support from the state and credit assistance from the employees' pension fund."

    CyBC showed a deficit of 3.3 million last year compared to 4.4 million in 1996.

    Income was up by over 800,000 on 1996 through increased contributions in the CyBC levy and sales of lottery tickets.

    But Christou underlined that CyBC would not break its spiral of debt if it failed fully to implement its much-heralded strategic plan to streamline the organisation.

    A corner stone of the action plan was the introduction of a voluntary retirement scheme, which failed to produce the desired results.

    "The number of employees who retired was only 56, rather than the 85 provided for by the scheme, a fact that will affect forecasts for the scheme over the next four years," the report said.

    From CyBC's total expenditure of 16.7 million last year, 62 per cent went on its wage bill (10.4 million).

    Christou said delays in reorganising working practices at CyBC, such as restricting overtime, reducing the number of departmental managers, merging services and using sub-contractors, only compounded a bleak outlook.

    And the report highlights another worrying trend: salaries are on the rise while programme financing is decreasing.

    The Cabinet yesterday approved total budget provisions of 17.5 million for CyBC for 1998. The budgets still require approval by the House of Representatives.

    [08] Auditor raps Cyta for not spending on development

    THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS Authority (Cyta) last year beat its own low standards for the proportion of its development budget that was spent.

    In his annual report on the semi-governmental organisation, released yesterday, Auditor-general Spyros Christou says poor utilisation of development funds has become a chronic problem for Cyta.

    The authority has failed to use all its development budget every year since 1989, and in 1997 17 million (or 33 per cent) of the 51 million budget allocated by the government was never spent.

    While the authority has left higher proportions of its development budget un-spent in the past, 17 million is the greatest amount ever left in coffers.

    In 1991, Cyta spent only half its development budget, while over a third of the budget was left unused in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1995, the report states. The highest proportion of the budget spent in the past nine years was 82 per cent, in 1993.

    "It is vital, in my opinion, that there be better planning, both in terms of preparation and execution of the budget," Christou states in his report.

    "The chairman of the authority attributes the deviations to factors that are out of the authority's control," he adds.

    The report also notes Cyta made a pre-tax profit of 34,876 in 1997, up 33 per cent from 26,199 in 1996.

    [09] The potato sack fiasco

    THE POTATO Marketing Board has for a second year in a row bought over a million potato sacks that it does not need.

    The Auditor-general's report on the Board, issued yesterday, revealed that after the great mistake of 1996, when the semi-government owned Potato Board bought seven million potato sacks despite already having almost eight million in storage, the sack buying fiasco had been repeated in 1997. The Board proceeded to buy a further another 1,062,000 sacks at a time when it had 13,428,887 empty sacks -- worth a total of 1,133,184 -- in storage.

    The Auditor-general, Spyros Christou, said "the problem of supply and reserve of potato sacks is closely connected to the large number of sizes and especially colours of sacks used, as well as unpredictable weather conditions that affect potato production."

    He pointed out that the Board had pledged to continue investigating the matter in order to find a solution to this "serious problem".

    [10] Man held by Turks after straying north

    A GREEK Cypriot was apprehended by Turkish forces yesterday after accidentally crossing into the occupied areas in the early hours, police reported.

    According to a police announcement, 50-year-old Andreas Kyriakou, from Yeri outside Nicosia, was driving along the old Nicosia to Larnaca road near his village at around 2.30am when he lost his bearings and crossed to the north. He was then seized by Turkish soldiers, police said. The bulletin added that police were working with Unficyp to secure Kyriakou's release.

    UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski confirmed that a Greek Cypriot was being held by the Turks, but said he had "no further information at this stage."

    "It appears someone entered the old (Turkish held) Larnaca to Nicosia road and was apprehended by Turkish forces," Rokoszewski said.

    [11] Turks jail 'spy' for ten years

    THE DENKTASH regime has jailed for 10 years a Turkish Cypriot man accused of spying for the Cyprus government.

    Cengiz Fevzioglu had earlier been acquitted of the charges, but the acquittal was overturned by a 'military appeals court'.

    No details of the charges against Fevzioglu were given. Turkish press reports yesterday quoted legal experts as being surprised at the decision to overturn the earlier acquittal.

    [12] Survey shows high environmental concern

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    THE OVERWHELMING majority of Cypriots believes that the protection of the environment is an urgent and immediate problem, and they do not trust the government to give them an accurate picture of its condition.

    Cypriots also adhere to the view that those who pollute the environment should pay for it, with 84 per cent backing the enforcement of some kind of environmental tax along the lines of the European energy tax.

    Another 87.4 per cent of respondents to an Intercollege survey on the environment expressed concern and rated the environment as an urgent problem. The five most important environmental issues, according to the Cypriot public, are the drought, identified by 95 per cent of respondents as "very important"; beach pollution, prioritised by 93.4 per cent of respondents; forest fires (93.1 per cent); marine pollution (91.4 per cent); and fumes (87.2 per cent).

    The survey was carried out by the Intercollege Research Centre and was funded by BP Cyprus. Four hundred people were interviewed by Intercollege experts over the month of April. At a press conference unveiling the findings of the study, BP manager Yiorgos Petrou stressed his company's concern for the environment and willingness to contribute to its protection.

    Apart from displaying a high awareness and concern about the environment among the general public, the study also revealed that Cypriots invest a high degree of trust in environmental groups, while they are dissatisfied with the government's contribution to the protection of the environment.

    Only eight per cent of Cypriots were happy with government efforts to protect the environment, while 67.2 per cent were satisfied with environmental groups' efforts. Similarly, only five per cent of those surveyed said they trusted the government to present an accurate picture of the state of the environment on the island. In contrast, 75 per cent placed their trust in Green groups.

    Increasing concerns over the future of the sensitive Akamas peninsula were also voiced in the survey, with a significant figure of 30.4 per cent of respondents saying there should be absolutely no development in the area; 68.9 per cent supported some form of development, but only with sufficient controls to ensure that the environment was protected, whereas only 0.8 per cent supported complete and unchecked development.

    The survey reflected a feeling that the best means of solving the problem of environmental protection in the future was through education about the environment and how the average person could contribute. And the environmental expert of the Intercollege Research Centre, Dr Costas Papastavrou, stressed that school children should not be the only education targets, but that adults and politicians must also change their attitude towards the environment.

    Papastavrou said the results of the survey were a pleasant surprise and that the respondents had taken the task of answering the questions seriously.

    "So there is an environmental issue in Cyprus," he said "and it is highly prioritised by the public; there are general and specific problems on the minds of the public that demand solutions."

    [13] House calls for overhaul of Turkish Cypriot property allocations

    THE HOUSE refugee committee yesterday called for an end to the illegal use of Turkish Cypriot properties by non-refugees.

    The committee heard from representatives of both refugee and agricultural organisations that use of abandoned Turkish Cypriot properties by non- entitled individuals was commonplace. Large tracts of mainly agricultural land were being planted by non-refugees, with the Paphos area a particular black-spot, deputies heard.

    Committee chairman Aristofanis Georgiou said a complete re-allocation of user rights for Turkish Cypriot properties was called for.

    Representatives of the government agency responsible for Turkish Cypriot properties were asked to furnish the committee with a complete list of who was using which properties.

    Georgiou also said the committee would be pulling out all the stops to get a new set of regulations for use of Turkish Cypriot properties approved before the Summer break in House proceedings.

    "On the basis of the regulations we plan to approve, the agency will have the right to go ahead with a re-allocation to end the irregularities," Georgiou said.

    He said new, fairer, criteria governing the allocation of Turkish Cypriot properties were needed.

    [14] Transplants all successful

    ALL FOUR patients who received organs from car accident victim Marina Iacovidou were doing well yesterday following their transplant operations.

    The director of the Paraskevaidion Transplant Centre, Dr Yiorgos Kyriakides, announced yesterday that Israeli doctors had confirmed that the heart transplant operation carried out on 66-year-old Cypriot Andreas Miltiadou had been successful.

    The two patients who received Marina's kidneys are also in a satisfying condition. "The kidneys are functioning perfectly," according to Dr Kyriakides, who pointed out that organ transplants always entail the danger of rejection by the recipient's body. In such cases the organ does not function properly and the patient needs to undergo further treatment.

    King's College Hospital in London, where four-year-old Rafaella Costantinou underwent a liver transplant operation, said they had only used part of Marina's liver, as the child was too small to receive a complete adult liver. The operation was also successful.

    Dr Kyriakides said the two kidney patients who were operated on at the Paraskevaidion Centre would be out of hospital in about ten days. Miltiadou and the young girl will remain in hospital for longer periods.

    Thirty-five-year-old donor Marina Iacovidou died in a car accident on Sunday night. Her organs were removed at the Paraskevaidion Transplant Centre on Tuesday morning and the operations took place soon after.

    [15] Cyprus businessman thought murdered in US

    A BUSINESSMAN from Aradippou has been found dead in the United States, and police suspect that he was murdered.

    Father-of-five Costas Kaimakliotis, 50, left for America three weeks ago on business, but contact with his family suddenly stopped three days ago.

    One of the employees at his US office, concerned about Kaimakliotis' failure to show up, went to his apartment and was concerned about the stench coming from it.

    When police broke into the apartment, they found the businessman's dead body. He had suffered injuries to the head.

    The cause of death has yet to be ascertained.

    Kaimakliotis leaves behind his wife Eleni and five children aged between 10 and 24.

    [16] Three held on brothel charge

    TWO MEN and a woman were remanded by Nicosia District Court yesterday on suspicion of running a brothel in a Nicosia flat.

    Evagoras Markides, 26, from Palouriotissa, Theodoros Handriotis, 26, from Aglandjia, and Elena Tryfonos, 30, from Nicosia, were arrested on Tuesday night during a vice squad raid on a flat on Kasou street. Officers acting on a tip-off found two women, aged 18 and 39, and a number of condoms in the flat, and 352 in Tryfonos's possession, the court heard.

    The court remanded Markides, Handriotis and Tryfonos for six days on suspicion of pimping.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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