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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-06-23

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

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


Tuesday, June 23, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cassoulides in damage limitation exercise
  • [02] Remains of 1974 invasion victim buried
  • [03] S-300s 'not an issue for negotiation'
  • [04] Sparks in cockpit force holiday plane to return
  • [05] Markides to appeal decision to free Aeroporos brothers
  • [06] Himonas jailed by Bases court
  • [07] CNA chief Christofides dies at 61
  • [08] Russian youth sought after girl, 13, raped
  • [09] Woman, 73, killed by car
  • [10] Government to launch anti-drugs drive

  • [01] Cassoulides in damage limitation exercise

    By Jean Christou

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides has undertaken a damage limitation exercise to reduce tension over recent tit-for-tat military brinkmanship on the island.

    The Greek Cypriot initiative comes as Turkey yesterday pulled out some of its naval fleet from ports in the occupied areas.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday that apart from the letter President Glafcos Clerides sent to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan asking him to undertake a personal initiative to reduce tension, Cassoulides would push the government's demilitarisation proposal towards a specific time frame.

    "The aim of the initiative is to reply to Turkey's efforts to create tensions," Stylianides said.

    "With this position (on demilitarisation) the government proves once again its willingness to discuss all military issues and to find the most appropriate solutions."

    The spokesman said the government does not only believe that small steps can reduce tensions but also that "big steps" such as a time frame for demilitarisation can also help.

    President Clerides put forward his demilitarisation proposal in 1993, but it has been rejected by the Turkish side.

    The Greek Cypriot side has said it is willing to postpone the deployment of Russian S-300 missiles on the island if the demilitarisation proposal is discussed.

    Tensions on the island rose to new heights last week after Greek fighter planes landed for the first time at the newly-constructed Paphos air base.

    Turkey retaliated by sending six fighters to the occupied areas. A flotilla of Turkish naval vessels, taking part in military exercises also docked at ports in the north last Wednesday.

    Four of the vessels left Famagusta yesterday following Sunday's departure of three Turkish assault craft and two submarines from Kyrenia.

    [02] Remains of 1974 invasion victim buried

    CYPRIOT-American Andreas Kasapis, the only one of the 1,619 missing persons whose remains have been found and identified so far, has been buried in his home town of Detroit, Michigan.

    Kasapis, whose remains were discovered in a field in the occupied areas, was buried yesterday in Northfield cemetery after a service at the nearby Panayia Greek Orthodox church.

    A memorial service was also held in Nicosia at St John's Cathedral at 6.30pm. It was conducted by Archbishop Chrysostomos and attended by President Glafcos Clerides.

    Kasapis, aged 17 at the time of his death, was on holiday in Cyprus during the 1974 invasion. He and his brother-in-law were abducted by Turkish troops from their family's house in the village of Ashia, near where Kasapis' remains were found, on August 24 that year.

    Another four American citizens also went missing during the invasion. A report issued by US Ambassador Robert Dillon earlier this year concluded that the four "in all likelihood did not survive the events in Cyprus of the summer of 1974".

    [03] S-300s 'not an issue for negotiation'

    By Lynne O'Donoghue in New York

    ON THE eve of what may be the most tense UN Security Council debate on Cyprus in two decades, the Turkish Cypriots continue to take a hard line over the prospective arrival of the S-300 missiles on the island.

    Foreshadowing the position of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots before the 15- nation Council, the Turkish Cypriot UN representative told the Cyprus Mail in New York that "we do not accept the S-300s being introduced into the equation as an issue for negotiation".

    Aytug Pluemmer described the deployment of the anti-aircraft missiles, expected in October, as "an aggressive move". He called them "a direct threat to the security of the Turkish Cypriot people and to that of Turkey".

    He said that with a range of 150 miles, the missiles can reach "well into mainland Turkey", not to mention that the introduction of the missiles would "alter the military balance in the region dramatically".

    Pluemmer said the problem lies not just with the S-300s as such, but what they represent. They are a significant new item adding to what he claimed was a Greek Cypriot arms build-up which has been going on since the early 1990s. This included, he said, the military base at Paphos, the alleged construction of a naval base at Zygi, the recruitment of additional professional Greek soldiers and the Greece-Cyprus defence pact of 1993.

    Asked about the possible scenario if the missiles do arrive in Cyprus, he declined to be drawn into specifics. "At the highest level, it has been stated that Turkey, as a guarantor power, will take all the necessary measures to preserve the military balance," he said.

    Pluemmer repeated the Turkish Cypriot position that EU involvement has complicated the Cyprus problem "a great deal". He referred to the 1960 Treaty of Establishment "which necessitates that Cyprus cannot join any international organisation in which both Turkey and Greece are not members. This has been overlooked by the EU."

    "The Turkish Cypriot people will never say 'yes' to the EU unless they know that Turkey is, or will be, a member," he said.

    "Because the EU is treating Greek Cyprus as the government of Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot government no longer has any motivation for a settlement," he added, calling this the main reason for the current impasse.

    Recognition of Turkish Cypriot sovereignty is now the only solution, he reiterated. "Cyprus is the common home of both the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. A viable settlement can only be achieved by mutual respect and recognition. Let us build bridges of trust between the two peoples. But in order to do that we have to create the necessary atmosphere. The two sides should be placed on the same level."

    If the Greek Cypriot side accepts Turkish Cypriot sovereignty, Pluemmer said, "then the two sides can begin to talk about issues like security, delineation of borders, settlement of property issues through exchange of property and compensation."

    Pluemmer called on President Glafcos Clerides to "be courageous enough to say in public that he's not the president of the Turkish Cypriots, that he cannot claim to represent the Turkish Cypriot people, but that he is the elected president of the Greek Cypriot side only." This, he added, was what had been said by both US negotiator Richard Holbrooke and Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini.

    Pluemmer said the Greek Cypriots "should acknowledge the sovereign authority in the north and align their actions so that they would be in conformity with the realities".

    [04] Sparks in cockpit force holiday plane to return

    By Charlie Charalambous

    AN Air 2000 Boeing bound for Manchester was forced to return to Larnaca airport yesterday morning after sparks were reported in the cockpit 15 minutes after take-off.

    The Boeing 757 with 206 passengers and nine crew on board made a safe precautionary landing at 03.29. No one was injured.

    "The aircraft departed from Larnaca at 02.40 for Manchester. When it was 90 nautical miles from Larnaca the pilot reported sparks in the cockpit and said he had lost some of his instruments," Larnaca air traffic control officer Panayiotis Parpas said.

    "It was a safe diversion to Larnaca airport due to a minor emergency," he added.

    According to the passengers on board nobody panicked, although some said the landing was a little rough.

    The passengers were taken to luxury hotel accommodation while the local firm which chartered the flight made arrangements to bring a replacement aircraft from Manchester.

    But it was later decided that the same aircraft would be used after undergoing checks and repairs.

    Some passengers said their biggest disappointment was the fact that they would miss the England v Romania game on TV back home, despite the free food and luxury surroundings.

    The Manchester flight was re-scheduled for around midnight, which meant England fans among the delayed holidaymakers missed the crucial World Cup game.

    [05] Markides to appeal decision to free Aeroporos brothers

    By Martin Hellicar

    STATE prosecutors will challenge an Assizes court decision to acquit three Aeroporos brothers charged with the attempted murder of gambling club owner Antonis Fanieros on May 29 last year.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides yesterday said he believed the Nicosia court's decision was wrong. He said an appeal against it will be lodged at the Supreme Court today.

    Markides also criticised the Aeroporos brothers' lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou, for joining a post-acquittal party at the Aeroporos family home in Kolossi, outside Limassol, on Sunday. On Friday, after a 12-month long trial, the Assizes ruled there was no prima facie case against brothers Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, Aeroporos - even though they had been named as instigator, architect and hit-man respectively in the drive- by attack by chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides. Simellides, 28, is serving a nine-year sentence for acting as getaway driver for the shooting outside Fanieros' Larnaca gambling club. The Assizes judges stated police and Justice Minister Nicos Koshis had "made promises" to Simellides to get him to testify against the Aeroporos brothers.

    During the trial, Efstathiou labelled Simellides a liar who had cut a deal with police to help secure the conviction of the Aeroporos brothers in exchange for seeing out his sentence at a country estate and passage abroad afterwards.

    Markides, speaking at the House yesterday, said his office would exhaust all legal measures at its disposal to get the Assizes decision overruled.

    "It is our duty in this case, when, in my opinion the wrong decision has been made, to try all judicial measures (to get the decision overruled)," Markides said.

    He also called on the House to approve, as a matter of urgency, a bill already before it which would, among other things, give the attorney- general power to repeal decisions by the Assizes court.

    Markides also said Efstathiou's attendance at the Aeroporos party gave the "wrong messages".

    "In my opinion the work of a lawyer should begin and end with the provision of legal services. I cannot see how he (Efstathiou) could fail to realise what wrong messages can be given by his presence at celebrations like Sunday's," Markides said.

    "Lawyers of Mr Efstathiou's standing, who also have a political life, must be especially careful in such instances," he said.

    Efstathiou has served as House deputy for socialist Edek.

    Speaking during Sunday's party at Kolossi, Efstathiou claimed the Assizes decision could not be challenged.

    Last year's attack was described as a gangland hit, part of an on-going feud between Limassol and Larnaca gangs vying for control of lucrative gambling, prostitution and drugs rings.

    Fanieros, 57, survived despite being hit in the neck as he came under a hail of machine-gun fire.

    In its decision, the Assizes noted that no finger-prints belonging to any of the Aeroporos brothers were found on the motorbike, machine-gun or any of the other items located by police with Simellides' help after the attack.

    [06] Himonas jailed by Bases court

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ANTI-British activist Hambis Himonas was jailed for two months by a Bases court yesterday for reckless driving and assaulting a police officer.

    Himonas was found guilty on three charges. He received two months for reckless driving, one month for wilful assault, and was also fined 40 for disobeying a police officer.

    The convictions run concurrently.

    Although a number of anti-bases supporters were present outside the Dhekelia courthouse yesterday there was no incident when Himonas was led away to HM Prison Dhekelia.

    "There was no protest or incident," bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones told the Cyprus Mail.

    The regime at the compact Dhekelia prison is described as "firm but open".

    Himonas, who has had various run-ins with the British authorities, will be encouraged to take daily exercises, use the library and enjoy the TV lounge.

    The charges all refer to an incident last April when Himonas smashed through an SBA police cordon at the Pyla firing range.

    He took objection to British soldiers cutting down trees within the Pyla firing range.

    "Soldiers took down trees illegally planted for the illegal trapping of birds - trees which were on Crown Forest land within the Pyla range," said Wynne Jones.

    Himonas was arrested last Thursday when he failed to appear in court for the case to be heard on June 3.

    The bases authorities said yesterday that Himonas did refuse food during his time in custody, but deny they have prevented him from receiving medical attention or kept him in isolation.

    "He declined to eat over the weekend but is drinking regularly and a bases doctor is monitoring his health carefully," said Wynne Jones.

    Sources told the Cyprus Mail that Himonas ceased his hunger strike yesterday afternoon when he was served a plate of sausages and chips.

    Himonas has 14 days in which to lodge an appeal against his conviction.

    [07] CNA chief Christofides dies at 61

    ANDREAS Christofides, Director of the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), died yesterday. He was 61 and had been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

    Christofides was born in Nicosia, the fifth of six children. Educated at the Pancyprian Gymnasium and Athens and Columbia Universities, he started out as a teacher at his alma mater, before being appointed Director of Programmes and then Director-general of CyBC.

    He served as Government Spokesman under then-President Spyros Kyprianou between 1983 and 1985, and was then appointed Education Minister, a post he retained until 1988.

    Christofides then taught at the Indianapolis University in Athens, before returning to Cyprus to become Director-general of Logos TV Logos. He took over as Director of CNA in January 1996.

    As well as representing Cyprus in many international cultural roles, Christofides also co-founded several Greek language magazines and wrote five books of essays and four poetry collections. Three of his books won the National Book Award.

    Christofides was awarded several international honours, including being made a Chevalier d'ordre du Merite by former French President Georges Pompidou.

    Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides yesterday called his death "a loss for Cypriot Hellenism and Cypriot society" which would leave a huge gap in the cultural arena.

    Christofides is survived by a son, Haris, a daughter, Angela, and four grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised.

    [08] Russian youth sought after girl, 13, raped

    POLICE were yesterday seeking an 18-year-old Russian boy, wanted for questioning in connection with the rape of a 13-year old girl, also Russian.

    But in a bizarre twist, police said the two had been living together, with the girl's parents, since the attack allegedly happened last month.

    According to police reports, the Paphos-based girl said the 18-year-old had taken her to a deserted beach at around 11.45 pm on May 28, and had forcibly had sex with her. She then told her parents, who said the two must marry, and took the boy in to live with them.

    However last Saturday, he disappeared, and when he failed to return, the family reported the attack to Paphos police, who are now searching for him.

    Neither the boy nor the girl can be named for legal reasons because of their ages.

    [09] Woman, 73, killed by car

    A 73-year-old woman died on Sunday night after being run over in Nicosia.

    Eleftheria Himari was knocked down on Kyrenia Street in Aglanja at 8.50pm by a car driven by Panayiotis Hadjiloizou. Himari, from Aglanja, was killed instantly.

    Hadjiloizou, 27, was detained by police for questioning.

    [10] Government to launch anti-drugs drive

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    THE government will adopt a national policy against drugs before the year is out, Health Minister Christos Solomis said yesterday.

    He told a press conference marking this Friday's UN-sponsored International Day Against Drugs that the government is determined to proceed with anti- drug bills before the end of the year.

    This initiative comes less than a week after local anti-drug groups chided the government for lacking a national policy on the growing problem of drug abuse in Cyprus. Police last week also called for better drug laws to stop the spread of drugs.

    Solomis said an Advice Centre will be set up in Nicosia within two months to provide services relating to prevention of drug abuse and increase awareness about the effects of drugs.

    He said that for the fight against drugs to be effective there must be involvement and co-operation between all government, private and volunteer organisations. He stressed that the health ministry "will make this battle our business".

    The minister echoed statements by police and anti-drug groups when he emphasised that although there has been an increased drug tendency in Cyprus, in comparison to other countries the problem is not yet out of control. He admitted that there has been a lack of studies on the issue and for that reason the extent of the drug problem in Cyprus is unknown. He said the government is planning to go ahead with a study at a cost of 22, 000.

    Current statistics show 4-5 per cent of young people between the ages of 14 and 18 have experimented with hashish and marijuana, and one per cent are described as frequent users.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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