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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, July 24, 1998


  • [01] New ideas all round
  • [02] Limassol man 'fired shotgun at naked wife and lover'
  • [03] Conflict or invasion?
  • [04] Turks in economic integration talks
  • [05] All the migrants will be sent home
  • [06] Still no sign of the Limassol bishop
  • [07] Nadir toasted escape with champagne and caviar
  • [08] UN seek access to detained Greeks
  • [09] Markides to decide on what to do with UN sons
  • [10] Police check alibi over dynamite fishing
  • [11] Carpenters strike for pay rise
  • [12] Fire tears through pine forest
  • [13] British males looking for local women

  • [01] New ideas all round

    By Charlie Charalambous

    TOP U.S. diplomat Thomas Miller arrived on the island yesterday saying he had new ideas on restarting the peace process and the military dialogue.

    "My visit is part of a search to find a solution to the Cyprus problem," the State Department's special co-ordinator for Cyprus said at Larnaca airport yesterday.

    Miller will meet President Clerides this morning and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash before leaving for Athens.

    He will visit Ankara in two weeks' time.

    "I always bring ideas, but prefer to keep them within the realm of our close discussions. The only way I know how to make progress is through direct negotiations," Miller said.

    On the Greek proposal of a no-fly zone over Cyprus, he said: "That clearly will be a subject of discussion, but I think that takes away from discussion of the bigger issues."

    Commenting on how he would tackle the twin issues of the S-300 missiles deployment and Clerides' demilitarisation proposal, he said: "You use the approach that works; we favour demilitarisation that takes into account security concerns of all the people of Cyprus."

    Miller also repeated America's opposition to the Russian ground-to-air missiles: "We would like to make the arrival of the missiles not needed."

    On suggestions that a military dialogue may be the key to solving other obstacles on the Cyprus problem, Miller said he would support "anything that works".

    He said the US would like to see discussions on security measures, which include the UN-proposed unmanning of posts along the Green Line, no live ammunition in weapons, and a code of conduct for soldiers in front-line positions.

    "We would like to see an agreement on that. We tried to give it a bit of a booster last year with (US Secretary of State Madeleine) Albright, and we will do what we can to encourage (UN permanent representative) Dame Hercus on this, who has it high on her agenda," Miller said.

    The government revealed yesterday that it too had "new ideas" on the abandoned military dialogue.

    "We admit there is no progress on the military dialogue, but we have submitted specific suggestions, about which I would not like to go into detail," said government spokesman Christos Stylianides.

    He did reveal the new ideas could spark consensus or agreement on a military dialogue, but he was less than upbeat about unmanning proposals being the way forward.

    "Unmanning posts 20 or 30 metres from the Green Line alone can't reduce military tension on the island," Stylianides said.

    Miller was clear on Washington's response to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's claims for recognition as a precondition for talks.

    "We have said many times the US government is not going to recognise the TRNC," he said, and echoed EU-British envoy David Hannay's plea that both sides should drop preconditions and agree to disagree at the negotiating table.

    "This is exactly what we, (Richard) Holbrooke and I, were trying to achieve in May. Turkish Cypriot concerns were put forward, we did not say to Clerides we are not going to talk about those things, we said let us talk about it, but Turkish Cypriots said these are preconditions before talks, and we said we cannot do it."

    [02] Limassol man 'fired shotgun at naked wife and lover'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A MAN who allegedly shot at his wife's lover from a first-floor bedroom window when he saw them in a compromising position is in police custody suspected of attempted murder.

    Police said yesterday they were questioning Andreas Michaelides, 44, from Limassol, who is believed to have burst in on the naked couple in bed and fired his shotgun at them.

    One eyewitness said that he saw the suspect throwing clothes out of the window soon after he heard shots fired.

    "I heard two shots fired, I went up the ladder into the flat, pushed a door open and saw a man and a woman naked and another man fully clothed," the eyewitness told TV crews.

    Limassol police chief Miltiades Neocleous said the suspect had admitted his guilt.

    Michaelides is understood to have followed his 43-year-old wife Soulla to her love nest in the Tsirion stadium area of Limassol.

    According to police evidence the suspect then climbed up a ladder to the first-floor flat and lost his cool on seeing his wayward wife naked with her lover Stephanos Neocleous, 44.

    "According to preliminary investigations Michaelides fired a shot at the floor resulting in a number of pellets injuring Neocleous lightly on various parts of his body," said a police announcement.

    Police say that two shots were fired, but only one caused any injury. The second hit a wall.

    There is also evidence to suggest that the husband had been stalking his wife during the day after becoming suspicious about her movements, police said.

    The victim was taken to Limassol general hospital soon after the incident at around 5.45pm and treated for superficial wounds.

    [03] Conflict or invasion?

    By Martin Hellicar

    PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday added his clout to criticism of US assertions that Turkish fighter jets had not violated Cyprus air-space during the north's invasion day celebrations.

    The day after Monday's military shows in occupied Nicosia, State Department spokesman James Rubin said the only Turkish aircraft overflying had been display planes and helicopters.

    "Cyprus air-space is constantly violated, and it cannot be an excuse that the aircraft came for displays," Clerides retorted yesterday. "Whatever enters the air-space of a country without government permission violates that air-space."

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides has already slammed Rubin's comments, saying he had expected the US to "downplay" the Turkish provocations.

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides took issue with another US official and said the government was concerned about the positions the US had been expressing recently.

    Stylianides said White House spokesman Michael McCurry must have been "confused" when describing the 1974 invasion as a conflict.

    McCurry referred to the invasion as a "conflict" during a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday. McCurry insisted on this definition when questioned on his terminology by journalists: "It's a conflict, and I think it has been well characterised."

    Stylianides was not impressed: "Mr McCurry must to be confused about his dates if he considers that 1974 was a simple conflict and not an invasion."

    "It would be good if he could contact some of the US citizens who are relatives of persons missing (since 1974) so that he might realise the difference between an invasion and a conflict.

    "We are concerned by the American diplomacy and positions because they appear contradictory in many cases and far from an objective reflection of what the real facts are," Stylianides said.

    He acknowledged US efforts towards a settlement, but said the government would insist on pointing out "the faux pas of American diplomacy and policy, exercising the proper pressure to get things right."

    In Athens, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas echoed his Cypriot counterpart's criticism of McCurry's statements.

    "The Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation of a large part of the island by the Turkish Army," Reppas said.

    "This is accepted by the international community and this is the basis on which the UN has taken decisions and has set the political framework for finding a solution to the problem."

    Yet almost 100 UN resolutions against Turkey do not use the term "invasion" but refer instead to "unilateral military action undertaken against the Republic of Cyprus."

    US Cyprus co-ordinator, Thomas Miller, commented on the "conflict-invasion" fracas after his arrival for a two-day visit yesterday.

    "I am not going to get into phraseology of conflict or invasion because all it does is get away from what we are trying to do," Miller said.

    "Let us focus on the big picture, not on whether someone used no-fly zone, moratorium or conflict or invasion, we can play this game for ever asking the same questions - it does not get you anywhere."

    He said both the McCurry and Rubin statements had been "authorised".

    [04] Turks in economic integration talks

    THE JOINT Committee of the 'Partnership Council' between Turkey and the occupation regime met yesterday in occupied Nicosia.

    The session was attended by Turkish ministers and deputies, and led by Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. They discussed with Turkish Cypriot officials ways to integrate the economy of the occupied north with that of mainland Turkey.

    The decision for integration was made following the start of Cyprus' accession negotiations with the EU last December.

    On Wednesday, 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot side would have nothing to do with the Cyprus-EU negotiations as long as the international community did not recognise the 'TRNC'.

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel said yesterday that economic integration with the occupied areas would "solve the economic problems of our 180,000 people there, who have been isolated from the world for 30 years."

    Demirel is set to visit the occupied areas tomorrow for a ceremony to inaugurate a water plant, which has been built to distribute drinking water brought from Turkey in huge seaborne balloons.

    [05] All the migrants will be sent home

    By Martin Hellicar

    EVERY ONE of the 114 boat people rescued off Cyprus more than three weeks ago is to be sent home, government sources said yesterday.

    Fifty-eight of the African and Arab survivors are seeking asylum, but the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported that the ten Syrian passengers sent home on Wednesday were the forerunners of a mass exodus, enforced or otherwise.

    CNA quoted a government source as saying the remaining passengers were to be sent home once travel documents had been issued for them. Most of the boat people holed up in a Limassol hotel since their dramatic June 30 sea rescue have no such documents. The government source stated the Foreign Ministry and Migration department were working with foreign embassies in Cyprus to try and obtain new travel documents for the passengers, CNA reported.

    The chief of Limassol police, Miltiades Neocleous, has already made it clear the boat people - from 14 countries including Iraq, Syria, Sierra Leone, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Rwanda and Congo - are to be sent packing.

    The government has given assurances it will meet its humanitarian obligations towards the boat people and has brought a UNHCR official to the island to help establish who among those rescued are genuine asylum- seekers.

    A spokesman for the Aliens section of the Migration department said yesterday 58 asylum applications were still being examined. He said the whole issue would be "settled by the end of the week."

    Since June 30, the survivors have been staying at the Pefkos hotel in Limassol, costing the state an estimated 10,000 a day. The passengers have been complaining of the restrictive regime imposed by police guarding their hotel. Six of the passengers escaped from the Pefkos last week, five of them later returning. The Arab and African passengers, including eight children, were suffering from severe hunger and thirst when a Ukrainian cargo vessel found them aboard the Syrian-flagged Rida Allah. Crammed on the deck of the tiny fishing boat, they had been drifting for 10 days after the vessel developed engine trouble two days after leaving the Lebanese port of Tripoli on June 18.

    Police said two passengers died of thirst on the fishing boat and had been thrown overboard before the vessel was found and towed to Limassol.

    The Syrian captain of the trawler, 31-year-old Mohammed Mustafa, has been charged with causing death by negligence and carrying paying passengers on an unsuitable vessel. The survivors claim they parted with hundreds of dollars each for passage to Greece or Italy on Mustafa's boat.

    [06] Still no sign of the Limassol bishop

    By Elias Hazou

    A BIG QUESTION mark still loomed yesterday over when and whether Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos' would return to the island.

    Conflicting information abounded. Police sources initially told the Cyprus Mail that Bishop Chrysanthos might be back yesterday to attend a service at a Limassol church. But press reports suggested he had cancelled the engagement and might be back today or tomorrow. And the Justice Minister for his part said Chrysanthos might be waiting for Scotland Yard detectives to leave Cyprus before he returned.

    By late yesterday, there was still no sign of the bishop.

    The British detectives are in Cyprus to question the bishop on his role in a $3.7 million fraud investigation to which he has been linked. Three people have been arrested in the UK in connection with the case and are understood to have implicated the bishop in the alleged scam. The bishop left Cyprus for Greece last Friday. His whereabouts have been unclear since.

    Police have confirmed that no formal charges have been made against Chrysanthos, who therefore has not been placed on a stop-list at the island's airports.

    Speaking to reporters yesterday, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said Chrysanthos was setting conditions on his testimony. He added that the bishop's lawyer had sent both him and Attorney-general Alekos Markides a letter laying out Chrysanthos' demands.

    But Koshis was quick to comment that "justice cannot accept terms." He said two possible scenarios appeared to be taking shape: either the bishop would not return at all, or, if he did, he would not agree to testify.

    Responding to questions on the bishop's return, he suggested that Chrysanthos might first be waiting for the Scotland Yard detectives to leave the island.

    Police say the investigation into the case would not be hampered if Chrysanthos arrived after the Scotland Yard detectives had left, since the detectives are here on a strictly "fact-finding" mission.

    The bishop would be questioned by local police on his return, police stressed.

    Meanwhile the British detectives, who arrived on Tuesday, yesterday continued to collecting more evidence on the case. They have already questioned a number of people and have contacted the Nicosia offshore branch of the Belgrade-based Karic Banka, where the fraud money allegedly ended up.

    They also plan to visit the Central Bank and possibly other banks in Limassol.

    Attorney-General Alekos Markides was briefed on Wednesday about the meeting between the police and the detectives. Reports say Markides will contact the Archbishop by the end of the week.

    The Attorney-general last Friday threatened to issue an arrest warrant for the Bishop if he did not return to face questioning.

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides meanwhile informed reporters at his daily briefing yesterday that the Attorney-general's office would appoint a special committee to investigate possible squandering of public funds in the case.

    Meanwhile there was more embarrassment for the Church yesterday when a case involving Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos came to the fore.

    The parishioners of Stroumbi village near Paphos are accusing the bishop of withholding charity money intended for community projects. For his part, the bishop said that the community actually "owed" money to the bishopric for repairs made to a Stroumbi church damaged by a recent earthquake.

    He added that the bishopric not only paid for part of the cost of the repairs, but was also paying the Stroumbi parish priest out of its own money. Chrysostomos went on to say that he could not work with "such distrustful people" any more. In a veiled threat, he said Stroumbi parishioners should consider their local church committee terminated, adding that "this is a small punishment at best".

    [07] Nadir toasted escape with champagne and caviar

    FUGITIVE Turkish Cypriot tycoon Asil Nadir celebrated his 1993 escape from Britain to occupied Cyprus by cracking open champagne and caviar on his getaway flight, a British court heard on Wednesday.

    The allegations were made during the trial before the Old Bailey of a British businessman suspected of helping Nadir jump bail five years ago, the Daily Telegraph and The Times reported yesterday.

    Peter Diamond, 56, told police he had arranged Nadir's escape because he felt Nadir had "been degraded to the point of desperation" and was not being allowed to prepare a defence, prosecutor Julian Bevan told the court.

    Nadir left Britain from a small Hampshire airfield in May 1993 while awaiting trial on charges of theft and false accounting in connection with the collapse of his Polly Peck business empire.

    He has been living in the north, beyond the reach of British authorities, ever since.

    Diamond and Nadir flew from Hampshire to Northern France and then jumped onto a larger plane which flew to Istanbul via Vienna and then to northern Cyprus, the court heard.

    In Vienna, Bevan stated, "more refreshments were brought on board, not like lukewarm coffee and biscuits but champagne and caviar. Because no doubt for Nadir it was a time of celebration, he was beyond the reach of British authorities, he was safe."

    Welcoming parties were awaiting Nadir in both Istanbul and the occupied areas, the court heard.

    Diamond was in the north till January last year. He was arrested in Haveford West last Friday.

    "I am the person who flew Asil Nadir out of the country and I have no regrets for doing it," he apparently told the arresting officers.

    Bevan said Diamond, who had known Nadir since the mid-seventies, took pity on the tycoon when he met him at a party while Nadir was on bail.

    Diamond has denied charges of doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice.

    [08] UN seek access to detained Greeks

    THE UN were yesterday trying to visit two Greek nationals being held by the Turks after crossing to the north on Tuesday evening.

    "We are currently trying to arrange a visit," Unficyp spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said yesterday.

    Rokoszewski confirmed that the two Greeks had been remanded for three days by a 'court' in the north on suspicion of entering a military zone.

    Police have named the two missing Greek holidaymakers as Thomas Niakopoullos, 36, and his friend Aspasia Saiti, both from Larissa in northern Greece.

    The British Bases say the two Greeks drove over to the north through the Strovilia check-point in the Dhekelia base despite the efforts of guards to dissuade them. The bases stated the British soldiers manning the check- point could not actually prevent the two tourists going over to the north, as they have no authority to do so.

    [09] Markides to decide on what to do with UN sons

    ATTORNEY-GENERAL Alecos Markides will decide today whether two sons of Unficyp staff should be prosecuted for possession of "burglary tools".

    The arrest of 20-year-olds - one a Somali and the other a Ghanaian - caused diplomatic ripples when there was confusion over whether they should enjoy immunity.

    Following their two-day remand on Tuesday, police said the two had been released yesterday without charge.

    "The file has been sent to the Attorney-general for further instructions on the handling of the case," a police spokesman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The spokesman added: "There is expected to be a final decision tomorrow on whether the suspects have a case to answer."

    They were arrested on Tuesday after a hood, crowbar, female stockings and slippers and a screwdriver were found in a vehicle belonging to one of them.

    [10] Police check alibi over dynamite fishing

    POLICE yesterday questioned a fisherman suspected of endangering the lives of five tourist divers by throwing dynamite into the sea.

    On Wednesday five divers had to be rushed to hospital after someone, thought to be a local fisherman, threw dynamite into the sea at Cape Greco, east of Ayia Napa.

    The incident happened at around 8.20 am when the men, who where 20 metres deep, felt the extreme pressure of a blast, police said.

    The tourists forced to risk life-threatening decompression as they rushed to the surface were Swede Harry Andersson, 42, Icelander Finn Oscarson, 32, Dane Michael Holmsteen, 33, Pierjo Kabanow, 33, from Finland and their Lebanese instructor Alex Masout, 34.

    Famagusta CID said yesterday that fisherman Antonis Zimboulakis, arrested on Wednesday, had given a statement to police but was not taken to court for a remand hearing.

    Police said they were checking the fisherman's alibi for where he was on Wednesday morning.

    The shell-shocked divers were ferried from Paralimni to Larnaca hospital, where they were placed in a decompression chamber to ensure their safe recovery.

    They were all released in good health with the only serious injury received by Kabanow, who has a suspected ruptured ear drum.

    A man was spotted speeding off from Cape Greco in a pick-up truck shortly after the blast, an eye-witness told police investigators.

    Coastguards said they had found a large number of dead fish at the scene, supporting police suspicions that dynamite was used.

    Famagusta police are focusing their inquiries on fisherman previously charged for using dynamite to catch fish - an illegal but not uncommon practice on the island.

    [11] Carpenters strike for pay rise

    CARPENTERS all over the island went on a 24-hour strike yesterday, after their demands for a renewal of collective agreements had been rejected by employers.

    The Secretary of the Cyprus Association of Furniture Workers suggested that the carpenters were being treated unfairly because they had not received the wage hikes that workers in other industries had obtained.

    Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas in vain sought to produce a compromise deal between employers and workers on Wednesday. He had contacted the employers and apparently convinced them to accept a wage hike of 1.30 per week as of October 1.

    But workers later rejected the offer, saying they insisted on a 2.25 increase per week. They claimed that even this would be a compromise for them, as their original demand had been for a 3.20 increase.

    Moushiouttas said yesterday he remained "optimistic", as some progress had been achieved.

    The President of the Cyprus Association of Furniture Workers said that the state of the industry was "terrible". A union spokesman later commented that the unions' councils were willing to "take any other measures necessary" to ensure the carpenters achieved their goals.

    A potential long-term strike by carpenters would have a serious impact on the vital construction industry.

    [12] Fire tears through pine forest

    A FIRE broke out in private forest land in the Vavatsinia area, at about 3am yesterday morning.

    Lefkara police immediately notified Larnaca and Kofinou fire brigades and the Forest Service.

    One thousand square meters of pine forest were destroyed by the flames, which were fanned by strong winds.

    The fire was finally brought under control by 9am, but firemen stood by to prevent it rekindling.

    Lefkara police are investigating the cause of the fire.

    [13] British males looking for local women

    LOCK up your daughters! The condom company Durex has revealed in a poll that male British tourists visiting Cyprus prefer to have "holiday romances" with local women.

    But Cypriot males seem to be out of luck as British women prefer to spend their hot summer nights without male companionship.

    The good news for Durex is that nine out of ten holidaymakers questioned planned to use condoms for safe sex.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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