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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-26

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, July 26, 1998


  • [01] Demirel warns of 'tears and pain'
  • [02] Pangalos again accuses Clinton of lying
  • [03] Doctors reject ministry findings on nurses
  • [04] Amnesty protests, but boat people to be sent away
  • [05] Greens fight against Sea Caves homes
  • [06] German travel advice exaggerated, says CTO
  • [07] Dig reveals 83-metre fort
  • [08] Greek tourists in north head home via Istanbul
  • [09] Cyclist, 26, dies after collision
  • [10] Tackling the waste and the water worries
  • [11] Strike is off

  • [01] Demirel warns of 'tears and pain'

    By Martin Hellicar

    TURKISH President Suleyman Demirel visited the occupied areas yesterday to inaugurate a novel project bringing water from Turkey and to warn that the Greek side had "designs" on the north.

    In an address to the self-styled northern Cypriot parliament, Demirel attacked the Cyprus government's plans to deploy Russian S-300 anti- aircraft missiles as a recipe for conflict.

    "The preparations for military intervention in the name of the (Cyprus- Greece) defence doctrine, missiles, military bases and adventurist plans can only bring tears and pain," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides responded by saying Demirel was obviously assuming the Greek side shared the motives of their Turkish counterparts.

    He challenged Demirel to point to a single statement from the government or Greece which backed up his claims of aggressive intent.

    "It has always been the position of all Cyprus and Greek governments that the Cyprus problem should be solved peacefully," Stylianides said.

    Earlier in the day Demirel turned on the taps of a water project to relieve the drought-stricken north with drinking water hauled from Turkey by sea- borne balloons.

    Ankara's liquid aid to the Turkish Cypriots was seen as a further sign of closer integration between Turkey and its ethnic kin on the island.

    Demirel - who was also given a helicopter tour of the occupied areas during his eight-hour visit - was full of fighting talk.

    "The world should know that relations between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus are extraordinarily deep and are stronger than any kind of threat," he said at a ceremony attended by around a thousand in the searing morning heat.

    At the press of a button, a jet of water shot through the air and drenched local youths who danced in the shower. The symbolic launch signalled the transfer of Turkish drinking water into the mains system of the occupied areas.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was in a more conciliatory mood than Demirel. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, he repeated an offer to share the water with the Greek Cypriots.

    "I say to the other side: don't suffer from a lack of water, be a good neighbour. Come and let us share this beautiful, clean water of Anatolia. Let us call this peace water," he said.

    Observers say the plastic balloons, more than 100 metres long and each carrying 10,000 cubic metres of water, are a step to consolidating the bonds between Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

    A long-term pipeline project to carry water to irrigate northern Cyprus' parched fields will further advance this aim.

    The cigar-shaped balloons are filled at the Soguksu river on Turkey's southern tip near the town of Anamur and towed to Morphou.

    The transportation fee is guaranteed by the Turkish state water authority, which has spent $4 million on the Anamur filling plant and the unloading unit in Cyprus.

    Bigger balloons are planned, and officials say water could eventually be sold to Israel or to the Greek Cypriots if required.

    Demirel's visit was the culmination of a week-long diplomatic push by Turkey to show its support for the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Ankara recognises.

    Demirel said on Thursday the breakaway state would be integrated fully into Turkey's economy, while an association council of Turkish ministers and Turkish Cypriots met to work out the details of that integration.

    [02] Pangalos again accuses Clinton of lying

    By Elena Becatoros

    RELATIONS between Greece and the United States hit a new low yesterday, with Athens once again accusing President Bill Clinton of lying about his resolve to solve the Cyprus problem.

    "It has become a habit for candidate US presidents to make promises and then not keep them," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said.

    For the second time in three days, Pangalos slammed Clinton for reneging on promises he made before both of his elections that Cyprus would be one of his top foreign policy priorities.

    "President Clinton's promises were that the Cyprus issue would be solved. ...Do you know the Cyprus issue to have been solved?" he asked reporters. "Do you know of US diplomacy supporting United Nations decisions and justice in the Cyprus case? I have other impressions."

    Although Pangalos said broader relations with the US should not be damaged, he warned that Clinton's failure to keep his promises could lead Americans of Greek descent to stop funding the campaigns of presidential candidates.

    "What may go through a crisis is the manner in which Greek-Americans lean on the eve of elections towards one or the other candidate," he said.

    "Instead of being convinced by the promises of one or the other, they are seriously considering giving money - and it's a good idea - to a fund for the reinforcement of the Greek armed forces," Pangalos said.

    Greece is looking for new fighter jets, missiles, ships, tanks and other weapons as part of an estimated $24-billion five-year arms modernisation programme. American and Russian companies are top contenders for many of the contracts.

    Pangalos' latest outbursts come as Greeks are becoming increasingly worried that the United States is siding with Turkey over the Cyprus dispute.

    Senior officials have voiced fears Turkey will take military action to prevent the deployment of S-300 missiles on Cyprus, an action almost certain to draw Nato allies Greece and Turkey into a war.

    Pangalos' latest comments came two days after he described Clinton's promises to help resolve the Cyprus dispute as "gross lies".

    American ambassador Nicholas Burns and the State Department protested about that comment, while White House spokesman Mike McCurry described it as "unbecoming a senior official of a close ally of the United States".

    But Greek officials were unswayed.

    "It's not the first nor the second nor the third time that the State Department issues statements that don't correspond to reality. Announcements and statements that are in blatant opposition to officially stated US policy announced by Clinton," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said late on Friday.

    "This phenomenon must stop because it is not compatible with existing good bilateral relations," he added.

    Meetings between Greek officials and US Cyprus envoy Thomas Miller scheduled for next week have reportedly been called off.


    [03] Doctors reject ministry findings on nurses

    The Pancyprian Union of Doctors (Pasyki) has disagreed with the outcome of Health Ministry and administration department studies into the walk-out of surgery nurses at Makarios Hospital, Nicosia.

    Pasyki described the nurses' action as a deliberate move orchestrated by the nurses' union. And the Association for the Protection of Patient Rights says the studies were "a deliberate attempt to avoid responsibilty by the Health Ministry". The ministry examination concluded that both sides shared blame for the incident which led to the postponement of surgery for five children.

    Pasyki requests that the authorities hold meetings between all parties to avoid a similar incident happening in the future.

    In an announcement reacting to the Ministry of Health's investigation, Pasyki said that the operating schedule is the responsibility of the surgeon. The union states that whether the operations on the list will be completed or not should depend on surgery progress.

    It also raises the question of why a third operating theatre, already completed at the Makarios Hospital, is not used.

    The paediatric surgeon directly involved in the incident, Dr. Eleni Theocharous, said she would be willing to answer any questions not answered in Pasyki's report.

    [04] Amnesty protests, but boat people to be sent away

    By Martin Hellicar

    DESPITE Amnesty International's protests, police confirmed yesterday that they intend to send home every one of the over 100 Arab and African boat people rescued off Cyprus last month.

    "Our intention is to find countries to accept them and to get them travel documents for this," a police spokesman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Most of the survivors - holed up in a Limassol hotel since they were rescued off a "death boat" found drifting off Cyprus on June 29 - do not possess travel documents. Ten Syrians among them, including the crew of the fishing boat on which they were found, were flown home on Wednesday. All of the remaining 109 passengers are seeking asylum, Amnesty International has stated.

    The day after the Syrians were sent home, the human rights group sent a letter to President Clerides expressing concern at reports that the rest of the boat people were to follow suit. Limassol Police chief Miltiades Neocleous said on Wednesday the boat people were not welcome.

    "Amnesty International wrote today to president Glafcos Clerides of Cyprus expressing concern that police officials in Limassol reportedly plan to forcibly return 109 asylum-seekers," a statement from the organisation read.

    Amnesty International expressed concern about "the human rights situation in the countries of origin of these people." Amnesty called on Cyprus to abide by the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees which "forbids the forcible return of any person to a country where he or she might be at risk from serious human rights violations."

    The passengers hail from 14 countries including Iraq, Syria, Siera Leone, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Rwanda and the Congo.

    The government has promised to respect the boat peoples' human rights and had asked UNHCR officials to help sort through the asylum applications. But government sources later confirmed the police line that the boat people are to go.

    Amnesty urged the government to make sure all the boat people were "given access to a full and satisfactory asylum procedure and to ensure that the UNHCR is able to carry out a thorough assessment of each individual's situation."

    There has been no official response to the Amnesty appeal.

    The police spokesman said yesterday that the asylum applications were still being examined.

    The passengers, including eight children and two pregnant mothers, were starving and thirsty 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 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.

    [05] Greens fight against Sea Caves homes

    By Martin Hellicar

    GREENS are today launching a campaign to halt housing development next to the Sea Caves on the Paphos coast, with a protest at the beauty spot.

    Members of the Green party and local environmentalists plan to demonstrate against a government decision allowing Aristo Developers to build homes above the caves.

    Green party leader George Perdikis told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that environmentalists hoped the negative publicity created by their campaign would force the developers to abandon their plans.

    "We hope the negative publicity created by our campaign will mean no-one will want to buy a house in the area," he said.

    "We are sorry to have to use this tactic because we do not favour it as a measure against businessmen since it gives an unfair advantage to his competitors - but it is the only option left to us," Perdikis said.

    Aristo Developers have already marked out plots above the caves and have begun putting in access roads and pavements. Perdikis said environmentalists were incensed by a Town Planning Department decision which sanctioned the development by changing the designation of the area from "agricultural" to "housing".

    "The change was not illegal at all, it was just bad implementation of the law," he said.

    "The development designation was changed following a request from Peyia local authority - not known for its environmental sensitivities - and despite objections from the Technical Chamber Etek and the greens."

    Perdikis also charged that Aristo Developments, who purchased the land "many years ago", pulled strings within the Peyia Municipality to get the designation changed.

    "Before the change, the area was not protected but the agricultural designation meant that one of the most picturesque and beautiful spots on the Island had remained free of development," Perdikis said.

    [06] German travel advice exaggerated, says CTO

    In interest of their safety, German and Austrian citizens were advised by their governments not to travel to Cyprus.

    In retaliation to these announcements, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation plans to create more positive publicity in the media of the two countries and assure their travel agents and journalists that the danger is exaggerated.

    The CTO admits that these warnings will have consequences on the tourism industry, adding that the results will not be felt immediately. This is due to the fact that customers, in the two countries, would lose most of their money if tours are cancelled less than a month in advance.

    According to CTO official Andros Papageorgiou, September

    and October are the months of high German and Austrian tourism and the extent of the damage done will be felt then.

    Britain's Foreign Ministry has denied issuing altered travelling instructions to it's subjects, despite BBC reports that the danger of war in Cypus is higher than it's been since 1974.

    [07] Dig reveals 83-metre fort

    The third study of a Stone Age village has been completed. As announced by the Archaeology Department of the Ministry of Communication and Works the dig, situated in the Nissia area of Paralimni, lasted 6 weeks.

    The project was headed by Dr. Pavlos Flourenzos, Director of the Archaeological Museam .He was assisted by First Techniciens: Stavros Rouvithia, Marinos Avraam and Andreas Kotta. A Russian archaeologist volunteered his services, as did archaeology students from Cyprus and Greece. The exploration was sponsered by Paralimni Municipality.

    The groups initial goals, to fully uncover the settlement's fortification, and to explore some of the older buildings outside the settlement, were achieved.

    The fort around the village is the longest found in Cyprus from the Second Neolithic (Stone Age) period and measures 83 meters.

    Of the buildings discovered outside the walls, several were still in reasonable condition. Stone pots were found on the floor of one building, and an oven was found nearby.

    As is usual with digs of this period, stone tools and weapons were found, as well as equipment made from bone and deer antlers. Two unique idols in the shape of people were also discovered.

    [08] Greek tourists in north head home via Istanbul

    TWO Greek nationals arrested by the Turks on Tuesday after they crossed to the occupied areas are to be sent back to Greece via Istanbul today.

    "The two Greeks are to be deported at 8am tomorrow via Istanbul," Unficyp spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said.

    He said it was not standard procedure for the occupation regime to send detainees back via Istanbul. "I cannot recall something of the kind," he said. Tourists or Greek Cypriots held after crossing to the north are usually returned via the Ledra Palace.

    On Friday, Thomas Niakopoullos, 36, and his friend Aspasia Saiti were fined and released by a "court" in the north, Rokoszewski said. They then had to wait in a Kyrenia hotel while the "court" decided whether to send them to Greece via Istanbul or to the free areas.

    Rokoszewski said Niakopoullos and Saiti had been fined 45 by the "court" for "illegal entry." The two Greeks paid the fine immediately, he said.

    Niakopoullos and Saiti, both from Larissa in northern Greece, crossed to the north in a hire-car via the Strovillia checkpoint in the British Base of Dhekelia on Tuesday night.

    The bases said the two holidaymakers drove up to the checkpoint and told guards they wanted to go to the north. The British soldiers tried to dissuade them but could not stop them when they insisted on going, a bases spokesman said.

    The guards manning the checkpoint are not authorised to stop people crossing to the Turkish-held areas.

    Niakopoullos and Saiti were remanded by a "court" in the north the day after.

    [09] Cyclist, 26, dies after collision

    A 26-year old Sri Lankan man was killed near Larnaca when a car hit his bicycle, police reported yesterday.

    Sambayia Monastige Samantha was in collision with a car driven by Andreas Protopapas, 21, on the Dherynia to Frenaros road at 9pm on Friday. Both were heading towards Frenaros.

    Sambayia was taken to Larnaca General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Police said that an alcohol test showed that Protopapas was not driving under the influence of alcohol.

    Investigations by Famagusta traffic police and Dherynia police are continuing.

    [10] Tackling the waste and the water worries

    A PROPOSAL from a Dutch consortium could help ease the growing waste problem in Cyprus - and play a part in the battle against the island's chronic water shortage.

    The five-strong Dutch consortium, is currently in Cyprus to discuss its proposal with Cypriot authorities. The Dutch are putting forward a plan to establish a factory on the island to process solid garbage into electricity. If approved by the Cyprus government, the power produced in this way could be used to purify sea water, says the Dutch team.

    The Dutch government is offering to pay 66.77% of the project's costs under the condition that it is carried out by the Dutch consortium of businesses.

    [11] Strike is off

    THE threatened carpenters' strike has been cancelled. The strike, set to begin tomorrow, was called off after intense negotiations between the unions Sek and Peo and government representatives on Friday night.

    The woodworkers were protesting against terms in their collective agreement, They had been staging selective strikes, whereby some union members continued working, since the middle of July.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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