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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, September 01, 1998


  • [01] Denktash confederation proposal rejected outright
  • [02] Koshis and police chiefs discuss gang crime
  • [03] Limassol bush fire
  • [04] VIP treatment sends Athens-bound Michaelides to Amsterdam
  • [05] Bourse ends 'quiet' August nearly 5 per cent up
  • [06] Exports, imports for home consumption up in 1st half of 1998
  • [07] Rolandis briefed on Church land sale
  • [08] Educated but not refined?
  • [09] Bases shut down illegal bar
  • [10] Ireland wants Cyprus in EU 'sooner rather than later'
  • [11] Pasidy objects to Pasiky
  • [12] Postgraduates refuse to pay fees
  • [13] Refugee sets out to sea for a glimpse of home

  • [01] Denktash confederation proposal rejected outright

    By Jean Christou

    CONFEDERATION is the only way forward and the last chance for a solution in Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday.

    But the idea was rejected outright by the government, and Greece said the proposal would only entrench the island's occupation and division.

    President Glafcos Clerides, in South Africa for the Non-Aligned Movement summit, called Denktash's proposal "unacceptable from the start".

    "Under no circumstances can it form a basis for talks," he said.

    Speaking at a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in the occupied part of Nicosia, Denktash said the options were either a confederation on the basis of two peoples and two states, or the full integration of his breakaway regime with Turkey.

    "We are at a stage where we have to take a new step in the direction of a permanent settlement between two equal sides, and our proposal is confederation," Denktash said.

    He urged the Greek Cypriot side, long pursuing a solution based on a bi- zonal bi-communal federation in line with UN resolutions, to accept his "goodwill measure".

    Denktash refused to continue with UN-led negotiations after the EU decision in Luxembourg last December to go ahead with accession talks with Cyprus.

    His written proposal, which has been passed to UN special representative Dame Ann Hercus for forwarding to Secretary-general Kofi Annan and President Clerides, provides that the two parties may, if they agree, pursue a policy of accession to the EU.

    "Until Turkey's full membership to the EU, a special arrangement will provide Turkey with the full rights and obligations of an EU member with regard to the Cyprus Confederation," the proposal said.

    The rest of the proposal provides that both sides in Cyprus maintain their respective relationships with Greece and Turkey and that the 1960 guarantee scheme continue.

    "If the Greek Cypriots agree to this final basis, we are ready to begin negotiations to establish the Cyprus Confederation," Denktash said.

    "I call on Clerides for the sake of our island and for peace and security in the region, to examine this proposal well, and not to waste this historic opportunity."

    Acting President Spyros Kyprianou was first to reject the Turkish Cypriot side's proposal outright.

    He said the proposal meant legitimising the invasion and occupation, ethnic cleansing, the violation of human rights and partition.

    He said any solution to the Cyprus problem must be based on UN resolutions, and called Cem's one day visit to the occupied areas a "negative move".

    In Athens Greek government spokesman Demetris Reppas said the proposal "essentially asks to make the division and occupation in Cyprus official".

    But Denktash told the news conference that the proposal was open to negotiation. "Everything is negotiable," he said.

    Cem said the offer had Turkey's full backing.

    "We hope that the Greek Cypriots will seriously consider the proposal and see it as a last chance for reconciliation," Cem said.

    Denktash said the offer was based on current realities on the island. "Any solution foreseen away from these realities based on hallucinations or imaginations will only serve for the present situation to become permanent, " he said.

    "The fact there is no progress on Cyprus is also a reality because it is the result of unrealistic irresponsible Greek Cypriot policies."

    The offer to negotiate on a confederation comes at a time when the government plans to deploy Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

    "Tension on the island is therefore increasing," Denktash said. "We have made a proposal as regards to the peace in the island and the region. It is a realistic proposal. I hope it will be regarded as an opportunity and the last chance for a settlement which we have made to the Greek Cypriot side."

    But at the same time, even while making the peace gesture, Cem reiterated that Turkey would act to protect the Turkish Cypriots if the Greek Cypriots go ahead and deploy the missiles.

    "If they bring their death machines to Cyprus, Turkey will do whatever necessary for Turkish Cypriots' security," he said.

    "They (the Greek Cypriots) created this problem for themselves and will have to sort it out."

    Speaking in Durban last night, President Clerides accused Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots of wanting to turn Cyprus into two protectorates.

    The proposal "is also contrary to and contemptuous of the very resolutions of the United Nations on Cyprus, the high level agreements which Mr Denktash himself has signed, the substance and spirit of international law, and all the international organisations which have deplored the Turkish side's attempt to question the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus," Clerides said.

    He said the National Council will meet next Monday to discuss the "unacceptable Turkish action".

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [02] Koshis and police chiefs discuss gang crime

    JUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday met Limassol police chiefs to discuss the problem of organised crime in the town.

    Police spokesman Glafcos Xenos said they discussed ways to increase the effectiveness of police action against gangland-related crime, but that there were no specific announcements as to what had been decided.

    Xenos said police were on the "right road" against organised crime, and he again appealed to the public to help police.

    The meeting came just two days after a Limassol club owner escaped with light wounds in a bomb attack outside his building.

    Last week, British bases personnel were warned to stay away from certain areas for fear of their getting caught up in gang-related violence.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [03] Limassol bush fire

    THE second of two bush fires was still burning in the Limassol area last night, in spite of the efforts of local fire crews, National Guardsmen and the British bases. It was described as being "under control".

    The fire, which broke out at around 4.20pm in the Ayios Athanassios region, was first spotted by a Wessex helicopter from RAF Akrotiri.

    The helicopter, fitted with a 'rainmaker' bucket, was returning from the scene of the earlier fire at Pano Kivides which it had helped to extinguish. The earlier fire broke out at around 1pm. As of last night, no casualties resulting from either blaze had been reported.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [04] VIP treatment sends Athens-bound Michaelides to Amsterdam

    By Charlie Charalambous

    AS A former Foreign Minister, Alecos Michaelides is an experienced globetrotter, but there were blushes all round yesterday when he boarded a flight for Athens only to end up in Amsterdam.

    "Michaelides was checked in for Athens and he received a boarding pass; he was then accompanied to the gate by Civil Aviation and put on the wrong plane by this man," an airport source told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    It seems there was a mix up between Larnaca airport staff and Cyprus Airways personnel arranging for Michaelides to board the Athens plane.

    Apparently Michaelides was ushered from the VIP lounge to board the flight to Athens once all the other passengers had been seated.

    But airport staff had failed to realised that the Cyprus Airways flights to Amsterdam and Athens had been switched for technical reasons.

    And the former minister did not realise he was heading in the wrong direction as he read the newspapers and enjoyed First Class service during the flight.

    "He didn't notice it was the wrong aircraft," the source said.

    But after two hours had elapsed, Michaelides innocently enquired why the plane was still airborne, as flying time to Athens was a mere hour and a half.

    A puzzled stewardess matter-of-factly replied that the Dutch capital was the destination, not Athens.

    And back on the Athens flight there was similar confusion as flight attendants realised the passenger list did not add up.

    A certain Mr Alecos Michaelides was confirmed as missing from the executive list, two hours too late.

    And although the ex-minister's luggage did arrive at Athens on time, Michaelides was left stranded at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

    It is understood that arrangements were made by Cyprus Airways later in the day for Michaelides to arrive safely in Athens, without any further stress.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [05] Bourse ends 'quiet' August nearly 5 per cent up

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE PRICES dived for a second successive trading day yesterday, but ended the usually quiet month of August up nearly five per cent.

    Traders said profit-taking, rather than the global contagion caused by Russia's financial turmoil, was responsible for yesterday's fall of 0.37 per cent and Friday's plunge of 0.80 per cent.

    The market closed yesterday on 88.94.

    "Prices were going up for the first three weeks of August, so many investors decided to liquidate their assets," said Yiannos Andronikou of Suphire Stockbrokers Ltd. "I assure you that it had absolutely nothing to do with Russia," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    "The market here will only be affected if the crisis in Russia continues and European markets and economies are seriously caught in the fallout."

    But Neofytos Neofytou of AAA United Stockbrokers said that while profit- taking was primarily to blame for the drops on Friday and yesterday, the turmoil in world markets has negatively affected sentiment in Cyprus together with last week's assertion by Greece and Cyprus that the controversial deployment of the S-300 missiles on the island would go ahead on schedule.

    Turkey has repeatedly threatened to prevent the arrival of the Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles, by military action if necessary. Share prices have consistently been affected by developments in the missiles saga since the announcement of their purchase was made in January 1997.

    The surprise August rally, according to Neofytou, was largely based on the market's assumption that the deployment, due in November, would be further postponed.

    Friday's drop in share prices ended an impressive run of six successive trading days in which the market's official all-share index rose by 3.96 per cent. This happened at a time when bourses around the world were living out every investor's nightmare as a result of the Russian crisis.

    But in Cyprus, where the young bourse deals in only 50-plus securities and is capitalised at a modest 1.2 billion, news that Cyprus Cement was revising its assets upward was all the rage among investors and brokers.

    The company's decision to revise the value of the 122 hectares (1,000 donums) it owns and on which the factory stands in Limassol -- valued at 7 million 27 years ago -- has led to the issue of a bonus share for each two held with the stock rising from 2.45 to a month-high of 3.05, traders said.

    The property's assessment, according to traders, was expected to be anywhere between 30 million and 50 million, thus considerably increasing the value of the company.

    Cyprus Cement has a total annual capacity of 420,000 tons and a 38 per cent share of the local market. It has been a public company since 1979 and is associated with the Swiss-based Holderbank.

    Cyprus cement, according to a rumour circulating in the market yesterday, is currently engaged in merger negotiations with its much bigger local rival, Vassiliko cement.

    Stocks of Vassiliko, in which Italy's Italcementi SPA has a 33 per cent stake, jumped 7.5 cents yesterday on the back of the rumour, closing at 1.60 apiece.

    Vassiliko and Cyprus Cement are the fourth and sixth largest companies on the bourse respectively in terms of capitalisation. The two have in the past been linked in merger rumours.

    "It sounds like more than just a rumour this time," one trader said.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [06] Exports, imports for home consumption up in 1st half of 1998

    EXPORTS in the first six month of this year reached 315.6 million, registering a modest increase of 6.9 million over the same period of 1997, while total imports (including goods placed in bonded warehouses) remained almost unchanged at 938.3 million.

    Figures released yesterday by the Finance Ministry's Department of Statistics and Research also showed that imports for home consumption rose by about 17 million from 745.9 million in the January-June period of 1997 to 763.4 million in the first six months of this year.

    A breakdown of the figures shows that agricultural exports made a dramatic recovery in the first six months of 1998, reaching 41.3 million, compared to only 27.2 million in the same period last year. Potatoes, a traditional Cypriot export, accounted for 27.2 million of the 41.3 million, more than three times the value of potato exports in the January-June period of 1997.

    European Union countries accounted for more than 50 per cent of the island's exports and imports, while Arab states took nearly 23 per cent of Cypriot exports in the first six month of this year.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [07] Rolandis briefed on Church land sale

    By Elias Hazou

    A LAND sale by the Limassol bishopric to the Electricity Authority (EAC) -- until last week one of the "side shows" in the Bishop Chrysanthos saga -- came to the fore yesterday, with the government placing the matter under close scrutiny.

    The government's attention was drawn after allegations last week by the former chairman of the Mesa Yitonia church committee, Takis Demetriou, that the Limassol bishopric had forged documents in transferring a plot of land to the EAC.

    Both the bishopric and the EAC have denied any wrongdoing in the transaction.

    But an off-hand comment by the newly-appointed chairman of the committee, Father Michael, that the bishopric had made a substantial profit on the sale sparked a flurry of speculation on expenditure by semi-government organisations.

    And yesterday Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis summoned the Director of the EAC Board, Costas Constantinides, to brief him on the matter.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Constantinides denied allegations that the EAC had payed a commission for the land purchase, adding that the authority had actually been granted a 3 per cent rebate on the price of the land.

    But Rolandis seemed adamant about the wider issue of spending by public and semi-government organisations, saying he would submit the issue to the Council of Ministers. He also warned that a "crisis" might develop for public organisations' 1999 budgets if these problems were not first ironed out.

    Rolandis stressed the issue of ministerial accountability, saying a minister "cannot be responsible (for a government organisation) and at the same time not be able to control it."

    "A minister designated to appoint a board, which is not traditionally replaced, cannot be expected to exercise control over these organisations' expenditures."

    Rolandis has already asked Attorney-general Alecos Markides to look into the legal modalities of ministerial responsibilities.

    The EAC said last week it was willing to provide the committee recently appointed by the Holy Synod to investigate the web of financial scandals closing in on the Bishop of Limassol with any documentation that would clarify its controversial transaction with the Limassol bishopric.

    The committee is expected to submit its findings to the Holy Synod when the Church's governing body convenes in extraordinary session in the coming weeks.

    Last Wednesday, Markides confirmed that Chrysanthos was a "suspect" in a $3.7 million scam originating in Britain, and added that the cleric "might" be placed on the stop-list if he attempted to leave the island.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [08] Educated but not refined?

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CONCERNED about your children's table manners and lack of confidence in public speaking?

    Not to worry because a Nicosia centre is offering lessons in personality development.

    "There are many educated people in Cyprus, but they are not refined in the manner and the way they speak or communicate," said Alexandra Da Fonseca Ioannou, director of the Centre for the development of schoolchildren.

    The Life Skills centre, based in Strovolos, has recently opened its doors to parents who want give their children a head start on the road to fame and fortune.

    "If you want a good start in life, you must now how to get your ideas across, and if kids don't how to present themselves they can forget about a diploma," Ioannou told the Cyprus Mail.

    And the centre aims to be more than just a glorified finishing school, seeking rather to shape future generations of leaders, distinguished for their "high morals and commitment to service".

    Special tutorial classes offering an A to Z in ethics for children as young as eight is part of the life enhancing experience.

    "We want to move away from outdated teaching methods, which do not capture the attention of students," said Ioannou.

    Special emphasis is also given to acquiring manners in different settings, speech improvement, effective appearance, negotiation, and time management, among other things.

    "It is important to teach children values and how to be better organised."

    The twice-a-week extra curricular lesson are prepared in small single-sex classes of no more than six pupils at a cost of 50 a month.

    "We've had a lot of interest and even adults want to join up."

    Da Fonseca Ioannou points out that 10 per cent of fees received will go towards good causes.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [09] Bases shut down illegal bar

    A POPULAR beach bar in Larnaca has been closed down by the British base authorities for operating illegally and putting hundreds of revellers at risk.

    SBA police moved in on Sunday morning to confiscate alcohol stocks, disco equipment and cash registers at the fashionable Jumpin' Jacks near Dhekelia.

    According to the bases, the establishment was being run as a disco when it only had a restaurant license, and was packing in more than 2,000 customers when fire safety regulations put the limit at 600.

    As a result, SBA authorities withdrew the restaurant license last month, but the establishment nevertheless continued to operate.

    "There were very real concerns that customers were being put at risk because of the fire safety hazard regulations being repeatedly ignored," bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The owners have been charged with running an illegal business, unlawful sale of intoxicating liquor and assaulting a police officer.

    The case will be heard before the SBA Court.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [10] Ireland wants Cyprus in EU 'sooner rather than later'

    CYPRUS' strong economy means the Republic's EU application should be seen in a different light to those of other applicants, visiting Irish Labour Party leader Ruairi Quinn said yesterday.

    Quinn, who is in Cyprus for two days at the invitation of Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides, said that not only was he aware of Cyprus' strong economic performance in recent years, but also of the fact that it was the only one of the applicant countries to meet the conditions of the Maastricht treaty.

    "Unlike the other five central and eastern European states, Cyprus is not going through an economic transition," he added.

    Speaking after a meeting with Acting President Spyros Kyprianou, Quinn said Ireland "would like to see Cyprus become a full member of the European Union, sooner rather than later."

    Both Ireland and Cyprus are, he said, non-aligned neutral states, and this is a "value system that I believe has to be brought into the political culture of the EU."

    Quinn also promised his country's support for a solution of the Cyprus problem, saying Ireland would "be of any assistance we can to help the people of Cyprus to arrive at a solution which meets the needs that they want for themselves."

    Quinn yesterday also met Lyssarides and Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou. Speaking after his meeting with Omirou, Quinn said that in his experience "the best form of defence is dialogue and the best form of ultimate defence is for mutual support and understanding of everyone's positions."

    Today, Quinn is to meet Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, in his role as acting Foreign Minister.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [11] Pasidy objects to Pasiky

    THE BREAKAWAY Pancyprian Union of Government Doctors has been denied a request to use the initials Pasiky as its acronym, following objections by Public Service Union Pasidy.

    A statement issued yesterday by Pasidy said the Trade Commissioner's Office had ruled the two acronyms sounded too similar, "since in both cases the first syllable is stressed, while the final syllables differ only by one consonant - D for K or vice versa."

    Most government doctors recently walked out of Pasidy, complaining that their needs were being ignored by the trade union.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [12] Postgraduates refuse to pay fees

    CYPRUS University postgraduate students are refusing to pay tuition fees, proposing instead to submit a "symbolic" 5 for this year's registration.

    The Chairman of the Postgraduate Students' Association, Manolis Sovolos, yesterday told a press conference, jointly held with the Cyprus University students' union (Fepan), that the voluntary 5 registration fee would give the government "some time" to consider scrapping 2,000 a year tuition fees for postgraduates.

    The university's fees are set by the House of Representatives, which Sovolos said had shelved proposals for doing away with the fees.

    Sovolos also lashed out against Education Minister Lycourgos Kappas, suggesting he had reneged on pre-election promises to pass the students' proposal on to the Cabinet.

    Unless their 5 proposed alternative is adopted, Sovolos went on, postgraduates will be holding another meeting next Thursday.

    The students argue that the university charges no tuition fees to undergraduates, therefore discriminating against postgraduates.

    Meanwhile the university's administrative staff has warned of a one-day "warning strike" today - registration day - if their request for participation in elections to nominate deans is rejected.

    Tuesday, September 01, 1998

    [13] Refugee sets out to sea for a glimpse of home

    A REFUGEE'S longing for his occupied village seemed to outweigh any risks to his life, as he set sail in dangerous waters defying Turkish sea patrols.

    Pieris Christofis from Ayia Napa got into his 20-foot speedboat on Sunday morning and headed out to sea, crossing the maritime extension of the Green Line (MSL) to come within sight of Eptakomi village, his home until 1974.

    Famagusta police were surprised to see Christofis return safe and sound. Asked why he had ventured on the dangerous excursion, Christofis simply remarked that "I wanted to see my village."

    Turkish patrol boats last week opened fire on Greek Cypriot fishing boats they said had ventured across the MSL into occupied waters.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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