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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-08

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, September 08, 1998


  • [01] S-300s: Ankara warns of wider `shock waves'
  • [02] Rolandis tells Church to return EAC cash
  • [03] Woman held after domestic dispute boils over
  • [04] Hotel strike postponed pending Labour Ministry talks
  • [05] Man held over £14 million German customs scam
  • [06] Cabinet to decide on CyTA satellite link-up
  • [07] Interpol Cyprus playing vital role
  • [08] Larnaca lifeguards are out
  • [09] German bank gets offshore licence
  • [10] Shares slide again
  • [11] National Council deliberations to go into second day
  • [12] Limassol sewage board on verge of bankruptcy

  • [01] S-300s: Ankara warns of wider `shock waves'

    By Andrew Adamides

    ANKARA "could take all necessary measures to protect the Turkish people in Northern Cyprus" if the S-300 missiles are deployed, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz warned yesterday.

    Speaking in Israel, at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yilmaz said the missiles' deployment would cause "shock waves" which would spread beyond Cyprus.

    "We do not consider it as a matter related only with Turkey. It must be a common concern for the whole western world, including Europe and the United States," he said.

    Earlier, Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai denied reports that the purpose of Yilmaz' visit was to seek Israel's support if war broke out between Turkey and Greece over the issue of the S-300s.

    Meanwhile the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit Turkey next month for a Balkans summit.

    Speaking to reporters before Yilmaz began talks with Prime Netanyahu, Mordechai refuted un-sourced Israeli radio reports about the nature of Yilmaz' visit.

    The Foreign Minister told reporters: "We are not doing anything against any other country, especially not against Cyprus. We are very friendly with Cyprus... we are not going to deal in any case with the Cyprus problem."

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides was yesterday not available for comment on the matter.

    Turkey has enjoyed close military ties with Israel since 1996, when the two signed a defence pact.

    In July, a Turkish newspaper reported that Turkish warplanes conducted assault exercises in Israel against Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles - the same weapons system which Greek Cypriots plan to deploy later this year. Israel denied the report as "baseless."

    Last week, Netanyahu suggested the alliance with Turkey could form "the main axis" for a regional Middle East security arrangement, although Turkey said this could only be the case once Israel had negotiated peace agreements with its Arab neighbours.

    Earlier, at an official welcoming ceremony for Yilmaz, Netanyahu said co- operation between the Eastern Mediterranean powers was "open to all and barred to none". Yilmaz backed him, saying: "I believe the strength of our ties will serve not only the interest of our respective countries, but also peace and stability in the region... Turkish-Israeli cooperation is not against any other country."

    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli announced yesterday that Turkey had been officially informed that Simitis would attend the Balkans summit from October 12 to 13.

    On Sunday, Simitis reiterated his government's criticism of Ankara's position on Cyprus' decision to buy the S-300 air-defence system from Russia, saying the missiles were not the issue in Cyprus, which "has the legitimate right to defend itself."

    Speaking in the northern city of Salonica, Simitis said the issue was "the invasion and occupation of part of the island by Turkey", and that Turkey was trying to push this into the background and focus on the missiles.

    "We will continue this pressure so that the discussion returns to the primary problem and not the secondaries," he said.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [02] Rolandis tells Church to return EAC cash

    By Jean Christou

    THE CHURCH should return nearly three quarters of a million pounds that it allegedly overcharged the Electricity Authority (EAC) in a controversial land deal, Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday.

    But Bishop Chrystanthos of Limassol, with whom the EAC made the £1.4 million deal, said yesterday he saw no reason to return the money.

    Rolandis responded by threatening to chop the amount -- estimated at between £600,000 and £700,000 -- from the £1.7 million state budget for the Church for 1998.

    Rumour was also rife yesterday that the Board of the EAC would resign rather than face the sack from the Council of Ministers, which meets tomorrow to discuss the affair.

    They have agreed to answer a nine-point questionnaire from the Minister on the land deal before tomorrow's cabinet meeting.

    Rolandis has accused the Authority of negligence in not carrying out its own land estimate, instead of accepting at face value that offered by the Bishopric.

    A new estimate carried out on behalf of the government by a private surveyor established that the land, earmarked for the EAC's new Limassol headquarters, was worth no more than £724,000. The government's own experts have valued it at around £800,000.

    The controversy was further compounded by allegations of fraudulent dealings, suggesting the EAC had cancelled the first round of tenders and called for a second, simply to accommodate the Bishopric, whose bid had come in late the first time round.

    "It's clear there was negligence in this matter, because the land was bought without following the procedure of having the land valued. They relied only on the evaluation of the other side and this isn't the way to buy anything," Rolandis said.

    "The point that bothers me is how the Cyprus Republic can get this money back, so I'm asking the Bishopric to return this money, because it is clear it does not belong to them."

    Rolandis said if the money was not forthcoming from the Limassol Bishopric, it would be cut from the state budget to the Church.

    "Returning the money is not an issue," Bishop Chrysanthos said yesterday. "The Bishopric made an offer. It was accepted and it was legal, therefore there is no problem. If the government wants to follow another tactic it can decide what it wants to do itself."

    But Rolandis, who discussed the issue with President Clerides yesterday, said that although he respected the Church, the Bishop should consider where the money was coming from.

    "It's from you and me and the people through our electricity bills, and if he thinks he got it correctly, I don't believe this way of thinking is right."

    He stressed that he had no issue with any particular priest. Bishop Chrysanthos is currently facing investigations into 26 allegations of shady business deals.

    "It is not victimisation. I have a duty to handle public funds and I have a duty to get this money back because the church has vast amount of money and they can afford it," Rolandis said.

    "We already give them more money than they should be getting and we are not going to give them more than that."

    On the issue of the EAC board, Rolandis said he would not like to comment on what recommendations he would be making to the Council of Ministers.

    Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with Rolandis, EAC Chairman Costas Constantinides said the Board was taking the issue very seriously.

    Last week a joint board statement said they had no reason to question the Bishopric's estimate in the land deal.

    "The issue is very serious because I feel I was appointed in a position of responsibility during which time I have worked hundreds of hours with my co- workers on the Board of Directors to solve the various problems, and I think it is an open secret that we have done this to every extent possible, " Constantinides said.

    "If we have made a mistake in the procedure or in our thoughts or actions we will answer for them."

    After a marathon extraordinary meeting of the Board yesterday afternoon, Constantinides said the Minister's nine questions would be answered today.

    Rolandis also said that in the wake of the current controversy, the budgets for all new public buildings would be looked into.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [03] Woman held after domestic dispute boils over

    A NICOSIA woman was yesterday remanded in custody on suspicion of trying to kill her ex-husband with a hunting rifle.

    Haroulla Iacovou, 36, was arrested by police at around 2.30am yesterday morning after an argument with her former husband, Petros Yerolemides, turned nasty.

    Iacovou fired a single shot from the rifle, but Yerolemides, 41, did enough to ensure that the bullet ended up in the wall.

    According to police, the divorced couple, who still live together, had a heated argument at their Anthoupolis housing estate residence.

    It is thought Iacovou went for the hunting rifle in a fit of rage, but before she could pull the trigger on her ex-husband, he managed to shove the barrel away, escaping a direct hit.

    Police also arrested Yerolemides for allegedly beating his former wife and causing her actual bodily harm.

    A Nicosia district court remanded Iacovou for four days and Yerolemides for two.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [04] Hotel strike postponed pending Labour Ministry talks

    HOTEL workers have postponed strike action which had been set to begin yesterday.

    This gesture of good will was made pending the outcome of yesterday's Labour Ministry meetings with hoteliers' association Pasyxe.

    Pasyxe is understood to have informed Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas its revised positions on worker demands for more pay, longer maternity leave and higher contributions to medical funds.

    Sek and Peo union representatives are to announce their decision on the new proposal by today.

    Moushiouttas, yesterday also met with the second hoteliers' association, Stek, to discuss latest developments.

    Stek president, Marios Hamboulas, announced that his association would be, "at the disposal" of the workers unions and Moushiouttas.

    He went on to add that although no actual agreement had been reached, only a few points remained to be negotiated. A Stek general assembly meeting will be held on September 22 and, Hamboulas said, "if an agreement is signed, it will be approved by the general assembly" at that date.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [05] Man held over £14 million German customs scam

    POLICE announced yesterday that officers in Larnaca had arrested a Czech- American wanted by the German authorities in connection with a £14 million customs scam.

    A police press release said that 55-year-old Richard Hulinski was arrested in Larnaca after a warrant for his arrest had been issued by Interpol in Wiesbaden, Germany.

    Hulinski is described in the German Interpol message as a "fugitive from justice", police said.

    According to Cyprus police, Hulinski - who has dual Czech and American nationality - is wanted in connection with violating customs and excise law to the tune of 47.5 million German marks (the equivalent of £14 million or $27.2 million).

    Police were unable to reveal any further details about the allegations.

    "We have no further information and we are in the process of requesting more information about the exact details of the case," a Cyprus Interpol spokesman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Police said that Hulinski had been tracked down in Larnaca on Sunday following a tip-off from Prague saying that the Czech national was staying at an address in Pervolia village.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [06] Cabinet to decide on CyTA satellite link-up

    THE COUNCIL of Ministers is set to meet at the end of this month to discuss whether the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) should hook up with the offshore Digimed company.

    After a three-month delay, a report on the matter will be presented by the European and African Satellite Telecommunications Ltd company (EAST). If it goes ahead, the project would mean Digimed would provide CyTA with satellite communications technology. The report covers the financing, purchase and feasibility of the project, and was delayed from June, for discussions about how much CyTA would contribute to the project.

    If it goes ahead, the project would mean that by 2001, CyTA will be able to offer improved mobile phone and land line services to Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The satellite network would also handle internet services.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [07] Interpol Cyprus playing vital role

    INTERPOL Cyprus is playing an increasingly important role in helping to solve serious crimes home and abroad.

    This was the message from head of Interpol Cyprus Soula Demetriou at a press conference in Nicosia yesterday to celebrate the 75 years of Interpol.

    "The co-operation of Cyprus police with Interpol has led to many serious crimes being solved in Cyprus and abroad and to bringing the guilty parties to justice," said inspector Demetriou.

    She said the great success stories in recent years had included securing international arrest warrants for the killers of Tassos Isaac and Solomis Solomou, the extradition to Cyprus from the UK of Andreas Onoufriou, who was later sentenced to 18 years in jail for a bomb attack on a Limassol judge, the deportation to Japan of terrorist Ouchi Toshiyaiasu and the conviction of a taxi driver for the murder of French tourist Françoise Chomik.

    "Interpol plays an important role in relation to the exchange of information with foreign countries involving the investigation of serious crime, as in the case of (Limassol) Bishop Chrysanthos," said Demetriou.

    Demetriou said the type of serious crime that Interpol was actively involved in had changed since in the 75 years since its birth and that the onus was now on tackling the growing menace of international terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [08] Larnaca lifeguards are out

    LARNACA District Officer Kyprianos Matthaiou said yesterday that the fate of Larnaca lifeguards should be known within the next few days, but warned that as of yesterday, the four beaches concerned were unguarded.

    Four of the resort's most popular beaches, Mackenzie, Oroklini, Phinikoudes and the CTO Beach, have been affected by the Finance Ministry's refusal to allow Larnaca an extra £25,000 to pay lifeguards' salaries for this month and the next. Due to the unusually hot weather this year, the beaches are still extremely popular with both locals and tourists.

    The district is appealing against the decision.

    Matthaiou said the last day the lifeguards had worked was Saturday, and that Larnaca had already exceeded its salary budget by keeping them on until then.

    He has appealed to the Council of Ministers for more money, and is also talking to local authorities in the hope that they could raise their contributions to the salary budget, which have remained the same as last year.

    There has been widespread criticism of the decision not to extend the lifeguards' budget, both from those involved in the tourist industry and from beach-users themselves. Industry insiders are complaining that Larnaca has been promoted overseas as both a safe holiday destination and an all- year-round one.

    If the beaches are left without lifeguards, this could also compromise their coveted Blue Flag status, as all Blue Flag beaches are required to have lifeguards on duty.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [09] German bank gets offshore licence

    THE CENTRAL Bank yesterday granted a licence to DePfa Investment Bank Ltd, a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Bau und Bodenbank AG, to operate on the island on an offshore basis.

    The bank will have a capital base of $100 million, and will deal only in foreign currencies and do business exclusively with other offshore companies and foreign residents of Cyprus, the Central Bank said in a statement.

    The licensing of DePfa Investment Bank takes up to 33 the number of offshore banks operating in Cyprus. Five others maintain representative offices.

    Nearly 34,000 offshore companies are registered in Cyprus, of which more than 1,000 maintain fully fledged offices.

    The offshore sector, which dates back to legislation introduced in the mid- 1970s, accounts for four per cent of gross domestic product, almost on par with agriculture. The government has repeatedly stated that it intends to fight to keep the sector after becoming a member of the European Union.

    Accession negotiations with the EU began last March, but Cyprus is not expected to join before 2002 or 2003.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [10] Shares slide again

    THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange all-share index returned to negative territory yesterday after a rise in share prices on Friday bucked a five-day skid.

    The index closed at 88.34 points, or a marginal 0.18 per cent down on Friday's close. All seven sub-indices were down except for that of investment companies, which moved higher by 0.02 per cent.

    Volume was a modest £1.1 million.

    The market, which trades in more than 50 securities and was capitalised at £1.2 billion at the end of July, has shown little sign of being affected by the recent turmoil in world markets, largely because of its small size and the insignificant participation of foreign capital.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [11] National Council deliberations to go into second day

    THE NATIONAL Council will toady continue its meeting begun yesterday in order to draw up its final reaction to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's proposal for a confederal Cyprus solution.

    Speaking after the meeting yesterday, Government Spokesman Christos Stylianides said Clerides had briefed political party leaders on his meetings in South Africa on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit last week. These included his talks with United Nations Secretary- General Kofi Annan. Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides also addressed the meeting on latest developments on the Cyprus problem.

    Stylianides said all but one of the party leaders had outlined their positions on the Denktash proposal. He did not elaborate.

    Asked about press reports suggesting some countries, namely the United States, had reacted favourably to the Denktash proposal, Stylianides said "we were expecting a more forceful and condemning stance from many countries". He added, however, that the government hoped to secure more international condemnation for the proposal at a later date.

    Tuesday, September 08, 1998

    [12] Limassol sewage board on verge of bankruptcy

    LIMASSOL and Amathus Sewage Board is on the verge of bankruptcy with customers are refusing to pay millions of pounds in bills.

    The board is owed £4.5 million, mostly by hotels in the area, and the Board is now incapable of covering its costs after fulfilling hotel demands to divert the course of waste pipes in order to keep outlets as far away as possible.

    Adding to the Board's economic burden is the paying of instalments on a loan taken out to finance the city's sewerage network.

    Originally budgeted at £33 million, the project had a final cost of £42 million.

    The construction company involved in has also come forward demanding compensation for changes to the original construction plans and delays. The amount demanded is between £12 and £15 million.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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