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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-11-24
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Bishop of Limassol resigns
Chrysanthos could be offered an `unobtrusive' Church role after Holy Synod team probes corruption chargesBy Charlie Charalambous
LIMASSOL Bishop Chrysanthos yesterday resigned in the wake of corruption charges levelled against him by a top Church investigative body.
According to CyBC radio yesterday, which quoted informed Church sources, the bishop sent one of his aides to the Archbishopric in Nicosia to submit a letter of resignation to Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The Holy Synod, which had been due to meet on Thursday to discuss the bishop's defence on the eight charges against him, is now expected to hold an emergency session today to decide whether to accept the resignation.
The Holy Synod is apparently ready to accept the resignation and offer Chrysanthos an unobtrusive role in the Church, according to Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos.
Chrysanthos yesterday declined to comment on the reports, but said he would give his opinions after the Holy Synod meets again.
The Bishop of Paphos yesterday confirmed to reporters that he had met Chrysanthos last week to discuss his resignation. He also said the archbishop had been informed of the bishop's intention to resign as early as last Thursday.
Chrysanthos was told by the archbishop to submit his resignation in writing as soon as possible, Bishop Chrysostomos said. The Paphos bishop yesterday congratulated Chrysanthos for making the right decision for the good of the Church.
CyBC yesterday leaked the contents of the resignation letter, in which the bishop maintains his innocence. In the letter, Chrysanthos argues that all his actions were motivated by good intentions and to ensure financial security for the Church, CyBC said.
Nevertheless, Chrysanthos is quoted as saying in the letter that he was submitting his resignation because by remaining in office the good name of the Church would further be harmed.
Two weeks ago, the three bishops appointed by the Holy Synod to investigate the allegations against Chrysanthos issued a charge sheet against the bishop. Chrysanthos was given 15 days to study the charges and prepare a defence.
The three-page document drawn up by the bishops of Morphou, Kitium and Kyrenia cites eight charges against Chrysanthos, who has been named in numerous allegations of fraudulent business deals at home and abroad.
In the indictment, the bishops say Chrysanthos accepted, without a letter of recommendation, the word of a priest abroad that he was, in fact, a cleric.
Also, said the indictment, on the pretext of philanthropic motives, the bishop allegedly took advantage of his ecclesiastical position and put in danger his moral standing by associating with suspect persons for his own profit. Likewise, he acted for his own benefits to secure profits through currency exchange, the indictment said.
The good name of the Limassol Bishopric was also allegedly endangered by Chrysanthos' use of the holy seal and his own position to sign documents for deals and act as a guarantor for loans.
The indictment also refers to a trip Chrysanthos took to the Philippines several months ago, where he is accused of suddenly coming into possession of assets worth $170 million.
He also damaged relations with the Russian Orthodox Church by using the best part of $719,000 donated by Moscow for purposes other than the planned building of a Russian Church in Limassol, the indictment said.
The bishops also said that Chrysanthos had failed to inform the Holy Synod about a series of financial deals involving millions of dollars. The publicity generated by his activities here and abroad, and the resulting scandal, has damaged the Church, the indictment concluded.
The three bishops, appointed as an investigation committee on October 1, have the power to refer Chrysanthos to an ecclesiastical court for defrocking procedures to begin. Criminal investigations are also under way, with investigators examining Chrysanthos' alleged overseas dealings in quick-profit investment scams.
In October, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said investigations had been completed in Greece and would soon be starting in England and a possible third country.
The Church became suspicious over the bishop's business deals when Scotland Yard detectives came to Cyprus in the summer to question Chrysanthos in connection with a conspiracy to defraud involving a UK-based investor and $3.7 million.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Edek says Clerides 'wrong' to back MichaelidesBy Charlie Charalambous
PRESIDENT Clerides' refusal to accept the resignation of Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides has come under fire from coalition partner Edek as well as from opposition Akel.
Edek yesterday urged Clerides to reconsider his position and accept Michaelides' resignation, which he seems reluctant to do.
Clerides declined to accept the minister's resignation on Friday, despite the cabinet agreeing to appoint two independent investigators to probe specific corruption allegations against Michaelides.
Before leaving for London on Sunday, Clerides said Michaelides remained a minister but would abstain from his duties for the duration of the investigation.
The president not only defended his minister's reputation, but chastised his accuser Christos Pourgourides for making "unfounded" allegations.
"As long as I am president, I will not allow any minister to be victimised unless an objective and thorough investigation takes place; otherwise there will not be honourable people who will accept the post," Clerides said at Larnaca airport on Sunday.
"Ministers do not resign just because there is an accusation, when 11 have been dismissed because they do not stand up," the President added.
Akel general-secretary Demetris Christofias said Clerides' failure to accept Michaelides' resignation was a "mistake", and beyond any sense of fair play.
"In the end it won't be as President Clerides fears, that we won't find people to become minister, because everyone will want to be a minister," Christofias said yesterday.
And Pourgourides hit back at Clerides, saying nobody would believe the President had taken the decision free of any "blackmail" from the minister.
"There can be no successful attempt to persuade the Cypriot people that the president and the cabinet took their decisions freely and without bowing to blackmail from the Interior Minister that he knows a lot about a lot of people and will open his mouth to say a lot about them," Pourgourides said.
He has described the whole investigation into his allegations as a whitewash.
The Disy deputy said that, as far as he was concerned, Michaelides was politically responsible, which was enough to sack him.
"There is no doubt that the Interior Minister abused his position for unlawful enrichment," said Pourgourides.
In a move to distance himself from his troublesome deputy, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades accused Pourgourides of orchestrating a hate campaign against the minister and suggested the politician no longer had a place in his party.
Akel's position was supported by Edek, which is represented in cabinet by Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou and Education Minister Lycourgos Kappas. The Socialist Party agreed with Michaelides' resignation and the appointment of two investigators, but disagreed with Clerides.
"The President of the Republic was wrong to refuse the minister's resignation, considering that public officials who face a criminal or disciplinary investigation are suspended," said yesterday's Edek announcement.
The statement added: "accordingly, it is inconceivable for a political person of high office to remain in his post under similar circumstances."
But Edek made no suggestion that it would withdraw its support from the government over the matter.
Although 11 of Pourgourides 14 charges of unlawful enrichment have been dismissed by Attorney-general Alecos Markides, the cabinet did agree to appoint investigators to gather further information on allegations of money laundering involving the £96,000 sale of an entire apartment floor building, and that the minister had illegally approved work and residence permits.
The cabinet also agreed that two further allegations be referred to the Ombudsman: these are that Michaelides obtained a £100,000 bank loan without security to buy shares in a company with major property developers, and the changing of building zones in the Kaloyeros area of Limassol where Michaelides built a house.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Officials seek to play down rampant missile speculationBy Jean Christou
DEFENCE Minister Yiannakis Omirou yesterday refrained from commenting on Greek press reports that Cyprus' controversial S-300 missiles would finally be deployed in Crete.
He said it would be better to wait until Friday's meeting between President Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Athens.
Clerides left for London on Sunday and is due in the Greek capital on Thursday. Omirou said all aspects of the Cyprus problem would be discussed by the two leaders on Friday.
It has been widely reported that the government in Athens will impose a Cretan solution to the missile dilemma, which will save the government form having to take political responsibility for a humiliating climbdown in the face of international pressure and Turkish threats.
Turkey has threatened military action to prevent the deployment of the Russian-made missiles in Cyprus. Athens has said any such move would constitute a cassus belli, but is far from keen on any military adventure in the region.
But before leaving the island on Sunday, Clerides insisted that, as long as the current balance of power remained, the long-range anti-aircraft missiles were a "must" for the island's defence.
He said this could only change if the Turkish side agreed to discuss demilitarisation. He also criticised the media for hyping up the missile issue, saying it did not serve the national interest.
Clerides, whose re-election campaign in February relied heavily on missile propaganda, also dismissed speculation that the talks in Athens would focus on the missiles.
"The criterion (for the final decision) on the missiles has always been whether the missiles are needed for the defence on Cyprus," Clerides said.
"As long as the present balance of power exists, the criterion for the need of the missiles continues to be valid".
Criticising the press for its missile reporting style, Clerides said: "I will never tell your whether the missiles will come and how they will come."
He said the whole island seemed to be suffering from "missile mania" and that the press was merely facilitating the work of foreign secret services operating in Cyprus trying to obtain information on the missiles' arrival in Cyprus.
Asked to comment on the Athens talks, Clerides said: "I am not going to Athens to discuss the issue of the missiles. The Athens meeting was not set up to discuss the issue of the missiles."
Commenting of reports concerning a letter by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos to his American counterpart Madeleine Albright, suggesting ways be found to postpone the arrival of the missiles indefinitely, Clerides said: "Mr Pangalos' letter does not include the word missile or military equipment."
"The letter refers to the stalemate in the Cyprus question and notes the need for the international community, and in particular the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to try and break the deadlock which the Turkish intransigence has created," Clerides said.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Omirou protests Israeli landing for overflight jetsCYPRUS yesterday protested at Israel's decision to allow Turkish jets to land in the Jewish State after they had violated the island's air space.
Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou said all the information his department had on the incident would be forwarded to the Foreign Ministry, which is responsible for making official representations.
On Sunday, 24 Turkish military aircraft and three refuelling planes set off from a base in southern Turkey and flew over Cyprus air space on their way to Israel.
The planes returned to Turkey later in day, again violating the island's air space, the Defence Ministry said.
Israel and Turkey have a military co-operation pact, which has recently become a bone of contention in Cyprus-Israel relations, despite Israeli assurances that the island is not affected.
The assurances were repeated during a visit here by Israeli President Ezer Weizman earlier this month, but the Cyprus government was not convinced.
Omirou said yesterday he would suggest that the Foreign Ministry makes "strong" representations over Sunday's incidents.
He was speaking after a meeting with Acting President Spyros Kyprianou.
Omirou also said that countries such as the US and the UK, which claim to have an interest in stability in the region, should show some responsibility when incidents occurred.
"I must stress than an Israel which accepts into its air space planes that have violated the air space of Cyprus, also has a responsibility," Omirou said.
"Independent of a military co-operation deal (with Turkey), it should be indicated to Israel that is inconceivable to legalise Turkish overflights policies by accepting or receiving jets that have previously violated the air space of another country."
The latest incident has further strained Cyprus-Israel relations, which are still reeling from the arrest of two alleged Mossad agents on the island, just days after Weizman's departure.
Israel has not denied the two are Mossad agents, but has said they were not spying for Turkey or against Cyprus. The two men were last week charged with spying, and will go to trial on December 8.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Clerides expects movement on Cyprus soonPRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides expects movement on the Cyprus problem soon, he said yesterday.
Speaking in London at a conference on 'Cyprus; a Regional Business Centre', Clerides said he had indications that an effort was imminent for Cyprus negotiations to be jumpstarted.
"I believe that we are at the moment at a situation of standstill which I do not expect to last for very long," said Clerides.
Attributing the current impasse to Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash's attempts to "change the basis of negotiations", he said Denktash wanted to create a separate sovereign state for the Turkish Cypriots and a "loose" confederation.
"We oppose this idea because it abolishes the independence of Cyprus and creates a Turkish protectorate in the north and a Greek protectorate in the south," Clerides said.
But he added that the Turkish side's attempts to delay the negotiating process had not found favour internationally. Cyprus, he went on, was still seeking a peaceful solution along UN guidelines, a position supported by the international community.
"Therefore there is no reason to worry about the events that will take place in the near future." the President concluded.
Some 100 business people took part in the conference, organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of British Industry. It was aimed at encouraging investment in Cyprus.
Clerides will today meet with British envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, to discuss Hannay's recent contacts in Ankara.
According to Turkish press reports, the British envoy's talks there on Friday concerned the deadlock over Cyprus, but did not produce any concrete results.
On Friday, Clerides will be in Athens for crunch talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The talks are expected to centre on when, where and whether to deploy Cyprus' controversial S-300 missile system.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Government in London sales pitchBy Hamza Hendawi
USING old phrases in a new sales pitch, President Glafcos Clerides and Co. yesterday sought to drum up business in London, telling British businessmen and captains of industry of the wonders of the island's economy.
They bragged about an impressive array of macroeconomic indicators that most West European governments would simply kill for, but appeared unable to resist the temptation to use abused clichés.
Clerides mentioned the island's "strategic geographical location at the crossroads of three continents." In a near-identical part, Commerce and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis spoke of "Cyprus' strategic location at the crossroads of three continents and its close proximity to the busy trade routes linking Europe with the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia and the Far East..."
Even the title of the London conference which Clerides, Rolandis and Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou addressed yesterday - "Cyprus: A Regional Business Centre" - was hardly original.
Still, there was enough there to impress and cheer about.
Clerides and Afxentiou spoke of the island's 16th place in world rankings for per capita income, with the latter saying that the "World Development Indicators" of the World Bank had put it at an impressive $20,500.
This, Afxentiou proudly pointed out, put Cyprus ahead of eight of the European Union's 15 existing members.
GDP growth, the Central Bank boss continued, averaged a whopping 6.1 per cent per year throughout the 1980s and a decent 4.4 per cent in the 1990-98 period.
Afxentiou, like Rolandis, also spoke of full employment conditions and an inflation rate that is forecast to dip to as low as 2.5 per cent this year, from 3.6 per cent in 1997.
The Central Bank Governor, however, admitted that not all was well with the Cyprus economy, giving the gaping fiscal deficit a brief mention.
"There is a clear divergence as regards the fiscal deficit, which stands for this year at an estimated level of 5.7 per cent of GDP, in relation to the 3.0 per cent of GDP level prescribed by the relevant (EU convergence) criterion.
"To rectify this situation, the government intends to take appropriate measures and, to that effect, a package of tax measures is pending before the House of Representatives," he said.
Afxentiou, however, revealed that the total removal of exchange control on capital movements would not be complete before the island's accession to the European Union, an event that is not expected before January 1, 2003 at the earliest.
After giving his listeners a brief account of how Cypriots had rebuilt their economy from the ashes of the 1974 Turkish invasion, Clerides declared his government's unwavering commitment to enhancing the island's role as a business centre.
"The government of Cyprus is committed to providing the required assistance and support," Clerides, widely seen as a business-friendly president, told the London meeting, organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and the powerful Confederation of British Industries.
Back in Cyprus, the Department of Statistics and Research said the trade deficit in the January-September period reached £967.9 million, compared to £932.6 million in the corresponding period last year.
The deficit increase appeared to reflect in large part a hike in imports for home consumption. These reached £1.15 billion in the first nine months of 1998, compared to £1.11 billion in the January-September period of 1997.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Women's groups appeal to Clerides over refugee childrenStaff reporter
FIVE Cyprus women's organisations have asked President Glafcos Clerides to intervene to end the "inhuman conditions" for 11 children of the 49 boat people who have been detained under virtual house arrest in Limassol's Pefkos Hotel since June.
The letter is a "first step" towards getting Cyprus to treat humanely the remainder of the 113 boat people who were rescued, sick and starving, from a trawler off the Cyprus coast in June, Anthoula Papadopoulou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.
The letter, sent last Friday and made public yesterday, asked Clerides to push the Welfare Services and the Immigration department to "safeguard the rights" of the 11 children in the hotel under two international conventions, which Cyprus signed. The children range from one month to 16 years of age.
In their five months of "illegal" detention, the children "have been deprived of all their human rights," under both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Declaration of Human Rights, Papadopoulou, a member of the Immigrant Support Action Group (ISAG), said.
Papadopoulou also noted that Attorney-general Alecos Markides had not released any results from his two investigations into alleged police violations of the boat peoples' human rights in two separate beating incidents.
The Convention, which Cyprus signed in 1990, requires children being kept in immigration custody be given freedom of movement along with education, entertainment and an emotionally healthy environment, she said.
Their "imprisonment and house arrest" since June has left them "scared and very withdrawn," she said, adding that if they emerge without permanent scars, it would be due to the unofficial small kindnesses shown them by some of the police guarding them.
"No child should constitute an object of political handling, literally under lock and key for four months in a hotel," the letter to Clerides declared.
"We call on you, Mr President, to intervene so that the government responds to its basic obligations emanating from the Convention," it urged. And it issued a "demand" that both the Ministry of Education school the children, and the Welfare Services Department "take a more active role" in protecting them.
"We are certain, Mr President, that with your advice and intervention," Cyprus will keep its commitments to the children under the two treaties, the letter added.
It was only this weekend - for the first time in over five months - that the children were allowed outside the Pefkos Hotel, Papadopoulou said. They went to a Limassol park and the city zoo.
Perhaps in response to the letter sent last Friday to Clerides, five of the school-age immigrant children in the hotel were sent to school yesterday - also for the first time in five months - Pefkos Hotel owner/manager Neophytos Efstathiou said.
And on Sunday, three of the mothers in the hotel were allowed outside for short walks with some of the children, Papadopoulou said. "They were really crazy about open spaces," after five months of police guard, she added.
The letter to Clerides emerged from a November 14 meeting of ISAG, the Pancyprian Federation of Women's Organisations (POGO, an Akel group), the Women's Organisation of the United Democrats, the Women Trade Unionists of PEO, and the Association for Preventing and Combatting Family Violence.
Some of the 113 boat people have been deported. Larnaca police are holding 42 of them in several facilities. One is the old Famagusta detention centre, where rapid-reaction (Mmad) police beat 48 of them in quelling a riot there on October 24. Several months earlier, police beat many of the 49 boat people still living in the Pefkos Hotel after disturbances.
It is believed that all those in Larnaca police detention, as well as 40 of the 49 in the Pefkos Hotel were not considered asylum candidates by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and are subject to deportation as "economic refugees."
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Girl stabbed after phone box rowA LARNACA schoolgirl was last night said to be out of danger after being stabbed during an argument over a phone box.
The incident happened at around 3.50pm, in Larnaca's John Kennedy Square, when Nicoletta Georgiou, 15, and friends were using the phone box.
An argument apparently broke out between Georgiou and a man waiting to use the phone box; the argument became heated, and ended with the man stabbing Georgiou with a knife.
The girl was rushed to hospital, where doctors ascertained that, although she had a one-inch wound in her right side, there were no internal injuries, and she was not in any danger.
Fifteen minutes after the incident, police arrested Gavriel Gavriel, 36, from Vryssoules, outside the Larnaca Central Police Station. A knife was found in his possession and Gavriel had bloodstains on his shirt cuff.
Eyewitnesses were also called to the station to give statements. The investigation is continuing.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Spyros re-elected to Diko leadershipSPYROS Kyprianou was re-elected leader of the centre-right Democratic Party, Diko, on Sunday, garnering three-quarters of the vote.
Kyprianou, who has been Diko leader since the party was founded more than 20 years ago, obtained 1,041 votes against 187 to Michalakis Kyprianou and 133 to Nicos Papadopoulos.
Speaking after the election, the first in which Kyprianou was ever challenged, the Diko leader said: "What is important is that the electoral conference took place in a democratic atmosphere, and I believe Diko is the winner of this contest."
Kyprianou said he was completely satisfied with the results, considering "the war which had been waged against him".
But rival Michalakis Kyprianou (no relation) said the results of the election showed that, in a way, the Diko leader had failed, adding that one in four party members had voted against him.
He also complained that the challengers in the election had been unable to carry out a proper campaign.
Newly-elected party vice president Nicos Cleanthous said yesterday it was time for the party to pull together, get back in touch with its grass roots and try to increase its membership.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Bomb goes off Ayia Napa fieldA MYSTERIOUS explosion in an open field in Ayia Napa rocked a nearby primary school and the Radio Napa building late on Sunday night.
The explosion occurred at around 10.55pm in the field between the two buildings. No-one was hurt in the blast, and no damage was caused, but the blast was just 150 metres from a nearby police station.
Investigations into the blast revealed it had been caused by a home-made device, in which the explosive was packed into a length of water pipe and placed inside a gas bottle. Police said they were still unsure exactly how it had been detonated.
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
 Goals galore as 10 spot kicks are awardedBy George Christou
AN ASTONISHING 37 goals were scored in the Cyprus first division in this weekend's seven league matches.
Ten of these goals were scored from penalty kicks, suggesting that referees were perhaps a bit too eager to point to the spot.
Three penalty kicks were awarded to Apollonas as they romped to a 5-0 victory over Aek, whose coach Stavros Papadopoulos was livid about the refereeing.
Papadopoulos said after the game: "A crime was committed against Aek by the referee. What happened today was a defamation of Cyprus football." His chairman voiced similar sentiments, suggesting there was a refereeing conspiracy against Aek.
Apollonas's coach Dieter Ferner begged to differ. "I think all the decisions by the referee were correct," he said.
The scoreline flattered Apollonas and might provide an explanation about the protests by Aek, who also had defender Misos sent off. They did not deserve to lose by such a scoreline, but stranger things have been known to happen in football.
Spoliaric scored a hat-trick, converting two of his side's spot-kicks. Papavassiliou converted the third penalty and Themistocleous completed the scoring. Apollonas moved up to ninth place on 10 points after their victory.
Third-placed Omonia also needed the help of penalty kicks to overcome second from bottom Aris, eventually winning 5-1. Aris had taken the lead through Nicolaou with Omonia going in front only after German striker Rainer Raufman had converted two spot-kicks.
Aris' defence opened up after that and conceded three more goals, by Kaiafas, Gitanov and Kondolefteros.
Newly-promoted Doxa also blamed the referee for their 5-4 home defeat by Paralimni, in a game in which they led by 3-1 at pone point. They are rooted to the bottom of the table on two points.
The felt hard done by because, four minutes from time, the ref awarded a penalty to Paralimni from which Jula scored the winning goal. The penalty awarded to Doxa in the 57th minute which Christodoulou converted to give his side a 4-3 lead was legitimate.
Second-placed Apoel pulled off the comeback of the weekend, defeating Evagoras in Paphos 3-2 after trailing by two goals. It was not first time Apoel had come back from a two-goal deficit to win a game.
Their comeback was helped by a spot-kick - awarded to Apoel in first half injury time - which was converted by Marcelo. Petkovic equalised immediately after the break, and Kotchis scored the winner. Filiotis and Dragisic (penalty) had put Evagoras in front.
Anorthosis needed no penalty kicks in the 7-1 annihilation of Olympiakos, who were brought crashing back to earth after a promising start to the season.
Krismarevic scored four goals to become the league's joint top scorer with Raufman on 13, while Okkas (two) and Michailovic got the other. Petkofski got Olympiakos' consolation goal rom the penalty spot.
Ael stayed in fourth place despite suffering their second defeat of the season on Saturday night at Achna. Goals by Mousic and Neocleous gave Ethnikos a 2-1 win.
Finally, Salamina, whose veteran midfielder Kokos Elia was banned for one year last week for pulling a referee by the hair, were given a much-needed boost by their 2-0 victory at Alki. Nicolaou and Ioannides were the scorers.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998