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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-02-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Friday, February 12, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Stocks surge to new all-time high
  • [02] Athanasios to be new Bishop of Limassol
  • [03] Markides allows watchdog committee access to Michaelides files
  • [04] Clerides appeals for consensus on policy
  • [05] Government seeks to intervene in damaging hotel strike
  • [06] Hopeful signs on Larnaca port dispute
  • [07] Cyprus to get short-range missiles in deal with Greece
  • [08] House committees back abolition of death penalty
  • [09] Storm brewing over fixed coffee prices
  • [10] Cyprus Institute identifies rare genetic disorder in Jordanian tribe
  • [11] National Guard probes second beating
  • [12] Trade deficit grows
  • [13] Committee to examine the Cyprus File

  • [01] Stocks surge to new all-time high

    CYPRUS stocks charged into record territory for the fourth consecutive trading session yesterday as an unprecedented rally triggered by bank buys saw shares rocket by 5.2 per cent.

    The All-Share Index reached 124.03 points on record turnover of 16.8 million as investors and brokers scrambled to snap up banking shares, whose index surged 7.98 per cent to close at 157.24 points.

    A buying frenzy centred on banks has pushed the all-share index up 36.9 per cent so far this year, recouping in six weeks all the losses the bourse had suffered since an official exchange replaced the unofficial over-the- counter market in March 1996.

    "It has been hectic," a harassed broker said as dozens of spectators squeezed into a corner of the overcrowded trading floor on the third floor of the stock exchange building in Nicosia. "The phone lines have been jammed all morning."

    Brokers have said part of the bull run has been sparked by a rare appearance of Greek investors dabbling on the Cyprus market, pushing up bank shares which are generally considered to be undervalued compared to those on the Greek market.

    The Bank of Cyprus has been buoyed by prospects of a listing on the Athens Stock Exchange. It applied for the listing last year, and its application is awaiting approval of amendments to Greek laws allowing the listing of overseas firms.

    "Banks here are trading one and a half, two times their book value, which is ridiculously low for the Greeks," said stockbroker Costas Hadjigavriel.

    Heated trading during yesterday's session pushed bank stocks close to the 15 per cent volatility limit, with Bank of Cyprus hitting an intra-day high of 6.05, Popular Bank 6.02 and Hellenic Bank 3.65.

    The leaps and bounds of the past ten days are in stark contrast to the not- so-distant past when the index swings would be less than one per cent daily.

    But there were mixed feelings as to whether the market was spiralling out of control. "I would think this index... when it reaches 135, 140, it'll be just about right," said Hadjigavriel, who dismissed suggestions that the bourse was overheating.

    "The increase has been tremendously sharp and beyond anything we have seen so far," said Koullis Panayiotou of CLR Stockbrokers. "I think it will become the norm to see larger swings."

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [02] Athanasios to be new Bishop of Limassol

    By Martin Hellicar

    ABBOT Athanasios of Machairas monastery is to be enthroned as the new Bishop of Limassol on Sunday after winning a landslide victory in yesterday's final phase of elections to replace disgraced former Bishop Chrysanthos.

    Athanasios won the votes of 14 of the 20 Church-appointed electors and of all 50 general electors chosen by Limassol parishioners in earlier polling rounds.

    The other six votes went to Abbot Varnavas of Stavrovouni monastery.

    Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos, who was meant to be among the Church- appointed electors, was conspicuous by his absence from yesterday's ballot casting.

    Chrysostomos fought a no-holds-barred battle against Athanasios' candidacy. He alleged that Athanasios' mentor, 80-year-old elder Iosif of the Mount Athos monastery of Vatopedhi, was a pervert who molested nuns and young girls during his stay in Paphos 17 years ago.

    A Holy Synod investigation found Chrysostomos' claims against Iosif justified, but the Patriarch of Constantinople - under whose jurisdiction Iosif falls - has stood by him, and Vatopedhi monastery has threatened to sue the Paphos Bishop for libel.

    The lurid saga did not damage Athanasios's credentials.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos said he was "disappointed" by his Paphos namesake's no-show yesterday. But he also sought to make excuses for the Bishop, suggesting he had become tired of the media coverage his sordid allegations had granted him. "He was in two minds (about coming) because he felt there might have been misunderstandings and he was wary of television cameras," the Archbishop said.

    Athanasios said his election as Limassol Bishop had been God's will.

    "I believe God had a hand in my election and I accept God's will for my life," he told journalists.

    He said he felt "nothing" either way about the Paphos Bishop's absence from polling.

    His priority now, as new Bishop, was "saving the faithful," he said.

    The elections for a new Bishop were announced in November last year after Chrysanthos was suspended from his duties following the launch of a police investigation into his alleged involvement in over 30 financial scams in Cyprus and abroad.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [03] Markides allows watchdog committee access to Michaelides files

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE HOUSE watchdog committee was yesterday given fresh fuel to continue its persistent probe into the finances of Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides.

    Despite the fact that Michaelides was cleared of corruption charges by cabinet-appointed investigators over two months ago, Attorney-general Alecos Markides yesterday gave the go-ahead for the Auditor-general's and Income tax offices to hand over to the committee details of the minister's holdings and dealings.

    The material was asked for by watchdog committee chairman Christos Pourgourides, who has long been trying to nail Michaelides for what he alleges was abuse of authority for personal gain.

    The committee convened behind closed doors yesterday with Markides present. The Attorney-general commented afterwards that he had sanctioned the tabling of the official details before the committee and that it would probably take the committee a while to plough through all the information.

    Michaelides, angered by Pourgourides's dogged attacks, has asked to be allowed to speak before the House plenum when it debates the watchdog committee's report on his alleged corruption.

    Parliamentary party leaders met to discuss the minister's unusual request yesterday but decided to put off any decision on the matter. "No decision was taken concerning Mr Michaelides's suggestion that he address the plenum, " House president Spyros Kyprianou said after the meeting.

    He said party leaders had agreed to make their decision after the issue had been placed on the plenum agenda.

    Kyprianou added that party leaders had agreed to find out from Pourgourides what his intentions were concerning the Michaelides probe.

    "What was considered useful was to find out the intentions of the watchdog committee concerning the procedure it plans to follow from here on in," he said.

    The accusations Michaelides was examined for by state investigators late last year concerned alleged abuse of power at the immigration department and alleged unlawful enrichment through the sale of apartments.

    Michaelides, who has always insisted on his complete innocence, tendered his resignation after the two state investigators were appointed, but President Clerides chose not to accept it.

    Opinion polls suggest the corruption allegations have damaged the minister's public image, giving rise to speculation he could be axed in a cabinet reshuffle rumoured to be imminent.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [04] Clerides appeals for consensus on policy

    By Charlie Charalambous

    PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday called on party leaders to support the government's agenda of privatisation, EU harmonisation and tax hikes.

    Clerides has drawn up an agenda of priority policy issues which he believes needs political consensus to get the relevant legislation pushed through the House without delay.

    In an effort to secure across-the-board consensus for some of the government's unpopular proposals, Clerides has urged the party leaders to enter a process of discussion with an open mind.

    Clerides sent letters yesterday to each party leader outlining the main issues to be tackled and a framework of dialogue to be followed.

    "The letters have been sent and now we will wait for a response," government spokesman Christos Stylianides said yesterday.

    Stylianides said the issues up for discussion concerned EU harmonisation, the economy and institutional changes.

    But informed sources say the crucial decisions concern the need to raise VAT from eight per cent to 15 per cent over the next three years, cutting public expenditure, selling off state shares in Cyta, the Hilton and Cyprus Airways plus the creation of deputy ministers and the National Health Scheme.

    There is also the question of raising extra revenue through introducing further indirect taxes on consumption, which could for example affect the price of petrol or cigarettes.

    Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou has hinted on several occasions that not only VAT, but other forms of taxation must go up to try and close the rising public deficit.

    The minister last year tried to push through a biting tax package, but it was voted out by the House, angry that he had tried to raise taxes without adequate consultation - even with his own coalition partners.

    After that fiasco, the government is aware it needs to get the opposition on side to pass through unpopular tax hikes.

    It is also aware that there is a groundswell of protest against its plans to sell off state shares in the move towards full liberalisation.

    And with main opposition party Akel opposed to tax increases and any plans that smack of privatisation, most political observers believe Clerides search for consensus will not bear any fruit.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [05] Government seeks to intervene in damaging hotel strike

    By Athena Karsera

    THE MINISTERS of Labour and Tourism yesterday announced that efforts to end a strike at two Larnaca hotels would soon be under way.

    Workers at the Golden Bay and Lordos Beach hotels are striking for the reinstatement of colleagues sacked to make way for outside contractors.

    The increasingly bitter two-week dispute has seen pickets blocking the hotel entrances and management threatening court action to have them removed.

    Yesterday a rubbish collection vehicle failed to breach the picket line at the Lordos Beach. Management said strikers had stopped the truck, while unions said the garbage collectors had refused to pass through in a show of solidarity with the pickets.

    On Wednesday Lordos Holdings, the company which owns the hotels, obtained a court order threatening strikers with arrest if they continued to block entrances to the hotels.

    Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas yesterday admitted it was the first time he had heard of such action being taken in an attempt to combat strike action.

    "I respect the Court's decisions, whether I like them or not," he said.

    Moushiouttas said his Ministry's role would not be one of mediation, but an attempt to end the deadlock and begin dialogue between strikers and management.

    Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis confirmed that both he and Moushiouttas would intervene in the dispute.

    Speaking on state radio yesterday, Sek's secretary-general, Michalakis Ioannou, said the unions had been surprised by the company's action and predicted it would only cause bitterness.

    He said that the taking out of a court order preventing workers from blocking the entrances of the two hotels "worries us, not so much because the order was issued but because of the management's mentality."

    Ioannou said that if the action was illegal, then Lordos Holdings did not need a court order to take action against them.

    "What has been changed by the court order? It just makes the situation more bitter," he said, adding: "We are not worried about the order. It has not yet been served to those that were cited, with a few exceptions, so that we can study it in depth and take further measures."

    Also speaking on CyBC, Peo secretary-general Avraam Antoniou said the action taken by the company would not be effective, adding that the matter would be discussed with the union's legal advisors.

    "The solution to every labour problem is for dialogue to begin as soon as possible and for dialogue to continue whether there is calm, whether there is strike action or whether there are incidents of other kinds," he said.

    In a statement issued yesterday, Peo called management to the negotiating table. The statement said no court order or police intervention would stop workers from continuing with the strike. Peo also called on all workers to give their support to the hotel employees' struggle.

    Defending his company's decision, Constantinos Lordos said yesterday: "The unions forced us to take this action."

    Lordos said that while the company respected the workers' right to demonstrate against the dismissals of 73 of their colleagues, their abuse of this right had been very damaging.

    Lordos said pickets had caused "huge problems at the entrances and exits," of the hotels.

    He claimed pickets had "shredded the tires of three cars, and scratched cars belonging to fellow staff and customers."

    Lordos said damage had also been caused to the company, as strikers made normal operations impossible; thousands of pounds had been spent on private security guards to keep the peace at the hotels, he added.

    He said workers had the right to demonstrate "outside the hotel, on the pavement, wherever else," in a calm fashion, but that those blocking the entrances would be arrested.

    Management insists the dismissals at the heart of the dispute were necessary in order to combat millions of pounds worth of losses.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [06] Hopeful signs on Larnaca port dispute

    THE LARNACA port dispute could be drawing to a close after strikers' representatives met with senior government officials yesterday.

    Early yesterday morning, union leaders presented House President Spyros Kyprianou with a memorandum of their demands to be passed on to party leaders.

    Kyprianou said after the meeting he now realised that dialogue could have begun at an earlier stage.

    He said he would recommend that Communications Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou and Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas begin dialogue with the workers as soon as possible.

    The House president added that the workers seemed to agree with government plans to transform the port into a leisure terminal, and that their main demand now seemed to be for a clarification of how many workers would keep their jobs and how the rest would be compensated.

    Kyprianou seemed to have followed up on his promise when union representatives met with Moushiouttas later in the afternoon.

    The entrance to the harbour did, however, remain blocked by loading machinery, with workers continuing their strike for the 12th day.

    The 150 workers have been demonstrating against underemployment and the uncertain future of the harbour.

    Ierodiaconou announced the government's plans for the port on Wednesday.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [07] Cyprus to get short-range missiles in deal with Greece

    CYPRUS is to get six batteries of Tor M-1 anti-aircraft missiles under the arms agreements signed by Defence Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis in Athens this week, media reports suggested yesterday.

    According to the reports, Athens is currently engaged in talks with Moscow to buy 21 M-1 systems, at a cost of 140 billion drachmas. Of these, the six systems Cyprus will get are worth 80 million.

    The government has made no official statement on the issue.

    The systems are expected to be delivered to Greece just three months after the contracts are signed. The makers have also committed themselves to making any adjustments to the missiles to bring them into line with the rest of the Greek ground-to-air defence systems.

    The Tor missiles, also known as SA-15s, have a range of just 12km. The controversial S-300s can knock out targets 150km away.

    Each Tor mobile battery carries eight 12-millimetre missile shells, and tows a trailer which holds a further eight missiles.

    The Tor missiles will be sent to Cyprus in place of the more powerful S-300 system ordered by the government, which is now to be deployed in Crete after the international outcry over plans to deploy them in Cyprus.

    But Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday echoed Turkish threats that sending the missiles to Crete would destabilise the region and result in unspecified Turkish action.

    The Greeks and Greek Cypriots are "determined to continue the policy of confrontation rather than reconciliation," Denktash said.

    Deploying the missiles in Crete would only serve to increase tension in the Eastern Aegean, he added. Ankara said on Wednesday that it would respond if the missiles went to Crete. "As Turkey has declared, as we have said, we have to take counter measures," Denktash said yesterday.

    Last weekend, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said that Greece and Cyprus were trying to deploy new weaponry in Crete "to create a new offensive initiative against Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus."

    The decision to send the S-300s to Crete was officially signed during Chrysostomis' visit to Greece.

    The defence minister and a group of other Cypriot and Greek officials fly to Moscow on Monday to iron out the final logistical details of the Crete deployment.

    Greece has said that, although it will have operational control of the S- 300s, they still belong to Cyprus.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [08] House committees back abolition of death penalty

    THE HOUSE Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committees yesterday approved a bill formally abolishing the death penalty in Cyprus.

    The Cabinet tabled the bill last November to bring Cyprus' capital punishment laws in line with those of the European Union.

    Once the bill is approved by the House, only those found guilty of treason during wartime will face the death penalty. This exception is allowed in EU law, under the sixth protocol of the European Convention on the protection of human rights.

    As the law currently stands, the death penalty can still be imposed for high treason and piracy.

    Arguing for the abolition of the death penalty, state attorney Eliana Yiorkadji-Nicolaou noted that the death penalty's abolition was on the "A- list of requirements before (EU) accession" for Cyprus.

    Legal affairs committee president Panayiotis Demetriou of Disy added that a change in the law was "our international obligation."

    Diko deputy Marios Matsakis agreed with abolition, but said that the decision should be made independently of what Europe expects from Cyprus.

    Further arguments for the abolition of capital punishment came from Akel's Yiannakis Agapiou, who reminded the Committees that it had only once been implemented since the declaration of the Cyprus Republic. The one and only execution took place when a man was hung for murder in 1963.

    Disy's Rikos Erotocritou noted that in America, states that continued to use the death penalty had rates of serious crime as high or higher than their non-practising counterparts.

    Persuasive arguments proved to be unnecessary, as the Committees unanimously decided to recommend that the bill be forwarded for adoption by the Plenum. No date has yet been set for the ball to pass before the House.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [09] Storm brewing over fixed coffee prices

    Anthony O. Miller

    A STORM is brewing over whether to cut the price of coffee locally roasted and ground, to bring it closer to current world prices, Commerce and Industry Ministry sources indicated yesterday.

    Andreas Galatariotis, Industrial and Commercial Officer at the Ministry, said he favoured a price cut. He declined to say by how much, lest revealing that figure prompt local stores to stop buying from wholesalers until a new, reduced, price took effect.

    George Mitides, the Advisory Price Commission's director, however, says he questions the wisdom of lowering the coffee price, despite the fact the government fixed the current price in 1996, when green coffee beans cost more than they do today.

    Between the two extremes is the answer to whether, by the time the Commission meets and votes before the end of this month, the price of coffee is allowed to drop, and if so, by how much.

    Alithia yesterday reported that the two major local roaster-grinders, who dominate 92 per cent of the market, and the dozen or so smaller ones serving the remainder, have been overcharging by 30 cents per kilo of coffee over the last year.

    The paper claimed a Commerce Ministry study showed the overcharging warranted a Commission-ordered price cut of 35 cents per kilo on the wholesale product. But it noted that, since Brazilian green coffee prices have risen recently, the Ministry now thinks a wholesale price cut of 25 cents per kilo is enough.

    Galatariotis was furious at this published assertion, which laid the leak of this information at his door. He denied leaking any data regarding possible price cuts, adding: "The two main coffee buyers are very very angry with me over this news," as it could kill their wholesale sales until a lower price is agreed.

    For this reason, he declined even to suggest by what percentage, or amount, the Committee should cut the wholesale coffee price. Nonetheless, he insisted the price should be cut.

    "You cannot have a controlled item which does not come down in price when that price cut is merited," he said.

    He said he had been cautious in his research in the last half of 1998, before proposing the price cut, in confidence, to the Commission, and that his research showed a cut was warranted.

    Mitides was less certain, noting that - despite the fact the Ministry still fixes the prices of six items - the Treaty of Rome, foundation of the European Union, prohibits the practice.

    "The fixing of prices violates Article 30 of the Treaty of Rome, which means that no restrictions or other equivalent effects should be imposed" on a commodity, Mitides asserted.

    Despite this, the Commerce Ministry still fixes the prices of cement, petroleum products, wood produced by the Cyprus forest industries, pasteurised milk, locally processed coffee, and 'common bread', Mitides said.

    This last, he added, "is non-existent. Nobody calls it 'common bread'. When you go to buy bread, they say it's not 'common bread', it's white, it's village bread."

    "By fixing a price," he continued, "we restricted the free movement of goods," which is barred by EU law, along with any impeding of the free flow of capital or labour across EU borders.

    Though Cyprus is not yet an EU member, and though the price fixing is local and does not affect a product crossing borders, Mitides insisted: "I'm afraid it is in violation of Article 30 of the Treaty of Rome." That, for him, appeared to be determinative.

    "I wonder if it's good to fix maximum prices for coffee. Is it good for the consumer?" Mitides asked. "I wonder if we are protecting the economic interest of consumers by reducing each packet of coffee by four or five cents - 35 cents per kilo?"

    "I think fixing the price of any product, where there is competition, leads to higher prices for the consumer," he said. "We don't protect the economic interests of the consumer by fixing prices in those cases where there is free competition."

    Asked if he will vote to cut the coffee price, Mitides replied: "This is the opinion of some of my colleagues. I think that the economic interests of the consumers will be served better if the price is liberalised."

    Whatever the ultimate vote later this month, Galatariotis said he would closely watch the world price of coffee beans, following the earthquake that recently ravaged Colombia, and Hurricane Mitch, which devastated much of Central America - both major sources of the world's premium coffees.

    If by May, these disasters have caused world coffee prices to rise, Galatariotis said he would revisit the question, with a view to raising the local wholesale price again.

    Besides coffee, the Price Committee will also decide this month whether to grant a request by the island's dairies to raise by 1.5 cents per litre the wholesale price of pasteurised cows milk, Mitides added.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [10] Cyprus Institute identifies rare genetic disorder in Jordanian tribe

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE CYPRUS Institute of Neurology and Genetics, in collaboration with two Jordanian hospitals, has identified a new form of nerve- and muscle-wasting hereditary disease that uniquely strikes a particular tribal population of Jordanians.

    The researchers also isolated the gene - on chromosome 9 - that causes the crippling motor neuropathy, which is unique to people of the ancient Roman- Greek Jordanian city of Jerash and is transmitted by intermarriage among them, Dr Eleni Zamba said yesterday.

    Jordanian doctors now have the tough task of telling the Jerash people they must alter their age-old tribal intermarriage patterns, "as it's most probable that a person will be a carrier if they are from their same family, " Dr Zamba said.

    If tests determine both potential marriage partners carry the recessive gene, they will be cautioned against marrying, lest their children inherit the disease, she said.

    But as it is a recessive disorder, both parents can carry the gene and not pass it to their children - although the risk is greater here than if only one parent is a carrier. Likewise, a child with the gene, who marries a partner without it, will not produce offspring that inherit the disorder.

    The disease does not affect Cypriots, Dr Zamba said. But it was found in 30 out of 120 Jordanians in seven Jerash families studied, suggesting a prevalence that warranted the Cypriot genetic detective work in collaboration with the University Hospital of Amman and the King Hussein Hospital.

    The disease's victims are strictly Arab Jordanians, all from the Jerash area, and include no Palestinians, Zamba said - despite the fact more than half Jordan's population is Palestinian.

    The disease causes selective weakness and wasting of the nerves controlling the muscles of the hands and feet, while not necessarily affecting the arms and legs. Thus, some victims may not be able to feed themselves, and others may be unable to walk, while there is nothing wrong with their forearms, calves, biceps or thighs, Zamba said.

    The field work was done in Jordan, while the high-tech genetic research was done at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Nicosia. The project was funded by a grant from the American Muscular Dystrophy Association to study the genetic diseases of the Eastern Mediterranean area, Zamba said.

    Cypriots involved in the research included Dr Zamba, Orthodox Priest and microbiologist Father Marios Tsingis, Elefterios Papathanasiou, Annie Hadjianastasiou, Dr Kyriakos Kyriacou, Dr Theodoros Kyriakides, Dr Kyproula Christodoulou and Dr Lefkos Middleton.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [11] National Guard probes second beating

    THE NATIONAL Guard is, for the second time in a month, investigating the beating of a soldier, who needed hospital treatment in Paphos to recover from his injuries.

    On Wednesday night, 19-year-old Nicolas Nicolaou was taken to casualty at Paphos General hospital suffering from injuries to the face and suspected fractures.

    He claimed he had been the victim of an army beating by four or so fellow soldiers.

    National Guard spokesman Andreas Harides yesterday dismissed any suggestion that the incident involved any kind of army punishment beatings, which are outlawed by the armed forces.

    The soldier says he was beaten during a row between other National Guardsmen, but the army is treating his case as an isolated incident.

    The army nevertheless vowed to find and punish the culprits.

    Less than a month ago, another National Guardsman stationed in Paphos also received hospital treatment after being badly beaten by fellow soldiers.

    Harides said those responsible for the first incident had been dealt with and received the appropriate punishment.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [12] Trade deficit grows

    CYPRUS' trade deficit grew by 6.5 per cent in 1998, mainly due to a fall in exports.

    The discouraging statistics are contained in an official report for the first eleven months of 1998 released by the Department of Statistics and Research yesterday.

    Total exports during that period fell by 13.3 per cent to 514.2 million, compared to 593.2 million for the same period the previous year.

    Total imports decreased by 0.3 per cent to 1,738.4 million.

    As a result, the trade deficit from January to November 1998 reached 1, 224.1 million, compared to 1,149.5 million for the same period in 1997.

    The EU still remains the island's strongest trading partner, with member states absorbing 52.9 per cent of Cyprus' domestic exports (up from 49.5 per cent), while neighbouring Arab countries mustered 26,6 per cent (down from 28.5 per cent).

    The lion's share of the island's imports - 54.6 per cent - also came from the EU, up from 47.3 per cent in 1997.

    Friday, February 12, 1999

    [13] Committee to examine the Cyprus File

    A SPECIAL committee is to be set up to probe the findings of the Greek parliamentary committee which compiled the "Cyprus File" - the examination of the 1974 coup, which sparked the invasion.

    The members of the committee, whose formation was announced yesterday, will be going over the full 1,000-page report compiled by their Greek colleagues.

    A summary of the Cyprus File has already been seen by local politicians, who requested that the Greek committee send over the complete version. And House President Spyros Kyprianou has said that the House has not ruled out the formation of a Cypriot investigative committee if "we arrive at the conclusion that further investigation is necessary after the conclusion of studying this document".

    He said that in this event, he would first discuss the matter with Athens, with President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    Kyprianou met with party leaders yesterday morning to inform them of the plan. The parties were yesterday discussing whom they would each appoint to serve on the committee, but were not expected to reach final decisions for at least a week.

    The report runs the risk of reopening old wounds as opposition parties Diko and Akel have long accused ruling Disy of welcoming coupists into its ranks.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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