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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-04-06

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

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


Tuesday, April 06, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Protest to UN at threat to settle Varosha
  • [02] Government sends aid to Yugoslavia
  • [03] Officials 'unaware of Akamas hotel plans'
  • [04] Two remanded after van torched
  • [05] Police probe brutality claim
  • [06] Accident victim was father of five
  • [07] Boy loses five fingers in blast
  • [08] Galanos miffed at Spyros snub
  • [09] Stolen icon to be returned from Switzerland
  • [10] Toddler hospitalised with meningitis
  • [11] Indians demand apology for airport 'insult'
  • [12] Russia urges reciprocal move on Cyprus
  • [13] Cyprus has the edge in trade with Romania
  • [14] Missing man's body discovered

  • [01] Protest to UN at threat to settle Varosha

    THE GOVERNMENT has protested to the United Nations over Turkish threats to settle the abandoned town of Famagusta with refugees from Kosovo.

    "The Cyprus government has taken all the necessary steps both towards the Secretary-general of the UN and the five Permanent members of the Security Council in connection with the threats of Mr (Rauf) Denktash," Government Spokesman Costas Serezis told his daily press briefing yesterday.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader last week threatened that he would take in between three and five thousand Albanian Muslims fleeing Kosovo.

    He said they would be settled in Varosha, a part of the uninhabited south eastern coastal town of Famagusta which is seen as a possible bargaining chip for the Turkish Cypriots in future settlement talks on the Cyprus problem.

    The Greek Cypriot suburb was a popular tourist resort before the Turkish invasion in 1974 when its inhabitants abandoned it.

    Serezis said that under UN resolutions Famagusta cannot be settled. "The only legal residents of the town are those who were displaced in 1974," he said.

    Serezis said a response had already been received from the UN to its protest which the government felt was satisfactory.

    Famagusta is already patrolled by the UN even though it is not part of the 180km-long buffer zone which divides the island.

    The Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly threatened to settle Varosha over the years.

    There are 14,000 tourist beds in Varosha's 45 hotels and 60 tourist apartment blocks.

    Famagusta Mayor Andreas Pouyouros said yesterday that former residents of the town want the repeated threats to end.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [02] Government sends aid to Yugoslavia

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS will send humanitarian aid to Yugoslavia, the government said yesterday.

    Government spokesman Costas Serezis said medicine, food and clothing would be sent for refugees, but he did not specify whether the aid was meant for ethnic Albanians or Serbs.

    Cyprus' position on the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia has remained unclear in a country where the majority of the population is pro-Serb.

    The government has expressed concern about atrocities committed against civilians and has criticised Serb actions but the House of Representatives has also passed a resolution condemning Nato.

    Both Serezis and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides hinted last week that the government has to take a stance which is in the national interest, independent of its feelings on the subject.

    Serezis said the aid would be sent via Greece and would be discussed during meetings in Athens today between Cassoulides and his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou.

    "Because of its position and its involvement in the whole issue, the Greek government will guide us on how to go about it," Serezis said.

    Meanwhile Dr Eleni Theocharous, Cyprus's representative for the international organisation Doctors of the World, said yesterday a Cypriot team would leave for Yugoslavia within 48 hours.

    "Our aim is to re-establish contact with Serbian doctors," she said. Theocharous said there is a huge need for surgical supplies.

    "We plan to work in hospitals and to deal with emergencies," she said. Theocharous said the team's destination is the village of Kryova, a few kilometres outside the Kosovo capital of Pristina where the Cypriot doctors already have contacts from a previous mission.

    "We may go to Pristina, depending on conditions," Theocharous said.

    But she made it clear that the attentions of the Cypriot doctors would not be focused entirely on the Albanian refugees fleeing Kosovo.

    "There is some discrimination in the distribution of aid," she said adding that little was being done for the Serbs who are being bombed by Nato.

    "All the aid is going to Albanians and I have nothing against that, but the Serbs need help too," she said.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [03] Officials 'unaware of Akamas hotel plans'

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE PAPHOS District office yesterday pleaded ignorance of reported plans for a second hotel development within the area earmarked for an Akamas national park.

    Friends of the Akamas, the group that has campaigned longest and hardest for the preservation of the Akamas peninsula, has claimed that the government has granted a licence to Grecian Hotels to build a 264-bed five- star hotel on the Asprokremmos coast west of Latchi. The family firm of former Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Thanos Hotels, has already built a large hotel complex on the same coast - after securing planning relaxations from the cabinet while Michaelides was still in office.

    The Paphos District office was unable to comment on the greens' claims yesterday, but promised the matter would be looked into.

    The Town Planning Department in Nicosia was put "out of action" by an official visit from new Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, and there was no reply from the Grecian Hotel offices in Paralimni.

    Friends of the Akamas have called on the government to explain why a new development was being sanctioned and to revoke the licence.

    The government is in the final stages of approving a management plan for an Akamas national park, but environmentalists fear that developments like the Thanos Hotels complex are destroying the pristine area.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [04] Two remanded after van torched

    By Athena Karsera

    TWO MEN were remanded for five days yesterday in connection with an early morning arson attack on a Limassol businessman's car.

    Police in Limassol say that Panayiotis Georgiou Malialis, 20, has confessed to setting Leonidas Patriotis' van alight, saying that he was drunk at the time.

    Malialis also implicated another 20-year-old, Harry Roussis, as the person who supplied him with the flammable liquid used to set the vehicle on fire.

    Malialis was caught red-handed when a police patrol saw him throwing a burning rag on to the van, which was parked in a field next to Patriotis' workplace. Requesting the duo's remand, the investigating officer told Limassol court that a search showed Malialis to be in the possession of a cigarette lighter and another rag covered in flammable liquid. The investigating officer also told the court that Malialis claimed to have no personal differences with Patriotis and that he had chosen the van at random. Damage estimated at 2,500 was caused to Patriotis' van.

    Meanwhile, unused changing rooms at Cyprus University were deliberately set alight on Saturday night. Police say the fire broke out at approximately 10pm at the campus in Lykavitos. The fire brigade put out the flames and police later found a cylinder, "probably containing gas," which they believe was used by the arsonists at the scene of the crime. The cost of the damage is not yet known.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [05] Police probe brutality claim

    POLICE are investigating claims that a 19-year-old demonstrator was beaten senseless by riot police during a pro-Serb protest outside the US embassy in Nicosia on Saturday.

    Constantinos Makriyiannis, from Kaimakli in Nicosia, was treated in hospital after an incident at the demonstration.

    The Cyprus Human Rights Association and the Green party have both claimed the teenager was the victim of an unprovoked attack by truncheon-wielding riot police, detailed to control the protest against Nato air strikes on Yugoslavia.

    These claims of police brutality have been echoed by Makriyiannis's 18-year- old sister, Christiana, who was also at the protest. "We are investigating the circumstances under which he (Makriyiannis) was injured," police spokesman Glafcos Xenos said yesterday.

    "He was hurt, but this does not mean we did it," Xenos said.

    The Human Rights Association claims officers provoked the incident in which Makriyiannis was injured by laying into a group of protesters with their batons. Makriyiannis's younger sister was among these protesters and he rushed to protect her, the association claimed. Officers than beat him on the back, sides and hand with their truncheons, knocking him out, the human rights group said.

    About 300 demonstrators had gathered outside the embassy after an all-party pro-Serb rally in Eleftheria Square.

    The Green party slammed police over the incident and their attitude to protests in general, saying the force was guilty of "acting as an implement for violent repression of actions by concerned citizens".

    Amnesty International has consistently expressed concern over reports of police brutality against detainees. Last October, rapid reaction squad (MMAD) officers were filmed beating African immigrants during a disturbance at a Larnaca detention centre.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [06] Accident victim was father of five

    A FATHER of five was killed in a road accident on Sunday. Vassilis Kyriakos Spaos, 42, a construction worker from Ormidhia, was driving on the Ayia Napa to Xylotymbou road when the accident happened at approximately 4am.

    Police say the victim's car went into the opposite lane of traffic and collided with four bollards. They believe that while trying to get back on to the road, Spaos lost control of his vehicle which overturned after ramming into a bank at the side of the road.

    Spaos was fatally injured and taken to Paralimni hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. He had not been wearing a safety belt said police, who want anyone with who may have seen the crash to contact their nearest police station.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [07] Boy loses five fingers in blast

    A 12-year-old boy lost all five fingers on his right hand yesterday in a firework accident.

    Charalambos Charalambous was making the firework at his home in Monagroulli village when it exploded in his hand. He was rushed to Limassol General Hospital for treatment, and later transferred to Nicosia's Makarios hospital for further treatment.

    Yesterday's was the fourth such accident in the past few weeks.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [08] Galanos miffed at Spyros snub

    EUROPEAN Renewal Party (Kea) chief Alexis Galanos yesterday said that he had been repeatedly told by House President Spyros Kyprianou that he had no place on the platform during Saturday's pro-Serb rally in Nicosia's Eleftheria Square.

    Galanos called a news conference yesterday to say that Kyprianou had told him not to join other political leaders on the stage "three or four times", and that he had eventually attended the gathering standing in the crowd.

    "This message could not only have come from the House president; he probably discussed it with the leaders of the parties that were there," Galanos added.

    He said the decision that "Kea is not a party so it should be excluded from the event" had not been given due consideration, and wondered what criteria defined a political party in the eyes of other parliamentary groups.

    Galanos said he has raised the matter with Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [09] Stolen icon to be returned from Switzerland

    ANOTHER icon stolen from Antifonitis church in the occupied area is expected back on the island soon.

    The icon, currently in the possession of a Swiss art collector, depicts the apostle Mark. In a letter to the

    Cyprus embassy in Switzerland, the collector said that after the arrest of Turk Aydin Dikmen last year, he no longer wants to keep the icon. It will be returned to the church free of charge.

    Of the icons and frescoes plundered from the church, 34 are now in the Nicosia Byzantine Museum after being bought back by the church last October as part of the sting operation which lead to the arrest of Dikmen, who was found to have 350 stolen religious treasures in his possession. The items had been secreted behind false walls in his Munich apartment building.

    After a court battle, the church failed to recover four more icons depicting the apostles from a Rotterdam collector, but is appealing against the ruling. Another icon, featuring the Virgin Mary, was returned last September.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [10] Toddler hospitalised with meningitis

    THE Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed that Paphos General Hospital admitted a toddler suffering from meningitis late on Sunday night.

    Ministry officials said the three-year-old, whose name and sex have not been revealed, has bacterial meningitis. Although the exact strain has not yet been identified, the officials said the child was responding well to treatment and that more would be known in 24 hours.

    The child's family and anyone in contact with it have received preventative medicine.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [11] Indians demand apology for airport 'insult'

    By Anthony O. Miller

    "YOUR COUNTRY is first class," Dr Yadubir Saran Das said of Cyprus. "We saw so many places. It was wonderful, I tell you."

    The 71-year-old physician and retired Indian government civil servant came to Cyprus on March 12 with his wife, Buna, 63; his sister-in-law, Aruna Mathur, 52; his daughter Dakshit Das, 37, and her child, Naman Devdaksh, six months, to visit their daughter Pallavi and her husband, Tushar Desai, in Nicosia.

    On the eve of their return, the insult of their welcome had faded somewhat. But it so incensed Desai that he sent a scorching letter to the Cyprus Mail on the advice of the Indian High Commissioner. He wanted apologies for the way his relatives were treated by Cyprus Immigration Police on arriving from India at Larnaca Airport.

    Desai had done just what Immigration Department First Administrative Officer Michael Antoniou had told the Cyprus Mail was "advisable" when foreigners visit Cyprus: he had faxed his relatives' invitations on letterhead stationery of their Nicosia employer, international pollster ACNielsen AMER, declaring, "all expenses (for Dr Das and his party) during their stay in Cyprus would be borne by Pallavi and me".

    Based on the letters, the Cyprus High Commissioner in New Delhi had issued the family two-month visas. Indeed, their passports were all stamped with valid Cyprus visas on arrival.

    Desai said he also had "handed the 'original' invitation letters to the immigration authorities, just in case they were required". This would make no difference.

    "On arrival at Immigration Counter No. 10" on March 12, "our family was harassed with questions and comments like: 'What is AMER? Is it a district of Cyprus? Where is it? What do you do in India?'" Desai said.

    The hectoring continued: "'How much money do you have, and where will you stay (in spite of having seen the invitation letters)? How can we be sure that you will go back to India? So what, if you have your husband or a government job in India?'"

    "They delayed us for one and a half hours," Das recalled. "My wife has arthritis. She had to stand in a queue for one and a half hours also. I told them she is not well yet. They did not care for it much. They started reducing the date of the visas."

    Claiming they lacked authority to issue a visa for more than two weeks, Cyprus Immigration Police cancelled the two-month visas for Das and Aruna Mathur, Desai said. Then, contradicting themselves, the same officers issued both Das and Mathur 20-day visas. "I don't know what made them do it, " Das mused.

    The police next cancelled the two-month visas for Das' wife, Bina; daughter, Dakshit and her child, Naman - and reissued them 31-day visas, again contradicting their claim to lack power to issue more than a two-week visa, Desai noted.

    As the police cancelled their visas, Das recalled: "All we said was: 'That is wrong, because the seal is there. How do you say that it is not genuine?'"

    The visa hassle not only insulted his family, it also made them fear they might not be able to return home as planned, Desai said. This was because their return tickets were booked for April 12, while even those who got 31- day visas were given a departure date of April 11 - one day before their return flights to India.

    In response to the family's worried inquiries, and despite cancelling their visas lest they stay in Cyprus illegally, the airport Immigration Police officer told the three relatives with 31-day visas that they could "stay... for 2-3 days beyond the visa expiry date" to catch their plane home, Desai said.

    "The utterly irrational, irresponsible and callous behaviour of the Immigration Officer at Larnaca Airport has made our family feel absolutely unwelcome in Cyprus - so upset and scared, that they want to depart before the 'new' visa expiry dates, just in case the Immigration Office decides to harass them again," Desai wrote.

    Cyprus is "a world-renowned tourist destination, especially for people from Europe, the UK and the USA," Desai noted. "Is this the way they typically welcome and treat all tourists? Or is this a 'special' kind of treatment, meted out to certain people only, on an immigration officer's whim and fancy?"

    "It was unpardonable, what he (the immigration officer) did," Das said, especially forcing his arthritic wife to stand for 90 minutes. "My grandchild was in my arms, and my wife was standing. My sister-in-law, Ms Mathur, was standing, and I was standing. ... I told him (of their discomfort), but he did not listen," Das said.

    Despite later visa extensions by Cyprus authorities, following Indian High Commission intervention, Das and Mathur left Cyprus on March 31. Others of his family stayed behind.

    Das said the Immigration Department officer who finally extended his visa was "quite courteous (and did it) ... in 15 minutes. But the airport officer was very discourteous."

    "I come from one of the very prominent and renowned families of India," Das said, "and I expected some decency from the airport authorities. But they did not extend it. What more can I say?"

    Only one top Cyprus Immigration Department officials was even available for comment, and he declined to say anything about the Das family case, on the grounds that he was not familiar with it.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [12] Russia urges reciprocal move on Cyprus

    RUSSIA said yesterday that because Cyprus had contributed to regional stability by deploying its S-300 missiles in Crete instead of Cyprus, countries that had opposed the missile sale by Russia should to do something for a Cyprus solution.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Avteyev, on a three-day visit, also said that demilitarising Cyprus would help bring about the kind of bizonal, bicommunal, federation that Moscow endorsed as a Cyprus solution.

    "Russia is ready to discuss the prospects of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single international personality, and we are ready to back any initiative on this basis," Avteyev said.

    He said Russia is "working for a solution on the basis of UN resolutions and two high-level agreements between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides," signed in 1977 and 1979.

    "It is therefore reasonable," he said, "to expect that all those who fought against the deployment of the (S-300) missiles in Cyprus will make the necessary moves to create the appropriate circumstances for a solution on the basis of UN resolutions."

    While noting that the shape of any Cyprus solution was "a matter for the people of Cyprus", Avteyev said Moscow believed a federal state was "the only state that could work to the benefit of both communities".

    He dismissed Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's proposal to confederate Cyprus as contrary to the expressed will of the international community, warning it would "essentially lead to the division of Cyprus and the abolition of the Cypriot state".

    Confederation, he said, would violate rulings by the UN Security Council defining Cyprus as a unified state with a single international identity and two regions where the island's two communities will feel secure.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [13] Cyprus has the edge in trade with Romania

    CYPRUS companies have invested about $570 million in Romania, Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday after meeting his Romanian counterpart, Radu Berceanu.

    Rolandis said the island's economy would benefit handsomely from these investments, noting a large number of Cyprus companies have operations in Romania.

    "For us, Cyprus is an important country in the region" due to the heavy Cypriot investment there, Berceanu said, adding that both countries have "very good and very close relations".

    While the island's investment gives Cyprus companies an edge as trade develops in Romania, Berceanu said Romanian companies could bid for tenders on energy projects on the island - an area he suggested allowed room for development.

    The Romanian minister noted his country's parliament had called for an immediate end to all military activity in Yugoslavia and the start of political dialogue to find a political solution that allows Yugoslavia's borders to remain intact.

    "The solution must be found in this direction, and not in changing borders, " he said, adding that he did not see the military conflict in Yugoslavia spreading outside its current borders.

    Berceanu also met the Acting President, House President Spyros Kyprianou, who said a Romanian parliamentary delegation will visit Cyprus soon. He also accepted an invitation to visit Romania at a later date.

    Tuesday, April 06, 1999

    [14] Missing man's body discovered

    The body of a man missing since Friday was found yesterday in Aradippou dam. He had been shot dead.

    Fotis Petrakides, 55, of Engomi, Nicosia was found by police divers around 4 pm. Clothing manufacturer Petrakides had been reported missing by his wife on Friday and his car was found abandoned in Aradippou on Sunday.

    The site of the discovery was visited by Police Chief Andreas Angelides and State Coroner Panicos Stavrianos, who will perform an autopsy on Petrakides at Larnaca General Hospital this morning.

    Police said it appeared that Petrakides had been shot at point blank range in the head and chest and his body dumped in the dam. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the grisly killing may have underworld links. According to reports, Petrakides was involved in an undercover police operation, and when last seen on Friday night, was going to a pre-arranged meeting with unknown persons who are thought to be involved in drug-running.

    The most recent gangland killing was that of George Ioannou, alias Koutsoudias, in January. Ioannou, 33, was gunned down outside a Limassol cabaret. Pavlos Hadjicostas, 22, is currently on trial for the killing.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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