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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-04-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, April 27, 1999


  • [01] Clerides links Cyprus-Kosovo, US initiative `in September'
  • [02] Cyprus falls into line on EU oil embargo
  • [03] Greens boycott eco conference over Yugo bombings
  • [04] Police unsure of cause of Pittas inferno
  • [05] Hotel strikers picket the President
  • [06] Family held on suspicion of providing false alibi
  • [07] Bouncer and barmen accused of beating up tourists
  • [08] Danish girl satisfactory after brain haemorrhage
  • [09] Turkish Cypriot fined after driving to Xylotymbou
  • [10] Doctors to strike next week

  • [01] Clerides links Cyprus-Kosovo, US initiative `in September'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday said his government approached the Kosovo crisis as it did the Cyprus issue, by opposing ethnic cleansing and demanding the return of refugees.

    In a televised two-hour press conference last night Clerides gave away few surprises but did say that Cyprus had secured short-range missiles as a substitute for the cancelled Italian-made Aspide missiles.

    "When the Italian government refused to deliver the Aspides last year we made arrangements to secure other missiles with the same range as the Aspide but of a better quality," said Clerides during his annual press conference at the Presidential Palace.

    Furthermore, the president said the much vaunted, but yet to materialise, American initiative would come about some time in September at the latest. "I have come up with this date for a Cyprus initiative not because I can see into the future but because this is what I've been told," said Clerides.

    Although in his opening speech Clerides gave a rosy picture of the economy's four per cent growth rate and inflation under two per cent, it was Kosovo which dominated questions from the floor.

    Commenting on remarks by Akel that Cyprus should review its EU ambition because of Europe's stance over Yugoslavia Clerides replied: "Our progress towards Europe will continue. I don't think we should reconsider our progress because of what is happening in Yugoslavia."

    He said it would be a "huge mistake" to respond to what is happening in Europe without putting the island's own national interests first. In fact, the island's EU accession process was described as the "greatest achievement since independence".

    Outlining the government's view on the Kosovo crisis Clerides put the record straight. "Kosovo should remain within Serb territory, refugees should return to Kosovo, as we demand the return of refugees in Cyprus under security guarantees and an international force deployed."

    It was the first time that Clerides had linked the Kosovo crisis to the Cyprus problem and he said the government could not demand one solution for Yugoslavia and another for the island. We are opposed to ethnic cleansing (in Kosovo) as we are in Cyprus."

    Asked about Britain's view that direct talks on the Cyprus problem can only take place without pre-conditions, Clerides said: "We have put down no pre- conditions on talks, it is Mr Denktash who has put down pre-conditions by refusing to talk within the framework of UN resolutions."

    The only solution acceptable, said Clerides, is one that "secures the future of Cypriot Hellenism in its homeland".

    Referring to the ongoing social dialogue, the president said there was a consensus of opinion on the freeing of interest rates and having an independent Central Bank. The question was when and how, said Clerides.

    The president also denied he had already agreed to reshuffle his cabinet once the dialogue had ended.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [02] Cyprus falls into line on EU oil embargo

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it would join the EU oil embargo on Yugoslavia, but would reserve the right to examine the final decision when full details of its implementation are approved some time this week.

    Germany, as rotating EU president, last Friday asked Cyprus to support the proposed oil embargo on Yugoslavia.

    Government spokesman Costas Serezis, speaking to journalists yesterday, said the Foreign Minister had given the relevant instructions to Cyprus' permanent Representative in Brussels after consulting with the President.

    "In spite of the difficulties Cyprus is facing as regards the events in Yugoslavia, the Cyprus government as a contribution to the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, is aligned with the unanimous decision of the EU, but reserves the right to examine the relevant regulation when it is approved by the EU," the spokesman said.

    Serezis said the Foreign Minister had informed party leaders of the government's decision, "which is based on the national interests of Cyprus and takes into account the fact that Cyprus, in any case neither sells nor supplies fuel to Yugoslavia."

    Communist party Akel opposed the government's decision, saying Cyprus should not comply. "Our opposition is not emotional, it is entirely political," said party official Andros Kyprianou.

    "I honestly can't see why we should agree with the irrational demands of the EU," he said. "if this is the way the EU perceives democracy, I think we should seriously ask ourselves whether we want to join."

    Diko also said it was opposed to complying with the EU decision, which it said was really a Nato decision.

    But EU Chief Negotiator George Vassiliou said it would be unthinkable for Cyprus not to fall in line with the EU.

    "Cyprus' decision has to be the same as Greece's and has to be taken with the country's best interests in mind," he said.

    Vassiliou said Cyprus could not afford under any circumstances to let the emotions of the general public on Yugoslavia affect national interests.

    "We are working very hard to achieve accession to Europe so it is unthinkable to take a different position," Vassiliou said.

    The EU is rushing through the ban on the shipment of oil to Yugoslavia with the measure expected to be in place this week.

    It is designed to bar the sale and supply of oil and oil products from EU countries to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    The ban would extend to any aircraft or ship under the jurisdiction of an EU member state and to any person who is a national of a member state.

    The Cyprus ship register is the world's fifth largest, with well over 2,000 ships on the books.

    Greece, which also has a huge shipping industry, and Italy have expressed concern at the embargo on legal and economic grounds.

    The ban will exempt oil destined to help displaced people within Yugoslavia in projects monitored by the International Red Cross and the United Nations refugee agency, according to the draft regulation.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [03] Greens boycott eco conference over Yugo bombings

    By Charlie Charalambous

    LOCAL Greens are boycotting an international eco conference in Nicosia, claiming that Americans giving lectures on saving the planet should look no further than their government's actions in Yugoslavia.

    The Federation of Environmental and Ecological Organisations yesterday sent a letter to the American Centre, saying it thought the invitation to attend the conference was in bad taste.

    "The content of the conference is invalid and unfortunate and we counter- propose that a more suitable theme would be the ecological and cultural destruction from bombing raids over Kosovo," said a letter from the federation - representing 19 green organisations.

    An exhibition and conference entitled 'Earth Learning, Earth Living' and focusing on environmental education will be opened tomorrow by American ambassador Kenneth Brill.

    "We consider, in light of the Nato attacks, that such an event is obsolete, if not provocative," said a statement by the Green Party yesterday.

    Local environmentalists are outraged that a country they say is responsible for mass destruction and its ecological consequences in Yugoslavia should be preaching to the rest of the world.

    "We find it inconceivable that the American embassy and its services in Cyprus are organising an event to explain to us what is significant about environmental education and how to protect the environment," said the green statement.

    It cited the blowing up of chemical plants and oil refineries by Nato war planes as the greatest current risk to the environment.

    The greens called on others to join the boycott, including Turkish Cypriots who have been invited to attend. They will also be holding a 'Stop the Nato bombing' demonstration tomorrow afternoon at the Ledra Palace, where the seminar is scheduled to take place.

    A majority of Cypriots strongly oppose the Nato bombings and anti-Nato demonstrations outside the US embassy in Nicosia are a frequent event.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [04] Police unsure of cause of Pittas inferno

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE CAUSE of the massive blaze that gutted the brand new Pittas dairy in Latsia outside Nicosia on Sunday was still a mystery yesterday, with heat and fumes barring forensic examinations.

    The government and the milk marketing board yesterday sped to find a stop- gap outlet for the thousands of litres of milk normally absorbed by the gutted dairy.

    The factory fire, which started at about 8.30am, was the worst in living memory, completely destroying the island's largest dairy and causing an estimated 10 million's worth of damage.

    Nine fire engines and 40 men were needed to bring the blaze under control and stop it from spreading to a store of toxic ammonia cooling liquid, to prevent a possible toxic pollution disaster. Latsia residents were warned to stay indoors and close their doors and windows on Sunday morning as a pall of black smoke spread over the suburb.

    The blaze was preceded by a blast, thought to have been caused by an over- heated cooling unit exploding, but police could not confirm this yesterday.

    "We cannot say anything about the cause, as unfortunately we cannot get into the factory; it is too hot inside, there are still fires burning, so we must be patient," fire brigade technical expert Michalis Hadjirousos said yesterday. He said he hoped a full examination of the smouldering remains would be possible today.

    A distraught Athos Pittas, one of the dairy owners, said he had no reason to suspect foul play: "I have no reason to believe anyone would have done this intentionally."

    The 12,500 square metre factory, which only began operation earlier this year, was insured against fire.

    Hadjirousos described the burnt factory as "one of the most perfect" he had seen, indicating a design fault was an unlikely culprit for the fire.

    The factory technical director, Vassos Papavasiliou, said Pittas would be bringing its two older factories in Nicosia back into operation in an effort to maintain production.

    The milk marketing board called an emergency meeting to discuss what should be done about the milk the factory would have taken in. Pittas normally uses a quarter of the island's daily milk production.

    Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis chaired an emergency departmental meeting to discuss the milk "crisis" yesterday evening.

    Standing outside the destroyed dairy, Athos Pittas vowed the factory would be re-built. "We will try, from the ashes, to be born again," he said.

    "This factory was the pride of Cyprus and the whole Middle East too," he said. "I have no words to describe what has happened here," a visibly shocked Pittas said.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [05] Hotel strikers picket the President

    ONE HUNDRED and fifty-eight strikers from two Larnaca hotels yesterday blocked the road outside the Presidential Palace for approximately two hours in a sit-down demonstration after the President refused to receive all of them.

    President Glafcos Clerides said that he would meet with the strikers' union representatives to receive their petition, but the strikers rejected this offer.

    The strike at the Lordos Beach and Golden Bay hotels yesterday went into its 87th day, with staff protesting against redundancies made when sections of the hotels were handed over to outside contractors in an effort to lower costs.

    The strikers also yesterday presented petitions to Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas and Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Rodosakis, before going to the Palace and blocking the road between 11.30am and 1.30pm.

    Pickets and union representatives left Larnaca early yesterday morning, congregating outside the Labour Ministry at 9.30am and calling on Moushiouttas to intensify his efforts to solve the problem.

    Moushiouttas yesterday defended his endeavours: "The Ministry is in constant contact with both sides and is doing all it can to help," he told CyBC.

    The strikers then presented a petition to Rodosakis and asked him to take action, claiming Greek workers had been brought in to replace strikers and warning this could cause problems in labour relations between Greece and Cyprus.

    The next stop was the Presidential Palace. "We expected to see the President," said Sek's Nicos Epistethiou, "but the policemen on duty would not even let the strikers pass the gates as if they were criminals."

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [06] Family held on suspicion of providing false alibi

    THE FIANCEE and prospective in-laws of murder suspect George Christodoulou have been remanded in custody on suspicion of providing him with a false alibi.

    Christodoulou, 22, is suspected of shooting 55-year-old father-of-three Fotis Petrakides near Koshi village on April 2 and then dumping his body in Aradippou dam outside Larnaca. The Nicosia man's corpse was found three days later.

    Larnaca District court heard on Sunday that farmer Andreas Kasapis, 44, his wife Eleni, 38, and their 20-year-old daughter Stella had told police that Christodoulou, Stella's husband-to-be, had been with them at the time of the killing.

    Police say they have a statement from 26-year-old Christos Jakouris - who is also being held in connection with the murder - naming Christodoulou as Petrakides's killer.

    The Kasapis family were all remanded for two days and are expected back in court today.

    During an earlier remand hearing, the court heard that Christodoulou, arrested on April 7, had vowed to "sort out" his alleged victim just days before the body was found.

    The chief suspect is apparently refusing to make any statement to police.

    Unconfirmed reports suggest that Petrakides, a former special policeman, had, at the time of his murder, been working as an undercover police informant trying to bust a ring smuggling drugs and guns from the north. An autopsy has showed he was shot five times.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [07] Bouncer and barmen accused of beating up tourists

    AN AYIA Napa night club bouncer and two Nicosia barmen are suspected of causing actual bodily harm to three Finnish tourists.

    The tourists needed medical treatment after they were allegedly attacked by the three Cypriots outside Ayia Napa's Car Wash disco.

    Bouncer Andreas Anastasis, 31, was yesterday charged and released in connection with the Saturday morning brawl.

    Police said that Anastasis had admitted to the offence in a statement given on Sunday.

    The other two suspects, Andreas Mitas, 27, and Christodoulos Adamou, 30, appeared before a Larnaca court yesterday and were remanded in police custody for two days.

    The suspects were arrested in Limassol yesterday morning after returning from a trip to Israel and were taken to Larnaca. They both deny any involvement in the attack.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [08] Danish girl satisfactory after brain haemorrhage

    AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Danish girl who suffered a minor brain haemorrhage while on holiday in Paralimni was described as being in a satisfactory condition yesterday.

    Laerke Lillporg, was rushed to Nicosia General hospital on Sunday night.

    She was first taken to the Lito private clinic in Paralimni, but doctors thought her condition serious enough for her to be sent to the capital.

    Nicosia general hospital described the girl's condition as "satisfactory" and said there was no cause for alarm.

    The hospital said it was still trying to discover the cause of the haemorrhage, but hoped the girl would make a full recovery.

    Tuesday, April 27, 1999

    [09] Turkish Cypriot fined after driving to Xylotymbou

    A TURKISH Cypriot who apparently got lost after crossing from the north through the buffer zone village of Pyla was yesterday fined by a Larnaca court for driving an unregistered vehicle.

    Ersoum Orak, 44, was stopped by police yesterday morning as he drove through Xylotymbou village in the Famagusta district with a fellow Turkish Cypriot friend.

    He was later brought up before the Famagusta District court in Larnaca for driving an unregistered vehicle without a licence or insurance cover. Orak, who lives in occupied Nicosia, told the court he had been heading for the mixed buffer-zone village of Pyla and lost his way. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots enjoy freedom of movement through the village, which is policed by UN civilian officers.

    The court found Orak guilty of the three charges and fined him 175. He was also banned form driving for six months.

    [10] Doctors to strike next week

    BREAKAWAY government doctors union Pasiki said yesterday its members would strike next Tuesday, and again on Friday.

    In a statement issued yesterday, the union leadership said that after the breakdown of talks with the government, they had decided to strike from 10am to 2pm next Tuesday, and for 24 hours next Friday.

    They said the measures, postponed from November 28 last year, were to go ahead because of the government's refusal to listen to their demands. The doctors are mainly complaining about working conditions.

    The statement added that although the doctors were saddened by the effect the work stoppages would have on the public, they wanted everyone to know that the blame for this rested squarely on the government side.

    As always, emergency medical services will be provided. There will also be a Pasiki general meeting at the Nicosia General Hospital on Tuesday, when the doctors will decide on their next steps.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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