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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-05-14

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

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


Friday, May 14, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] `Many blacklisted Yugoslavs are living in Cyprus'
  • [02] Greece backs Cyprus on embargo move
  • [03] Government plays down talk of Russian retaliation on Yugo embargo
  • [04] Minister threatens to sue paper over overseas treatment claims
  • [05] Miss Universe decision 'within 10 days'
  • [06] Municipality defends demolition of Ledra Street arcade
  • [07] Museum cautious on Eoka gun find
  • [08] Market run comes to an end
  • [09] CY says it will not tolerate 'unforgivable' threats
  • [10] CY spending thousands to overcome millennium bug

  • [01] `Many blacklisted Yugoslavs are living in Cyprus'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    SEVERAL people whose names figure on the EU blacklist against some 300 odd Yugoslavs loyal to the Milosevic regime are resident in Cyprus, informed sources told the Cyprus Mail.

    According to Cyprus Mailsources four or five names on the EU blacklist, which the government has said it will enforce, are members of offshore companies registered in Cyprus.

    It is understood that among them are employees of offshore Yugoslav banking units on the island.

    "As far as I know the list contains people working for offshore banks and other companies on the island. There are about four or five people mentioned," the informed source told the Cyprus Maillast night.

    A report on Antenna TV also backed what the Cyprus Mailhad learnt, running a story which said that Yugoslavs on the blacklist were living in Cyprus and worked for offshore units here.

    However, Antenna said that the government was not prepared to deport these people if they were on the list.

    "The EU's policy on the list of names is unclear. There needs to be clarification on whether these people are to be deported if overseas or just not have their visas renewed," said the informed source.

    Cyprus has been at the centre of persistent allegations of money being laundered through its offshore banks from Yugoslavia, especially the personal wealth of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    These money laundering claims are still under investigation by the Central Bank. Four of the island's 30 offshore banks are Yugoslav.

    The government has come under heavy fire for aligning itself with punishing EU sanctions which local opposition parties believe are unnecessary and illegal.

    With opposition parties having a majority in the House it is unlikely that the government will be able to push through legislation enabling it to enforce EU measures such as freezing individual assets.

    The House has already denounced the EU oil embargo and called on the government to revoke its earlier decision to back it.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [02] Greece backs Cyprus on embargo move

    By Charlie Charalambous

    GREECE yesterday welcomed Cyprus' decision to back wide-ranging EU sanctions against Yugoslavia, despite the local political backlash.

    "I believe Cyprus is right in its decision to go down the path the EU members have adopted because its interests lie in Europe," said Greek deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis on arriving at Larnaca airport.

    As a potential EU-member, Cyprus has said it cannot afford to ignore EU sanctions against Yugoslavia, even though public opinion is vehemently opposed to the Nato bombings.

    Both Greece and Cyprus have close political and cultural links with Yugoslavia, but have been careful not to antagonise Europe and Nato in their reactions to the conflict.

    "Cyprus and Greece are holding a delicate balance and so far the way they have handled the problem has been successful," said Kranidiotis.

    "The balance which Greece and Cyprus maintain is such that their international role has been acknowledged. Neither country wants to be part of a problem that is not theirs," he added.

    Kranidiotis called for a resumption of diplomatic efforts to broker a Kosovo peace plan.

    Greece's welcome of the island's alignment with EU sanctions echoed an earlier reaction from Washington.

    US State Department spokesman James Rubin congratulated Cyprus for Wednesday's cabinet decision.

    "We do welcome the decision of Cyprus to join the consensus of countries in Europe," said Rubin.

    The EU measures put a travel ban on some 300 Yugoslav politicians and a freeze on Yugoslav assets held abroad.

    Kranidiotis, who is heading a 16-member delegation, will meet both President Clerides and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides to discuss ways of reviving the stalled Cyprus peace talks and the island's EU accession course.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [03] Government plays down talk of Russian retaliation on Yugo embargo

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday rushed to dispel fears that Russia might pull the plug on trade with Cyprus over the island's compliance with EU sanctions on Yugoslavia.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said it is too soon to make comments on the consequences of the decision to adopt the EU sanctions package.

    "It is premature for such anxieties because no action has been taken to justify such concerns," Cassoulides said.

    The threat of Russian capital leaving the island was made by Russian ambassador Georgi Muratov to Antenna television on Wednesday. It was echoed yesterday by communist Akel Leader Demetris Christofias.

    Thousands of Russian businesses operate out of Cyprus, many of which have dealings with Yugoslavia.

    Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Christofias said his sources had also informed him that Cyprus risked losing some $20 billion in Russian investments for agreeing to impose wide-ranging EU sanctions on Yugoslavia.

    Concern was also expressed by House President Spyros Kyprianou, who said he would raise issue at a meeting with President Clerides today.

    He said that Cyprus should not adopt decisions taken in a different country and in which it had had no say.

    Christofias also warned that the embargo decision, approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, could adversely affect the ratification by the Russian Duma of a tax treaty signed by the two countries last December.

    The five-year agreement for the avoidance of double taxation was signed in Nicosia by then Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou and Russian Vice Minister of Finance, Alexei Kutrin. A memorandum concerning bilateral relations in the field of economy was also signed.

    The two sides agreed to try and complete the ratification procedure as soon as possible.

    "In our opinion it is clear the government decision is not only part of something illegal, but is also an accessory to the crime of genocide against the Yugoslav people," Christofias said.

    Finance Minister Takis Clerides, who is due to meet Muratov today, said the two issues of tax and Yugoslavia were quite separate. "It's been discussed in the Duma for several months," he said. "We must not connect the two issues."

    Cassoulides said that the Russians were aware that Cyprus has chosen the path of EU accession. "I think we agreed with Russia. We discussed it with the deputy minister," he said, referring to the December visit.

    He added that it was felt that the Russians understood the situation, and that, having chosen the EU accession path, Cyprus would "have to take the good with the bad".

    Cassoulides repeated that all decisions on Yugoslavia were being taken in the national interest, which meant following the EU line.

    Muratov on Wednesday warned the Cyprus government that if it adopted the new embargo, Russian capital could leave the island, which would have serious consequences for Cyprus.

    A spokesman at the Russian embassy said yesterday that Cyprus had the sovereign right to decide on its own course and that Muratov's comments merely expressed the concerns of Russian businessmen on the island.

    Government spokesman Costas Serezis said there had been no approach from Russia on this issue.

    "The government does not make public comments on comments made by ambassadors in public," he told journalists at his daily press briefing.

    He said, however, that the issue would likely be discussed at the Cabinet meeting next Wednesday.

    Cyprus has already agreed to implement an EU oil embargo against Yugoslavia, which is opposed by the House.

    The new measures include restrictions on the movement of Yugoslav nationals close to the Milosevic regime and the freezing of Yugoslav assets abroad.

    Elements of the embargo can be implemented by the Council of Ministers, but others, like the freezing of assets, may need a change in the law, which could see the sanctions held up at the House whose majority opposes any measures against Yugoslavia.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [04] Minister threatens to sue paper over overseas treatment claims

    By Charlie Charalambous

    HEALTH Minister Christos Solomis has threatened legal action against Politisnewspaper for suggesting he jumped the queue for treatment at the expense of a wheelchair-bound patient.

    The case is all the more sensitive as the patient in question happens to be a 32-year-old enclaved man, turning the issue into a political hot potato.

    Yiannakis Prodromou, as is his right, made a request through his doctor to receive rehabilitation treatment abroad after a crippling fall from a tree.

    But his request for specialised treatment in the United States was put on the back burner while, the paper claims, Solomis was last December sent abroad for a routine fluid-on-the knee operation, which could have been carried out in Cyprus.

    Politis

    claimed Solomis' trip - which was confirmed last week by the government spokesman - cost the tax payer 3,677.

    However, Solomis sent a letter to Politis(published yesterday), claiming its article was slanderous because he had already made it clear that his operation could not be done in Cyprus and that all the proper procedures were followed.

    Prodromou fell from a carob tree two years ago and badly injured his spine, leaving him in a wheel chair.

    Doctors at Nicosia General hospital and the paraplegic centre diagnosed his immobility as being permanent.

    Nevertheless, a visiting American orthopaedic doctor from the Shreiners Hospital for Children said Prodromou could receive beneficial treatment in the USA - treatment which could free him of his wheel chair.

    An application to go to the States was made in June 1998, but it is alleged Prodromou received no response from the ministry.

    In his Politisletter, Solomis denies that the request was ignored and said the medical board judged that sending Prodromou to the Magee Rehabilitation Institute in Philadelphia would not appreciably improve his condition.

    Solomis said the initial delay and confusion had been caused because the ministry first received the request by way of the Cyprus High Commission in Canberra, Australia, and had no idea where the patient was.

    In reply, the paper says it has evidence to suggest the minister is presenting a misleading picture, as it has a copy of a letter sent to Solomis by Prodromou's Cypriot doctor Michalis Hadjigavriel, five months before the embassy letter in November 1998.

    Although Prodromou is now living in Kofinou, most of his family are still in occupied Karpasia and have no way of raising the 100,000 it would cost for the pioneering treatment in the USA.

    The government spends over 8 million a year on sending patients abroad for treatment if the equivalent is not available in Cyprus.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [05] Miss Universe decision 'within 10 days'

    By Andrew Adamides

    CYPRUS is on the verge of clinching the Miss Universe 2000 pageant, Minister of Commerce Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis told the Cyprus Mailyesterday.

    Speaking confidently after months of negotiations between the government and the organisers, the Donald Trump Corporation and CBS, he said there were no "substantial" differences between the two sides. Although a couple of other countries were still interested in hosting the millennium pageant, Cyprus would probably have the honour, he added.

    Rolandis said it was the first time the contest, which has a global television audience of 2.2 billion, would be held outside the United States, and the organisers were particularly interested in holding it in Cyprus as the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.

    Rolandis said Attorney-general Alecos Markides had already gone through the 55-page contract, and lawyers for the Trump corporation and CBS were also going through it to thrash out the final details. The venue will be Nicosia's Eleftheria Stadium, and the pageant will begin at 4am, so that it can be transmitted live to the US at prime time.

    Rolandis said that the final decision would be known within 10 days, and that if it was positive, a massive ad campaign emphasising Aphrodite and the millennium connection would be put into play, in order fully to exploit the boost in US and other tourists the pageant is expected to attract.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [06] Municipality defends demolition of Ledra Street arcade

    By Athena Karsera

    NICOSIA Municipality yesterday rejected claims that a Ledra Street building had too much historical value to be torn down to make way for a car park.

    Architects and environmentalists, however, stood by their calls that the building should be saved.

    Shopkeepers at the 'Stoa Stavrinides' - the Stavrinides Archway - have until the middle of next month to leave the arcade, which is set to be bulldozed so the Shacolas Group can build a car park. The site lies across the street from Shacolas' flagship Woolworth department store, and adjacent to the group's Next outlet.

    The chief city engineer at the Nicosia technical services office, Dinos Constantinou, yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthat the Archway was not on the Interior Ministry's list of protected buildings. "If had been, no permission would have been given for it to be torn down."

    He said a three-levelled car park would be sunk underground, with its entrance on the parallel back street rather than on the popular pedestrian shopping street. Another shopping arcade would be built where the Archway currently stands, he added.

    Constantinou said the Shacolas Group was fully within its rights to tear down the building and build a car-park as official permission had been granted.

    Replying to an Ecological Movement statement condemning the Archway's demolition, he added that anyone had the right to their opinion, but that the Municipality felt there was nothing to further to discuss on the issue.

    An official at the Nicosia Master Plan office admitted to the Cyprus Mailthat several architects had objected to the building being demolished, but that their protests had been made after planning permission had already been given.

    The official, who did not wish to be named, said the Interior Ministry's town planning office had completed its list of protected buildings in west Nicosia long before the Shacolas Group had applied to knock down the building. The Ministry "never even had any intention of making that building protected," she said.

    She said the Municipality had to rehabilitate as well as restore the old- town and had to decide on what action would be most beneficial for the town: "It will be a public car-park, something that the area needs."

    George Perdikis of the Ecological Movement yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthat "it's not the first time the Municipality has overlooked an important building in the favour of other interests."

    Perdikis said the home of national poet Andis Pernaris had been demolished, "with the same logic," and that this was just one of several examples.

    He said that the Movement had worked to save other buildings from destruction, but that these had now simply been left "unprotected for time to take its toll on them."

    Perdikis also noted that the rear of the Archway had been the home of Eleftherianewspaper, established in 1905 and closing on the first day of the Turkish Invasion in 1974.

    "This was a historical newspaper, perhaps the buildings could be turned into a Press museum," Perdikis suggested. "This would give visitors something to see, it would have a purpose."

    An architect, who wished to remain anonymous, said she would like to know exactly what criteria the Municipality used in declaring buildings as protected.

    "The 'Stoa' is almost unique in its style," the architect told the Cyprus Mail. "I believe the building shows the transition from the neoclassical to the modern style."

    "In terms of town-planning," she continued, "there are not many arcades in Nicosia." The architect added that a modern arcade could not replace the current one in terms of architectural importance.

    She said that the Ledra Street side of the building, added in 1955 after the side housing Eleftheria, showed the influence of European 1930s trends, and wondered where the Municipality had its chronological cut-off point for buildings considered important enough for protection.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [07] Museum cautious on Eoka gun find

    By Athena Karsera

    THE NATIONAL Struggle Museum yesterday said it was responding cautiously to reports that a gun recovered in Paphos belonged to an executed Eoka hero.

    Police on Tuesday announced that a single-barrelled hunting gun had been found near Evritou damn, with the surname of Eoka hero Evagoras Pallikarides engraved on it.

    Police said the gun seemed to have been made in Cyprus and had been found wrapped in an old, battered bag.

    But a spokesman at the Museum, which falls under the auspices of the Education and Culture Ministry, yesterday told the Cyprus Mail: "We have no idea what's going on."

    "We're not sure if its true," the spokesman said. "All the ammunition and guns belonging to Eoka fighters were collected."

    He added that Eoka fighters did not usually write their names on their guns as it would be too dangerous for them if the weapons were found.

    The spokesman said that the Museum would be speaking to Paphos police and to people who fought alongside Pallikarides.

    Pallikarides was 18 years old when he was hung by the British after being found in 'illegal' possession of a weapon.

    Pallikarides was arrested on February 25, 1957 and executed less than a month later.

    He was still a pupil at a Paphos lyceum at the time and posthumously became well known for his poetry.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [08] Market run comes to an end ALL GOOD things come to an end.

    A bullish run which saw share prices soar to record highs on three successive days ended yesterday when the Cyprus Stock Exchange's all-share index finished lower at 132.46. Volume stood at 6.39 million.

    Profit-taking in the blue-chips of the banks, the titles which had made the most gains over recent days, was responsible for yesterday's slide in share prices, but traders said there was no reason for concern.

    "A drop in prices was expected after all these increases," said Adonis Yiangou of Expresstock Ltd. "No one is worried and everyone is certain that the market will resume its strong run."

    He predicted that volume was set to increase dramatically in coming weeks as brokers become more accustomed to using the fully-automated trading system that made its debut last Friday. There have been no reports of any major glitches in using the new system.

    Nearly two thirds of yesterday's volume - 3.86 million - went to bank stocks. The Bank of Cyprus shed 4.5 cents to close at 5.54, while the Popular Bank closed 3 cents lower at 6.70 apiece.

    Hellenic Bank, which came out of hibernation in recent weeks to stage a powerful recovery, also tumbled by 2 cents to close at 3.52.

    The banking sector's sub-index fell by 0.64 per cent to close at 174.66, joining the sectors of manufacturing and tourism in negative territory.

    Friday, May 14, 1999

    [09] CY says it will not tolerate 'unforgivable' threats

    CYPRUS Airways yesterday rallied round its spokesman, Tassos Angelis, after he received a threatening phone call earlier in the week.

    Not taking Wednesday's death threat lightly, the company said yesterday it would not tolerate such "unforgivable" behaviour.

    "The board and management of Cyprus Airways strongly condemns threats against the life of its press office director Tassos Angelis, for whom we express our complete support," said yesterday's CY statement.

    A man pretending to be a Sigma television journalist told Angelis to keep his mouth shut or his family would suffer.

    Soon after the chilling phone call, Angelis reported the incident to the police.

    Angelis told the Cyprus Mailyesterday that there had been no repeat of the anonymous threats.

    [10] CY spending thousands to overcome millennium bug

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) is spending a six-figure sum to remain airborne on December 31 by foiling the millennium bug.

    The airline has already launched an information leaflet detailing what it is doing to avoid being grounded over the New Year, and to assure customers of the safety of flying with the national carrier.

    Employing some 70 people to work on the job, CY says it is also relying on external agencies, such as government departments, airport authorities and air traffic control, with whom it has to work closely. All of the agencies involved are working on an exchange of information.

    CY is also in close co-operation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other international airlines and organisations.

    "Emphasis is given on the systems involving the safety of our customers and our people," the leaflet quotes Group Chief Executive Demetris Pantazis as saying.

    Pantazis said that by the end of July, the Cyprus Airways Project 2000 team would be heavily involved in testing all systems to ensure that objectives were met to provide customers with a safe flight.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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