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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-09-28

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

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


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Tuesday, September 28, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Ecevit-Clinton meeting seen as crucial to Cyprus developmentsBy Jean ChristouTODAY'S meeting between US President Bill Clinton and Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will be decisive in determining whether UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan issues invitations for talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.In Nicosia yesterday, American ambassador Donald Bandler said the US had been working very hard to prepare the ground for today's meeting."We hope it will bear fruit," he said. "All of us are working very intensively on this question so I do not think there should be much doubt about it."Bandler was speaking after a meeting with Akel leader Demetris Christofias.Christofias said he told Bandler that Cyprus expected the US to exert pressure on Turkey to change its stance on Cyprus.But Ecevit has made it clear that Turkey must not be put under any pressure on Cyprus. "We will never accept it, even if the pressure is put on us," Ecevit said in Brussels on his way to Washington."I think our meetings in the US, especially the meeting with Mr Bill Clinton, will be very comprehensive," he added.Commenting on US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's statements that Greece and Turkey should hold negotiations on the Cyprus issue, Ecevit said the two countries should first negotiate on the Aegean dispute and that Greece should Turkey's invitation to do so. "It will not be realistic to expect the Cyprus question to be solved with Greece's contribution while the main problems between Turkey and Greece remain unsolved," Ecevit said. "The Cyprus question should be solved between the two communities on the island. In accordance with our opinion there is not any problem on Cyprus, but those who claim there is a problem should leave its solution to the communities on the island. Otherwise I do not think that it would be useful to add the Cyprus question to the problems which have not even been discussed between Turkey and Greece."Speaking in New York, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after President Clerides' Sunday meeting with Annan that the Secretary- general was staking a great deal on today's meeting between Ecevit and Clinton."Immediately after this meeting, he will reach a final decision," Papapetrou told journalists.Reports from New York suggest Annan expects a positive outcome, leading to the issue of invitations. The Secretary- general has told UN journalists he may not be able to attend a gathering of theirs on October 21 because of developments on the Cyprus issue.During their meeting, Clerides and Annan exchanged views on the Cyprus issue and when a new initiative for a new round of talks would be launched.US State Department Coordinator Thomas Weston said in New York that both Nicosia and Athens had the necessary political will for a settlement. "There remains to be tested if the political will to reach a settlement exists on the other side or maybe, more importantly, if it can be engendered," Weston said in an address to the Cyprus Federation of America.
  • [02] Stock Exchange agrees new trading rules
  • [03] Markides: Louis probe may expand
  • [04] Greek team to train Cypriots for earthquake emergencies
  • [05] Co-op clerk arrested for suspected embezzlement
  • [06] Sailors held for stabbing
  • [07] Russians 'illegally detain' Cyprus ships
  • [08] Bazooka attack suspects released
  • [09] Police search for second pimping suspect
  • [10] Man shoots himself with army rifle

  • [01] Ecevit-Clinton meeting seen as crucial to Cyprus developmentsBy Jean ChristouTODAY'S meeting between US President Bill Clinton and Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will be decisive in determining whether UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan issues invitations for talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.In Nicosia yesterday, American ambassador Donald Bandler said the US had been working very hard to prepare the ground for today's meeting."We hope it will bear fruit," he said. "All of us are working very intensively on this question so I do not think there should be much doubt about it."Bandler was speaking after a meeting with Akel leader Demetris Christofias.Christofias said he told Bandler that Cyprus expected the US to exert pressure on Turkey to change its stance on Cyprus.But Ecevit has made it clear that Turkey must not be put under any pressure on Cyprus. "We will never accept it, even if the pressure is put on us," Ecevit said in Brussels on his way to Washington."I think our meetings in the US, especially the meeting with Mr Bill Clinton, will be very comprehensive," he added.Commenting on US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's statements that Greece and Turkey should hold negotiations on the Cyprus issue, Ecevit said the two countries should first negotiate on the Aegean dispute and that Greece should Turkey's invitation to do so. "It will not be realistic to expect the Cyprus question to be solved with Greece's contribution while the main problems between Turkey and Greece remain unsolved," Ecevit said. "The Cyprus question should be solved between the two communities on the island. In accordance with our opinion there is not any problem on Cyprus, but those who claim there is a problem should leave its solution to the communities on the island. Otherwise I do not think that it would be useful to add the Cyprus question to the problems which have not even been discussed between Turkey and Greece."Speaking in New York, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after President Clerides' Sunday meeting with Annan that the Secretary- general was staking a great deal on today's meeting between Ecevit and Clinton."Immediately after this meeting, he will reach a final decision," Papapetrou told journalists.Reports from New York suggest Annan expects a positive outcome, leading to the issue of invitations. The Secretary- general has told UN journalists he may not be able to attend a gathering of theirs on October 21 because of developments on the Cyprus issue.During their meeting, Clerides and Annan exchanged views on the Cyprus issue and when a new initiative for a new round of talks would be launched.US State Department Coordinator Thomas Weston said in New York that both Nicosia and Athens had the necessary political will for a settlement. "There remains to be tested if the political will to reach a settlement exists on the other side or maybe, more importantly, if it can be engendered," Weston said in an address to the Cyprus Federation of America.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [02] Stock Exchange agrees new trading rules

    THE CYPRUS Stock Exchange warned last night it would impose fines on brokerages guilty of delays in processing paperwork and discussed ways to allow transactions directly between investors when the stock exchange is closed.

    The announcement came at the end of a marathon meeting designed to reexamine trading rules ahead of next Monday's reopening of the beleaguered exchange, closed for four weeks to clear a monumental backlog of transactions.

    "All late documents will face a fine of 30 a day from October 20," Stock Exchange Chairman Dinos Papadopoulos told reporters after last night's meeting. He added that for the time being no penalties would be imposed on issuing companies.

    The Stock Exchange also agreed in principle to a limited liberalisation of transactions, but only under certain circumstances.

    Papadopoulos said buyers and sellers should be able to bypass brokers to deal directly with the stock exchange when the market was closed and provided the transaction was agreed between the parties concerned.

    Brokers had warned earlier yesterday that any move to sideline them would undermine the stock market and cause chaos.

    In a statement, the brokers accused the exchange authorities of acting vengefully and denied that they were clinging to a monopoly on trading.

    "If that happens, then there will be a quasi-stock exchange in the coffee shop, football stadium, even in the barbers," Louis Klappas, chairman of the association of brokers, said before last night's meeting.

    Investor groups have said that allowing investors to trade among themselves would cut down on paperwork and tasks going through brokerages.

    Last night's decision was the latest chapter in the saga over the backlog of unprocessed transactions which had dogged the market for weeks, forcing it to close its doors on three different occasions in two months.

    The move is also likely to prolong and embitter the battle-of-wills that has been raging for months between the island's 50-plus brokers and the exchange's authorities over the question of the backlog and other issues.

    The market was first closed for two days in late July. It pulled down its shutters again for a week in August and is now in its fourth week of closure. It is scheduled to reopen on October 4.

    The number of transactions has dramatically increased since May, when a fully automated trading system was introduced. This, together with the arrival of thousands of new investors attracted by the prospect of a quick profit in a bullish market, saw volumes shoot through the roof.

    The market's gains stand at more than 360 per cent on the year.

    The huge volumes have somewhat isolated small investors from the increasingly busy brokers who, according to investor groups, had time only for big and institutional investors.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [03] Markides: Louis probe may expand

    By Hamza Hendawi

    A CRIMINAL police investigation ordered last week into corruption charges linking civil servants in the ministries of communications and commerce to the Louis Group may expand to cover other departments, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday.

    Markides, who ordered the investigation on Friday, also pledged that the probe would be both "thorough" and "deep". He was speaking during a meeting he had yesterday with police investigators.

    The police would issue progress reports on the investigation at regular intervals.

    The police probe arose from revelations that several senior civil servants had received shares in Louis Cruise Lines, a company of the Louis Group, through the company's private placement.

    Louis has said it welcomes the investigation and maintains that it never approached any government official with an offer of shares. Those among the civil servants who chose to defend their name in public have denied any wrongdoing.

    Markides said yesterday he did not believe there was any danger that those under investigation who chose to remain at their posts could influence the course of the probe.

    His comments encouraged the one civil servant who had decided to take indefinite leave pending the outcome of the investigation to return to work yesterday.

    The Permanent Secretary at the Communications Ministry, Vassos Pyrgos, had decided to take his leave upon hearing of the probe. But yesterday he responded to an appeal from Communications Minister Averof Neophytou, pleading with him to resume his duties in the light of Markides' comments.

    The Louis Cruise Lines' shares, sold at 40 cents apiece, hit 3.50 on their debut in the first week of August but later fell in value when it became known that two of the company's top executives had sold tens of thousands of shares and warrants on the first day of trade.

    The listing of the company, among the world's largest cruise operators, was touted in Cyprus as the biggest in the history of the stock exchange, but it has been embroiled in controversy since its much-heralded debut.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [04] Greek team to train Cypriots for earthquake emergencies

    Staff Reporter

    AN EARTHQUAKE rescue team from Greece will come to Cyprus in October to train the first of several such Civil Defence teams planned for the Republic, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday.

    The prototype Cyprus team will be assembled "immediately," he said, and be largely drawn from Fire Service staff.

    It will also include government doctors, private-sector civil engineers and personnel from the island's "paramedic staff", he said.

    This immediately posed problems for the emergency rescue team's formation, since Cyprus does not have a single paramedic ambulance attendant on the island.

    A plan to train paramedics exists. But it has been gathering dust for years in the Health and Finance Ministries for lack of government interest in spending the 5 million needed to create an island-wide paramedic ambulance service with new vehicles and separate headquarters.

    Nevertheless, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis is to fly to Greece in the next few days to discuss with his opposite number the forming quake rescue teams in Cyprus, and to arrange for the Greek team trainers to visit the island, Christodoulou said.

    Christodoulou made the disclosures at a joint news conference with Koshis yesterday afternoon, following talks between the two ministers about improving the earthquake readiness of the island's Civil Defence Department.

    Koshis said forming the rescue team would not threaten the Department's budget, since only a few "extra staff" would be hired to complement the Fire Service staff to go on the team. However, any staff hired would be permanent employees, he added.

    The Justice Minister said it was not possible now to estimate the cost of creating the prototype team, but said a tally of the costs would be completed in October.

    Besides hiring few new employees, the government will hold down costs of the teams by using equipment already in Civil Defence stocks, instead of buying new gear, Christodoulou said.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [05] Co-op clerk arrested for suspected embezzlement

    POLICE yesterday arrested a 26-year-old clerk after an audit found that over half a million pounds had gone missing from the Engomi Co-operative.

    Epaminondas Epaminonda from Larnaca, was remanded in custody for eight days after a snap audit in the co-op's accounts showed that 524,600 had vanished.

    The audit had been ordered by the Ministry of Commerce. Police sources said yesterday the case was thought to be connected with stock market speculation.

    According to reports, the alleged embezzlement took place between March 15 and September 1999.

    On Saturday, Auditor-general Chrystalla Yiorkadji said officials at "three or four" co-operatives had issued cheques of up to 150,000 to brokerages, though she made clear they had simply exceeded their own personal overdrafts and were not suspected of embezzlement.

    A report was being prepared by her office for submission to Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis.

    The four-week closure of the stock market to clear a mountain of paperwork is thought to have left speculators exposed, unable to sell shares to repay their initial investment.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [06] Sailors held for stabbing

    THREE Filipino sailors were remanded in custody for eight days yesterday in connection with the attempted murder of one of their compatriots.

    Sailors Figuera Donalid, 26, Edgar Terora, 27, and Renato Balonga, 37, were arrested on Sunday after an eye-witness identified them to Limassol harbour police on board the cruise ship where they worked.

    The men are accused of stabbing Josef Pajardo, 32. The victim is in a serious condition with severe stomach wounds. A second man, 30-year-old Napoleon Waangiwng, was also injured.

    The investigating officer told Limassol district court yesterday that three suspects had been arguing with Pajardo at a restaurant on Limassol's beach road on Sunday when one of the three allegedly attacked Pajardo with a broken bottle and then stabbed him with a knife.

    Waangiwng, a friend of Pajardo's, was injured in the chest when he tried to intervene. He was given first aid at Limassol general hospital and released.

    Pajardo had to undergo surgery at a private clinic. Police yesterday described his condition as "serious but satisfactory."

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [07] Russians 'illegally detain' Cyprus ships

    By Jean Christou

    RUSSIAN authorities have been accused of illegally detaining six Cypriot reefer ships belonging to the financially troubled Vostoktransflot shipping firm, the shipping paper Lloyds Listhas reported.

    The Merchant Shipping Department said yesterday it had no information regarding the detentions beyond what had been reported by Lloyds.

    Senior surveyor Captain Andreas Constantinou said the Cyprus government can could intervene at the request of the shipowners.

    "They should initiate the action on behalf of the flag state," he told the Cyprus Mailyesterday. "We cannot enter the dispute unless they ask us to."

    Vostoktransflot is Russia's second largest shipping company.

    According to Lloyds List, no adequate explanation has been given as to why the ships were detained, but the paper adds that evidence has come to light that the Russian authorities intend to impose the Russian flag on the vessels and replace the crew of the Cypriot ships with their own nationals.

    The paper also said that a Vostoktransflot employee was feared murdered after an attempt to free the vessels.

    Lloyds

    obtained a company of a letter sent earlier this month to the governor of St Petersburg from his Primorsk counterpart, describing the reefer ships as "being saved for our (Russian) region".

    "Keeping in mind arrangements for returning of six rescued vessels back under the Russian flag your are kindly requested to render assistance in this respect," the letter said. "It is necessary that the change of former (Cyprus) crews to Russian ones is to be arranged under the supervision of the law-enforcing bodies of your city."

    The dispute was brought into the open by a consortium of international lenders, which have provided loan facilities of $23 million to Vostoktransflot. "The loans are now in default," Lloyds Listsaid, and the Russian authorities have been frustrating the owners' rights to sell the vessels to repay its debts.

    The paper adds that the confiscations jeopardise the support of the international finance community, which is critical for the rejuvenation of the Russian shipping fleet.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [08] Bazooka attack suspects released

    FOUR men being held in connection with the attempted murder of a Limassol cabaret owner were released without charge yesterday.

    Petros Georgiou Koupepas, 27, Michalis Ioannou, 29, Antonis Loizou, 21, and Pavlos Hadjicostas, 27, were freed yesterday after police failed to find any substantial evidence against them. The were the only suspects to have been arrested in connection with the case.

    The men had been arrested after an eye-witness identification put them in the area of the victim's cabaret an hour before the attack. But scientific examinations failed to turn up any finger prints or DNA traces on the weapon or at the scene of the September 5 crime.

    Sotiris Athinis, 44, narrowly survived the fourth attempt against his life in recent years, when a LOW anti-tank missile whizzed passed him as he was entering his cabaret in Limassol's Heroes Square.

    The launcher and an unused shell were found on the roof of the deserted Panorama hotel overlooking Athinis' Blue Pearl cabaret. Two bottles of water, found next to the launcher, also failed to provide police with any new information.

    In 1995, Athinis' brother Melios was gunned down in Heroes Square. Athinis is one of five suspects currently standing trial in connection with the gangland murder of Hambis Aeroporos, who was gunned down in Limassol last December.

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    Tuesday, September 28, 1999

    [09] Police search for second pimping suspect

    POLICE were yesterday searching for a second man in connection with a suspected case of pimping of an underage girl.

    On Sunday, Limassol district court had remanded 44-year-old pub owner Cleanthis 'Athos' Cleanthous for eight days. Wanted pub manager George Athanasiou, 40, is still large.

    Police raided Cleanthous' Limassol pub on Saturday night, days after cabaret and bar owners had called upon Justice Minister Nicos Koshis to be lenient with laws limiting their employment of foreign women.

    The raid uncovered a 15-year-old foreign girl being employed at the pub who, in her testimony to police, said she had been staying with the two men and that they had been hiring her out to customers for sex.

    Cleanthous has admitted to employing the minor and giving her somewhere to stay, but denies allegations of pimping for her.

    [10] Man shoots himself with army rifle

    A 25-YEAR-OLD man from the Polemidia estate committed suicide on Sunday, using his army issued rifle.

    Cristakis Achilleos, who reportedly suffered from serious psychological problems, went to the unit where he serves as a reserve on Sunday morning with his father in order to return his rifle.

    According to reports, the officer in charge refused to receive the weapon, deferring him to October 2, when the army would be receiving weapons.

    The distressed young man returned home and locked himself in his bedroom where he shot himself.

    Achilleos had been receiving psychiatric treatment for some time.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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