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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-10-01

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

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


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Friday, October 1, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] US in damage limitation efforts after Ecevit disappointmentBy Jean ChristouTHE US continued to engage in damage limitation yesterday following its apparent failure to make any progress with Ankara, dashing Greek Cypriot hopes for the resumption of direct negotiations.Speaking to reporters in Washington late on Wednesday, State Department spokesman James Foley insisted the US was trying to get the two sides in Cyprus to start talks without preconditions.The Greek Cypriot side is willing to attend talks without preconditions, but the Turkish side has been insisting on 'state-to-state' negotiations.Now it appears Ankara has again moved the goalposts by hinting that if Turkey receives a favourable reception at the EU's Helsinki summit in December, possibly becoming a candidate, then progress could be made on the Cyprus issue.The only outcome of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's meeting with US President Bill Clinton on Tuesday was that his special envoy Alfred Moses would be dispatched to the region as early as next week.It was hoped the US would push Turkey into agreeing to resumed talks, prompting UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan to issue invitations for negotiations at the end of this month.Instead, the Greek Cypriot side left New York empty-handed apart from more assurances that the US also wanted talks without preconditions.The assurances rang hollow in Nicosia where the US ambassador, in an usual move, made public statements within 24 hours of the Clinton-Ecevit meeting but refused to take questions. Ambassador Donald Bandler repeated earlier statements by senior US officials that the US was in favour of moving the process forward."What we're endeavouring to do is to persuade both sides to enter into negotiations without preconditions under US auspices," Foley said later."As far as our policy is concerned we remained committed to a Cyprus solution based on a bizonal, bicommmunal federation and that has not changed."Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday a note had been made of the assurances which had been given, but that Nicosia could not remain satisfied with assurances alone and was seeking results.Papers in the occupied areas said yesterday that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was pleased with the outcome of the Ecevit-Clinton meeting and welcomed the forthcoming visit of Moses to the region."I am sure that if Mr Moses sees the realities, he will change his views," Denktash is quoted as saying.Political leaders in the north also welcomed the outcome of the meeting and the proposed visit of Moses.
  • [02] Visions of the way ahead: Akel and Disy disagree
  • [03] Kyprianou wants more MPs to cover foreign trips
  • [04] Kidney drug probe raises 'serious new issues'
  • [05] CyTA submits plans to become a public company
  • [06] Flight aborted over cabin pressure fault
  • [07] Worker falls off crane pruning trees for parade
  • [08] Government appeals to Unesco over illegal Salamis digs
  • [09] Teachers strike for an hour

  • [01] US in damage limitation efforts after Ecevit disappointmentBy Jean ChristouTHE US continued to engage in damage limitation yesterday following its apparent failure to make any progress with Ankara, dashing Greek Cypriot hopes for the resumption of direct negotiations.Speaking to reporters in Washington late on Wednesday, State Department spokesman James Foley insisted the US was trying to get the two sides in Cyprus to start talks without preconditions.The Greek Cypriot side is willing to attend talks without preconditions, but the Turkish side has been insisting on 'state-to-state' negotiations.Now it appears Ankara has again moved the goalposts by hinting that if Turkey receives a favourable reception at the EU's Helsinki summit in December, possibly becoming a candidate, then progress could be made on the Cyprus issue.The only outcome of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's meeting with US President Bill Clinton on Tuesday was that his special envoy Alfred Moses would be dispatched to the region as early as next week.It was hoped the US would push Turkey into agreeing to resumed talks, prompting UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan to issue invitations for negotiations at the end of this month.Instead, the Greek Cypriot side left New York empty-handed apart from more assurances that the US also wanted talks without preconditions.The assurances rang hollow in Nicosia where the US ambassador, in an usual move, made public statements within 24 hours of the Clinton-Ecevit meeting but refused to take questions. Ambassador Donald Bandler repeated earlier statements by senior US officials that the US was in favour of moving the process forward."What we're endeavouring to do is to persuade both sides to enter into negotiations without preconditions under US auspices," Foley said later."As far as our policy is concerned we remained committed to a Cyprus solution based on a bizonal, bicommmunal federation and that has not changed."Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday a note had been made of the assurances which had been given, but that Nicosia could not remain satisfied with assurances alone and was seeking results.Papers in the occupied areas said yesterday that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was pleased with the outcome of the Ecevit-Clinton meeting and welcomed the forthcoming visit of Moses to the region."I am sure that if Mr Moses sees the realities, he will change his views," Denktash is quoted as saying.Political leaders in the north also welcomed the outcome of the meeting and the proposed visit of Moses.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [02] Visions of the way ahead: Akel and Disy disagree

    THE ISLAND'S two largest political parties yesterday issued diametrically opposed Independence Day messages for October 1.

    While governing party Disy expressed optimism on future developments on the island problem, communist opposition Akel was far less hopeful.

    Disy sent "a message of unity, preparedness, grit, but also optimism for the future of Cyprus," while Akel said "the developments so far are not encouraging."

    But the ruling party insisted that the Republic of Cyprus had earned the respect of all countries, "and especially Europe," and was being supported on its EU accession course. "The climate in Europe is positive (for us) because of our responsible positions and handling of issues and also as a result of (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash's intransigence."

    The party said it believed a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus problem would come through the island's EU accession.

    It said international interest on the problem had grown and that the European Union and UN Security Council were "determined to take a decisive initiative at this critical time."

    Akel spared a thought for the heroes of independence, saying the anniversary gave the country an opportunity to mourn and honour the memory of all those who battled and sacrificed their lives for independence.

    On Cyprus problem developments, Akel said the situation was "not encouraging," and that the United States and other powers did not seem willing to exercise the "necessary pressure on the Turkish side for their position to change enough to allow progress."

    Akel said it would support Clerides for as long as the principles of a solution to the Cyprus problem were based on UN Resolutions.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [03] Kyprianou wants more MPs to cover foreign trips

    HOUSE president Spyros Kyprianou yesterday called for better facilities and more deputies to improve parliamentary efficiency.

    Kyprianou made the remarks after presenting a report on the recent activities of the House of Representatives.

    He said although he had been satisfied with the House's activities, he believed they could have been carried out more effectively if there were more deputies and better facilities.

    He said that, especially in regards to overseas parliamentary invitations, the House had been unable to attend every invitation.

    "We have to try, if possible to be present everywhere."

    Kyprianou also said that several officials had expressed concern that the size of the House was disproportionate to the amount of work it carried out.

    The number of deputies has risen once since the establishment of the Republic 39 years ago, from 35 to 56 in 1985.

    Kyprianou also said a special committee had been appointed to examine alternatives to the planned new House buildings.

    Construction of the new House at the old Pasidy site was halted when archaeological remains were found there last month.

    Kyprianou said archaeologists examining the site would report their findings within the next 10 days and that continuing construction would depend on their report.

    Following controversy over recent revelations that political parties -- including his own Diko -- had been playing the Stock Exchange, Kyprianou also said that a special Committee had been appointed to examine a draft law that would define "what is a political party, what is not, how a political party functions, what is allowed, and what is not allowed."

    Kyprianou said that this would also help clarify which parties should be represented in the National Council, which now only allows participation from parties represented in the House.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [04] Kidney drug probe raises 'serious new issues'

    By Martin Hellicar

    A POLICE probe into the disappearance of vital kidney drugs from Nicosia general hospital has thrown up "serious new issues," Health Minister Frixos Savvides revealed yesterday.

    "It would appear, and I can only tell you very little, that there are other aspects to the matter. That is to say, the investigators, by digging, finding out, asking questions and collating information, appear to have found other aspects which are being investigated and are very serious," Savvides said.

    The minister declined to reveal what the new "aspects" of the investigation were, saying he would be compromising the police probe if he did so.

    The investigation was launched earlier this year after quantities of the kidney drug erythropoetine were found to have gone missing from the medical stores of the Nicosia general hospital. Police are looking into allegations that the drugs -- essential for the good health of kidney patients -- were diverted to the Nicosia race track to be used for doping horses.

    The ministry has launched its own internal investigation into the erythropoetine scandal.

    Savvides also commented yesterday on the alleged theft of prescription medicines from Paphos hospital.

    A hospital technician is being held in connection with the case, and the minister suggested the suspect had been supplying the drugs to an addict friend of his.

    Christakis Hadjitheori, 53, was remanded in custody on Wednesday on suspicion of stealing drugs from his hospital workplace. Police say they found stolen medical supplies on Hadjitheori, in his car and at his Tsada home.

    "From what I know of this case, a hospital technician who knew a (drug) user, or some such person, had been put under surveillance. As a result of his relationship with this person it was discovered that the technician was, or appears to have been, stealing medicines from Paphos hospital," Savvides said. According to police, Hadjitheori was carrying two plastic bags full of stolen drugs when he was stopped by police in Paphos town late on Tuesday night.

    The minister noted that both the disappearance of the kidney drugs and the alleged theft of medical supplies from the Paphos hospital had only been uncovered "by chance".

    There was an urgent need to introduce internal checks and controls of hospital drug supply systems to prevent repeats of such incidents, Savvides said.

    But the New Horizons party, which first publicised the disappearance of the erythropoetine, is anything but impressed with government efforts to clamp down on such illegalities.

    The fringe party's vice-chairman, Stratos Panayides, yesterday charged the government with trying to "cover up" the kidney drug scandal.

    "Even though four months have passed since the New Horizons broke the story of the erythropoetine scandal, no specific measures appear to have been taken to get to the bottom of the issue," Panayides claimed.

    The party said the only way to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the kidney drug scandal was for President Clerides to appoint an independent investigator.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [05] CyTA submits plans to become a public company

    CYTA has submitted a proposal to its unions which includes the semi-state telecommunications authority becoming a public company.

    Under the plan, the name of the authority would be changed and it would be launched as a public company with shares being held by the government and staff.

    It has also been suggested that a revamped CyTA might take a leading role in the island's postal services.

    A CyTA spokesman confirmed that such a proposal was on the table, but said he could not comment further except to say it was in its very initial stages.

    But union representative Orestis Vassiliou said the hefty proposal had been given to the unions early in the week.

    "The unions are prepared to discuss any proposal that the other side puts on the table as long as it doesn't take anything away from the employees or the organisation," he said.

    "Now discussions will follow, probably until the end of the year. As we go along we are sure there will be some changes."

    By January 1, 2003, the date Cyprus hopes the island will enter the EU, the government will be obliged to liberalise the telecommunications sector.

    The new proposal is designed to help CyTA stand the rigours of a deregulated market.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [06] Flight aborted over cabin pressure fault

    A CYPRUS airways flight from Larnaca to Paris had to be aborted yesterday after an air-pressure fault developed in the passenger cabin.

    The plane landed safely at Larnaca airport and none of the passengers or crew suffered any ill effects.

    The 10.30am CY 383 flight to the French capital had taken off from Larnaca airport on time and without hitch. But things began to go wrong after the plane climbed to 10,000 feet, and before it had even left the Nicosia Flight information region (FIR). The pilot noticed the air-pressure reading for the cabin was not what it should be and immediately signalled to the airport control tower that he would have to return to Larnaca.

    The plane landed back at Larnaca at 1pm without any problem.

    Another plane was chartered to take the passengers to their destination while airport technicians got to work on identifying the cause of the technical fault.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [07] Worker falls off crane pruning trees for parade

    PREPARATIONS for today's October 1 military parade were anything but smooth for one unlucky Nicosia municipality worker yesterday.

    Forty-year-old Christoforos Stylianou was injured in a freak crane accident while pruning a tree on Makarios Avenue, getting it into shape for the traditional Independence day march-past.

    Stylianou, from the Strovolos suburb of Nicosia, was clipping the tree from the raised platform of a crane. But a fault in the crane machinery brought the platform crashing down to the ground, and Stylianou with it, police said.

    Fortunately, the municipality worker was not seriously hurt in the accident, which occurred at about 9am.

    He was admitted to hospital with bruising to the chest, but his condition was not considered serious, Nicosia police reported.

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [08] Government appeals to Unesco over illegal Salamis digs

    THE GOVERNMENT has appealed to international organisations to intervene over Ankara University's invitation to foreign universities to take part in excavations at occupied Salamis.

    Speaking in Nicosia to launch of a book on Salamis, Cyprus' permanent representative to Unesco, Constantinos Leventis, said the Foreign Ministry and the Antiquities Department had been informed and were taking all necessary measures.

    Leventis said that all the foreign universities approached so far had refused to collaborate and that Ankara University had eventually decided to co-operate with Turkish archaeologists and students at a university in the occupied areas.

    Excavations in the occupied areas can only legally be carried out with official permission from the Antiquities Department.

    Leventis said he had been receiving information on Ankara's request over the course of the last year, and that excavations at Salamis had begun last August, continuing to the present day.

    The team, which Leventis said also included architects, has taken over the two dig-houses used by archaeological teams before excavations were halted a week before the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    He said the dig-houses still contained archaeological materials, documents, plans, photographs and books used by the teams over 25 years ago.

    Information on the illegal digs was passed on by foreign experts to Professor Vassos Karageorgis, the former director of the Antiquities Department and author of the book on Salamis. Karageorgis was heavily involved in the excavations until 1974.

    They also passed on photographs, which Leventis said showed "beyond any doubt that excavations are being carried out, and that both architectural remains and portable objects have been found."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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    Friday, October 1, 1999

    [09] Teachers strike for an hour

    SECONDARY school teachers yesterday held an hour long strike in protest at "the preferential treatment of teachers at some schools."

    The strikes took place at Gymnasiums and Lyceums nationwide between 9.30 and 10.30am.

    Although all teachers belonging to the Oelmek union had been expected to take part in the strike, several are understood to have ignored the strike call.

    An Oelmek representative yesterday told the Cyprus Mailthe union had been satisfied with the outcome of the strike. He said the union had felt forced to call it following reports of preferential treatment towards teachers at specific schools -- "they had an unfair choice of where they were appointed."


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