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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-10-29

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Britain promises to intensify efforts on Cyprus
  • [02] Cyprus marks Ochi Day
  • [03] New hope for 'pet passport' prospects
  • [04] Helmet law to be enforced from Monday
  • [05] Police find diver's body
  • [06] Campaigners to step up anti-nuclear action

  • [01] Britain promises to intensify efforts on Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    BRITAIN has promised to devote more time to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

    Speaking to a Cyprus News Agency (CNA) correspondent in London, Blair said anything Britain would do anything it could to bring about a solution.

    "Britain has a particular responsibility in playing a role and this is something you will find us giving more time to over the next few years than perhaps we have been able to do during the few years previously," he said.

    Blair reiterated his government's position that the political solution to the Cyprus question was not a precondition to EU accession.

    He also said Britain had made it clear that it supported Turkey's candidacy on the same basis that it supported any country's candidacy.

    "That means the same rules apply to Turkey as they apply to any other country," he said.

    "I also made it clear that the accession of Cyprus is not dependent of the success of negotiations for a settlement there. That stands on its own right. It is sensible balance."

    Blair said it was in the interests of the EU as a whole that in enlarging itself over the next few years "we open up towards Turkey on the basis of EU rules".

    "This is done on the basis of mutual respect and dignity, and I think this is the right way to do it," he said.

    Turkey is widely expected to be accepted as an EU candidate at the Helsinki summit in December.

    But the possibility that Turkey might gain candidacy with the blessing of Greece has proved worrying for the Cyprus government and raised concerns over Athens' current stance on the Cyprus issue.

    According to yesterday's Politis, President Clerides sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis two weeks ago expressing the government's concerns and laying down a number of conditions that Cyprus would like linked to any Turkish EU candidacy.

    Politis said the letter began by noting what a difficult position Greece would be in at the Helsinki summit.

    The paper said Clerides referred to the current diplomatic efforts and recent failed shuttle talks designed to restart direct talks.

    The letter was quoted as saying the government did not want these efforts to be seen as the progress necessary for Turkey to be admitted as an EU candidate.

    Cyprus also wanted a declaration from the 15 EU members stating that the island's accession would be unhindered and that the Cyprus problem should be "part of the road map for Turkey's accession", the paper said.

    "For every step Turkey takes, there should be progress in the Cyprus problem," the papers quotes from the letter.

    [02] Cyprus marks Ochi Day

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday took the salute outside the Greek embassy in Nicosia from a parade of students marking the occasion of Greek 'Ochi' Day.

    The anniversary marks Greece's rejection on October 28, 1940, of an Italian ultimatum to allow Fascist troops to pass through the country. The decision brought Greece into World War II and led to the country's occupation by Nazi Germany.

    Yesterday in Nicosia, war veterans were joined by high school, university and college students to parade in all towns in the free areas of the Republic.

    Clerides took the salute accompanied by Archbishop Chrysostomos, President of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou, Greek Ambassador Kyriacos Rodousakis, as well as senior political and military leaders.

    Earlier in the day, Archbishop Chrysostomos officiated a church service held at St. John's Cathedral in Nicosia.

    In his message for the 'Ochi' celebration, Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides aimed his statement at the Cypriot youth.

    "The epic war-time period of 1940-44, is the greatest moral feat of Hellenism, and a symbol of resistance to any form of fait accompli. In the uphill road of our struggle for saving Cyprus, you are the pioneers. In your course you are being watched by the 1940 fighters, and the ever-burning memory of our occupied areas and homes."

    [03] New hope for 'pet passport' prospects

    By Amanda Harley

    THE PLANNED visit of the head of the British Veterinary Trade Team, Robin Bell, has raised new hopes for Cyprus' inclusion in the UK's 'Pet Passport' scheme.

    The 'passport' system enables dogs and cats coming from EU and other European countries and rabies-free islands to enter the UK without quarantine.

    But Cyprus was excluded from the scheme when it was first introduced last March, apparently due to the continued presence of rabies in the occupied areas.

    Now Bell is coming to Cyprus for a full assessment of rabies prevention measures across the island. He arrives on Monday.

    The Director of the Department of Veterinary Services, Pavlos Economides, claims that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots work closely with the UN and the British Bases to monitor the situation.

    "From what I have been told by Turkish Cypriot vets, there is no issue of rabies there because they do not allow the importation of animals from Turkey without quarantine," he said.

    He claimed there had not been a single case of rabies anywhere on the island since 1928.

    The decision to exclude Cyprus from the scheme has proved frustrating for the many British pet lovers on the island, who have long been campaigning to put an end to the misery and expense of quarantine in the UK.

    The division of the island and a lack of knowledge about what procedures are followed in the occupied areas have so far convinced the UK to exclude Cyprus.

    Sources told the Cyprus Mail this week that Turkish Cypriot veterinary authorities claimed their quarantine regulations were almost identical to those in the UK, and that in the past even Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had had his pets impounded on arrival.

    Controls at ports of entry are carried out by Turkish Cypriot 'police' and 'customs', working closely in conjunction with the 'State Veterinary Department' which collects any rabies-susceptible animal and delivers it to a central quarantine centre.

    On Monday morning, Bell will visit the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) veterinary facilities, followed by courtesy calls on Economides and on the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture.

    On Tuesday, he will cross the Green Line to visit Turkish Cypriot vets.

    A spokesman for the British Bases, Major Jon Brown, said yesterday he hoped for progress on the issue: "Any move that makes it easier for families and pets to move around will be welcomed," he said.

    Bell's current responsibilities include negotiating acceptable animal and public health conditions for export of UK animals and products and ensuring that the UK's animal and public health status is safeguarded against the introduction of exotic and serious diseases.

    Animals in the new scheme will be implanted with an electronic microchip certifying that they have come from a rabies-free country and that they have been vaccinated against the disease.

    [04] Helmet law to be enforced from Monday

    AS OF Monday, November 1, helmets will be compulsory for all motorcyclists and their passengers, everywhere.

    The law on helmets will finally be enforced from, despite the initial objections from political parties.

    Helmets became compulsory from July 1 for riders of all motor cycles, including mopeds, but there was a grace period until July 12 before the law was to be enforced.

    On July 14, however, the House of Representatives decided to postpone implementation of the law until the end of October,

    giving time for all sides who raised objections to submit their proposals on the issue.

    Recent reports, however, say that the issue will not be discussed in the plenum, and that objecting deputies will withdraw their proposals.

    Disy and Diko are understood to have decided not to support further postponement of the law, a stance now upheld by Akel. Akel had tabled a bill in July seeking an amendment to the law on crash helmets.

    The communist party was seeking a provision exempting riders of motorcycles under 50cc in urban areas from having to wear helmets.

    [05] Police find diver's body

    THE DIVER who disappeared last Sunday was found dead yesterday in the Xylophagou sea area.

    The body of Dimitris Papadopoulos, 31, from Greece, was found yesterday morning, just south of Cape Pyla, in the Sovereign Base Area (SBA), 30km from where police had found his car and personal effects.

    Police said that Papadopoulos' body was probably caught in the strong underwater currants of the area, and had apparently drifted to the spot where it was found.

    Police had been searching for Papadopoulos since last Sunday, when his friends had reported him missing.

    They found Papadopoulos' car and personal effects in the Cape Greco area at the spot where he had gone diving, on Monday.

    Police and SBA helicopters took part in the search, along with police patrol boats, and navy frogmen.

    [06] Campaigners to step up anti-nuclear action

    By Jean Christou

    CANADIAN MP Jim Karygiannis and environmentalist David Martin will arrive on the island on Monday to urge Cypriots to intensify efforts to oppose the nuclear plant that Turkey plans to build at Akkuyu Bay on its southern coast.

    The plant would be the first nuclear installation anywhere in the Mediterranean and there has been strong opposition to the move because of the risk of earthquakes in the region.

    Independent research indicates that a seismic active fault line lies near the site and that an earthquake would be the most likely cause of a catastrophe meltdown accident at Akkuyu, which is only 140 kilometres from Nicosia.

    Opponents argue that efficiency programmes, renewable energy and natural gas would be cheaper, cleaner and safer than nuclear power.

    Critics also suggest that Turkey's nuclear programme could help it to develop nuclear weapons and escalate the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

    Canada's state-owned nuclear company, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), is considered the leading contender to build the Turkish plant. AECL is competing against Nuclear Power International (NPI), a consortium of the German company Siemens and the French company Framatone, and a third bidder, a partnership of Westinghouse (USA) and Mitsubishi (Japan).

    The announcement of the contract had been expected in June 1998 but was repeatedly delayed.

    Controversy following the recent devastating earthquake on August 17 is seen as a likely factor in the delay. On October 13, Turkish Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer stated that the announcement would again be delayed until at least December 31 and possibly even until March 31, 2000.

    "The governments of all reactor vendors should withdraw their bids to build a nuclear plant for Turkey at Akkuyu," said Karygiannis in a written statement ahead of his visit to the island. "The Mediterranean Sea must be kept nuclear free".

    Martin said the Turkish government and reactor vendors were engaged in a conspiracy of silence to conceal the real risk of earthquake damage. "Safety is being sacrificed to save money," he said. "Cypriots must express their concerns to the governments of the countries trying to sell reactors to Turkey."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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