|Monday, 26 February 2024
Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-10-31
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
 US to take centre stage in Cyprus impasseIN BRITAIN'S view, the United States will hold centre-stage for the rest of the year and beyond in international efforts to break the impasse on the Cyprus problem, because of President Bill Clinton's planned visit to the region in November.
That spotlight will allow Washington to press Turkey to take more positive stands as regards both Cyprus and Ankara's overall relations with Greece, British Foreign Office sources said yesterday.
Part of America's task will be to persuade Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to drop recognition of his regime as a state as a necessary condition to resumption of intercommunal talks before the European Union summit this year in Helsinki.
A Denktash concession and resumption of those talks would facilitate recognition of Turkey as an EU candidate country, the Foreign Office sources noted.
This window of opportunity was opened by a Greek government initiative for rapprochement with Turkey that occurred long before earthquakes in both countries sparked mutual exchanges of rescue assistance, the sources told the Cyprus News Agency in London.
"It is still a very fragile development, not secure. It could go back tomorrow," the sources said. "Certainly it is not irreversible, but it is happening after a long time" of sabre-rattling and open hostility between Athens and Ankara.
The Foreign Office sources suggested that core problems like Cyprus and the Aegean could come up for discussion between Greece and Turkey sometime next year.
"One cannot imagine that Turkey's relations with the European Union could near the stage of starting accession negotiations, without Ankara having in the meantime addressed these problems in the way they were related to in Luxembourg," the sources said.
It was at the 1997 European Council summit in Luxembourg that Turkey was explicitly rejected as a potential EU candidate country on several grounds, including its poor human rights record, its brutal suppression of its Kurdish minority, and its continued military occupation of northern Cyprus.
At the same time, the EU Council explicitly included Cyprus among the six fast-track EU candidate countries.
In the wake of this snub to Ankara, Denktash hardened his stance towards the Republic, ending all bicommunal contacts and insisting that his breakaway regime gain state recognition before any intercommunal talks could be resumed.
 New airline aims to compete with CYBy a Staff Reporter
WHATEVER millennium bug fears other airlines might have, one start-up Cyprus airline has all the confidence of any upstart enterprise that, Y2K or no, it will take off as a new charter service, and later become a new commercial carrier.
It's called Helios and right now it has no aircraft. But come May 2000, its first Boeing 737-400 will take off from its Larnaca Airport base as the first Cyprus-based charter competitor to Eurocypria, charter airline of Cyprus Airways (CA).
"At this stage, the licence is only to carry charter passengers from Europe to Cyprus, and not to carry any Cypriots outside, so it does not conflict 100 per cent with the interests of Cyprus Airways or Eurocypria," Helios Director Yiannis Makedonas told The Sunday Mail.
But Makedonas admitted Helios aims to be the first Cyprus-based commercially scheduled airline, when eventual EU membership forces open the island's skies to other carriers besides Cyprus Airways.
As things stand now, there is only one Cyprus-based charter airline, Eurocypria, competing with the 86 Europe-based airlines that fly charter tourists to Cyprus, Makedonas noted.
"So we thought: let's increase the share of Cypriot airlines in that market," he said. The government agreed, and the airline was granted the licence in May 1999 to begin operation a year later.
Helios expects to compete favourably with the European charters as a no-frills operator. It will offer the same duty-free, catering and baggage handling that other charters do -- plus as many or as few frills as tour operators choose to pack into their packages. "It's up to the tour operator," Makedonas said.
Helios is starting small, leasing a single, 170-passenger 737-400 for operation next May. Two factory-fresh Boeing 737-800s, each with 189 seats, will next be leased in March 2001.
All three will be registered in Cyprus and fly the Cyprus flag. And all three will give Helios a head-start in the race to become the first commercial competitor with Cyprus Airways.
"Of course it's in our plans," to become Cyprus's first commercial scheduled airline after CY, Makedonas said. "And with the liberalisation of the skies, I think Cyprus will be obliged to come along."
"It's part of our EU accession agreement. Already it applies to EU members that the skies should be free. And that means that any airline belonging to an EU country can fly freely to any European country without restriction, as far as I understand, on January 1, 2001," he said.
Makedonas said he thought that when the government issued the company its charter licence to compete with Eurocypria, it was "actually looking towards the liberalisation of the skies in the year 2001".
When fully airborne in the summer of 2001, Helios will employ about 85 people, 22 of them pilots and 44 cabin crew, operating out of Larnaca and Paphos.
The majority shareholder in the privately owned airline is Cypriot shipowner Kyriakos Mouskos, and Swiss investors hold the remaining shares. The company's chief executive officer is Markus Seiler, a Swiss national with previous airline experience.
 Police hunt for car bomb suspectPOLICE are looking for a particular suspect in their investigation into a car-bombing early yesterday in the Zakaki area of Limassol.
Police said an explosive device that was placed under the front half of the car went off at 3.20am while the vehicle was parked outside the Aristides Charalambous Street residence of Stelios Hadjimitsi, 27 and unemployed, of Zakaki.
The car actually belonged to Stelios' mother, Maroulla Hadjimitsi, of Limassol, who was letting Stelios use it at the time of the blast, police said.
The explosion and subsequent fire badly damaged the car.
The police say they want to talk to a certain person whom they believe had personal differences with Stelios Hadjimitsi.
 Two admit buying game from Turkish smugglerTWO MEN were remanded for three days yesterday after they admitted buying fresh fish and game from the occupied areas.
Larnaca District Court remanded Adamos Adamou, 28, and Andreas Georgiou, 33, after hearing that police had found 15 freshly killed hares, 10 wild pigeons and four kilos of fresh fish in Adamou's car.
Investigating officer Theodoros Sergiou told the court that the men, both from Dhali, were arrested at 11.20pm on Friday when the illegal game was discovered.
He said that the goods had been wrapped in pages from the Turkish newspaper _Hurriyet.
_ Sergiou said police searched Adamou's car after spotting the two men on the outskirts of Aradippou near the occupied areas. He said police believed the game had been brought through the mixed village of Pyla.
In his statement, Adamou said that he had bought the goods for £240 from a Turkish smuggler who had taken them to Pyla from occupied Famagusta. He accused Georgiou of being the deal's middle-man.
Requesting the remand, Sergiou said that the police would be investigating charges of the illegal possession of freshly killed game, illegal carrying of products from the occupied areas, and the possible conveying of illnesses from animals in the occupied areas.
He said that the Veterinary Services would examine the game for signs of illness.
Sergiou also told the court that the Turkish smuggler, whom he did not name, would be sought for questioning. He said he was notorious for selling game to the free areas.
 Service taxis in 24-hour strikeBy Athena Karsera
INTERCITY buses should be packed tomorrow after service taxi drivers yesterday officially announced they will be staging a 24-hour strike.
A joint announcement from the Sek and Peo unions yesterday said that the management of a new company made up of the Kyriakos, Karydas, Makris, Kypros and Acropolis service taxi companies had still not agreed on provident fund terms for its drivers.
Management insists that the drivers should work under the same conditions of their previous individual companies collective contracts.
But the drivers say the staff of the new Pancyprian Taxi Company want to work under the conditions set in the collective agreements of the Kyriakos, Karydas and Makris companies.
These three firms contribute to their employees' providence funds, while Kypros and Acropolis do not. The unions said their demands also included the Kypros and Acropolis drivers being compensated for unpaid provident fund contributions.
The companies are due to start operating jointly tomorrow as the Pancyprian Company, and today is the last day they are bound to their previous individual collective contracts.
"Unfortunately, despite repeated negotiations between the unions and the companies and with a Labour Ministry arbitrator, the companies refuse to fully implement the collective agreement," the union statement said yesterday.
It said that the decision to take strike action had been taken at a general assembly on October 22, dependent on subsequent negotiations ending without progress being made.
Another general assembly will be held tomorrow to decide on what further measures to take.
The unions apologised for any inconvenience caused, but said they had exhausted every other avenue "for the obtaining of our rights".
 Rough seas swamp nuke plant protestENVIRONMENTALISTS yesterday postponed their planned demonstration against a Turkish nuclear plant, saying that it may take place today instead.
The greens had planned to approach the Maritime Security Line (MSL) off Paralimni to hoist a huge banner in Turkish, urging Turkish Cypriots to join them in opposing plans to construct a nuclear plant at Akkuyu on Turkeys south coast.
Green Party president George Perdikis confirmed yesterday the protest had been put off because of rough seas, but "perhaps we will do it tomorrow (Sunday) when the sea has settled".
Police sources said yesterday that they had been concerned that the protesters planned proximity to the MSL could cause a disturbance, and they had intended to have a number of officers in the area as a precaution.
On Friday Perdikis said that around 100 Greek and Greek Cypriot activists would board two boats and head for the UN-monitored MSL, the maritime extension of the islands Green Line.
He said that the activists would go out as far as the UN would allow them and unfurl the 15 metre-long banner.
Perdikis said that the protest would not be anti-Turkish but pro-humanity.
The demonstration was planned to kick-off a week of anti-nuclear protests and lectures to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the proposed Akkuyu plant.
Perdikis said environmentalists in Cyprus are co-operating with their Turkish counterparts on the issue.
 Pilgrimage to Apostolos AndreasTHE LATEST Greek Cypriot pilgrimage to the Apostolos Andreas monastery in the occupied areas will take place on November 30.
The Service for Humanitarian Issues says that an as yet unspecified number of people will be allowed to visit the monastery on the apostle's name day.
It says those interested in going should apply between November 1 and 5 for an application form from the Service's office in Nicosia or from the district offices in all other towns.
Completed applications should be sent to: The Humanitarian Issues Service, Government building 42, Ayii Omoloyites, Nicosia by 2pm on Friday, November 5.
All applications arriving after Friday or submitted on forms issued for previous pilgrimages will not be taken into account.
The Service also said that those who had already been on a pilgrimage need not reapply.
Priority will be given to the aged, people who once lived in the area or who have relatives who are enclaved, the handicapped, the seriously ill, close relatives of missing persons or of the fallen, and Cypriots living overseas.
A list of the successful applicants will be printed later in the press.
The Apostolos Andreas pilgrimages are carried out under the auspices of the United Nations and with the consent of the Turkish Cypriots.
Similar pilgrimages are also organised for Turkish Cypriots wanting to visit holy Islamic sights in the free areas, including the Hala Sultan Tekke at Larnaca salt lake.
The last pilgrimage to Apostolos Andreas was in August, when approximately 700 Greek Cypriots made the journey.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999