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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-02-11

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

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


Friday, February 11, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] Clerides appeals for calm in wake of Church row
  • [02] Annan ‘working on set of ideas’ for round three
  • [03] Big two rumoured to be buying into Hellenic to stave off foreign takeover
  • [04] State being sued over police car tender
  • [05] Turkish Cypriots pelt ‘police’ in bank demo
  • [06] House to discuss Stock Exchange bill again
  • [07] Paphos airport a centre of activity

  • [01] Clerides appeals for calm in wake of Church row

    By George Psyllides

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday appealed for domestic calm in the wake of bitter recriminations over proposed solutions to the Cyprus problem between Church and State and within the Church itself.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou delivered the President’s appeal at his daily briefing yesterday.

    "Such confrontation is totally unnecessary after the conclusion of the second round of proximity talks and in the light of the period of great foreign interest before the third round."

    Clerides returned to Cyprus on Wednesday from the second round of proximity talks in Geneva.

    The row began before his departure, when Bishop Pavlos of Kyrenia condemned the proposed bizonal federation supported by the government and by UN resolutions.

    Papapetrou said yesterday that on the eve of his departure for Geneva on January 28, Clerides had sent a letter to the Holy Synod explaining the Greek Cypriot stance on the issue.

    In his letter, the President included minutes of the National Council meeting of March 9, 1977, during which then President Archbishop Makarios laid out the options regarding the national issue.

    Papapetrou said it was on those same options that the Greek Cypriot side had based its efforts, and towards this direction that the UN issued its resolutions.

    Asked if the President would meet the Holy Synod to hammer out the issue, Papapetrou said there had been no official request for such a meeting, but that Clerides would be willing to brief the Church leadership if the need arose.

    Papapetrou told reporters the President would today inform the National Council on the second round of the talks.

    Church leaders have been prominent in the last week, airing their differences about the proposed federal model as a future solution for the Cyprus problem.

    The row began as a spat between Church and State but this week descended into strife within the Church itself with Bishops exchanging statements and counter-statements.

    On Tuesday night Bishop Pavlos issued a statement, also signed by the Archbishop, saying a federal solution would lead to the de-Hellenisation of a large part of the island.

    Pavlos was reacting to earlier statements by Kiti Bishop Chrysostomos, who did not dismiss the federation model as a future settlement of the Cyprus issue.

    The Holy Synod last week said it would not support any solution to the Cyprus problem that will not guarantee the human rights of all Cypriots and the return of all refugees to their homes.

    Friday, February 11, 2000

    [02] Annan ‘working on set of ideas’ for round three

    PRESIDENT Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will be brought face-to-face to discuss a new UN settlement package during the third round of talks in New York, the Turkish Daily News reports today.

    The Turkish paper cites "well-placed sources" as saying the aim will be to come away from New York with a joint declaration on a framework accord for a settlement.

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, assisted by British and US envoys, is working on a `set of ideas' to be presented to the two sides in New York, the paper reports in its lead story.

    The third round of talks, beginning on May 23, will, according to the paper's sources, start as proximity talks and then "evolve" into direct talks if Clerides and Denktash like the Annan `set of ideas'.

    "If the two sides agree on the package, the two Cypriot leaders will ‘fill in the gaps’ in the subsequent face-to-face stage and conclude the New York talks with a joint declaration that a framework accord for a Cyprus settlement has been reached," the Turkish Daily News reports.

    "This third round, sources say, will be an open-ended exercise, without any time or subject limits and will continue until some tangible results are obtained," the paper states.

    The UN mediator in charge of the proximity talks, Alvaro de Soto, and British, EU and US envoys will visit Cyprus before the third round to "verbally inform" Clerides and Denktash of the contents of the new settlement package, the paper reports.

    The visiting envoys will apparently try to bridge the gap between the two sides on crucial issues, such as the situation of Greek Cypriot refugees after a settlement, security arrangements, territorial issues and sovereignty.

    Clerides and Denktash have agreed to attend a third round of proximity talks despite any obvious thaw between the two sides during the first two rounds in New York and Geneva.

    Both leaders have expressed satisfaction with the progress of the talks so far, while De Soto has said the talks process is "on track."

    Friday, February 11, 2000

    [03] Big two rumoured to be buying into Hellenic to stave off foreign takeover

    By Michael Ioannou

    THE EQUITY market ended broadly stable yesterday on thinner turnover from past days but on volumes bolstered by a new run on Hellenic Bank, which dominated trade.

    With sectors generally mixed and showing no clear trading pattern, the benchmark index was 0.4 per cent firmer at the end of trade and just shy of the intraday high at 632.56 points.

    Trading fluctuated within an extremely narrow band of 627.82 to 632.57, suggesting that the market was looking at consolidation in the near-term, traders said.

    "The market was generally positive," said CISCO senior broker Stavros Agrotis. "Investors are being more prudent in their decisions and the market is moving this year on fundamentals."

    Traded volume reached £24.5 million, slightly lower than Wednesday, but on a higher number of trades at 3.950.

    Banks, industrials and investment sectors performed weakly, but higher losses to the benchmark were levelled off by a stronger showing from companies in the "other" category and commercial and tourism stocks.

    Banks moved in tandem with the general index, falling 0.4 per cent, dragged down by a new wave of profit taking on Popular Bank.

    The stock, which surged earlier this week only to be dumped when terms of a spin-off of its brokerage subsidiary sank in, saw 30 cents, or two per cent, snipped off its ex-dividend shares and 12 off ordinary shares.

    Bank of Cyprus, which is rumoured to announce next week the date of its listing on the Athens stock exchange, fell back seven cents to £9.79.

    Hellenic climbed two cents to £4.27, topping volume ranks with 1.2 million shares changing hands as it was widely reported that BoC's CISCO was in the market for the stock.

    A CISCO official declined comment, saying it was company policy not to disclose who its clients were.

    One trader repeated an oft-heard rumour that Hellenic, the smallest of the three major banks, was vulnerable as a takeover target.

    The same rumour was doing the rounds when Popular were in the market for Hellenic last month and last Monday. Some traders maintain that Popular and BoC are beefing up their defences and their share in the bank to thwart any takeover bid from a foreign competitor, which would erode their own dominant market share.

    The unnamed foreign competitor is speculated to be Greek, one trader said.

    In terms of net gainers, Sharelink Financial Services led with a jump of £1.86, followed by Severis and Athienitis Financial Services, which climbed £1.12.

    Traders said the announcements of results and corporate actions from next week were expected to stimulate the market.

    Friday, February 11, 2000

    [04] State being sued over police car tender

    DEPUTY Accountant-general Rena Georgiou yesterday confirmed reports that the government was the defendant in a lawsuit filed by car importers who did not win the tender to supply the state with some 70 new police cars.

    But she declined to identify the plaintiff-importers or to discuss the matter further, as it is now before the courts.

    The lawsuit seeks damages amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds from the government on grounds the Tender Board awarded the bid to an automobile dealer who allegedly did not meet all the terms of the tender.

    The Tender Board chose Renault Laguna vehicles, where previously it had bought Mercedes Benz or BMW patrol cars for the police.

    The complaining dealers said this type of car was a five-door hatchback, contrary to the terms of the tender, which they said sought four-door vehicles.

    They also said the cars that were purchased did not go through a road- worthiness test, and that the Renaults should have been dark blue, instead of as delivered: white with a blue horizontal stripe on both sides, as in many EU countries.

    Tender Board President Antonis Georgis, responding to the charges, said no tender terms were broken in the car purchase.

    "When we say door," Georgis said, "we meant a door used by a passenger or driver to get into the car. So the car which was chosen had four (such) doors, while the fifth (the hatchback door) is not used to enter the car."

    He also said two technical committees had studied the issue and decided the Renault Laguna model that were chosen was within the tender's terms.

    He said Renault model had been judged by the police as suitable for its purposes, and that it was one of the vehicle models on the list of cars meeting the tender's terms.

    The Renault Laguna was also said to be cheaper than the vehicles sold by the complaining importers.

    The plaintiff-importers said that, had they known hatchbacks were acceptable under the terms of the tender, they also could have supplied hatchback vehicles.

    Friday, February 11, 2000

    [05] Turkish Cypriots pelt ‘police’ in bank demo

    THOUSANDS of Turkish Cypriots took to the streets on Wednesday to protest on a bank crisis that has frozen their assets, papers in the north reported yesterday.

    According to the newspapers, a crowd of 4-5,000 angry "bank victims" marched to the Nicosia office of the ‘prime minister’ calling for the `government' to resign.

    Five private banks in the north have suspended their activities after being unable to return their customer's deposits.

    Sources suggest the banks failed to give people their money because they lent it to their own businesses and shareholders.

    The crisis could lead to the collapse of several smaller banks.

    The protestors accused the `Central Bank' of not keeping the banks in check.

    They placards and shouted slogans like, "I have earned in London, lost in the TRNC," and "we are the people, be afraid of us."

    In an unprecedented action the papers said, the protestors hurled stones, bottles, and eggs against the building and ‘police’ who were there to guard it.

    The crowd asked for `Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu to come out and answer their questions but to no avail since he was away in Famagusta.

    This further angered the protestors, who attempted to force their way into the building.

    The demonstrators demanded a `state guarantee' over their bank deposits.

    The committee representing bank customers is today expecting a response from the `government'.

    Friday, February 11, 2000

    [06] House to discuss Stock Exchange bill again

    By Athena Karsera

    THE House of Representatives yesterday partly accepted the President's decision to send back a controversial law on the operation of the Stock Exchange.

    Thirty-four deputies voted in favour of the bill being re-discussed by the House Finance Committee and nine against.

    Eight articles will remain as they are and 18 will be changed in accordance with President Glafcos Clerides' suggestions.

    The House Finance Committee, Stock Exchange Board representatives and other involved parties in the past week began further discussion on the bill.

    The main points of discussion are the division of brokerage houses into categories and a reduction in the maximum limit for a transactions without a broker to take place.

    Clerides sent the controversial bill back for reconsideration on January 28 saying that it would cause problems in the institution's operation.

    Disy, the Stock Exchange Board and Finace Minister Takis Klerides had joined brokers in discontent over the bill being passed.

    Friday, February 11, 2000

    [07] Paphos airport a centre of activity

    PAPHOS airport was a centre of activity yesterday as a Bulgarian Airlines plane made an emergency landing when one of its passengers fell ill.

    Half an hour later, medical staff rushed to an Eurocypria plane when another passenger suffered a cardiac problem.

    The two incidents happened late in the afternoon.

    Paphos police yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the first plane had been heading towards Israel when the passenger began to have chest pains and the pilot asked for permission to land.

    The patient, an Israeli national, was taken to hospital and was yesterday described to be in a serious condition.

    The plane continued on its course after the ailing passenger disembarked.

    The Eurocypria passenger was a German national who was also taken to hospital.

    He was yesterday being treated in Paphos hospital's intensive care unit and is also said to be serious.

    Police said that the incident occurred on arrival of the Eurocypria plane at Paphos airport.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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