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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, March 10, 2000


  • [01] Moses sees 'promising prospects' and hopes the 'buds' will flower soon 'Both sides committed to a united island'
  • [02] Nicosia water problem 'will be solved by December'
  • [03] Settler marriages of convenience 'will not be tolerated'
  • [04] Deputies condemn Akamas decision
  • [05] Akel chief leading the race to become president
  • [06] A condom a day for the blue berets
  • [07] Cyta cuts Internet monthly charge
  • [08] Paper publishes April Fool on March 10
  • [09] Students die in highway horror
  • [10] Market ends the week on an upward note

  • [01] Moses sees 'promising prospects' and hopes the 'buds' will flower soon 'Both sides committed to a united island'

    By Jean Christou

    THE two sides in Cyprus are fully committed to a united island and prospects are promising, US presidential emissary Alfred Moses said yesterday.

    Speaking at a news conference at the end of a three-day visit to the island, Moses said both sides are serious in their commitment to finding a settlement of the 25-year-old division.

    'Both sides have expressed to me that there is no alternative to a united Cyprus,' Moses said. 'How we get there is what we're going to be working on in the months ahead.'

    Two rounds of UN-led proximity talks have already taken place attended by

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the first in New York last December and the second in Geneva last month. A third round of proximity talks is on the cards for May 23, again in New York.

    'We're not there yet. It's still very early in the spring... the buds are coming up but we don't have flowers yet, but we're moving in the right direction,' Moses said, adding that he hoped to return to the island before May 23 'to see if those buds are further out of the ground and we have some flowers'. 'I think there is a reasonable expectation that this will occur,' he added.

    Moses said there is a need to increase the tempo of the discussions and to have the two parties engage intensely on the issues that divide them.

    The positions of the two leaders could not be further apart, however. Clerides is seeking a federation based on UN resolutions while Denktash continues to insist that his breakaway regime be recognised, after which he would be willing to enter into a confederation with the Greek Cypriots.

    'The ideas I have take into account the fundamental interests of both sides, ' Moses said. 'Neither side is going to say during the negotiating process what his bottom line is. My job is to know what are the fundamental interests of both sides, how to protect those fundamental interests and at the same time end the division that exists on the island.'

    Moses said he was satisfied with the outcome of his visit but declined to reveal what ideas he had brought to the two leaders because they are in the early stages.

    'You know on Cyprus a secret lasts around five seconds maybe. So what I discuss with one side I discuss with the other side,' he said.

    'What we hope is the buds will emerge further out of the ground. I don't expect to have flowers, I don't think we will have a full arrangement between now and May 23 but you may get a very sweet smell'.

    Moses' visit came hot on the heels of the departure of UN special Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto who left the island on Wednesday.

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [02] Nicosia water problem 'will be solved by December'

    By Anthony O. Miller

    Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous said yesterday Nicosia's water problem will be solved by the end of the year by bringing forward completion of the Larnaca desalination plant to December.

    He dismissed contract clauses that give the Israeli consortium building the plant 18 months to complete it -- now by sometime in 2001 -- by saying: "We will pay extra in order to have it some months earlier.

    ""This is something we are discussing with the company which is building the plant," he said, "so our final decision is that we are going to have this plant (operational) by the end of this year, by December 2000.

    "And he dismissed with equal confidence any threat to the Larnaca plant's completion posed by lawsuits filed by Larnaca Mayor George Lycourgos to halt its construction.

    "Everything is going smoothly in Larnaca," Themistocleous said. "There is not any problem (with the lawsuits). The court already decided... and I am sure that we will have the plant ready by the end of the year.

    "While early completion of the Larnaca plant would not solve all the island's water problems, it would go a long way to solving those of cities along the Southern Conveyor pipeline, which stretches from Kouris Dam to Nicosia.

    For with reservoirs 90 per cent empty, and winter rains effectively over, state water officials have warned of even tighter rationing than already in force to homes and businesses, and of a virtual cut-off of water to farms.

    Themistocleous on Thursday gave a delegation of mayors of Nicosia and six suburban areas, led by Nicosia Mayor Lelos Demetriades, a list of several "immediate measures we're going to promote so that the problems can be lessened in the interim".

    These included getting "five to seven thousand cubic metres of water per day... from new boreholes, from using private boreholes and from purchasing water from private boreholes".

    He also said the government would explore "a suggestion submitted during the meeting... the possibility of purchasing water from Greece".

    The suggestion was reminiscent of one considered by the government in 1998: accepting free water from Crete, provided Cyprus pays the transport cost.

    Themistocleous also said he pledged to the mayors that there would be "a fair distribution of water, so that all the districts get water according to their population," rather than simply imposing across-the-board rationing.

    Finally, he said, he told the mayors the government is "going to discuss getting extra water from the Dhekelia desalination unit".

    The unit, the island's sole desalination plant, turns 40,000 cubic metres (40 million litres) of seawater daily into potable water at maximum output. The Larnaca plant is designed to do the same.

    Following a January 2000 government request, Caramondani, builder- operator of the Dhekelia plant, submitted to the government a proposal to build an annex to the plant capable of desalting another 20,000 cubic metres of water per day within six months, plant manager Olga Salangos has told the Cyprus Mail.

    "We gave this offer to the government on February 2 of this year, but this is just a copy of an old offer that was given to the government in June 1997, at the time the Larnaca (desalination) project was under consideration," she said.

    If the state had taken up the offer in June 1997, Caramondani could have added the extra 20-million litre capacity to the Dhekelia plant within six months of May 1998, the date the Dhekelia plant reached maximum output, Salangos said.

    Caramondani could even have built a duplicate of its original Dhekelia plant, with identical 40,000 cubic metre daily output, right alongside the original, Solangos said.

    In that case, "by now, they could have here 80,000 cubic metres of water per day" flowing into the cities along the Southern Conveyor since at least December 1999, she said.

    Themistocleous did not address the Caramondani offer, but said he would meet with the seven mayors again "in 10-15 days for an exchange of opinions" on his proposed solutions.

    Demetriades has said he and the six mayors of Nicosia's suburbs plan to erect desalination works of their own to begin production within eight months.

    This way, he said, during the summer, "the authorities who supply the water to Cyprus will feel less nervous about giving more water" to Nicosia if they know the mayors will later in the year give the state desalinated water to reimburse it for the extra summer water they sent to Nicosia.

    The Cyprus Mail has learned the seven mayors are looking at the Caramondani offer to build a 20 million-litre desalting unit alongside its existing plant -- as well as mooring desalination ships offshore -- as ways to provide the extra water.

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [03] Settler marriages of convenience 'will not be tolerated'

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT will come down hard on any marriages of convenience between Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers for the purposes of staying in the Republic.

    The issue is being treated as a serious political question by the government following concerns expressed by political parties over the number of Turkish Cypriots crossing from the north in the past six months.On Thursday Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said settlers married to Turkish Cypriots would not be deported. This caused outrage in some quarters. Social Democratic Movement leader Vassos Lyssarides questioned whether this would be the government's policy in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem.Attorney-general Alecos Markides told the TV discussion programme Proektasisthat the Republic can exercise its sovereign rights at any time to deport someone.He said mixed marriages between Turks and Turkish Cypriots were not the same as other mixed marriages: "The difference in the case of a foreigner who marries a Turkish Cypriot differs in the sense that the Turkish settler is here illegally," Markides said.Papapetrou said yesterday no disagreement exists within the government on the issue."I think a mountain is being made out of a molehill. What I said was the policy of the government on these isolated incidences is this, and really this is their approach."If, and I said this again and again, ifthe other side tries to take advantage of us and carries out these kinds of weddings and uses them to legalise the settlers' presence here, which clearly is a war crime, then of course our side will handle the situation."According to government estimates, around 200 Turkish Cypriots have crossed to the south over the past six months, mainly for economic reasons. Only four were identified as being Turkish settlers and they have already been deported.Reports in the local press about the influx of Turkish Cypriots speculate that a plot was hatched by the breakaway regime in the north to destabilise the climate for talks on the Cyprus issue.The reason the regime of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash does not appear concerned, the press speculates, is because most of those who are crossing are Turkish Cypriot gypsies and the authorities in the north are glad to be rid of them.

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [04] Deputies condemn Akamas decision

    By Athena Karsera

    THE HOUSE Environment Committee yesterday condemned the Cabinet's decision to allow development in the Akamas and called on the government to think again.On March 1 the Cabinet decided to permit "mild and controlled" tourism development along almost the entire Akamas coast, crushing environmentalists' hopes that this unspoilt remote peninsula would be protected. Development is to be banned only in areas that already enjoy protected status.A statement issued by the Committee "with certain reservations from Disy" said that it considered the decision "generic, unclear and unspecific, without any provisions for the management, protection and development of the environment and the fauna and flora of Akamas".The Committee called on the government not to make "singular decisions that serve private interests". It "completely disagreed with and condemned the preferential treatment of a particular piece of private property where farm land was exchanged with land to be used for tourism or made into a tourism zone".The Committee members also said that they had not found any provisions for the development of the Akamas communities in the Cabinet decision.The deputies noted that the World Bank plan for Akamas, unanimously approved by the House in 1998, had not even been mentioned in the Cabinet's decision. The plan suggested that development in the region be limited to within existing village boundaries.The statement followed intense debate during an emergency Committee meeting on Thursday when Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous informed them about the Cabinet decision. Meanwhile, environmental organisations yesterday also urged the government to reconsider its plans for Akamas."We ask for the immediate formation of a committee made up the relevant state services, (Akamas region) community representatives, the environmentalists and the Technical Chamber, as well as World Bank representatives, so that a broad study of the issue can be made," Antonia Theodosiou of the Environmental and Ecological Organisations Foundation told a Nicosia news conference.Representing all Cyprus' environmental organisations, Theodosiou said that the World Bank had carried out a study on the most suitable development for the area at the government's request, and this had been completed in 1995.The report had been presented to the residents of villages in the Akamas region, but the thick tome was in English, which most of the villagers had difficulty with, and it often used technical terms.Theodosiou said the government had promised to bring the residents copies of the report in Greek, but that this had yet to be done.The greens echoed the House Environment Committee in condemning the land swap, saying that the exact size of the businessman's land had not been established as a case on the issue was still pending before the courts.

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [05] Akel chief leading the race to become president

    By Athena Karsera

    AKEL leader Demetris Christofias is leading the race to become present, according to a poll published in Selides magazine yesterday.But with three years still to go until the next presidential elections, the poll results also revealed that an overwhelming 38.4 per cent of those asked would either not vote for any of the seven most likely candidates or had no idea who they would vote for.Christofias got 18.5 per cent of the vote, and Diko deputy Tassos Papadopoulos, who has held several ministerial posts over the past 12 years, came in second place with 14.7 per cent.Attorney- general Alecos Markides was third with 11.5 per cent, followed by former president and United Democrat leader George Vassiliou with 6.6 per cent.The chief EU negotiator was followed by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides with six per cent and Popular Bank president Kikis Lazarides with 2.5 per cent.The chairman of the House Watchdog Committee, Disy deputy Christos Pourgourides got 1.8 per cent.The weekly Greek-language magazine said that the study showed that a large percentage of the electorate is concerned about the elections and that almost 40 per cent are not satisfied by the most obvious choices.Selidesnoted that Christofias received all his votes from Akel supporters, while Papadopoulos received support from various partes.It said that 11.3 per cent of Papadopoulos' votes came from Akel supporters, 73.2 per cent from Diko, 4.9 per cent from Disy supporters, and 11.4 per cent from Social Democratic Movement backers.Markides was supported by Disy supporters long with a small percentage of voters who did not support a specific party.Vassiliou received the bulk of his support from Disy backers, with a smaller percentage from Akel and people not affiliated to any specific party.Disy backers made up the majority of those putting their faith in Cassoulides, while Lazarides received backing from Social Democratic Movement supporters and their Akel counterparts.The study was carried out in conjunction with Intercollege's Research and Development Centre. The magazine said it had been prompted by "the stated intention of the current president not to run for office again, along with similar statements by those who have customarily requested our vote, as well as the need for a change of faces and a renewal of political life".It said 750 members of the general population over the age of 18 were questioned over the telephone between February 21 and 24. The margin of error was approximately 3.6 per cent.

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [06] A condom a day for the blue berets

    By Noah Haglund

    THE UNITED Nations has started distributing condoms to peacekeepers because of American concerns that the UN's forces are spreading Aids in the very countries they are trying to protect.Don't let the baby blue berets and boyish smiles fool you -- these are real young men with natural desires, and the UN has had to own up to this fact of life in several countries where peacekeepers have been deployed -- including Cyprus.Western countries have distributed condoms routinely to troops they send on UN duty, but now the organisation has decided to take charge to ensure that all its contingents have "safe sex".The initiative follows an outcry by the US about peacekeepers spreading Aids unwittingly. "All too often the sad truth is that, at times, in trying to solve one problem, such as preventing a war or containing conflict, UN peacekeepers contribute unintentionally to another serious problem, the spread of Aids," Richard Holbrooke, Washington's UN Ambassador, told a Congressional panel this week.He was speaking after a tour of Africa, just days before chairing a special Security Council debate on Aids.The spokesman for the UN force in Cyprus, Charles Gaulkin, said that UN troops here are "given as many condoms as they need. Whenever they need them, they get them."He said this policy has been in effect for more than a year, but he was unable to say how many have been given out so far.In Cyprus, the condoms are distributed by the medical centres at each of the six main camps along the buffer zone."You have to accept reality," one UN official in New York told The Timesnewspaper yesterday. "Where you have a man away from home this is going to happen. Therefore, you have to provide condoms. In my philosophy, condoms have the same value as flak jackets."The two peacekeeping operations authorised since the US concerns were raised -- in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- both contain budget provision for "one condom per man per day". Surplus requirements will be distributed to the local population.The UN keeps no statistics on HIV infection linked to peacekeeping missions, but several Croatian women are reported to have contracted the virus after dating UN soldiers.Over the years peacekeepers have often become embroiled in scandals over prostitutes, The Timessaid.A Bulgarian contingent in Cambodia, dubbed the &gt;Vulgarians=, once got into a gunfight in a brothel, Italian peacekeepers in Mozambique were accused of paying for sex with girls as young as 12, and a Russian officer in Croatia was forced to resign, partly because of his role in running a brothel.

    Holbrooke's comments have outraged some troop-contributing countries. At a recent meeting of the UN"s Economic and Social Council, India's Ambassador said his country had participated in every peacekeeping mission in Africa for the past decade and never had a soldier infected with HIV.

    At Holbrooke's insistence, every resolution authorising a peacekeeping mission -- such as last month's vote to dispatch 5,500 &gt;blue helmets= to the Congo -- now contains language "encouraging efforts by the UN to sensitise UN personnel in the prevention and control of Aids".

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [07] Cyta cuts Internet monthly charge

    THE Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) yesterday announced it was cutting Internet monthly subscriptions up to 35 per cent.The new fees will take effect from March 14, and are a result of Cyta's effort to offer Internet access to more people, a statement said.Monthly fees for Cytanet will fall from ,11 to ,7 for regular access, while connection through the ISDN service will be reduced from ,18 to ,12.

    Cyta said the cuts were made possible because of the sharp increase in Internet users, especially in the business sector.

    Cytanet is the largest Internet provider on the island with 19,000 users, while it offers the fastest connection at 19Mbps.

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [08] Paper publishes April Fool on March 10

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday characterised as an early April Fool joke a Machireport claiming "high ranking officials" want his daughter, Disy MP Katie Clerides, to become the first president of "the confederate Republic of Cyprus".The newspaper claimed yesterday that "based on confirmed information high- ranking officials in rapprochement circles" have agreed to promote to the presidency of the "confederate republic of Cyprus, Katie Clerides," a supporter of rapprochement with Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.Machi, still not identifying its sources, also claimed the unidentified "high ranking officials" agreed that:- The Cyprus solution would involve two federal, equal sovereign states, with a "loose central government";- Turkish and Greek forces on the island would stay in Cyprus as part of a Nato or European Force, whose task would be to ensure both separate states' security;- The occupation regime would keep 30-32 per cent of territory, including Kyrenia, Morphou, Karpassia, Trikomo, Karavas and Lapithos;- Famagusta would be given to the Nato or European Force, whose headquarters would be Lefkoniko Airport.Deputy Government Spokesman Spyros Arotis said: "Reporters have asked me to comment on the article, because Ms Katie Clerides is abroad. The President of the Republic has authorised me to state that if today were April Fool's Day, the report would be a clever and successful publication."

    Friday, March 10, 2000

    [09] Students die in highway horror

    TWO students were killed and two others were seriously injured yesterday in a horrific traffic accident on the Nicosia to Limassol motorway near Latsia.

    Police named the men who died as Rabia Kiouri, 22, from Tunisia, and American Lackey Levi, 22. They were both passengers in a car driven by Savvas Altachi, 22, from Lakatamia, along with Greek resident Zorzed Estay Carten, 20, and 20-year-old Bilen Iman from Ethiopia.

    A police report said the accident occurred at around 9.45am when Altachi tried to overtake but apparently lost control of his vehicle and hit the barrier at the side of the road.

    The force of the collision thrust the passengers on the back seat out on to the tarmac, where they were hit by the car they had just overtaken.

    Kiouri, who was apparently dragged by the car along the barrier, died on the scene. Levi was taken in a critical condition to Nicosia General Hospital, where he died at 4.30pm. Iman and Carten are described as having serious injuries.

    The two passengers in the other car were treated for light injuries, while Altachi was kept in hospital for tests.

    A fire service officer on the scene told reporters the students had not been wearing their seatbelts.

    [10] Market ends the week on an upward note

    THE MARKET made a slight recovery yesterday, ending a rather unnerving week on an upward note with the all-share index closing at 547.4 points, 4.8 points, or 0.89 per cent up on Thursday's trading.

    All sectors were up but some fared better than others. Banking rose only 0.59 per cent compared to a 3.86 per cent rise in investment companies and 3.23 per cent in tourism enterprises.

    The volume traded totalled ,23.7 million.

    Yesterday's market session was extended by half an hour following four days of plunging prices but a strong opening and aggressive early trading were replaced by a loss of pace by mid-session.

    It was a traumatic week for banks, particularly for the Popular Bank whose outstanding annual results announced on Wednesday failed to reflect on the market. Yesterday the bank's shares gained 13 cents to close at ,13.39 after taking a bashing on Thursday when they dropped by 36 cents.

    On Thursday the market hit a new low for the year which was accompanied by allegations by Popular Bank Chairman Kikis Lazarides of "dirty dealings" which the market authorities are now investigating.

    Experts said this was one of the reasons for the market's small reversal. The other was a pledge by the main banks to continue to support the bourse.

    Frixos Sorokos, president of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said they have already started collecting information on the transactions made over the past week to determine how they affected the movement of stocks.

    "Actions by companies or individuals have to be checked to see if they in any way stalled the market in recent days," he said.

    Christodoulos Ellinas, chairman of the brokers= association, said the allegations have to be backed up and he called on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) board to publish the results of the investigation.

    Stock Market briefs

    Exelixi Investment Company Ltd was founded on December 6 and went public on December 15. The Stock Exchange Council has approved the company's share flotation which is expected on March 15.

    Exelixi Investments Ltd says the company's ,1.8 million share capital gives it the potential for flexible investments on the Cyprus stock market and abroad.

    The company holds the record in Cyprus for the fastest listing on the Cyprus Stock Market.

    Ishis Investments Ltd was founded in Nicosia on November 25, to invest capital in Cyprus and abroad.

    The company's share capital is ,7,000,000 divided in 14,000,000 shares of 0.50 cents nominal value.

    The issued share capital is 11,000,000 shares with nominal value of 0.50 cents each, offered to the public on February 25.

    On March 6 the board of directors decided to allocate a minimum of 300 shares per applicant and the rest pro rata.

    On March 6 it decided to take action to include Greek investors= representative Spyridon Lembeshis on the board.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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