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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-29

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, March 29, 2000


  • [01] Clerides worried about Denktash’s attitude
  • [02] Doctors race against the clock to test 50,000 samples
  • [03] Deal close on CY pay rises
  • [04] Clerides flies to Israel for first ever state visit
  • [05] Man accused of molesting stepdaughter
  • [06] Former Defence Minister dies
  • [07] Stocks slide amid investor gloom

  • [01] Clerides worried about Denktash’s attitude

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides said yesterday he was worried about Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's attitude towards the talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Clerides and Denktash are due to attend a third round of UN-led proximity talks in New York on May 23. Two rounds have already taken place but the third round is expected to be substantive.

    But Clerides, for the second time in a month, appeared pessimistic about the progress.

    "There are worrying signs because the things Mr Denktash used to set as preconditions to go to the talks, i.e. recognition, he is now using as conditions to proceed to negotiations," Clerides said yesterday. "He came to the talks but does not want to negotiate unless he is recognised."

    The President was speaking to the dean and several professors of the Philosophical Department of the Athens University, who visited him yesterday.

    Clerides also warned of the danger of the continued settlement of mainland Turks in the north without the Cyprus problem being solved, or if negotiations dragged on.

    "Settlement in the north means part of Cyprus will not be Cyprus but an extension of Turkey in Cyprus," he said.

    Clerides also stressed the need for internal unity among Greek Cypriots and appealed to all who opposed federation not to do so.

    He stressed that the Greek Cypriot side did not have the luxury of choosing the solution it wanted.

    "It is a great mistake to shout against federation and to voice disapproval against federation," he said.

    The President said this would mean that the international interest in the Cyprus problem, which the government had worked hard to create, would dissipate at a time when such interest was unprecedented.

    "And we, like the Turkish side, will be condemned in the same way as they are for seeking a confederation instead of a federation," Clerides said. "If we commit the same mistake it will be destructive to the Cyprus problem."

    Another area in which Clerides appeared pessimistic concerned the EU, which he said did not appear to have a common policy on the Cyprus problem.

    "The road is not easy and it is not easy because even Europe has no clear lines as a whole. Every country has its own views. What is needed is a common European policy concerning a solution of the Cyprus issue," he said.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday echoed the president, saying, "federation was not a choice for the Greek Cypriot side, but a compromise".

    Papapetrou called on the international community to ask Denktash why he objected to a federal solution when in the past this had been acceptable to him.

    On Monday, Denktash said there was "no proposal on the table other than our confederation proposal."

    "It is obvious the Turkish side is making things difficult… and we would suggest that the international community turn its attention to them," Papapetrou said.

    Papapetrou also responded to reports that Denktash might try to scupper the renewal of Unficyp's six-monthly mandate in June.

    He said the government's position on the presence of Unficyp, a 1,200- strong force that patrols the 180km-long buffer zone, was well known.

    "The presence of the UN force is the product of an agreement between the UN and the Republic of Cyprus in 1964 and there cannot be any change in this position," he said.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    [02] Doctors race against the clock to test 50,000 samples

    By Martin Hellicar

    AN ASTONISHING 50,000 people had by yesterday night responded to an appeal to find a compatible bone marrow donor for a six-year-old leukaemia patient.

    The overwhelming response - from both sides of the island's divide - has raised hopes of finding a donor in time to save little Andreas Vassiliou.

    The screening of donated samples is being carried out at "world record" rates, but Andreas' condition has taken a turn for the worse.

    Arrangements were yesterday being made for Andreas to be moved from Nicosia's Makarios hospital to a specialised clinic in the US. The chemotherapy treatment Andreas will receive at the clinic will aim to bolster the six-year-old's system in preparation for a life-saving transplant when and if a donor is identified.

    The chance of finding a suitable donor from among the general population is only 1 in 35,000.

    Andreas's father, Vassos, has warned that his son will only survive another month without a bone marrow transplant. But experts at the Karaiskakio Foundation, which has spearheaded the donor appeal, yesterday suggested things were not that bleak.

    Adamos Adamou, chairman of the Karaiskakio's scientific committee, said Andreas could hang on for two, three or even five months.

    "How long he could last we cannot know for sure, but I disagree with suggestions that only one month remains," Adamou said.

    Hundreds of people again turned up to give blood samples for the appeal at hospitals across the island. For the second day running, large numbers of Turkish Cypriots went to the Ledra Palace to contribute to the appeal.

    The Karaiskakio Foundation hopes to have 70,000 blood samples within the week.

    "We are hopeful of finding a donor," Adamou said.

    With donors coming forward so willingly, the challenge for the Karaiskakio is to screen the samples in time.

    Adamou said the foundation, with the help of specialised equipment rushed in from the US and Germany, had screened 1,000 samples yesterday and would be able to maintain this rate.

    Adamou said this screening rate had never been bettered "anywhere in the world."

    Some 2,000 samples are to be shipped abroad for screening today, Adamou added.

    A total of some 4,000 samples had been screened by yesterday night.

    Adamou said a suitable donor should, statistically, be found once 35,000 samples have been screened.

    "This is the number we want to reach so that the child then has all the normal chances he can have," the expert said.

    The samples are also being tested for compatibility with a 12-year-old London Turkish Cypriot boy - Kemal Saracoglu - also suffering from leukaemia.

    Turkey has put her donor files at the government's disposal to help in the search for a donor for Andreas and blood donations have also been made in Greece.

    Politicians again lined up to pay tribute to the way the Turkish side had responded to the appeal to help Andreas. Turkish Cypriot newspapers made the Turkish Cypriot response headline news yesterday, agreeing that Andreas' plight had acted to break down barriers between the two sides.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash - whose son Serdar has been among those contributing to the appeal - was quoted as saying he wished Andreas a "speedy recovery."

    The government has already welcomed the Turkish response as a show of humanity.

    Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades, Akel leader Demetris Christofias and Disy deputy Kate Clerides yesterday added their voices to those praising the Turkish response.

    Anastassiades also stressed that the plight of 12-year-old Kemal should not be forgotten.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    [03] Deal close on CY pay rises

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) is likely to sign a deal shortly with its unions for pay rises and other benefits designed to guarantee four years of industrial peace.

    Yesterday, CY management met with all of its unions to finalise the details for the renewal of collective agreements, which airline sources say are close to the signature stage.

    The deal being discussed will bring a 4.5 per cent pay rise and other benefits to cabin crew, administrative and other staff as well as engineers.

    Pilots may ask for a similar deal later on, the sources said.

    "Everything is going well," the sources said, adding it was hoped the agreement would be signed before the end of the week.

    The renewal of the collective agreements comes just in time for the start of the busy summer tourist season on April 1.

    Last year's season was marred by strikes by pilots and other industrial unrest within the company.

    On Monday, CY announced preliminary group pre-tax profits for 1999 of £8.8 million, down from a record £10 million in 1998.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    [04] Clerides flies to Israel for first ever state visit

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides yesterday flew to Israel for a four-day state visit -- the first by a Cypriot President.

    Reports say the visit aims at promoting Cyprus' role in the area by creating better relations with neighbouring countries to help consolidate peace.

    Speaking before his departure, Clerides said this was the "first visit by a President of the Republic of Cyprus since its establishment (in 1960)," adding the visit was taking place in return for the visit to the island by Israeli President Ezer Weizman in November 1998.

    Commenting on the military pact between Turkey and Israel, Clerides said that although it did not seem to pose dangers for Cyprus, such agreements should be avoided as they created blocs in the region instead of promoting peace.

    He noted that the government had looked into the issue and found that there was no intention by Israel to use the agreement against Cyprus.

    He did, however, express his concern about the agreement and hinted it may be targeted against a country or countries in the Gulf.

    Clerides said he did not expect his trip to create any problems with the Conference of Islamic countries, but said instead it would help to solve problems.

    The government's position toward the Palestinian people was the same as that followed on the Cyprus problem, that refugees must return to their homes and human rights be enforced, Clerides said.

    The Palestinians must have a home, an area to administer and of course they should be helped to overcome their economic problems.

    The President who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, and Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou will tomorrow morning meet with the Israeli President.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    [05] Man accused of molesting stepdaughter

    A PHILLIPINO man was yesterday remanded in police custody for eight days, suspected of molesting his 13-year-old stepdaughter and causing grievous bodily harm to her sister.

    The 30-year-old was arrested after his wife told police her husband was molesting her elder daughter -- from her first marriage -- and had used violence on her two other daughters, also from her first marriage.

    In fact, she told police he had caused grievous bodily harm to one of them.

    Medical examiner Sophoclis Sophocleous examined the two sisters and indeed found one had been molested and that bruises on the other were a result of battering.

    The mother went to police after one of her daughters told her what was allegedly going on.

    She had been married to a Cypriot, who was the girls' biological father, but re-married after he died a few years ago.

    Meanwhile a 75-year-old man was on Monday remanded in custody for five days on suspicion of indecently assaulting three little girls.

    The Strovolos man was arrested after the girls, aged between six and eight and two of whom were sisters, told their parents they had been molested by the suspect on Sunday afternoon.

    Police said the children had said the man had taken them to his flat, in the same building where they all lived, made them undress, exposed himself and began touching them.

    The suspect denies the allegations.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    [06] Former Defence Minister dies

    FORMER Defence Minister and District officer George Charalambides died on Monday night at a London hospital where he was undergoing treatment. He was aged 64.

    Charalambides served at the district offices of Paphos and Limassol as well as the Ministries of Labour, Education and Interior and the Planning Bureau.

    During the 1955-59 Eoka struggle for independence from British rule, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

    He served for a brief period as Defence Minister from November 1997 to February 1998.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    [07] Stocks slide amid investor gloom

    By Michael Ioannou

    STOCKS yesterday declined 1.9 per cent with newcomer Aiantas sparking some disappointment among investors after opening lower than its par value of 50 cents.

    Aiantas' opening price of 40 cents caused some consternation among brokers, while company board member and stockbroker Yiannos Andronikou said other brokerages had put pressure on the stock at its debut, sparking a sell-off.

    "There was an attempt in pre-trading to pressure the stock, and that caused some sales by investors. The matter will be reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission," he told reporters.

    Traders said they had seen orders posted for Aiantas for even one cent. The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) later said the hiccup was due to a technical glitch.

    It is not the first time that brokers have reported that their own colleagues have attempted to manipulate

    the market, usually to drag it lower. None of the allegations has, however, been substantiated.

    But the CSE did announce late yesterday afternoon that due to some "problems which were being

    investigated", low prices were posted into the trading system which affected not only Aiantas, but also Keo nil-paid rights.

    "Once the pre-trading session was over these orders had no bearing on any prices," the CSE said.

    Aiantas topped the day's volume ranks with 1.37 million shares traded. It closed on a last trade of 43 cents. Andronikou said he was certain the share would rebound.

    For the second day in a row shares ended in negative territory. The general index eased by 9.17 points to settle at 459.80 as volume shrank to ,17.1 million on limited buying interest.

    Banks provided support, outperforming with a 1.5 per cent decline while tourism stocks fell seven

    per cent. Medium cap insurance shares slipped 0.9 per cent and industrials were off 2.9 per cent.

    Traders said investors were still hesitant to jump into the market, and the perceived lack of government

    aid for the bourse was demoralising them further. "The market is directionless at the moment," one said.

    Market heavyweights Bank of Cyprus and Laiki were both down by 14 and 17 cents respectively. Hellenic was down six cents. The smallest bank, Universal Savings, jumped 53 cents to 5.83.

    It reported preliminary pre-tax earnings of ,594,780 yesterday, up 67.1 per cent from 1998. The bank said net profit rose 64.5 per cent to ,450,513 while earnings per share rose to 5.6 cents from 4.9 in 1998.

    Universal, which has a network of nine branches, said deposits nearly doubled in the year under review to ,84 million.

    Ceilfloor, which also posted its preliminary results yesterday, was off five cents to 1.70. The company

    said that pre-tax profits rose to ,212,548, an increase of 82 per cent. Net gains rose to ,369,977.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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