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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, September 28, 2000


  • [01] Cocaine was top quality South American consignment
  • [02] Next stop Geneva
  • [03] 'Spouses law' within EU rules
  • [04] Delegation leaves for Lebanon on immigrant mission
  • [05] Mother and daughter beaten up
  • [06] Canadian held over hit and run
  • [07] Market trading ‘big volumes but low prices’

  • [01] Cocaine was top quality South American consignment

    By Martin Hellicar

    POLICE yesterday showcased their largest ever hard drug seizure - 35 kilos of cocaine found in a Limassol customs warehouse on Tuesday - and spoke of having got a hook on a major international drug smuggling ring.

    “When you have 35 kg of drugs you are certainly talking about organised crime, organised rings, professionals… that could be using Cyprus as a transit point,” said Drug Squad chief Christakis Katsikides.

    He added that his officers were in touch with Interpol in an effort to track down the international cocaine smugglers. No Cypriots were thought to be involved in the drug running, Katsikides said.

    “The narcotics were from abroad and were heading for the Middle East, not Cyprus. They (originally) came from Latin America,” Katsikides said, though he declined to be more specific about the countries involved. The last port of call for the drugs is thought to have been Israel and the final destination Lebanon. Cyprus is often used as a 'go-between' for goods travelling between the two warring neighbours.

    Katsikides said drugs from the same South American country had come through Cyprus in the past.

    Drug Squad officers showed journalists the large white plastic tubs labelled 'olives' in which the cocaine was found. The drugs were found in bags in the tubs with black or green olives placed on top.

    Katsikides said the method used to hide the drugs was of “international interest”.

    The massive find was made inside a crate at the Ypsonas bonded warehouse just outside Limassol on Tuesday.

    Customs officials became suspicious of the crate, which arrived on September 2, because the paperwork accompanying it contained “discrepancies”, said customs police drug officer Panayiotis Savvides.

    “Customs are not used to dealing with to dealing with crates of olives, clothes and shoes,” he said. “The cost of moving olives so far would be too high to be worth it - so we became suspicious.”

    Katsikides said the Ypsonas crate might yet yield more drugs and added that the Drug Squad was now on the lookout for similar crates.

    He also said the confiscated cocaine was “top quality” as it came from a South American country “famed for the quality of its cocaine”.

    The Drug Squad chief declined to comment on reports that the 35 kilos of cocaine had a street value of £4 million. “We never disclose the value of drugs, we speak only of the damage done by the drugs,” Katsikides said.

    Thursday, September 28, 2000

    [02] Next stop Geneva

    By Athena Karsera

    THE UN does feel obliged to take its Resolutions on Cyprus into consideration and is committed to respecting them, diplomatic sources in New York told the Cyprus News Agency yesterday.

    President Glafcos Clerides has made it clear he is not prepared to agree to a solution that does not respect the framework of Security Council resolutions.

    The sources, speaking at the close of the latest round of UN-led proximity talks, said the UN felt they had engaged Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in substantive talks, while not giving in to his demands for recognition of the occupation regime.

    The comments came on top of an upbeat assessment by the UN Secretary- general's special advisor Alvaro de Soto, who said on Tuesday that both sides had engaged in the substance of the negotiations in more depth than they had ever done earlier in the process.

    “It is fair to say, that a qualitative step forward has taken place during the last two weeks, and the two sides have engaged in the substance in a way they have not before. To that extent we are encouraged and unless this be interpreted as a premature 'pieces at hand' statement, let me haste to say that we are not blaring trumpets or breaking open the champagne.”

    De Soto said there was still a long way to go: “Progress, particularly in the proximity format, are hard to report on.”

    He said both sides were being represented by people that understood what had to be done, “Let me assure you that the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have two world class negotiators leading the negotiations, with accumulated experience of the best, if not better than the best. A certain amount of trust should be deposited in them.”

    The diplomatic sources put Denktash's participation in serious talks down to the significant efforts made by members of the Security Council putting pressure on Turkey and, in turn, on the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    The sources added that the UN would be intensifying efforts to speed up the process and move towards finding an agreement to end the deadlock.

    The next round of talks is set to take place from November 1 to 10 in Geneva with further talks already planned for late January in New York.

    “UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan invited them to meet again for proximity talks in Geneva from one to 10 November inclusive. The Secretary-general will be in Geneva during this time himself. He has also asked me to go to the island in October to continue consultations. I hope to visit Ankara and Athens and visit possibly also other European stops.”

    Turkish Cypriot newspapers reported yesterday that Denktash had told journalists the first week of the next series of talks would be very significant in view of finding out whether continuing difference could be overcome.

    According to the reports, Denktash also said recent meetings had clearly revealed the Greek Cypriot side's negative approach and their efforts to mislead the UN.

    Dismissing recent reports in the Greek Cypriot press, Denktash said no UN document on the constitutional issue had been issued to the two sides and that the talks had taken the form of the two sides answering UN ideas, discussing and presenting alternative thoughts.

    Thursday, September 28, 2000

    [03] 'Spouses law' within EU rules

    By Anthony O. Miller

    CYPRUS was within its rights under EU rules to set whatever time period it wished before foreign nationals working on the island could bring their spouses to join them, an EU Delegation spokesman said yesterday.

    And Mehran Eftekhar, president of the Cyprus International Business Association (CIBA) said, “after speaking to the relevant authorities… I think what was purely misinterpretation (of the new 'family reunification law') will be corrected” after his meeting with top Interior Ministry officials on Monday.

    “Since June 1, 1993, there has existed a resolution by the member states called… The Harmonisation of National Policies on Family Reunification,” the EU spokesman said.

    “On the question of waiting periods, this resolution - and being a resolution, it is not binding - says: 'Member states reserve the right to require non-EC nationals to be lawfully present in their territory for certain periods of time before family members may be reunited.'

    “The EU has not given anything binding in terms of a time limit,” the EU spokesman said.

    The new Cyprus law was passed in July to harmonise the island's immigration law with European Union practice. As originally drafted, it set a 15-month period before foreign employees could bring their spouses to Cyprus. But that was changed to five years by the Interior Ministry and approved as such by the House.

    Senior Migration Department and Interior Ministry officials all said the new law's provisions meant foreign workers must have worked on a valid work permit for five years before being allowed to bring their spouses to Cyprus.

    They added the new law was retroactive -- meaning spouses of foreigners employed here less than five years had to leave the country when their partners' current work permits expired.

    They could thereafter return for yearly three-month visits, but could not return permanently to live until their employed spouses has worked the full five years in Cyprus, the officials said.

    But CIBA's Eftekhar said yesterday that far from being a bar to foreign workers bringing their spouses, “this law is meant to give additional rights to foreign employees after being here five years, whereby their spouses will have an automatic right to residence,” he said.

    “Anything else which applied up to now will continue to apply,” he said, referring to the absolute discretion of the Migration Department to grant residence on a case-by-case basis.

    “Now if there has been any misinterpretation of the law by any authority, the sources that I spoke to today… will take the necessary steps to rectify any misunderstandings,” Eftekhar said.

    Although the EU does not currently specify a time limit for bringing in a spouse, the European Commission is understood to be drafting a mandatory directive that would harmonise the period across Europe.

    Thursday, September 28, 2000

    [04] Delegation leaves for Lebanon on immigrant mission

    By Staff Reporter

    AN INTERIOR Ministry delegation yesterday flew to Beirut to hold talks with Lebanese authorities concerning the fate of 266 illegal immigrants currently held on a cruise ship off Limassol.

    Authorities have evidence the immigrants, mainly Kurds and Iranians, sailed from a Lebanese port, but Beirut said it would not accept their return under a bilateral agreement with Cyprus unless they received conclusive evidence that they sailed from their shores.

    The delegation, which is expected to stay in Beirut for two days, is led by Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Kyriacos Triantafyllides, who is flanked by Assistant Chief of Police Nathanael Papageorgiou and foreign ministry officials.

    The delegation will hand the Lebanese authorities more evidence and information proving the immigrants came to Cyprus from Lebanon.

    On Tuesday, the Turkish captain of the trawler carrying the immigrants, which ran aground off Paphos earlier this month, admitted he had sailed from Lebanon.

    “The suspect admitted to captaining the ship and revealed exclusive information about the band which planned the operation from Lebanon,” Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said on Tuesday.

    The government has said it would deport the immigrants to their countries of origin if Beirut refused to take them back.

    Thursday, September 28, 2000

    [05] Mother and daughter beaten up

    By Staff Reporter

    AN ARMENIAN man was yesterday arrested in Nicosia on suspicion of beating up a Russian woman and her teenage daughter on Tuesday night.

    The man allegedly laid into the mother with his fists on the steps of her apartment block on Nicosia's Nikis Avenue at around 11pm. According to a complaint made to police by the woman's 18-year-old daughter, the man also attacked the teenager after she ran to her mother's rescue. The daughter had heard her mother's cries for help from the flat above.

    Both mother and daughter had to be treated in hospital after the alleged assault. The mother, who suffered a fractured skull and ankle, was kept in for observation, while the daughter was released after being treated for bruising.

    Police said the Armenian man had confessed to attacking the two women. He is suspected of causing grievous bodily harm to the mother and actual bodily harm to the daughter and is expected to appear in court today.

    Thursday, September 28, 2000

    [06] Canadian held over hit and run

    By Staff Reporter

    A 47-YEAR-OLD Canadian man was yesterday remanded in custody for two days suspected of being the driver involved in a hit-and-run incident in which a British tourist was killed.

    Police found the body of 50-year-old Trevor Jones at around 2pm in a ditch off the old Nicosia-Paphos road about a kilometre north of Pissouri.

    He had injuries injuries to his head and back and appeared to have been knocked over by a car.

    Police late on Tuesday night arrested the 47-year-old Canadian, who lives in Limassol and drives a cement mixer truck.

    The truck was taken to Pissouri police station for examinations that investigators hope would shed some light on the incident.

    Thursday, September 28, 2000

    [07] Market trading ‘big volumes but low prices’

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE INDEX stayed true to the inactivity of the last few weeks as the bourse hovered below the 360 mark to close 2.02 per cent down at 359.93 yesterday.

    Prices declined steadily as soon as trading opened, but the volume of transactions kept on the week’s even keel – pushing some £22.76 million.

    “Its what we’re always seeing at the moment: big volume but low prices,” broker Demos Stavrides told the Cyprus Mail.

    The banking sector performed poorly despite closing with a comparatively high volume of £2.76 million.

    The group slipped 1.78 per cent of its share of the all-index. All four banks took a cut in prices.

    Bank of Cyprus shed seven cents to finish at £6.61; the Cyprus Popular Bank took a nosedive, losing 11 cents to close at £9.38. Universal Savings Bank Ltd lost nine cents to close at £2.60.

    The insurance companies carried on badly, spiralling 6.51 per cent – the biggest group loss for the second day on the trot.

    “I think the insurance sector is moving towards the lowest possible levels, but Minerva would make a good three to six month investment because realised profits are quite good,” said Stavrides.

    Minerva Insurance Co. Ltd drooped by six cents to measure up at just 67 cents a share yesterday.

    The tourism sector followed close behind with a similarly dismal show. The group plunged 4.01 per cent. Group volume was the day’s lowest at just £624, 614.

    The manufacturing companies clocked up a volume of £1.01 million. Lemeco- Silvex Industries Ltd picked up most of the bill, with some 1.03 million shares changing hands. Its share price stayed on the even keel – opening at 28.5 cents and closing at 27.3 cents.

    “Lemeco is a high risk, high return share. Prices are so low, you can earn a lot of money,” one broker said.

    Investment companies had just a glimmer of a fall out, with a 0.72 per cent loss. Volume was comparatively buoyant at £1.7 million.

    The “other” sector followed the banks with a bland performance. Volume was only £12.96 million.

    The group slipped 2.37 per cent, despite a handful of individual companies managing to stay stable during the slump.

    GlobalSoft dipped six cents to close at £5.95, but stockbrokers still recommend it as the most stable share on the market.

    Stavrides thought that Sharelink Financial Services was a share to watch for a serious three to six month investment opportunity.

    The trading sector lost 1.91 per cent with a volume of £1.32 million.

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