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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-10-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 12, 2000


  • [01] British Aerospace joins race to equip CY
  • [02] Koutsou steps up attacks on the United Democrats
  • [03] Kyprianou: we need more deputies
  • [04] Kittis claims he got death threats
  • [05] Bomb threat as market plunges
  • [06] Ivanov arrives on flying visit

  • [01] British Aerospace joins race to equip CY

    By Jennie Matthew

    BRITISH Aerospace has joined the aviation industry battle to win contracts to restock the Cyprus Airways (CY) fleet, the national carrier's spokesman Tassos Angelis confirmed yesterday.

    British Aerospace is to make a presentation to the CY Board of Directors next Tuesday, as Boeing and Airbus unveil the budget details of their own rival offers next week.

    CY chairman Haris Loizides earlier this year announced his intention to renew the existing 12-plane fleet, now 20 years old and to buy several smaller planes to increase services to Greece and the Middle East.

    While Airbus and Boeing have been wooing Cyprus Airways for some time, British Aerospace is a newcomer on the scene, hotting up the fierce market rivalry.

    “British Aerospace is very keen to come and it's only natural that the company would like to sell to us,” Tassos Angelis told the Cyprus Mail.

    The company is to promote its regional carrier, the Avro-RJ. With a seating capacity of 100, it would fulfill CY's requirements to boost short-distance flights.

    The CY current fleet has eight A320s, seating 165, and four A310s, seating 241 and used for longer distance routes, such as the UK and northern Europe.

    On July 14, Boeing brought its 767-400ER (Extended Range) plane to show media and aviation officials in Cyprus.

    On September 19, Airbus tried to impress with its A330-200 carrier, sporting an average seating capacity of 253.

    A final decision about what to buy and from whom must be made before January 2001 - the timetable has been pushed back after the first deadline of the end of the summer came and went.

    “We have to take a final decision before the end of the year,” said Angelis.

    Airbus and Boeing have been cutthroat rivals since Europe's Airbus pounded ahead in 1999 to emerge as a serious competitor to the US-owned giant.

    CY is likely to weigh up the options this autumn, based on cost and quality analysis.

    Thursday, October 12, 2000

    [02] Koutsou steps up attacks on the United Democrats

    By Athena Karsera

    NEW Horizons president Nicos Koutsou yesterday named United Democrat leader George Vassiliou as the party president he claimed earlier this week had obtained a favourable government loan.

    He also revealed Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou's alleged involvement in below the board business dealings when he was leader of ADISOK, which eventually merged with Vassiliou's party.

    Both Vassiliou and Papapetrou immediately refuted the claims.

    Koutsou told a much-heralded news conference yesterday: “I hope that some people will realise that politics is not a 60-metre race but a life battle. Sooner or later, life will confirm or refute what we say at any one time.”

    “New Horizons would like to ask Papapetrou this question: is he aware that from 1996 to 1999 three loans worth £1,635 million were given out to the MEMRB Int. Ltd company by the Cyprus Development Bank?”

    Koutsou said Vassiliou had been the main shareholder of the company, along with the Information Resource Ltd company of the USA and Vassiliou's Middle Eastern Research Centre (KEMA).

    “Could Papapetrou also answer the following questions: was the debt only paid off with shares, with the Bank purchasing them for £1.81 each when their nominal value was 50 cents? Does he think it is ethical that the state, through the Development Bank, be a shareholder in a company belonging to a former President of the Republic? Seeing that the state is the main shareholder in the Development Bank, can Papapetrou tell us if the Bank benefited from this transaction and if so what this benefit was?”

    The New Horizons president added that, on top of these loans, KEMA had recently taken out a new loan with the Development Bank for £500,000.

    Turning his fire onto the Government Spokesman, Koutsou then added: “Papapetrou claims he never held any shares. Based on Company Registrar figures, he held 10,000 shares in a company with the registration number 7443 when he was a deputy and party leader. This company was a shareholder in at least one other company such as the one numbered 9805 for example.”

    Vassiliou's response was swift: “MEMRB Int. Ltd or Kema has it has become known to the wide Cypriot public in its 40 odd years of life has contributed greatly to Cyprus' development…Within the framework of its activities it would be natural for the company to have had dealings with banking organisations both in Cyprus and overseas.”

    He said Kema had received loans from banks including the Development Banks but that these had always been carried out in the banks' regular terms.

    Papapetrou for his part said Koutsou's claims were “lies” and “nothing new”. He added the allegations had revealed Koutsou to be a “simple sycophant,” who used personal attacks to promote his party.

    Papapetrou and Koutsou have been at loggerheads since April, with the New Horizons leader accusing the United Democrats of wielding an influence in government disproportionate to their electoral strength.

    In August, Koutsou attacked the Agriculture Ministry (also manned by a United Democrat) for its desalination policy, claiming it was wasting millions of pounds in taxpayers' money by ignoring an Electricity Authority offer for a cheaper alternative.

    Papapetrou responded by saying that Koutsou had a personal interest in the matter since he and his wife were allegedly the only shareholders in a company that had a personal interest in the EAC's desalination proposal.

    Thursday, October 12, 2000

    [03] Kyprianou: we need more deputies

    By Martin Hellicar

    HOUSE of Representatives president Spyros Kyprianou yesterday issued a plea for an increase in the number of deputies in parliament. He said upping numbers was the only way the House could continue to meet its mission at home and abroad.

    “The phase the Cyprus problem is going through today calls for a greater than ever intensification of appearances by Cypriot parliamentary delegations before international parliamentary organisations and other international fora,” Kyprianou said at a news conference during which he presented the House's work over the past year. “What I can say for sure is that with our international obligations and the job the House is expected to carry out within the country, we will not get by with the current number of deputies,” he explained.

    Raising the number of deputies from the current 56 was a matter of urgency, Kyprianou said.

    He added that he would be bringing up the matter at the customary meeting with party leaders ahead of today's plenum session.

    Kyprianou said he was not necessarily proposing that the constitutional amendment necessary for allowing more deputies to be elected be made before May's parliamentary elections. The former DIKO leader has already announced his intention not to stand for re-election to the House in May.

    Kyprianou yesterday also spoke of the possibility of Cyprus problem developments being discussed at a special session of the House plenum.

    Kyprianou - an outspoken critic of President Clerides's handling of the proximity settlement talks -- said he saw no impediment to such a debate.

    He added that this would be another issue he would discuss with party leaders today. “It is clearly a matter for tomorrow's party meeting, during which all factors will be studied and we will set a date for discussing the matter at the plenum,” the House president said.

    The government has said it will wait to see whether the matter will go before the plenum before deciding when to arrange the next session of Clerides's top Cyprus problem advisory body, the National Council.

    Thursday, October 12, 2000

    [04] Kittis claims he got death threats

    By George Psyllides

    DIKO deputy Stathis Kittis yesterday told police he had received threats against his life, less than 24 hours after a news conference at which he charged there had been a conspiracy involving high-ranking party members to thwart his bid to become deputy chairman.

    On Sunday, Kittis managed to garner only 25 per cent of the vote and losing to a Nicos Cleanthous landslide.

    At a new conference on Tuesday evening, Kittis charged there had been an orchestrated campaign against him.

    Yesterday, he said he went to his office at around 10.30am and his upset staff told him they had received threatening phone calls.

    According to Kittis, the first caller told the secretary: “Tell Kittis to cut the crap, or we will bomb you.”

    The frightened secretary hung up the phone, but minutes later it rang again.

    Someone else picked up the phone and asked the caller what he wanted.

    “Listen you bastard, tell Kittis to cut the crap or else we'll mow everyone down,” the voice on the other end of the line said.

    Kittis dismissed the whole matter as nonsense, but said it was his duty to report it to the police.

    “It looks like it was someone with no brains; it's probably nonsense.

    “I am not paying too much attention but I had to inform the police because you never know,” Kittis said.

    “The staff was worried so I had to do something for them to feel secure.”

    Kittis said he believed the threats were connected to his Tuesday allegations, but added adding he did not suspect they were linked to any person he had mentioned in his claims.

    “It is probably someone with low intelligence,” he repeated.

    Kittis added he had received many calls of support from people who thought he was telling the truth about the DIKO elections and urged him to continue his struggle.

    The Diko deputy revealed several people had given him fresh evidence backing his charges, but said they did not wish to go public with it.

    On Tuesday, Kittis was careful not to suggest there had been vote tampering, but said there had been behind the scenes moves to influence party followers to vote for his rival.

    “How is it possible for me to get only 25 per cent of the vote? I have been with the party all my life,” he said.

    “Clearly voters must have been influenced.”

    Yesterday Kittis repeated that he was not going to leave DIKO.

    “Some people are trying to get rid of me but I will not allow this to happen. I will not resign,” he said.

    Thursday, October 12, 2000

    [05] Bomb threat as market plunges

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE WALLS didn’t just crumble yesterday, they collapsed as the Cyprus Stock Market (CSE) crashed to rock bottom, with the all-share index closing at 343.50 and trading disrupted by a bomb scare.

    The index punched through another psychological barrier, plunging to the 338 mark early on in trading, then just as stocks were creeping up to 346, trade was suspended for 30 minutes as police combed through the building after a bomb threat was phoned in.

    Nothing was found and trading was able to resume.

    The caller, thought to be a frustrated investor, made the warning from his mobile phone. Police were confident of nailing the culprit through his telephone number, which flashed up on the stock exchange switchboard.

    Last night, they said they had traced the number to a phone belonging to the brother of the owner of a Nicosia coffeeshop and were investigating the matter further.

    Otherwise, the day was marked by panic selling across the board, said Stavros Agrotis of CISCO, clocking up a volume of some £20.11 million.

    More than half of that was in the banking and information technology sectors. The two usually most buoyant groups in the market each saw losses of 1.45 and 3.34 per cent respectively.

    Bank of Cyprus (BoC) plunged down another 11 cents, after shedding 15 cents on Tuesday. The share closed at £6.39, dipping to an intraday low of £6.32.

    Pending a 39 million share IPO in Greece next week, BoC will be cut off from the Cyprus exchange for a week, from October 13.

    Investors and stockbrokers are desperate for a successful BoC launch on the Athens Bourse as the best means of jettisoning the Cyprus market into upward action.

    But Agrotis yesterday made public his fears about the preparations. “In Bank of Cyprus, some are selling in large quantities so they can buy (cheaper) in Greece. There is a lot of such activity but I think it is wrong. From feedback I have, the issue will be three times or more oversubscribed,” he told Reuters.

    Logicom Ltd also shed 11 cents, ending up at £5.01, all but wiping out its 17-cent increase on Tuesday.

    Avacom Net Services Ltd was the day’s most traded share with some 1.07 million transactions, but prices stayed on the even keel, gaining just 0.5 cents during the morning.

    Glory Worldwide Holdings Ltd shot up 13 cents, closing at £5.87, compared to its £5.75 opening.

    Despite some gainers among the losers, commentators pointed to the danger of complacency, with the market valued so low.

    GlobalSoft.Com notched up three cents to finish at £5.58, compared to recent values of over £6.

    Laiki Bank weathered the storm, rising to a day’s high of £9.50, before finishing ten cents up from its opening at £9.39.

    Universal Savings Bank meanwhile scored a 12-cent gain, to close at £2.42, signaling a significant move out of the muddy £2 mark, which the share has traded at for the last few months.

    Trading companies put in the worst performance overall, sliding down by 4.27 per cent. The manufacturing sector was close on its heels, falling 3.69 per cent.

    Thursday, October 12, 2000

    [06] Ivanov arrives on flying visit

    By Staff Reporter

    RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov yesterday arrived on the island for a `flying’ visit.

    Ivanov is the first Russian minister ever to visit Cyprus.

    He was scheduled to visit Cyprus on Monday, but instead had to embark on a whirlwind tour of the Middle East where he tried, along with other foreign diplomats, to defuse the growing tension between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides met the Russian Minister at the airport.

    The two men hurriedly departed for Nicosia where Ivanov briefly met President Glafcos Clerides. The Russian Minister then signed a Protocol on the Inventory of Bilateral Relations with Cassoulides.

    The two ministers later held official talks and had a working dinner at the Foreign Ministry.

    According to Reuters, officials said the two men discussed the Cyprus issue and the Middle East crisis.

    “We are keen to see a settlement of the Cyprus problem in accordance to UN resolutions, and Russia will continue to take an active role in finding such a settlement,” Ivanov told reporters.

    Cyprus has in the past offered to host peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

    The government yesterday reiterated this position.

    “The government has an open invitation to them and is at the disposal of the two sides.

    “They are most welcome,” Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said.

    Cyprus has hosted brief high-level talks on the Middle East once before. In the early 1970s, United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko met in Nicosia to defuse another crisis in the region.

    The Russian minister departs for Athens today.

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