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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-06-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, June 1, 2001


  • [01] Diplomatic activity stepped up ahead of UNFICYP mandate renewal
  • [02] Hadjidemetriou pledges KISOS recovery as leadership campaign looms
  • [03] Cyprus to be exempt from initial EU labour restrictions
  • [04] Bases deny Akrotiri spy plane claim
  • [05] Cause of death expected today on boy who died during operation
  • [06] Health Ministry targets passive smoking

  • [01] Diplomatic activity stepped up ahead of UNFICYP mandate renewal

    By Jean Christou

    THE renewal of UNFICYP's six-monthly mandate could come before the UN Security Council as early as today or Monday, government sources said yesterday.

    The mandate renewal is officially due on June 15. The Turkish Cypriot side has already begun behind-the-scenes efforts to have a say in the process, but the UN is unlikely to give in to its demands, the sources said.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has written a letter to UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan setting out his demand for an addendum to the renewal to take into account the views of his breakaway regime in the north.

    "We have information about the letter and the diplomatic activity," a government source said. "Of course we are doing the same."

    The source said Denktash wanted another addendum, but he "was not going to get it".

    The Turkish Cypriot side imposed restrictions on the movement of UNFICYP troops a year ago in an attempt to blackmail the UN into recognising the 'TRNC'.

    Denktash issued an ultimatum to the UN either to accept that UNFICYP needed his regime's permission to function in the north or suffer the ongoing restrictions.

    UNFICYP's working conditions would return to normal when the United Nations accepted it could function in the north with the approval of the 'TRNC' and in line with the conditions put forth by the Turkish Cypriots, he said at the time.

    However, despite Denktash's threats, no addendum was attached to the last renewal in December.

    In his last six-monthly report on the force's activities in Cyprus, Annan said the restrictions imposed on UNFICYP had affected troop movements significantly and that, as a result, the operational effectiveness of UNFICYP had suffered. Response times had increased, and combined logistic and administrative movements had lengthened significantly, Annan said.

    He added that despite his urgent call to rescind the restrictions he had not met with a positive response from the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Hadjidemetriou pledges KISOS recovery as leadership campaign looms

    By Melina Demetriou

    ONE day after the KISOS political bureau resigned following the party's dismal performance in Sunday's parliamentary elections, party leadership contender Takis Hadjidemetriou insisted KISOS would soon recover and move on to play a pivotal role in a broad social democratic alliance.

    But the unanimous resignations of the 15 members of the bureau, coming 24 hours after leader Vassos Lyssarides announced his own decision to retire on Tuesday, have flung KISOS into a full-scale crisis. The central committee is convening on Saturday June 9 to address the situation and set a date for an electoral conference to decide the new party leader.

    Lyssarides said he would not seek re-election as the party's chairman, after coming under mounting pressure from senior colleagues calling on him to step down from the leadership of the socialist party he founded 31 years ago.

    But Lyssarides' statement was not enough to ease the tension, with senior members on Wednesday openly criticising their leader for not resigning immediately after Sunday's elections, in which the party earned a paltry 6.5 per cent of the vote.

    The party's best showing at the polls came in 1970, when it scored 13.4 per cent. In 1991 it got 10.8 per cent, in 1996 8.1 per cent and on Sunday only 6.5 per cent.

    Hadjidemetriou, a deputy for the last 25 years and former Vice-chairman of the party, failed to get elected on Sunday, despite getting the highest number of preference votes for any of the party's candidates. He was forced to make way for Lyssarides, who as party leader automatically took the party's only remaining Nicosia seat.

    Hadjidemetriou yesterday told the Cyprus Mail: "We are now going through a crisis but it's just a matter of time before we get back on our feet. On June 9, the central committee will set the date for an electoral council. But the committee must ensure that the elections will be held in a democratic and modern way," Hadjidemetriou stressed.

    The 67-year-old politician expressed his sadness at what he called "a plot to convict those who called on Lyssarides to step down."

    Hadjidemetriou claimed a clique of senior members close to Lyssarides were trying to expel from the party those, like himself, who had called for the 82-year-old veteran's resignation.

    "That's why we must establish that the elections will not be held in a factional way," he said.

    Hadjidemetriou feels that an electoral conference cannot realistically take place before September.

    "After we elect the new leader, the central committee will convene to elect the new political bureau," he said.

    Who would that new leader be? "It looks like it will be either me or Yiannakis Omirou, the party's acting-chairman. But I don't want to turn this into a competition with my colleague.

    "If I am elected as the new chairman, I shall lead the party for three years and then let a younger person take over," he pledged.

    Hadjidemetriou admitted that the political principles and aims of the party had lost their focus when it changed its name from socialist EDEK to Social Democratic KISOS 18 months ago, in an unsuccessful attempt to form an alliance with DIKO and other centrist movements. Hadjidemetriou nevertheless stressed that KISOS would try again to unite centre and centre- left parties under the umbrella of Social Democracy.

    "As long as they agree to follow our ideology we will accept them. Parties such as the Greens and the United Democrats could join us," he suggested.

    Hadjidemetriou admitted that, "we have failed to put forward concrete ideas regarding the top issues."

    The veteran deputy put the party's problems mainly down to the fact that "it did not play its cards right in the Presidential elections in 1998, when it supported the candidacy of Glafcos Clerides in the second round.

    "The party had a pivotal role to play in the week between the first and the second Sundays (between the two rounds of voting). However, the leadership of the party remained apathetic and did not call on its faithful to support one of the two candidates. And the biggest mistake of all was that we joined, even for a short time, a government coalition with DISY at that time. I disagreed with those tactics and I think the party has learned from those mistakes," he said.

    "EDEK has always been a socialist party and it fought against the fascist coup in 1974 so we cannot back the right wingers in any circumstance," he said.

    But Hadjidemetriou admitted that KISOS' ideology became unclear after the name change and promised the party would from now on follow a strong socialist line fighting right wing conservatism and nationalism.

    "We are still socialist of course and have not moved one inch toward the centre, but European social-democracy, which we plan to introduce, is a modest form of socialism not so revolutionary as the old socialism used to be. But we are still talking about the same policies: social benefits, equal opportunities, care for the people," he explained.

    Hadjidemetriou pointed out that Social Democracy should never become americanised, "like it unfortunately happened in some European countries."

    Hadjidemetriou said it was not the first time the party had been in an ideological crisis: "I remember back in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed a lot of our younger members were Trotskyites and Leninists. They used to chant: 'We don't want Parliaments we want popular councils.' Those were good times though because we went home after the meetings and studied books for hours to find the answers to those burning questions. And we did manage to overcome those problems at the end," Hadjidemetriou recalled nostalgically.

    Asked whether he thought the party should change its name back to EDEK he said it was possible, noting however that, "it was not the shell which counted most but the content."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Cyprus to be exempt from initial EU labour restrictions

    By Jennie Matthew

    CYPRUS and Maltese nationals look set to keep their preferential status on freedom of movement, despite an EU proposal to limit that of citizens from other applicant countries by up to seven years after accession.

    The Europe Union proposal was brokered on Wednesday in the face of concern from Germany and Austria that they would be flooded with cheap workers from Eastern Europe, plus fears from Spain that they could lose economic aid to poorer newcomers.

    The deal, agreed on by all 15 member-states, will be presented to first- wave candidates Cyprus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Slovenia in Brussels today.

    Cyprus and second-wave candidate Malta were exempt from the proposal in view of their developed economies, small populations and accelerated progress in fulfilling harmonisation criteria.

    Wednesday's agreement ended weeks of wrangling and was considered crucial to avoid delaying negotiations with a dozen countries that want to join the EU.

    Sweden, the current EU president, has pushed enlargement preparations to the top of its agenda, keen to prevent the labour issue hijacking a June summit in Gothenburg.

    While Cyprus and Maltese citizens will be allowed free movement throughout the EU as soon as their countries become full members, other applicant states face a long transition period before they can enjoy the same privileges.

    Under the compromise, there would be an initial two-year ban on the free movement of workers from new to existing EU member states, after which individual member states could bar workers from new members for three more years.

    Individual bans could be extended for a further two years if necessary, bringing the maximum possible curb to seven years.

    Wednesday's agreement was made possible after Spain lifted its objections, satisfied with assurances that its claims for Brussels money would be considered by member states in an enlarged EU.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Bases deny Akrotiri spy plane claim

    By Noah Haglund

    THE BRITISH bases have categorically denied a Flight International magazine report that Royal Air Force spy planes based in Akrotiri and equipped with US satellite surveillance equipment are being used for intelligence missions to Iraq.

    An article in the May 8-14, 2001 issue of the British weekly aerospace news magazine said that BAC Canberra PR9 spy planes were equipped with highly sensitive US satellite connections to transmit detailed surveillance images to remote stations. This information was allegedly from US Air Force Reconnaissance specialists.

    The system in question, dubbed SYERS (Senior Year Electro-Optical Relay System), was developed for use on the United States Air Force Lockheed Martin U-2 in the mid-1980s.

    The UK is the only country cleared by the United States to receive SYERS, says Flight International.

    According to the magazine, it is employed on two of RAF's five operational Canberras, which have served on missions over the past two years.

    It named the base at Akrotiri as one of the two foreign bases from which the specially fitted aircraft set out for the Middle East and the Balkans, namely Iraq and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    British Bases spokesman Robert Need, however, dismissed any speculation that the planes were based on the island.

    Need told the Cyprus Mail there had been no permanent Canberra stations in Cyprus for several years and possibly even decades, though in recent years one or two planes had made an occasional stopover on the island en route to another destination.

    Furthermore, he said that there are no plans to base the aircraft here in the near future.

    Nobody contacted the British Sovereign Bases in Cyprus to comment on the article, Need said.

    Measuring 66 feet, five inches with a wingspan of 67 feet, 10 inches, the two-person Electric Canberra was the first jet bomber to serve with the RAF.

    Lacking defensive armament, the plane relies instead on high speed, high altitudes of 48,000 feet and great manoeuvrability to avoid opposing fighter aircraft.

    The Canberra PR9 is one of two versions of the aircraft currently in use with the RAF.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Cause of death expected today on boy who died during operation

    By Jennie Matthew

    OVER a month after 14-year-old Giorgos Hadjidemetris died on the operating table during routine surgery to clean a wound, state pathologist Eleni Antoniou is expected to issue an official diagnosis of cause of death today.

    Her public announcement at 11am this morning should end the painful waiting game for Giorgos's family, still unsure how their son lost his life after being admitted to hospital for an infected wound in the backside.

    Toxicological results faxed to the Health Ministry late last night from the Tissue Institute of the Royal Hospital in London, are thought to pin down the cause of death that has so far eluded pathologists in Cyprus.

    Giorgos died on April 30, but an autopsy showed no evidence of pulmonary embolism, nor a clinical diagnosis of septicaemia.

    Tissue tests were also inconclusive, though they did not rule out septicaemic or cardiogenic shock.

    But, it was still unclear yesterday afternoon whether the London results conferred with toxicological tests carried out in Cyprus.

    The cause of death is crucial to determine a case of possible negligence in criminal and administrative investigations.

    Former state pathologist Marios Matsakis, who observed the autopsy on behalf of Giorgos's family, believes the London results will prove that the anaesthetic killed the boy.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Health Ministry targets passive smoking

    By Jean Christou

    DEATHS from passive smoking are on the increase, according to the Health Ministry, which yesterday marked international no-smoking day with the promise of tougher laws.

    In a speech at the Pallouriotissa Gymnasium on behalf of Health Minister Frixos Savvides, ministry permanent secretary Symeon Matsis said tough EU laws on the way would help instill different attitudes towards smoking in Cyprus.

    He said the state was particularly worried about the effects of passive smoking on children, and called on parents who smoke to refrain from puffing at home and in the car.

    Between 70 and 120 deaths a year in Cyprus result from passive smoking, Matsis said.

    "With these statistics in mind, we have decided to take measures to protect passive smokers," he said. "We have to bring about tougher prohibitions on smoking in public places and to inform and educate the public on the dangers of passive smoking."

    He also said the Ministry wished to help those smokers who wanted to quit and would be continuing its campaign of giving out free nicotine patches.

    "The issue of smoking is many sided and difficult because we have to fight a habit which has become a big part of our lives," he said.

    The Cyprus Mail was unable yesterday to reach the Health Minister, himself a smoker who has tried to quit on several occasions. An official at the Ministry said Savvides was still smoking.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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