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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-07-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, July 21, 2001


  • [01] Technicians ground Cyprus Airways in two-hour walkout
  • [02] Delegate denies saying Cyprus would veto Turkey's EU entry
  • [03] Cyprus marks invasion
  • [04] Head to head: Hadjidemetriou and Omirou face off for KISOS leadership
  • [05] Cool ad, but what about the fish?
  • [06] Pensioner accused string of arson attacks
  • [07] Armed raiders storm co-op bank

  • [01] Technicians ground Cyprus Airways in two-hour walkout

    By Elias Hazou

    FLIGHT traffic was yesterday again crippled, as ASYKEKA, the Cyprus Airways (CY) union representing the airline's technical crew, held a two-hour "briefing" meeting.

    The union's meeting lasted from 8 to 10am, delaying at least five outbound flights. The disruption came just a week after a similar walkout by the airline's pilots, who demanded increased promotion benefits.

    In fact, the two actions were practically identical; both occurred at approximately the same time and following a meeting between the unions and CY's management the previous day.

    On Thursday, CY chairman Harris Loizides agreed with ASYKEKA's general secretary to hold another meeting in early August to further discuss the union's demands.

    ASYKEKA is asking for promotion benefits from the airline's management, and claims its demands have been pending since 1996.

    CY was quick to denounce yesterday's walkout. In an announcement, it said the union's "arbitrary move, supposedly in the name of trade-unionism, took hostage the fate of the airline and of the entire economy of the island."

    The airline went on to say it would not give in to blackmail and would withdraw its proposals on promotions for technical staff as long as ASYKEKA threatened strike action.

    Following the two-hour stoppage yesterday, union delegates met with a mediation committee appointed by the Ministry of Labour. ASYKEKA later announced it would suspend any further strike action.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angeli described the union's move as unacceptable, adding that it contravened trade-union regulations, since no warning had been issued. He suggested that was the reason ASYKEKA termed their action a "briefing meeting" instead of a walkout or strike.

    "But that is exactly what it was - a strike. It has become the fashion these days to hold such meetings," Angeli remarked pointedly.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Delegate denies saying Cyprus would veto Turkey's EU entry

    By Elias Hazou

    CYPRUS' Permanent Delegation to the EU has denied a report featured in Thursday's edition of the Financial Times quoting Permanent Representative Theofilos Theofilou as saying Cyprus as a future EU member would use its veto to block a subsequent enlargement to Turkey.

    A press release issued by the Permanent Delegation said the title of the report - "Divided Cyprus threatens to veto expansion of EU" - did not "correspond either to the letter or the spirit" of the interview.

    In the article, Theofilou was quoted as saying that "If no agreement is reached by the time we join, Turkish Cypriots will be deprived of the benefits of enlargement and Turkey will have Cyprus in the EU having a say and a vote," and that "that included having a veto over accession of Turkey."

    The author went on to note that "Theofilou's warning confirms what the European Commission and most member states believe will be the biggest political headache for enlargement."

    In the interview, Theofilou pointed out that, parallel to the island's accession negotiations, the Cyprus government was continuing its efforts with the United Nations and the EU to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to the political problem. He went on to say that although a solution to the problem was not a condition for accession, the Cyprus government's position was that the accession process could act as a catalyst in the search for a solution.

    The FT writer added that, despite the fact the 1999 Helsinki summit agreed a solution was not a precondition for the island's accession, EU Commission officials feared a showdown in the event Cyprus were denied accession, since Greece would respond by blocking any enlargement.

    Commenting on the issue, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday denied Cyprus had any intention to block Turkey's EU accession.

    In his response, Theofilou noted he wished to "set the record straight" concerning his remarks, and went on to ask the paper to publish his letter yesterday.

    But the paper came back yesterday with another article on Cyprus, this time by a different author. Michael Wallace, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, reported on the "triumphalist statement by Cyprus' permanent representative to the EU that Cyprus after entry would block negotiations with Turkey."

    Entitled "Troubles of a divided island," the article said that EU leaders might balk at the prospect of admitting a country with "barbed wire, military checkpoints" and an "intractable" political problem.

    The Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Department was unavailable for comment on the latest Financial Times article.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Cyprus marks invasion

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE GOVERNMENT and the people of Cyprus yesterday united to condemn the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus on the anniversary of the first phase of the invasion.

    The event was marked by an anti-occupation demonstration organised by all Greek Cypriot political parties at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia last night.

    Earlier, members of KISOS' student branch Agonas, who started a march along the cease-fire line from Dherynia on Tuesday ended up at Ledra Palace at 4pm yesterday after covering 100 kilometres on foot.

    The Greek Cypriot community in London staged a 12-hour anti-occupation demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in the British capital.

    And even the state legislature of New Jersey in the United States on Thursday passed a resolution condemning the Turkish invasion and occupation. The resolution calls for a solution of the Cyprus Problem on the basis of UN resolutions.

    Air raid sirens sounded at 5.30am yesterday to mark the invasion, which resulted in the displacement of 200,000 Greek Cypriots and of a smaller number of Turkish Cypriots.

    The political leadership in the government-controlled areas attended two commemoration ceremonies in Nicosia to honour the 1974 victims.

    An all-night vigil was held at Phaneromeni church in Nicosia with prayers for the families of the missing persons to find out what happened to their loved ones.

    Yiannakis Matsis, former DISY chairman and main speaker at the second commemoration service at Saint John's Cathedral called on all Cypriots to join forces and fight on until there was a just solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    At midday bells at all orthodox churches pealed in mourning for 15 minutes.

    All Greek Cypriot and mainland Greek parties as well as the governments of the two countries condemned the Turkish occupation and called for its termination.

    In a public address President Glafcos Clerides said: "It is my conviction that the overwhelming majority of ordinary citizens, Greek and Turkish Cypriots believe in the need to reunite the island."

    House President and AKEL leader Demetris Christofias said: "We stand before these commemorative plaques year after year since 1974 sharpening our memories and feeling sad at the same time as trying to figure out how things turned out this way.

    "But being here should also give us the strength, the wisdom and the optimism we need to make the right moves to bring about a peaceful solution."

    Christofias however doubted that an arrangement on the island would come in the near future.

    His pessimism was confirmed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, leading celebrations marking the anniversary on the other side of the divide.

    "You can save your time and ditch plans to become the sole owner of this island. Turkish flags are to stay where they are," Denktash said adamantly yesterday.

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said in Ankara that, "the presence of Turkish armed forces on the island had guaranteed peace and security for 27 years."

    "Turkey will go on supporting the Turkish Cypriot people in its struggle to preserve its legitimate rights and interests and to take the place it deserves within the world," he said in a statement.

    Ecevit nevertheless left the door open to a resumption of talks, saying he hoped dialogue could resume under "more realistic" conditions.

    "Denktash will decide, after talking to us of course. To the best of my knowledge, he is first to meet UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and they might make a programme together. Dialogue should prevail despite everything, " Ecevit told reporters.

    However, the presence of Turkish government officials at the celebrations was negligible, something which political analysts put down to an anti- Denktash feeling in Turkey.

    Observers see Denktash's intransigence as undermining Turkey's EU aspirations.

    Three Turkish helicopters and six jets flew above the occupied areas violating Nicosia Flying Information Region during a military parade.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Head to head: Hadjidemetriou and Omirou face off for KISOS leadership

    By Melina Demetriou

    TOMORROW will be a landmark day for Cyprus' socialists who rest their hopes upon the long-awaited KISOS conference to decide a new leadership and help the ailing party recover after losing much of its electoral strength.

    Tomorrow's electoral conference will signal the official end of 82-year-old Dr Vassos Lyssarides' three-decade stint as party leader. Lyssarides founded the party in 1969 and led it until today.

    The succession race will be between front-runners Takis Hadjidemetriou and Yiannakis Omirou.

    Members fear that if the change of guard fails to help KISOS back onto its feet the crisis might deepen and split the party.

    Lyssarides came under fire from all sides when he failed to step down immediately after his party's dismal showing in the May 27 polls. The veteran politician eventually announced he was going two days later. His announcement was followed the next day by the resignation of the entire KISOS political bureau, throwing the party into turmoil.

    The party's central committee followed suit stepping down a few weeks later.

    KISOS, which won five House of Representatives seats as EDEK in the 1996 elections, secured only four seats in the new parliament. The party garnered just 6.5 per cent of the vote on May 27, 1.6 per cent down compared to 1996.

    The party's best showing at the parliamentary elections came in 1970, when it scored 13.4 per cent. In 1991 it got 10.8 per cent and in 1996 8.1. But the party also did well at the presidential elections in 1998 with Lyssarides garnering almost 11 per cent.

    KISOS' poor showing at the latest polls is generally put down to two things: the decision to change its name from EDEK in an unsuccessful attempt to merge with two smaller groupings last year, and Lyssarides' decision to go into government with Clerides for a short period after the 1998 presidentials.

    Approximately 5,000 party members will elect KISOS' new leadership - a leader, an acting-chairman, two vice-chairmen, a 15-member political bureau and an 80-strong-hold central committee.

    The leadership battle is not expected to be easy for either of the front- runners as, according to party sources, "the odds are 50-50"

    Nevertheless, the two contenders have refrained from personal attacks in their political campaigns. But they have been at odds with each other since before the May elections and the feeling in KISOS is that supporters are evenly divided into two camps.

    Despite 25 years in parliament, Hadjidemetriou failed to get re-elected on May 27, even though he received more preference votes than any other of the party's candidate. He automatically made way for party leader Lyssarides, who took KISOS' only seat in Nicosia.

    Hadjidemetriou -among the first to criticise Lyssarides for holding on to power - has vowed that at 67 he would, if elected, only stay at the party's helm for three years.

    Omirou, KISOS' acting-chairman and Defence Minister during EDEK's brief stint as coalition partners in Clerides' government in 1998, did make it into the new House.

    Hadjidemetriou, who is considered more left wing that Omirou, blames his rival and the party's leadership in general for KISOS' dismal showing in the elections.

    "They remained apathetic and failed to call on the party's faithful to support one of the two candidates in the second round of the presidential elections three years ago. That paved the way for Glafcos Clerides' victory.

    "A party should position itself on the burning issues and KISOS failed to achieve that and adopted a self-destructive attitude instead. Another mistake was that we joined, even for a short time, a government coalition with DISY. I disagreed on those tactics," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    "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 case," he argued.

    Hadjidemetriou also disagreed with the leadership's decision to change the party's name from EDEK to KISOS.

    "KISOS' ideology became unclear after the name change and we failed to put forward concrete ideas regarding social and national issues."

    The veteran former deputy complained that the party leadership had clashed with all other parties except right wing DISY.

    "A socialist party must always fight right-wing conservatism and capitalism and push for social justice," he stressed.

    Hadjidemetriou accused KISOS' leadership of taking decisions without the consent of the party base.

    "The first thing I will do if I am elected is to bring our faithful close to the party in any way I can and let them have a big say in the decision making through democratic procedures."

    Hadjidemetriou also charged that many within the party had sought to isolate him.

    "They fought me for years for a stance I took when I was vice-chairman of EDEK. About 10 years ago I abstained from voting on a European resolution criticising Greece for imposing sanctions on the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. I strongly believed that the Greek decision was wrong."

    Hadjidemetriou said that senior members of his party defamed and undermined him, "so I decided not to run for vice-chairman again in the 1993 conference."

    The veteran socialist also set social reform as a top priority.

    "There are 10 rich families who have been ruling us for a century now. If I am elected leader of KISOS I will push for much more money to be spent on research and cultural development. There are intelligent people in this country who have a lot to offer but are not given the opportunity to because they don't have power and villas to show off.

    "If you are a creator you are considered to be unbalanced. It's time to establish new values which will change both the society and the economy," he suggested.

    Hadjidemetriou proposed that the government should tax " all those provocatively luxurious houses and use the money for other purposes like funding research and science projects."

    The leadership contender took the view that Greek Cypriots should strengthen their ties with minority groups like Turkish Cypriots and Maronites.

    "We consider ourselves superior to them but they live here too and work so we should familiarise ourselves with their cultures and appreciate their contribution."

    Hadjidemetriou's rival, Yiannakis Omirou is in his early 50s. He has kept a much lower profile in his campaign.

    Omirou dismissed claims that the party's handling of the 1998 elections had anything to do with KISOS' electoral defeat and countered that, "polls at the time showed that we had over 10 per cent of the vote."

    Omirou, who is currently the party's acting-chairman, nevertheless conceded to the Cyprus Mail that the party's traditional policy was to form coalitions with centre DIKO and left-wing AKEL.

    "It was not our fault that we could not work out a deal with them in the end. You should expect KISOS to seek a co-operation with those progressive parties in the 2003 elections," he pledged.

    Omirou put down the party's poor showing in the May elections to the polarisation between the vote by the two big, AKEL and DISY.

    "The unsuccessful attempt to merge with smaller groupings is also to blame for the result. I was not against the move or changing the name but maybe it was all done in a hurry," he admitted.

    Omirou underlined the need for renewal: "After the conference we must push for renewal in people, ideas and views. At the same time of course we should make use of the valuable experience of our senior members.

    "The only way to regroup is by allowing our people to express different views which will be used in our policy making. At the same time we must let the outside world see that we are united," he said.

    Omirou too supported that KISOS needed to get in touch with "the popular and social forces which traditionally support our party and address their needs and problems."

    He vowed that the party would push for redistribution of wealth through tax reforms in a way that would benefit low-income groups.

    While he believes the party should cherish its socialist ideology, Omirou stresses the need "for KISOS to adjust to the new international environment."

    "When taking decisions concerning our foreign policy we should take into account the role that Cyprus could play in the EU and in the region of east Mediterranean."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Cool ad, but what about the fish?

    By Elita Eliades

    IT'S THE ultimate in cool advertising: a man-sized vodka bottle on a busy intersection outside a trendy club, with a dozen striking orange and white fish swimming around inside.

    The vodka is Absolut, the club Nicosia's 'Sfinakia' ('shots'). But what about the fish?

    The aquatic clubbers have been introduced as the most fashionable accessory to the club's funky atmosphere and the latest in a long line of striking Absolut ads.

    We were assured that the giant bottle contained water, not vodka. But what about the heat? With temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius this week, the thought of living in a fishbowl on the capital's Gavrielides traffic lights does not bear thinking about. Aren't the fish being boiled alive through the glass in the midday sun?

    Nicosia vet Polis Polidorou said yesterday it was "the responsibility of the owner to ensure that comfortable conditions, such as shade and suitable surroundings are provided for all animals".

    A spokesman for Sfinakia insisted the tank was suitable for outer spaces and had been fitted with an alarmed air-cooler to ensure that the fish were safe.

    "All the fish have been fine so far and have shown no signs of health problems," he insisted, responding to concerns about their well-being.

    Animal rights campaigner Toulla Poyadji was, however, horrified at the advertising campaign. "Having animals in captivity like that is illegal and a license is required," she insisted.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Pensioner accused string of arson attacks

    By a Staff Reporter

    A PENSIONER has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in 14 cases of arson in Palaiometocho.

    Avram Christofis, aged 63, was arrested on Thursday night.

    Charalambos Nicolaou, senior official at Kokkinotrimithia Police Station, yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that, "fires were occurring frequently in the Palaiometocho area for the past two months. Police and residents from the area were co-operating, watching out for suspicious behaviour in the area, when Cristofis was seen by a farmer leaving a fire-site near the 'Barracuda' night club area".

    Police were called and Cristofis was found with matches hidden in his car and cigarettes. He claimed the cigarettes were for his wife and that the matches were for the house. His wife said that although she was a smoker, she had not asked Cristofis for cigarettes, and that her husband had never bought anything for the house.

    Nicolaou said, "the suspect has admitted to causing the fires on the June 16 and June 18, but had not given any reasons for his actions".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Armed raiders storm co-op bank

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO black-clad, helmeted raiders brandishing a sawn-off shotgun stormed into the shopkeepers co-operative savings bank near Nicosia's Ayios Antonios market yesterday afternoon and made off with 3,000 in cash.

    Police immediately set up road blocks and launched a massive hunt for the two robbers, who struck just after 4pm and then sped off on a large motorbike.

    The raiders, who wore sunglasses as well as helmets to disguise their identity, threatened the savings bank clerk in the Digenis Akritias branch, forcing her to hand over all the money.

    "There were two of them on a bike, the girl from the co-op was giving them the money. She was crying," an eyewitness said. She described the raiders as "big guys in black".

    Police said the robbers rode off towards the Kaimakli area.

    A police helicopter was patrolling the skies over the capital yesterday afternoon in search of the two bank raiders.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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