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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, September 15, 2001


  • [01] Stranded Cassoulides holds talks with De Soto
  • [02] Cyprus mourns victims of US terror
  • [03] Cyprus could consider contribution to retaliatory strikes&lt;br&gt;
  • [04] Americans in Cyprus: stunned with disbelief
  • [05] Dejected brokers see little hope for stock market
  • [06] Growth expected to continue, inflation and unemployment to fall

  • [01] Stranded Cassoulides holds talks with De Soto

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides - stranded in New York by Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States - yesterday had lunch with UN Special Advisor to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto to discuss UN efforts to resume proximity talks, despite the Turkish Cypriot refusal to return to the table.

    The working lunch was De Soto's first after returning to work yesterday. Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, within walking distance of the UN headquarters, meant De Soto had not returned to his desk since flying back from Europe on Monday.

    He was in Cyprus last week for a series of contacts with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    On Thursday, Cassoulides met Under Secretary General of peacekeeping operations Jean Marie Guehenno and in the evening he hosted a dinner for ambassadors of six countries in the Gulf.

    The Foreign Minister is likely to have broached moves by Turkey to lobby Islamic states for recognition of the Denktash breakaway regime.

    Cassoulides, his adviser Minas Hadjimichael and Chief EU Negotiator for Cyprus George Vassiliou are expected to return from the US early next week.

    The Foreign Minister had been in New York ahead of a presidential party flying in for talks with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan. President Glafcos Clerides' plane was over the Atlantic when the terrorists struck in New York and had to be diverted to Canada. The meeting with Annan was cancelled.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Cyprus mourns victims of US terror

    By Melina Demetriou

    FLAGS flew at half mast all over Cyprus yesterday and government offices suspended work for three minutes at midday while air raid sirens wailed as Europe kept silence to mourn the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the USA.

    But although the government followed the EU and US in declaring yesterday a day of mourning for the thousands of innocent victims of the devastating attacks, for many offices and shops in Cyprus it was business as usual at 12 pm.

    National radio and television suspended their transmission for three minutes at midday following the government line, but the three private television channels, Mega, Antenna and Sigma did not.

    Government departments and offices, political parties, schools, embassies, the British Bases, UNFICYP and local authorities suspended work with the sound of sirens.

    But in central Nicosia road traffic did not freeze and most employees at banks and shops continued working in the three minutes after midday.

    Two shopkeepers in Eleftheria Square told the Cyprus Mailthey had no idea yesterday was a day of mourning but saluted the government's move to express its support to the American people this way.

    The US kept three minutes of silence later in the day because of the time difference.

    Meanwhile, Cyprus Airways pilots and air stewards and stewardesses laid wreaths at the US Embassy yesterday to express their condolences to the relatives of their American colleagues who were among the victims of the attacks in New York and Washington.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Cyprus could consider contribution to retaliatory strikes&lt;br&gt;

    THE GOVERNMENT would consider contributing to a NATO operation against countries giving refuge or accommodating terrorists if asked, Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos said yesterday.&lt;br&gt;

    The minister was asked at a news conference yesterday whether Cyprus was prepared to provide assistance to Europe and the US if they decided to launch a war against countries which accommodated terrorists.&lt;br&gt;

    NATO is expected to launch retaliatory strikes after the devastating terrorist attacks in US on Tuesday which killed thousands of innocent civilians. The most likely target is seen as Afghanistan, which gives refuge to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.&lt;br&gt;

    Hasikos said Cyprus was not a NATO member and therefore had no commitment in participating in a potential operation. &lt;br&gt;

    The minister noted, however, that, " as a candidate state for accession to the EU, Cyprus has made its own contribution to the European Defence Force providing facilities to military forces which might launch operations in the broader region, like for example, facilities in terms of airports, ports, radars, research and rescue operations etc" &lt;br&gt;

    Hasikos added: " When the EU decides to contribute to this NATO effort and requests us to dispose of these facilities then the government will look into the matter in all seriousness and take its decisions accordingly."


    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Americans in Cyprus: stunned with disbelief

    By Elias Hazou

    WITH the United States still reeling from the multiple terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on Tuesday, Americans are still trying to come to terms with the impact of the tragedy.

    In the rubble of the World Trade Centre, the search for survivors amid the ruins continued yesterday, with hope for the thousands of missing running out.

    Americans living in Cyprus have gone through all the emotions experienced by their compatriots in the United States, but they have also had to deal with the anxiety of making sure their relatives back home were OK.

    Aileen Thompson, a bookshop employee who was been on the island for a number of years, told the Cyprus Mailshe was " completely stunned with disbelief"on hearing of the attacks. Disbelief quickly turned into concern, as her family is from up state New York. With telephone lines down in parts of the East Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday, she contacted her mother via e- mail and was relieved to find out everyone in her family was fine. She said a friend's husband who works in the New York police force had described the bombed area as a " war zone, unlike anything anyone had seen before."

    As the awful realisation of what happened began to sink in, she said, she started considering the aftermath of the attacks. " I am concerned about America's response to this; the government should be very careful right now, and should not jump to rash actions. This is not a case of black and white, it's not necessarily a battle of good versus evil. I think it's much more complicated than that.

    " What happened was just plain wrong, and the people who did this -- be it Osama bin Laden or someone else -- were obviously out of their mind,"she added. " But violence never solved anything, and neither will going out and bombing another country."

    US President Bush designated Friday a day of "National Prayer and Remembrance," and asked that Americans head to their places of worship at lunchtime to pray for victims and their families. Across Europe yesterday, a three-minutes silence was observed, and at noon yesterday in Cyprus the sirens howled.

    For Eric Watkins, who comes from the West Coast, Tuesday's events were " absolutely sickening."Though he too said the attacks defied belief, he added it had been only a matter of time before the terrorists struck inside the United States.

    " With hindsight, security at airports could have been beefed up, but it is not so much a case of lax security than the determination and cunning of people intent on committing such acts."

    Despite supporting heightened security measures in the future, he said these measures should not be implemented in such a way as to compromise the " openness and freedom of the American way of life."

    " Tracking down the perpetrators and bringing them to justice is not just a question of retaliation and proving a point,"he said. " The United States needs to move very carefully on this, and should go after those responsible only after there is hard evidence as to their identity."

    He also felt that " Americans should keep their cool and not take their feelings of anger out on Arab-Americans or Muslim Americans. After all, this attack was not just against Americans, it was an attack against the whole world."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Dejected brokers see little hope for stock market

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE TERRORIST attacks on the US are the last nail in the coffin of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, one stockbroker said yesterday, signalling unanimous pessimism in the mid-term future of the market.

    The index closed 1.85 per cent down yesterday at a miserable 125.45. It was shut on Wednesday, following Tuesday's mayhem and Thursday's session was discontinued after just 40 minutes because of a computer glitch and a hoax mortar threat.

    Yesterday's poor showing with a volume of just 5.22 million compounded the losses of recent days.

    The Athens bourse also slumped, an indication of the wider malaise in the region.

    Some 112 stocks lost value, only 38 went up. The two major banks reached their lowest prices all year yesterday, putting Bank of Cyprus at 1.78 and Cyprus Popular Bank at 1.29.

    Hellenic closed one cent higher than on Thursday at 75 cents.

    The index lost 10.3 per cent of its value this week and even those brokers most optimistic during last year's crash have now lost all hope of imminent recovery.

    Analysts put rapid liquidation in the last 30 minutes of the session down to investors terrified of leaving money in the market over the weekend, fearful of a pending attack in the Middle East.

    " It's a case of wait and see. The terrorist attack has changed a lot of things. There's a lot of uncertainty until we know how the US will react, "said Christos Achillides.

    " Unless anything extraordinary happens, we might not see real recovery until there is a solution to the Cyprus problem,"said Demos Stavrides.

    Economists fear that an economic meltdown in the US sparked by the recent slowdown and the collapse of the Dow Jones will ricochet across the globe.

    Although the Cypriot economy is less exposed than global trading partners such as Russia and the UK, trouble in the Middle East is likely to send oil prices shooting through the roof.

    Secondly, a recession in the UK coupled with an escalation of violence in the Middle East is likely to hit tourism hard, as it did in the Gulf War.

    Tourism is the country's biggest contributor to GDP.

    " But it's all speculation. If anything major happens it will have an impact on the global economy, which is already showing signs of weakness. It depends how and where America will react,"said Achillides.

    " We won't see volumes over 10 million until next year. Perhaps in a year and a half the index will get up to 200 and from then on get into a logical small but steady increase,"said Stavrou.

    Experts headed off the idea of total collapse, but stressed that the situation was severe.

    Investors already owe 1 billion to the banks, which they are paying back at a rate of 13 or 14 per cent, stockbroker Demos Stavrou said.

    " I don't think we'll survive the situation. The stock market will have a lasting legacy on people's psychology and there will be more crime and more murders. In the last two months I invested just 200 and I lost 30 per cent of it. So I really don't suggest any new people to come in, until we see some kind of stabilisation,"he said.

    One of the sectors that lost most heavily yesterday was insurance, reporting a drop of 4.71 per cent. The fallout mirrors the global insurance market, which faces multi-billion dollar losses in the wake of the US attacks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Growth expected to continue, inflation and unemployment to fall

    ECONOMIC growth is expected to reach four per cent this year, the Central bank said yesterday, with inflation falling to 2 per cent.

    Growth would be slightly down on last year's 4.8 per cent, the Bank noted in its annual report for 2000. But falling inflation would mark a significant improvement on the previous year's 4.2 per cent.

    Unemployment is expected to register a further small decline to less than 3.4 per cent of the economically active population.

    The fiscal deficit last year was down to 2.8 per cent of GDP, compared with 4 per cent the previous year. The bank notes notes that "the drop in the fiscal deficit from 5,5 per cent of GDP in 1998 to half of this level in 2000 is a welcome development which is in line with the aims of the fiscal consolidation programme repared by the government".

    In this respect, the government's effort towards further containment of the fiscal deficit should continue unabated, in order to minimise the fiscal imbalances and contribute to the enhancement of conditions of macroeconomic stability that will allow in the following few years the smooth integration of the Cypriot economy with those of the EU, the Central Bank stresses.

    The report states that the island's European Union accession course continued successfully in 2000 and five additional chapters were provisionally closed, including the fundamental chapter of the free movement of goods.

    Twenty-two out of 29 chapters had been provisionally closed as of June 2001 and negotiations on remaining chapters are expected to be completed early next year.

    The report also noted the sustained drop in share prices following the increase of the stock market price index to unrealistically high levels in 1999.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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