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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-14
From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>
Thursday, March 14, 2002
 Hundreds queue to honour KyprianouBy George Psylldies
WITH flags in public buildings flying at half-mast yesterday, hundreds of people poured into the House of Representatives to pay their last respects by signing the book of condolences for former president Spyros Kyprianou, who died on Tuesday at the age of 69 after a nine-month battle with cancer.
Parliament was filled with common folk who took breaks from work to pay their last respects.
So overwhelming was the response that House officials decided to extend the signing through to today.
The Cabinet yesterday cancelled discussion of its agenda and held a minute's silence in Kyprianou's memory.
Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the Cabinet had discussed ways in which to honour Kyprianou as well as arrangements for his funeral.
The Cabinet declared a three days of mourning - from yesterday through to Friday - during which flags in public buildings and schools would fly at half-mast.
Today, the day of the former president's funeral, government services and schools would close at 11am, Papapetrou said.
Kyprianou would be laid in state between 9am and 12pm, while the funeral service would be held at 1pm.
After the meeting, the Cabinet, led by President Glafcos Clerides, went to the House and signed the book of condolences.
The book was also signed by the Archbishop, party leaders, deputies and diplomats.
But it was the huge response from the public which forced officials to extend signing times yesterday, while people had to wait in line for as long as an hour and a half to sign.
After signing the book, Archbishop Chrysostomos, who was among the last to see Kyprianou alive, paid tribute to the former president, saying he had fought until the end to free the island's enslaved land.
"We all owe gratitude for his efforts; he strove for freedom and the progress of the people," Chrysostomos said.
"May God lay him to rest and reward him for all his efforts," he added.
House President Demetris Christofias said the House had honoured its former president with feelings of deep grief.
"It honours a fighter in the struggle for the freedom of the motherland, and democracy," he said.
He added: "Spyros was the man who slept and woke up with the Cyprus issue in his conscience, his mind, his every action."
All House activities were cancelled yesterday.
Today, the House will hold a special session, starting at 3pm, to honour Kyprianou.
DISY Chairman Nicos Anastassiades said he thought Kyprianou would be remembered as the prime example of a politician who paid a personal toll for his persistence on behalf of the principles he believed in.
"No one can forget that he could have been president for a third term, but, because he believed it would go against his beliefs and principles he chose to enter a political alliance and lose the presidency," Anastassiades said.
Anastassiades said that despite heavily criticising Kyprianou's administration when he was in opposition, he had never felt that the former president was bitter.
DIKO Chairman Tassos Papadopoulos described Kyprianou as being passionate and insisting on his positions.
He said Kyprianou had discussed other views and accepted dissent but when he made his mind up he was insistent without being stubborn.
KISOS honorary chairman and veteran politician Vassos Lyssarides said it would be painful to visit the House and not see Kyprianou.
"I think he will remain in our memories, especially us who had the privilege of knowing him for decades, as the man who remained faithful to his principles concerning the solution of the Cyprus issue," Lyssarides said.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Kyprianou, during his long tenure, had fought many diplomatic battles in all international forums, for a settlement that would have seen a free and united Cyprus where the two communities could live in harmony.
Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos said that from a young age and until his last breath, Kyprianou had fought for Cyprus and with his struggles expressed the desires of Cypriot Hellenism.
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou described Kyprianou's death as a loss in the struggle of Greek Cypriots.
Kyprianou was a man who dedicated his life to Cyprus and was present in the worst hours to offer his invaluable services to finding he fair and viable solution to the island's problem, Papandreou said.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 Let us fly our planes againBy Jean Christou
BRITAIN has asked Cyprus to consider lifting a ban imposed after September 11 on flights by light aircraft in and out of Cyprus, the British High Commission (BHC) said yesterday.
It seems likely, however, that the ban will be lifted by the end of the week and may only have been maintained due to today's high-security UEFA cup match between Hapoel Tel Aviv and AC Milan, which is taking place in Nicosia due to the escalating violence in the Middle East.
The move by the BHC came after a complaint by a British-owned offshore company that the ban was prevented it from using a corporate light aircraft to visit agents in the region.
Initially, the ban grounded all light aircraft in reaction to the suicide hijackings of September 11. Three months later, the government allowed flight training schools to resume operations over Cyprus, but maintained the ban on pleasure flights over the island for another month. This has now been lifted, but pleasure flights in and out of the island are still banned.
Anthony Gibbs, director of Demophorius Ltd, which deals with medical products, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday it was causing considerable difficulties for his business, which requires extensive short trips in the region to liaise with the company's agents.
"We have not been able to fly our plane since September 11 and it's the only country in the world that bans private flights," Gibbs said. "Every time we approach any body they always cite 'political decision' or 'national security'.
"If it's so bad what about our families coming here? Is it dangerous being here? Should the Cypriots be warned? Is there civil defence available? What are we supposed to be looking for?"
Gibbs said that even the UK had only banned such flights on September 11 and 12 and that France and Germany didn't impose any ban. "If it's so serious here, shouldn't they be telling people?"
A spokesman at the British High Commission said that once they had Demophorius' complaint, they had raised the issue through the British Bases, which meet periodically with Cypriot air traffic authorities.
"We were taking action on it by getting the bases to raise it in their regular meetings with the authorities," a spokesman said. "And to point out that it wasn't really a very sensible restriction."
The Akrotiri flying club has also been affected by the ban but a bases spokesman said British personnel understood that Cyprus was in a sensitive area.
"Our people are also operating under the ban, and say it is more restrictive than other parts of the world so they are quite surprised, but they understand it is a sensitive area, even though it's frustrating," he said.
Communications and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou did not wish to comment on the ban, except to say that the issue was under discussion and that "big changes" would be made in the coming days.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002
 35 flights ferrying fans from Israel for cup clashBy Alexia Saoulli
THIRTY-five flights are expected to arrive from Israel today, carrying football fans for the UEFA cup quarterfinal between Hapoel Tel-Aviv and AC Milan, an airport spokeswoman said yesterday.
The Nicosia GSP stadium is hosting the match, after the European federation suspended all European competition matches in Israel until further notice, due to the escalating violence in the Middle East.
An airport spokeswoman told the Cyprus Mail that a total of 35 flights were scheduled to start flying in from Israel from 5.25am today.
"There are a number of scheduled flights and private planes due in," she said. "Four Eurocypria flights have been scheduled and one Helios flight, as well as the standard Cyprus Airways flight at 8.05am." Cyprus Airways did not have any spare capacity as it was already laying on extra flights to Greece for the long weekend, but the Eurocypria and Helios flights are extra as neither airline usually flies to Israel.
The spokeswoman added five El Al flights were expected, as well as one operated by Israir and five by Arkia - both private Israeli carriers.
Over and above the passenger planes, she said, another 18 private planes were expected to fly in during the course of the day.
She added some might cancel, however, as eight had done yesterday.
"We are normally informed the day before if there are cancellations, but in this instance we were just told this morning when we came into work. Therefore we cannot be sure at this point that all 35 flights on Thursday will arrive," she said.
"However, judging from the cancellations today, and all the extra flights tomorrow, I'm sure they will come, because the supporters have to get here."
But as far as Cyprus Airways is concerned only the usual scheduled flight will go ahead and no more.
"We are under a lot of pressure at the moment and do not have enough planes to schedule more flights to Tel Aviv, since we have added more flights to Athens. Besides," said CY spokesman Tassos Angelis, "I don't think that many supporters are going to fly over in the end, because of the crisis over there at the moment. Initially there were going to be 8,000 fans flying over and now I've been informed only 2,000 fans will be coming. In fact, not even ships are scheduled to bring any supporters over, as had been expected."
First Secretary and deputy head of mission at the Israel Embassy, Eli Belotsercovsky, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the Embassy did not know exactly how many fans were due over, but thought the number was around 3, 000.
"Some will be flown over on scheduled Cypriot flights, on the Israeli national carrier, El Al, and on private Israeli Airline planes," he said.
Belotsercovsky also said no special precautions were being taken or security provided for the supporters, as they would be treated like any other tourist.
"Some intend to leave after the match and some will stay for a few days," he said, "but it is not the Embassy's policy to provide security for these individuals. There will be security provided at the stadium, with the support of local police, but other than that we don't believe there is any danger." He added everyone would arrive in their own time, as nothing had been formally organised.
He said that the team had standard security measures that were applied internationally.
"Our team has its own security procedures and receives protection wherever it plays. I don't know what other international teams do about security, but I don't believe that Hapoel's measures are any more extreme than the next team, since they are accepted everywhere," Belotsercovsky said.
The Head of the GSP, Fivos Constantinides, said yesterday he was still unsure how many fans would actually show up for the game.
"Although we sent 11,000 tickets to Israel on Sunday, the Hapoel ticket officer has still not yet arrived and so we do not know how many tickets were finally sold," he said.
As for whether or not the 5,000 tickets allocated to locals wanting to watch the match had been sold he could not say, since he had not heard from the various football clubs that were selling them.
The Hapoel Tel Aviv - AC Milan match will be played at 9pm tonight.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002