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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-17

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, May 17, 2002


  • [01] Papapetrou: Annan could have been more decisive
  • [02] Denktash warms to Annan, lashes out at EU
  • [03] Ayia Napa wants families back
  • [04] Police demand trade union rights, ministry sceptical
  • [05] Selden's relatives arrested on return north
  • [06] Top academic resigns over increased student power
  • [07] <news>Health authorities play down meningitis fear

  • [01] Papapetrou: Annan could have been more decisive

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday that the government would have been happier if the United Nations Secretary-general was more decisive concerning the issue of the illegal regime's recognition and separate sovereignties.

    Commenting on Kofi Annan's statements, made at Larnaca airport before his departure, Papapetrou said that the government welcomed his visit, which he described as a reflection of the United Nations and the international community's interest in the Cyprus problem.

    He added: "We (the government) would have been happier if the UN Secretary- general's position was more decisive and clear when answering a question on whether there is an issue of recognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus, or an issue of separate sovereignties."

    He added that his indecisiveness should not mean anything since the Security Council has repeatedly stated that any solution should take into account its resolutions.

    Papapetrou said that the talks were entering their most crucial stage, adding that no more valuable time could be lost considering the tight time limits.

    "I consider important Annan's reference to the need for the negotiation process to continue decisively on the core issues of the Cyprus problem, which once more have been defined clearly as governance, security, property, and territory," Papapetrou said.

    Papapetrou said that Annan has clearly implied a more active UN involvement, that lent weight to the belief that some written suggestions or ideas might be submitted by the organisation.

    The spokesman said that Annan had urged both sides to proceed with decisiveness, within a spirit of exchange and underlined the special role of the island's accession to the European Union with regard the settlement of the problem and a peaceful future between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Denktash warms to Annan, lashes out at EU

    By Claudia Parsons

    U.N. SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan may have produced no major breakthroughs on his visit to Cyprus this week but he brought an air of measured calm that may allow both sides to soften some entrenched positions.

    "It was a gentlemanly discussion," Denktash said of his dinner the previous night with Annan and President Glafcos Clerides in the buffer zone dividing the island.

    "The next step is to continue the talks with the spirit which the Secretary- general has brought to us," Denktash told Reuters in an interview.

    "He expects both sides to leave aside certain clichés, certain interpretations, and to deal with the core issues.

    "The hope of both sides is that such difficulties will be overcome because each side will try to see the difficulties of the other and will try to help each other," he said.

    Such friendly words, and the jovial relationship enjoyed by the two veteran leaders themselves, do not obscure the fact the two communities remain bitterly divided.

    "There are a lot of people on both sides who want to avenge certain things, " Denktash said.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader nevertheless said he was more optimistic about a solution after Annan's visit, though he doubted it would be possible to finish by June -- a target set by the two leaders earlier this year.

    But while Denktash was a picture of calm and moderation talking about Annan and the United Nations, turn to the subject of the European Union and a harder edge enters his voice.

    Turkish Cypriots feel enormous resentment that the EU has stated it will grant accession to Cyprus with or without a solution, a position Denktash says means Clerides has no incentive to compromise.

    "It takes away all the air from our sails," Denktash said.

    The latest round of talks that started in January has been given urgency by the fact that the EU is due to decide by the end of the year whether to accept Cyprus as a member. It is all but certain to do so given Greece's threat to veto any other new members unless Cyprus is among the first wave of new entrants.

    "EU interference has prejudiced the chances of a settlement," Denktash said, warning that the chances of a solution were grim unless the EU put more pressure on the Greek Cypriot side.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Ayia Napa wants families back

    By George Psyllides

    STATE AND Local Authorities yesterday discussed measures to restore the image of Ayia Napa as a destination for all types of tourists and not just clubbers.

    The Ayia Napa and Protaras Hotel Association Marketing Executive Lakis Avramides said: "We want to promote all of Ayia Napa's features - bars, clubs, conference facilities, and as a family destination."

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail last night Avramides said, "Ayia Napa has always been a popular place for having fun but we also had families; in the past two years we had mostly clubbers and that didn't do much good."

    Yesterday the resort's hoteliers, local authorities, and other local business people took part in a meeting with Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis, Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou, and Justice Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides where they discussed measures designed to improve Ayia Napa's sleazy image.

    The meeting was a continuation of a previous one around month ago, which dealt with similar issues.

    Avramides said there was a general agreement on the matters at hand although legislation was necessary to close some gaps.

    It was agreed that bars and pubs should turn their music off at 1.30am and shut shop at 2am, Avramides said. Clubs would close at four or 4.30am, he added.

    Another problem discussed was organised pub-crawls, which he said often resulted in hoards of drunken tourists engaging in all sorts of antisocial behaviour at inappropriate hours.

    He stressed that no one could prohibit people from gathering for a drink but police would step in when their behaviour got out of hand.

    Authorities would also keep a close eye on tour representatives who organise pub-crawls, with a participation fee, and would advise them that such activities could create problems.

    Organised beach parties would need the permission of the municipality and the police.

    Avramides emphasised that a small gathering of friends on the beach was fine, but heavily-advertised beach parties that attracted large crowds often got out of hand.

    Another area of concern on the agenda was touts.

    Two kinds of touts currently operate in Ayia Napa, Avramides said.

    Those selling timeshare and others trying to lure people into bars and clubs.

    "You pass from the square and get assaulted by 50 people giving invitations, or they stand outside pubs and pull people in," Avramides said.

    Until law concerning touts becomes more effective, police would be cracking down on them by checking if they have employment permits, as most of them are foreigners.

    Also on the agenda were cruise ships that offered dance parties at sea sail and often violated noise pollution codes. The problem with the ships is that there is no legislation whatsoever to allow the government to do checks.

    But last year's fire on one such ship acted as a rude awakening for authorities who have prepared legislation designed to close all the gaps.

    "The bill is ready and will be forwarded to the House urgently because there is a need to put some checks in place - capacity, seaworthiness, etc, " Avramides said.

    Authorities hope that these measures, coupled with increased policing, would lift Ayia Napa's image, which was badly tarnished in the past couple of years.

    "We want to see good behaviour; people who come should respect the laws, customs and traditions," Avramides said.

    "You can't have people standing in the square urinating," he added.

    "Our aim is for people who come to Ayia Napa for a holiday to have a good safe vacation without any problems."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Police demand trade union rights, ministry sceptical

    By Alex Mita

    THE JUSTICE Ministry was yesterday sceptical about police demands for the right to form a trade union, expressing concern at what would happen if police officers ever went on strike.

    The Cyprus Police Association (CPA) formally submitted its request to the Ministry earlier this year, but its president Gabriel Gabriel said yesterday they were still waiting for an answer.

    "The Justice Minister's position was that he would study the request and respond at a later stage. He has not responded to this day," Gabriel told the Cyprus Mail. He was tight-lipped on what if any measures police officers would resort to, should their request be denied.

    "I cannot comment on what measures we will take as we are members of the European Police Syndicate, it is our obligation to take measures based on the conventions we have signed in the Council of Europe, and those conventions allow for the formation of police unions."

    Gabriel stressed that unionisation would not lead to mass strikes, assuring that there would always be officers on duty.

    "We are not speaking of going on strike - that is out of the question, a constitution does not allow us to go on strike," he said. "But we have all the legal rights to form a union and we hope that we will not be forced to resort to tough measures."

    Gabriel explained that police officers worked on a shift system, in which one third of the force was working and the rest was off, adding it would be the ones not working that would protest.

    "I believe this is the way to express ourselves without a complete closedown of services. We don't want to cause problems and leave the cities without police protection," Gabriel said.

    "We are the only department that works 40 hours a week while other departments work on a 37-hour basis. I ask you: don't we have the right to work the same times as other people?"

    However, he admitted that with nearly two million tourists visiting the island during the summer, some departments were struggling to do their job due to lack of staff, raising the question of how they could respond to emergencies if off-duty officers were out on strike.

    Justice Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides conceded that no decision had yet been reached, but said the Ministry was aware of the police request. However, Savvides stressed that police unions were not the norm in other EU countries.

    "The only thing I can tell you is that unionisation in EU countries is not a usual phenomenon. Discussions are taking place between police associations all over Europe to try to implement unionisation," he said.

    Savvides added that the current European position was that police work was not considered a profession, but a vital support system, and therefore other countries were weary of strikes.

    "I think all countries in the European Union are against unionism, but we are not saying 'no' to the Cyprus Police Association, all we are saying is that the issue will be discussed in order to find a solution."

    The debate comes as frontline police officers in the UK were yesterday considering whether they should have the right to strike for the first time in nearly a century. A motion put to the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales in Bournemouth said the organisation, which represents 128,000 rank and file officers, "should undertake research and examine the consequences" of affiliating itself to the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Selden's relatives arrested on return north

    By Soteris Charalambous

    STAVROS Xenis, former President of AEK football club in Larnaca, yesterday confirmed Turkish Cypriot media reports that 'police' in the north had arrested family members of Sabri Selden, the Turkish Cypriot footballer who recently obtained citizenship.

    Selden's sister, a girlfriend of one of his brothers, their aunt and a cousin were all arrested by Turkish Cypriot 'police' after they visited the Selden family in Larnaca. An aide to Xenis called the family, who confirmed the reports to him. The aide told the Cyprus Mail "police were waiting for them as they re-entered northern Cyprus." When asked about the reason for their arrest the aide said, "the family have no idea why they were arrested".

    Some sections of the Turkish Cypriot media have branded Sabri Selden a "traitor" for leaving his club Binalti, in occupied Morphou. to play his football in the free areas. Since Sabri Selden obtained citizenship his older brother, Musafer, has joined family members in Larnaca and will be applying for citizenship in the hope of also playing football for a Greek Cypriot team.

    Raif Selden, twin brother to Sabri, also wished to obtain citizenship in order to play football in the south but had wanted his girlfriend to join him. Her arrest by Turkish Cypriot 'police' has now put the matter in some doubt.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Top academic resigns over increased student power

    By Soteris Charalambous

    PANTELIS Damianou, the Dean of Mathematic and Statistics at the University of Cyprus, has resigned his position on the university senate because he fears plans to increase student representation and influence in departments will be harmful to the university's future.

    The Director of the University, Nicolas Papamichael, yesterday confirmed that Damianou had submitted his resignation and that he had attempted to change his mind.

    However, Damianou stood firm, saying yesterday: "The continuing increase in the number of students in the administrative bodies of the university will have very harmful affects in the long run." He added he hoped his actions would bring about a reverse in the trend in increasing student power.

    Damianou's greatest concern centres on a vote to increase student representation in the university departments to 25 per cent. He believes that one of the students' objectives is to bring about a change in legislation to prevent the university expelling under-achieving students.

    "They are trying to bring about a similar system to the one that exists in Greece where you can remain a student for 10, 15 or even 20 years. Most worrying is that once they get this power it cannot be reversed, everybody knows the system in Greece is in chaos because the students have too much power. In some departments the Chairman or Director is elected by the students alone."

    Papamichael agreed: "Students should be actively involved in the university bodies but should not be the power to determine policy." He added: "Students come to study, academics teach and academics are the best qualified to develop an education policy."

    Damianou pointed to another potential problem that would arise by giving greater power to the students. "Because all the student bodies are affiliated to political parties, a great deal of students are politically influenced, and political influence is one thing that needs to be avoided in an academic institution."

    However, another Professor at the university, who concurred with Damianou's position, believes the problems at the University are far more deep-rooted, and that a political influence already exists amongst the academics and administrators at the university. "We need to adopt the American system for electing our Director, Vice-Director and Deans, an international academic body needs to be set up." By doing so, the source said, "the university can attract people from abroad who are less likely to be influenced by outside interests within Cyprus. Some people within the university are using their positions just for self-interest. As a result, the university is suffering."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Health authorities play down meningitis fear

    THE AUTHORITIES of a Larnaca school where an eight-year-old pupil was diagnosed with meningitis yesterday insisted there was no reason to worry, saying parents should send their children to school.

    The incident, which was uncovered on Monday, prompted parents to keep their children home on Wednesday, despite assurances from the school that there was no reason to worry.

    Yesterday, pupils returned to their classrooms, though some 15 per cent of them were absent.

    Larnaca Senior Education Official Petros Nicolaou yesterday said that all children would be in their classes today.

    Petrou said the health services had informed the school about the meningitis on Tuesday, 24 hours after the boy had exhibited the symptoms.

    This, Petrou said, indicated that the boy had contracted the illness during the Easter holidays and not in school.

    Despite this, the health services disinfected the school buildings.

    In a written statement, the headmasters of the school denied newspaper reports that they had given instructions for the school to close on Wednesday.

    "We gave instructions for the children to come to school and there was no reason to worry; the parents' association kept the children home," the statement said.

    This was confirmed by the head of the parents' association Maroulla Hajoudi.

    The boy is being treated at Larnaca hospital. A statement on his condition is expected today.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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