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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, May 18, 2002


  • [01] Talks resume as Clerides prepares to go to Athens
  • [02] June target for post office liberalisation
  • [03] A pretty lousy end to a pretty lousy week
  • [04] Statues, renovations and US presidents: AHEPA lays out ambitious plans for Cyprus
  • [05] Selden family to face military 'court' in north
  • [06] Thai fish alert

  • [01] Talks resume as Clerides prepares to go to Athens

    By Alexia Saoulli

    DIRECT talks resumed yesterday, the first meeting after UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan's 48-hour working visit to the island.

    President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met in the presence of UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto.

    It was the fourth meeting between the two leaders since the resumption of the third round of direct talks after the Easter break.

    Direct talks began in mid January this year and have been given added urgency by the fact that Cyprus is close to finalising EU membership.

    But, meeting with journalists after the meeting, Denktash said: "By December we will have a better picture of whether or not Cyprus will enter the EU and under what conditions. We have time until then."

    This comment comes as no surprise, as Denktash has so far indicated that June is too soon to reach an agreement. Even so, he said the two men were trying to accelerate the process and that they had appraised the current situation which "went well"

    Annan, however, said on Thursday he was convinced this was the time to press on and that he was leaving the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders "to go about this effort in genuine spirit of give and take".

    The UN Secretary-general's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said yesterday that Annan was convinced that the four core issues of the Cyprus problem - governance, security, territory and property - could be resolved by the end of June and he called on Greece and Turkey to provide sustained and constructive support.

    President Clerides yesterday briefed the National Council on the results of Annan's visit.

    "The National Council was briefed by the President on the visit of Kofi Annan to Cyprus and Council members exchanged views ahead of the President's visit to Athens on Wednesday," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after the two-hour long meeting.

    He said there would be another Council meeting after Clerides' return from Athens to discuss the situation afresh. The President returns on Thursday but no date has been fixed for the meeting.

    Commenting on Denktash's apparently unchanged stance, Papapetrou added: "There is no doubt that Denktash has Ankara's backing. what we are seeking is to shift Turkey's and Denktash's intransigent positions."

    Greek Government Spokesman Christos Protopapas was scarcely more encouraging: "One could not be optimistic about the Cyprus problem developments."

    He said the Turkish Cypriot side's stance appeared intransigent, a fact that would have negative international repercussions on Turkey.

    Greece would push forward with its policy on the Cyprus problem, said Protopapas, which would be the subject of discussion by Clerides and Greek Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, next Wednesday.

    "(It is) common knowledge that the Turkish Cypriot side is trying to block Cyprus' EU accession course, but it is also common knowledge that the EU holds Cyprus in high esteem and what the Greek government's position is," Protopapas said.

    Clerides will not be the only one flying to Athens on Wednesday to discuss the Cyprus problem with Simitis.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] June target for post office liberalisation

    By Elias Hazou

    COMMUNICATIONS and Transport Minister Averoff Neophytou has set a June deadline for the liberalisation of the postal services on the island, as Cyprus looks to join the EU.

    Speaking after a plenary session of the ECPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications administrations) hosted in Nicosia this week, Neophytou stressed that Cyprus lagged behind all EU countries in this respect; it was one of a handful of countries of the West where the postal service remained a fully-fledged government department.

    With liberalisation, the service would become more efficient and flexible, Neophytou said, adding: "we cannot expect to go into the 21st century with a model dating back to the 1960s."

    A staunch supporter of liberalisation, Neofytou has been careful not to use another keyword, namely, "privatisation". Despite being pressed for time to fall in line with the EU acquis communautaire, the government has adopted a step-by-step approach to market liberalisation.

    Civil servants and employees of semi-government organizations, such as the state-owned telecommunications provider CyTA, are certain to react to the pending changes, as they feel their position may be threatened by the new regime. Civil servants union PASIDY has warned it will not under any circumstances accept privatisation of the postal services.

    Tassos Pyrgos, newly appointed commissioner of telecommunications and postal services, defined liberalisation as follows: the government would become the only shareholder, while other private companies would be allowed to enter the market. The same formula has been applied to the telecommunications market.

    "This will result in efficiency and flexibility, less bureaucracy," Pyrgos told the Cyprus Mail. "Picture this: right now, to buy an extra van, you need to go through paperwork and procedures from three different ministries."

    Pyrgos explained that the salient liberalisation legislation has already been passed, meaning that Cyprus had now effectively closed 27 out of 31 EU harmonisation chapters.

    The government has called on the involved parties to reach an agreement on specifics by June, by which time it expects to table a bill in Parliament.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] A pretty lousy end to a pretty lousy week

    By Jean Christou

    STOCKS ended the week on a downward note yesterday with the all-share index closing at 98.7 points, a drop of 0.53 per cent.

    Initial gains took a nosedive 10 minutes into trading, taking the index to an intraday low of 98.4 points before some minor last-minute gains, which failed to produce any significant relief to investors. Volume dropped below the million mark to stand at only 964,456.

    "It was a pretty lousy end to a pretty lousy week," said one Nicosia broker. "Any gains we saw at the beginning of the week slowly eroded and we seem to be heading back down the slippery slope again."

    Only the insurance, construction and technology sectors showed any gains yesterday but none large enough to make an impact. Losers included fish culture companies, finance and manufacturing. The banking sector dropped 0.27 per cent as Laiki Bank slipped two cents to 1.29 but the other two major banks Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic managed to stave off losses to end unchanged at 1.60 and 0.78.

    The bourse's FTSE/CySE blue chips index also lost, ending the day 0.67 per cent poorer at 416 points. Overall only 29 titles recorded gains compared to 55 decliners and 59 stocks that closed unchanged.

    Also yesterday, the CSE announced the new composition of the FTSE, which was decided on May 15. The FTSE composition is changed on a six-monthly basis and the next list will become operational on June 3. The index is designed as a tool for investors, enabling them to evaluate the market based on trading in the top companies.

    The new list is:

    Bank of Cyprus, Laiki Bank, Hellenic Bank, Louis Cruise Lines, Lanitis Brothers, Suphire Financial Services, Sharelink Financial Services, Tsokkos Hotels, Cyprus Trading Corporation, Pandora Investments, Aristo Developers, F.W. Woolworth & Co, KEO, Libra Holidays, Golden Sun Leisure, D.H. Cyprotels, Universal Savings Bank, Renos Hatzioannou Farm, Multichoice and Marketrends Financial Services.

    The CSE said that the selection of the 20 companies that make up the FTSE index does not in any way constitute an assessment of the companies' quality or activities, but is strictly based on the Ground Rules of the index, as defined by FTSE International and applied internationally for reasons of uniformity and to ensure the comparability of the indices.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Statues, renovations and US presidents: AHEPA lays out ambitious plans for Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    U.S. SENATOR Ted Kennedy may visit Cyprus in November to accept a freedom award from Greek and Cypriot Americans, the organising president for the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) said yesterday.

    The award for Kennedy, a senator for Massachusetts and brother of slain US President John F Kennedy, is part of a series of events and projects planned by AHEPA in Cyprus.

    Organising president Kostas Pereos said the plans included erecting a statue of JFK in Nicosia, a second statue of Archbishop Kyprianou who was killed by the Turks in 1821at his rural birthplace, and the renovation of the dilapidated Stoa Tarsi at the end of Ledra Street as the new AHEPA headquarters in Cyprus.

    Pereos said the Kennedy statue, which has caused some controversy in the capital, would be inaugurated on November 22, 2003, the 40th anniversary of JFK's death. He said the organisation planned to invite members of the Kennedy family, and former US Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George Bush Senior to the inauguration as part of a gala event to raise money for the projects to be carried out in Cyprus.

    The cost of the Kyprianou memorial is expected to be in the region of 100, 000-120,000, the Kennedy statue around 120,000 and the Stoa Tarsi renovations between 400,000 and 500,000.

    AHEPA will also be calling on the 100 plus American companies in Cyprus to contribute to the projects and hopes to secure both US and EU funding, along with assistance from the Cyprus government and the Church.

    "This is the overall plan," Pereos said. "We plan to establish the freedom award annually to be given here in Cyprus and the first recipient will be Ted Kennedy, the brother of the slain president. We hope to have him here in November and at the same time AHEPA has confirmed that, if takes place, the Washington branch will honour President Clerides, Archbishop Chrysostomos and George Paraskeviades."

    Pereos said the November 2003 event surrounding the unveiling would be a gala event with 1,000 invitations being issued at 100 per person.

    "It will not be just a statue of Kennedy," Pereos said referring to the controversy. "If it was just a statue thrown there I would have a problem too but it's is a memorial to human and civil rights."

    Pereos also said the statue was significant because it was the first time that the Greek and Cypriot organisations in America had united for such a project.

    The statue was initially to be placed in another municipality in the Nicosia area, but Pereos said that when former Mayor Lellos Demetriades and his successor Michalakis Zampelas got wind of the plan they offered to donate the land within city boundaries.

    The chosen site is to be the corner of Makarios and Kennedy Avenues, opposite the APOEL football club and next to the Hilton Hotel. Kennedy will be depicted sitting in a chair underneath a dome, representing democracy, with four pillars - 'justice and freedom' to depict human rights and 'equality and brotherhood' to depict civil rights. The pillars will look like nails.

    "We thought of it as a small way of showing the solidarity of Greek Americans," he said, "a joint effort of Greeks and Cypriots in a show of unity proposed to do this memorial."

    Both the Kennedy and Kyprianou statues will be sculpted by Nicholas Kontziamanis, the same sculptor behind the giant statue of Makarios at the Archbishopric.

    The Kyprianou statue will be built near the village of his birth on the road between his village Kambia, and Kapedes. The statue will be housed in a replica of the Pancyprian Gymnasium, which the cleric founded. Pereos said they hoped to also be able to set up facilities for tourists on the spot with a CTO kiosk and a small bookshop.

    The 1,471 square-metre Tarsi building in old Nicosia is earmarked to become the AHEPA Cyprus headquarters and will be named the AHEPA Friendship Home, providing space for exhibitions and some accommodation for visiting media and other guests, when it will be extended to include the nearby Olympos Hotel, which is owned by Kykko Monastery.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Selden family to face military 'court' in north

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THE 16-YEAR-old sister and aunt of Sabri Selden, the Turkish Cypriot footballer who recently obtained citizenship after crossing to the south, are to face a military 'court' in the occupied areas for allegedly passing through a military zone without permission.

    The group visited Selden earlier in the week and was arrested when they returned through Pergamos checkpoint by waiting 'police'. According to reports they were forced to hand over their ID and are now prevented from leaving northern Cyprus.

    Turkish Cypriot media reported that the group were held in custody for 24 hours, charged, then taken to 'court' accused of "violating a forbidden military zone without permission". The report says that Selden's family as well as two family friends who were with them will be tried by a military 'court' and forced to report to 'police' once a week until the date of the trial.

    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 playing football for a Greek Cypriot team. Musafer is a defender, who also played for Binalti.

    Raif Selden, twin brother to Sabri, also wished to obtain citizenship in order to play football for a Greek Cypriot team but had wanted his girlfriend to join him. Reports suggested that she was one of the four arrested.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Thai fish alert

    THE EU has issued an alert on imports of raw Thai fish and glass from Italy, and has warned local health authorities of the risks of salmonella.

    Already the fish has been pulled out of European markets, and the EU has advised all members and candidate countries to be on the lookout. Cyprus is an importer of shrimps and canned fish from Thailand, but the danger comes from fresh, unprocessed foodstuffs.

    Another warning related to certain Italian-made glass products, also subsequently withdrawn from European markets because the quantity of lead contained was considered a safety threat.

    The state lab in Cyprus said that it had not been instructed by the state public health department to carry out any tests of Thai fish products. A spokesperson said no quantities of such deleterious or poisonous foodstuffs had turned up in the local market. The government public health department could not be reached for comment.

    Meanwhile press reports indicated that a previous EU advisory on royal jelly had prompted the government to run checks. Reportedly, the local state lab could not carry out the tests because of excessive workload, so the samples were sent to Salonica in Greece for analysis.

    Several advisories on Thai fish products have been issued in the past, both in the EU and by the United States' FDA.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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