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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-05-25

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Saturday, May 25, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] The one they left behind: I'm just a patriot, says Abdullah Daoud
  • [02] Officials caught by surprise over cash for CCTV
  • [03] Euro MPs insist Cyprus will sign accession deal by next year
  • [04] Greens step up campaign against foundry
  • [05] CY to replace remaining foreign pilots with Cypriots
  • [06] Sismik in Kyrenia

  • [01] The one they left behind: I'm just a patriot, says Abdullah Daoud

    By Michele Kambas

    TO ISRAEL, the father of two is a terrorist. To his own people he is a patriot.

    Abdullah Daoud, the Palestinian Authority's former intelligence chief in Bethlehem, is stuck in limbo in a safe house in Nicosia.

    "I am just a normal person, performing my duties as a man belonging to the Palestinian security department," he told a small group of journalists through an interpreter.

    "My main duty is to protect the peace process and protect and defend our Palestinian people from Israeli attacks. If the demand for freedom and independence is considered a dangerous thing, that means all our Palestinian people are dangerous."

    The 40-year-old, in black jeans and designer polo shirt, was left behind in Cyprus when his 12 comrades flew into exile across Europe on Wednesday as part of an EU brokered deal that ended a 39-day siege of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

    Regarded as the most senior of the 13 activists, he is expected to remain in Cyprus for several weeks more until another EU country is found ready to accept him.

    But his reputation precedes him, rightly or wrongly.

    The Israeli Defence Force website says he is wanted for allegedly helping to organise attacks, for alleged involvement in arms smuggling, explosives production and provision of shelter to members of militant organisations.

    For Daoud, popular resistance against military occupation is perfectly justified.

    "We provide protection to our people. There are no terrorists among our people. We are people who are demanding their freedom... we are all calling for the establishment of a Palestinian independent state... with the occupied West Bank and the Gaza strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

    "There is no Palestinian political force which calls for the destruction of the state of Israel," he added.

    Daoud, who received US training in intelligence work in 1996, was in exile once before, between 1992 and 1995 in Tunis. He was, he said, against suicide attacks that have targeted Israeli civilians.

    Daoud is in daily telephone contact with his wife and two children, a boy and a girl, in the West Bank.

    He has seen his eldest child, a daughter, on television in the past two months. "She asked why her father was being deported, that he loves this country. I think that expresses the feelings of all Palestinians," he said.

    Daoud said Palestinian President Yasser Arafat agreed to the EU-brokered deal after appeals from the Palestinian activists besieged within the Church that a continuation of the siege was a burden on the population of Bethlehem and could damage the religious compound -- revered by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus.

    European countries that had taken in the other activists had nothing to fear from their presence. Some of the exiles would pursue university or post-graduate studies and others would learn a profession, he said.

    "We love life. We will carry the Palestinian dream with us. I hope we will be ambassadors to project the correct image of the Palestinian people, wherever we go."

    Sismik in Kyrenia

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Officials caught by surprise over cash for CCTV

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A CLAUSE in this year's budget has already allocated 110,000 for the purchase of electronic surveillance cameras, it emerged yesterday to the surprise of officials and politicians who earlier this week described police plans for CCTV as tentative at best.

    On Wednesday, the Justice Ministry insisted that funding for such a project still had to be approved.

    But Permanent Secretary Dr. Lazaros Savvides retracted his statement yesterday, blaming a mix up in communications with the police authority.

    Police requested the 110,000 approved for the "purchase of surveillance systems for open spaces so that police may follow the suspect movements of criminals who are prone to moving in those areas.'

    The sum is part of a total 2,260,000 allocated to the police for the purchase of equipment.

    The acquisition of those funds is subject to approval by the Justice Ministry before the request can be taken to the Finance Ministry. Given that the purchase of surveillance cameras involves the implementation of new policy on how to prevent or restrict crime, Savvides said Justice Minister Nicos Koshis had specifically requested police authorities to consult with the Attorney-general, the Commissioner for the Protection of Personal Data, the Chairman of the House Human Rights Committee and non- governmental organisations on human rights before making their application.

    Savvides cited the success of police forces in Europe using surveillance to fight crime. Commenting on the type of crime such methods would be used against, he said: "I would think that there were certain areas in Cyprus where drugs are used considerably, thus making it more of a drug issue."

    According to yesterday's Phileleftheros, the Chairman of the House Human Rights Committee, Aristos Chrysostomou, had no idea that funds for such equipment were ever approved in the budget and asked the Justice Minister for written information on the Chief of Police's suggestion to install surveillance cameras.

    The President of the Pancyprian Association for the Protection of Human Rights, Stelios Theodoulou, yesterday expressed his concern about the plans, describing them as "intervention in the personal life of a person and his dignity".

    This intervention comes from the state, which is bound to safeguard the human rights of its citizens and their enjoyment of them, he said, adding: "Each and every community understands human rights in accordance with their culture. I cannot accept that an American and a Cypriot have the same notion of human rights," he said referring to the increased infringement of human rights in the US for the sake of security.

    Sismik in Kyrenia

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Euro MPs insist Cyprus will sign accession deal by next year

    By Elias Hazou

    THE 21st EU-Cyprus joint parliamentary committee (JPC) concluded its proceedings in Nicosia yesterday, conveying the message that the island would join the bloc irrespective of a solution to the political problem.

    Mechtild Rothe, the committee's chairwoman, was categorical that no matter how far negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots progressed, the island would be signing the accession agreement by early next year. Rothe said this position was unanimous among both the European Parliament and the EU Commission.

    The political situation in Cyprus and its ties to EU-Cyprus relations was the top item on the agenda of the committee during the several sessions held since Wednesday at Nicosia's Hilton Hotel.

    Both Rothe and Tassos Papadopoulos, co-chairman of the EU-Cyprus JPC, emphasised that objective criteria applied to the island's application to the bloc. According to Rothe, Cyprus has still to complete three more chapters before fully satisfying accession requirements.

    The next wave of EU enlargement is slated to include 10 more countries, with the accession agreements signed late this year or early 2003. However, the EU negotiates and signs agreements separately with individual candidates.

    In an apparent bid to show how close the island was to accession proceedings, Rothe said this JPC meet would be the last to be held on the island prior to the signing of the accession agreement.

    "As long as Cyprus has one voice, as long as it is represented at the EU level as a single entity, then there is no reason why the island should not be a member," noted Rothe, adding this was irrespective of what technical term would be given to a united Cyprus.

    Euro MPs of the JPC pointed the finger at Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for the impasse in the talks, but added they still hoped for a breakthrough.

    Senior Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, have warned of "limitless" Turkish reaction in the event Cyprus joins the EU before a political settlement, leaving the Turkish Cypriot community out in the cold. Political pundits have interpreted this reaction as an annexation or even a veiled war threat.

    Asked to comment, Rothe said yesterday that any such Turkish action was a "remote possibility, a highly unlikely scenario that we would not even wish to contemplate." Papadopoulos then stepped in, pointing out that that would effectively invalidate Turkey's partnership agreement with the EU.

    In response to a journalist's comment that the EU's stance in this issue seemed more reactive than pro-active, Rothe said that "in theory" any Turkish military action against Cyprus would be dealt with accordingly by ESDP (European Security and Defence Policy), but she did not elaborate.

    Other major items on the JPC's agenda included: the future of Europe and the role of the European Parliament, Euro-Mediterranean partnership, the cultural map of Cyprus and the right to free navigation and trade, where members of Cyprus' negotiating team again pointed the finger at Turkey.

    On the Mideast crisis, Rothe said that the EU condemns both suicide bombings and Israel's tactics, adding that there has been a temporary freeze on Israel's partnership agreement. The meet in Nicosia was to be attended by delegates from Arab countries, who stayed away when learning that Israeli officials would be attending. Rothe said this was "regrettable."

    The precise date and venue of the next JPC meeting have not been set.

    Sismik in Kyrenia

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Greens step up campaign against foundry

    BY George Psyllides

    THE GREEN party yesterday charged that the emissions from a Limassol foundry were dangerous and demanded the publication of the findings of an epidemiological study concerning a Limassol foundry, carried out by the Health and Labour Ministries.

    Member of the Greens Marina Martin told a news conference that according to existing studies, the fish-like smell from the Nemitsas foundry emissions was caused by a mixture of substances with the smell of burning oil, which is a serious hazard.

    Martin said that in high temperatures these substances could react with the nitrogen in the atmosphere and create dangerous compounds, which are carcinogenic.

    The foundry yesterday issued an announcement saying the issue was inexistent and that local children were being used to appeal to public sensitivity.

    Nemitsas said the foundry operated on a daily basis without any problems and that the new environmental systems that had been installed had surpassed all expectations.

    The foundry's management said that a recent epidemiological study, which had been the main demand of the residents, has proved that there was no pollution or ill effects on the area's residents.

    Martin said, however, that the complete findings of the epidemiological study, which probably included measurements concerning the dangerous reactions she spoke about, had never been made public and wondered why officials did not want to disclose them

    A representative for the residents said many people were experiencing health problems and had already appealed to various European bodies.

    The representative stressed that the government should make a decision to move the foundry immediately.

    The management revealed that it had since 1966 suggested to the government to carry out a study into the possibility of relocating the foundry, not because it was polluting the environment or was a health hazard, but because town planning regulations in the area had since changed, turning it from an industrial to a residential zone.

    The parents of the pupils of a neighbouring primary school said they were determined to continue their protests and revealed that new mobilisations should be expected next week.

    The Greens said that around 5,000 people were being affected by the operation of the foundry, with the children being among the most vulnerable.

    The school's capacity is for 500 pupils, though their numbers have dwindled with just 260 attending today, the Greens said.

    Sismik in Kyrenia

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] CY to replace remaining foreign pilots with Cypriots

    NATIONAL carrier Cyprus Airways (CY) is to replace its last three foreign pilots with Cypriots by the end of the tear, the company said yesterday.

    According to CY spokesman Tassos Angeli, due to a lack of qualified aviators, the airliner had had to hire three foreign nationals on a temporary basis. The reason cited was that this scheme would save some 120, 000 - the cost of training Cypriot pilots from scratch. But in November, the foreign pilots are to be replaced by locals, who will be trained directly on flying Boeing 737s. This means that by late this year all 160 of the airliner's aviators will be Cypriot nationals.

    Earlier this week CY CEO Haris Loizides stressed that the hiring of foreign pilots was nothing more than a practical measure for a temporary time period. His comments came in the face of strong criticism by the Pancyprian Confederation of Pilots. They say that, while CY is hiring foreigners, 40 of their members are on the waiting list. The confederation also complained that employment criteria were overly harsh.

    CY was not undermining Cypriot pilots, far from it, Angeli told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    On the flipside, though, the quota of foreigners versus locals was still considerably lower than in most European airlines. The acquis communautaire dictates equal employment opportunities for all EU citizens, and Cyprus looks set to join the bloc early next year.

    Angeli confirmed yesterday that regime would also apply to CY. Once the island joined the EU, pilots would be hired strictly on the basis of merit.

    This was the first time CY has hired foreign nationals as pilots.

    In another development, the carrier announced yesterday that IATA (International Air Transport Association) rated CY as the top value-for- money European airline for Business Class.

    Sismik in Kyrenia

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Sismik in Kyrenia

    THE controversial Sismik, a Turkish geological research vessel that has allegedly been investigating seismic activity off the shores of Cyprus this week, reportedly set anchor yesterday in Kyrenia.

    The move is thought to be part of a war of nerves staged by Turkey in the run-up to the possible accession of Cyprus in the European Union. The 720- tonne vessel was nearly the cause of war between Greece and Turkey in 1987 during Aegean disputes.

    On Wednesday, Cyprus' Chief EU Negotiator George Vassiliou said there was no issue of danger from the presence of the Sismik in the north, stressing that Cyprus has been under occupation for so long that the presence of a Turkish vessel in the area should not be a cause for concern.

    Sismik in Kyrenia

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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