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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-10

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

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


Tuesday, September 10, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Don't expect to much from New York
  • [02] Police appeal after tourists robbed and sexually assaulted
  • [03] Spokesman dampens speculation on Clerides staying on
  • [04] Customs police close in on vehicle import scam
  • [05] Shelter dogs found poisoned
  • [06] Maltese President in town for first ever visit
  • [07] Labour MP in trouble again over Cypriot links
  • [08] Turkish Cypriots 'leaving in droves'
  • [09] Baghdatis makes history with US open final performance
  • [10] Government welcomes Greek support

  • [01] Don't expect to much from New York

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday warned against any expectations of significant progress on the Cyprus issue at next month's meeting between UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan and the leaders of the two sides.

    "We do not believe that by the New York meeting there will be any spectacular progress, given the situation in Turkey," Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

    "The Secretary-general has invited both leaders to New York, knowing what the situation is in Turkey now, with a view at maintaining the pressure on those who do not co-operate with him for a comprehensive settlement."

    He said it was "highly unlikely" that Annan would present any ideas before the elections in Turkey in November.

    Annan, who met Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Paris last Friday, has invited the two leaders to New York on October 3 and 4 after asking them to intensify their efforts for a solution. He said that although gaps still existed, they could be bridged and that, on some issues at least, the gaps appeared to be smaller.

    However, on his return to Cyprus late on Saturday, Clerides told reporters that the issues where the differences of opinion were smaller were not serious issues. He said that on fundamental issues such as sovereignty and the establishment of a new state "there appears to be no way of closing the gap".

    Papapetrou said that differences regarding the powers of the central government and those of the federal states had been narrowed, as were gaps on the powers the central government of a united Cyprus would have after a solution.

    He also said that differences of opinion on security had been narrowed until the Turkish side reneged on its position during the direct talks, which began between the two leaders in mid-January.

    Clerides will resume direct negotiations with Denktash tomorrow in Nicosia, and next Monday he will brief the National Council on the Paris meeting.

    Papapetrou welcomed assurances by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis that Athens was prepared to tackle any difficulties that may arise with regard to Cyprus' European Union accession course and efforts to find a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    "Simitis' statements reflect the resolve and the firm support Greece gives the people of Cyprus," Papapetrou said.

    Simitis told a news conference on Sunday that Greece would fight a difficult battle to ensure that Cyprus was included in the first wave of candidate countries, which will be invited to join the bloc in December.

    He said that although there were no meetings currently planned between Simitis and President Glafcos Clerides, one could possibly take place either before or after Clerides meets again with Annan in New York.

    Commenting on Simitis' statements, House President Demetris Christofias said the remarks caused concern about Cyprus' European aspirations.

    "We are now faced with the possibility of seeing the Cyprus question linked to our accession course," Christofias warned, calling on everybody to work hard to avert such developments.

    The House President said that the Greek Cypriot side could not move away from its current positions on a settlement as it believes firmly that there must be one state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, views which the Turkish Cypriot sides does not share.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Police appeal after tourists robbed and sexually assaulted

    LIMASSOL Police director Theodoros Stylianou yesterday urged the public to help the authorities track down a 40-year-old man wanted in connection with armed robbery, attempted rape and sexual assault.

    The appeal came after a complaint from two Russian tourists - a 49-year-old Russian woman and her daughter of 19 - who claimed that a man, whom police named as George Athanasiou from Trimiklini, had allegedly robbed them at gunpoint and sexually assaulted the daughter after failing to rape her.

    The incident happened in Limassol and Paphos areas last Thursday night, police said.

    The women claimed the suspect had introduced himself as a tour guide and offered to take them to Paphos and show them the most important attractions.

    He picked them up from a Limassol beach and drove them to a mountainous area, where he allegedly robbed the 49-year-old at gunpoint, taking $500 dollars from her bag before locking her in the car.

    The suspect then attempted to rape the daughter but after she reacted and pleaded with him not to hurt her, he allegedly sexually assaulted her.

    He then drove the two women back to Limassol and abandoned them, threatening to hurt them even more if they went to the police.

    Stylianou said yesterday that the police search was nationwide and that Athanasiou's name had been placed on the stop list to prevent him from fleeing abroad.

    Athanasiou is described as 1.85 metres tall, of regular build and with dark complexion.

    He has a shaved head and possibly drives around in a white Mitsubishi, licence number HNX521, or a stolen white Mitsubishi Charisma, licence number ZHPB 999.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Spokesman dampens speculation on Clerides staying on

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides has not changed his declared position not to run in the coming presidential elections, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday.

    Papapetrou was commenting on press reports claiming there was a possibility Clerides would run in the February 2003 elections if there were an agreement on the Cyprus problem in the next few months.

    The Government Spokesman added that the way things looked, the elections would be held as scheduled, though there was a possibility of them being postponed if a solution was reached or was about to be found.

    Papapetrou stressed that there was no change whatsoever in the President's position or his intentions on the matter.

    He added that Clerides was working with the fact that his mandate expired this coming February in mind, and had not told anyone about any intention to change his declared position of not being a candidate.

    Papapetrou noted that if Clerides remained in the presidency if a solution was imminent, "it does not mean the President is a candidate and it does not mean a third term".

    "If we find a solution and there is a need to sort out some technical issues and all parties agree for him to remain in office for two-three months that's another matter," Papapetrou said.

    He added: "If we reach a solution or reach half a breath from a solution I think we should all sit down together and decide what to do."

    Papapetrou explained that being half a breath away from a solution meant that an agreement would be reached through the talks on a series of issues and basic parameters and only the details remained to iron out the deal.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Customs police close in on vehicle import scam

    By George Psyllides

    CUSTOMS and VAT department officers were yesterday sifting through thousands of documents concerning car and spare parts imports and sales, looking for evidence connected to a gang suspected of importing luxury cars as spare parts and then assembling them on the island, thus depriving the state of thousands of pounds in taxes.

    In the past couple of days, customs authorities have raided several garages around Limassol and seized many cars, mainly Mercedes and BMWs, as well as a large number of engines and other parts.

    Authorities are painstakingly checking the serial numbers, in addition to around 8,000 documents, reports said.

    In one raid at a Trachoni garage, customs officers working in co-operation with British bases police, seized the body of a BMW, six engines of the same male as well as a huge number of documents.

    Customs officials said they were co-operating with their counterparts in the VAT service in a large-scale operation aimed at locating and confiscating luxury cars suspected of being imported illegally.

    Officials said the cases under investigation were very complex and the search operation was extending across the island.

    No one has been arrested yet, though Finance Minister Takis Klerides has said the case is expected to be taken to court soon.

    Klerides said suspicions about the alleged scam had been raised a few weeks ago, prompting authorities to start looking into the matter.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Shelter dogs found poisoned

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THREE dogs from the municipal funded dog shelter in Polemidhia in Limassol were found dead on Sunday, the victims of suspected poisoning.

    The deaths follow complaints by the CSPCA (Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that the facilities were inadequate.

    According to Phileleftheros, the CSPCA blamed the deaths on the Municipality, claiming they could have been avoided had the municipality heeded requests to have the shelter re-located away from the residential area or ensured the dogs could be contained with fencing of an adequate height.

    It is not the first time dogs have been found poisoned in the area and the problem of dogs escaping the shelter and entering people's properties has been an on-going one.

    A source from Polemidia Municipality yesterday confirmed that it had received complaints about the dog shelter from the CSPCA.

    "Yes, we have received complaints," said the source, "But the municipality is not completely responsible for this situation."

    According to the source, part of the problem lies in the fact that the site is not always manned, opening up the possibility for dogs to escape unnoticed.

    Asked what would be done to prevent this problem re-occurring, the source said: "We will solve this. As a temporary solution, a taller fence will be built, but in the longer term a new shelter will be built far away from any residential area."

    "If we went by the letter of the law, all the dogs sent to the shelter would be put down after 10 days, but we don't because we get complaints about that too," he added.

    Limassol District Veterinary Officer Christos Ploutarchos said yesterday, "the autopsy has not yet been performed but it is very likely these dogs were poisoned."

    Ploutarchos accepted there was a problem for residents when dogs escaped but said poisoning them was both "inhumane" and "very painful for the animals".

    He advised residents who had problems with the animals to alert the police or public health services and allow them to deal with the animals. "I can understand residents being upset when dogs damage private property, foul the local area or become a noise nuisance, but complaints should be addressed to the proper authorities," said Ploutarchos.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Maltese President in town for first ever visit

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS and Malta yesterday signed co-operation agreements on the protection of investments and on shipping following a meeting between President Glafcos Clerides and his Maltese counterpart Guido de Marco.

    The agreement on investment was signed by Finance Minister Takis Klerides and Malta's Foreign Minister Joe Borg, who also signed the joint agreement on shipping with Communications and Works Averoff Neophytou.

    The signing ceremony came after official talks between Clerides and De Marco, whose visit is the first ever to the island by a Maltese head of state.

    Following their meeting, Clerides decorated De Marco with the Grand Collar of the Order of Cyprus' first President, Archbishop Makarios III, and De Marco decorated Clerides with the Companion of Honour of the National Order of Merit with Collar.

    In statements to journalists following their official talks, the two presidents praised the investment and shipping agreements.

    Clerides said they had also reviewed bilateral relations on the political and cultural level and exchanged views on the EU accession course of both countries.

    "Our discussions showed that there is common understanding on all the matters discussed and that the relations of the two countries are excellent, " Clerides said adding that these would be enhanced even further following the accession of the two countries, expected during the next wave of expansion.

    The Maltese President referred to the close relations between the two countries, stressing that although he was a frequent visitor to Cyprus while he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, this was the first visit to Cyprus of Malta's head of state. "And therefore it has to be looked into within also this context," De Marco said.

    Referring to the two agreements, De Marco said the promotion and protection of investment and merchant shipping were important "because they represent aspects of the development of our two island states".

    "We are a country of seafarers," he said. "Our history is linked to the sea and our history is linked to investment. And in these two particular fields we want to co-operate even further and try and create better relations and closer relations between our two countries."

    De Marco also invited Clerides to pay a visit to Malta, "to show this expression of friendship and closeness in our co-operation for tomorrow".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Labour MP in trouble again over Cypriot links

    By Jean Christou

    BRITISH Conservatives are calling for an investigation into how the Turkish girlfriend of a Greek Cypriot businessman avoided deportation from Britain through alleged lobbying by a Labour MP.

    According to the Sunday Times, Alan Meale MP allegedly traded favours for cash by lobbying to allow Ferahnaz Ulusoy, 36, to remain in Britain.

    Ulusoy is the girlfriend of Greek Cypriot businessman and Labour donor Demetrios 'Jimmy' Apostolou, and mother of his six-month-old child.

    The Sunday Times claimed that Meale urged the Home Office to allow her to remain in Britain after Apostolou made a substantial donation to the Labour party. Ulusoy, a former au pair, was granted an extension to her visa two years ago, although she herself had no links to Meale.

    Apostolou, said to be an old friend of British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, allegedly made a substantial donation of more than 5,000 to Labour in 1999 and both Prescott and Meale are among a group of British politicians who have enjoyed a series of trips to Cyprus paid for by Greek Cypriot organisations. Meale has declared five such visits since 1997.

    Ulusoy first went to Britain in 1995 on a two-year visa to work as an au pair. In June 1997, weeks before her visa expired, she married a UK resident but in 1998 she was ordered to leave after it emerged the marriage had broken down.

    The Sunday Times said that in September 2000 Meale intervened, arguing that Ulusoy was back with her husband.

    He told the paper that the link between Ulusoy and Apostolou was a coincidence and that he did not know they were friends at the time. "I think she phoned me at home. She told me her marriage had not failed," the MP told the Sunday Times.

    The paper said, however, that despite Meale's statements that the Turkish woman and the Greek Cypriot businessman were not friends at the time, there was evidence to suggest he had attended social events where both were present before he lobbied the Home Office.

    "Meale's Cypriot links have got him in trouble before," the paper added. "In 1998, he was criticised when, as an environment minister, he lobbied his own department on behalf of Tony Kleanthous a Greek Cypriot millionaire and chairman of Barnet football club."

    Apostolou said he had not given money to Labour since 1999 and would not comment on his relationship with either Meale or Ulusoy. "It is up to me who I give money to and who I sleep with," he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Turkish Cypriots 'leaving in droves'

    TURKISH Cypriots are in danger of disappearing and there are more living in north London than the Turkish-controlled north of the island, according to an article in the Daily Telegraph.

    The paper said the character of the island was changing fast and that according to the most recent census, mainland Turks now make up nearly half the population in the north, and that is in addition to the 35,000 Turkish troops stationed there.

    "Turkey's grip on northern Cyprus is likely to become stronger in the weeks ahead. The Ankara government has said it will annex the north if the Greek Cypriot south joins the EU before a solution is found to the island's 28- year partition," the paper said. "In the expectation that life in the northern part of the island will only get worse, more Turkish Cypriots are weighing up their options."

    It added that although reliable figures for the numbers leaving were not available, "everyone knows somebody who is about to leave."

    One 35-year-old Turkish Cypriot from Nicosia, who is himself thinking of leaving the island, told the Telegraph that on his street alone, one woman moved to the US with her two daughters while the couple opposite had three sons in Australia and another in London, while another neighbour is moving shortly to join her daughter in Istanbul.

    "Turkish Cypriots are leaving Cyprus in greater numbers than ever before, worn down by decades of economic mismanagement, corruption and international isolation," the paper said.

    It quotes opposition Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat as saying the Turkish Cypriots were powerless.

    "We don't want to be so dependent on Turkey," he said. "But if nobody wants to have decent relations with us then Turkish Cypriots can only deal with Turkey."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Baghdatis makes history with US open final performance

    By Soteris Charalambous

    MARCOS Baghdatis made history at the weekend, becoming the first Cypriot to reach a Grand Slam final, at the junior event of this year's US Open, eventually losing to top seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet in two sets.

    Seeded fifth, Baghdatis exceeded all expectations by beating the highly fancied second seed, Swede Robin Sodering, in the semi-final. The Cypriot even had the first set of the final within his grasp, taking a 5-3 lead. He eventually lost 7-5, 6-2 to the holder of the junior French crown, but demonstrated throughout the game that he has the technique and the tools for the big stage by out-serving the eventual winner but failing capitalise on his advantage by not converting enough break point opportunities.

    En route to the final, 17-year old Baghdatis brushed aside the challenge of the ninth seeded Frenchman Jo- Wilfried Tsonga in the last sixteen and dispatched Mexico's Antonio Ruiz in two sets in the quarter finals.

    In front of a packed house at New York's Flushing Meadow, Baghdatis showed tremendous nerve and skill in the semi-final again winning in two sets, both going to a tie-breaker.

    After his performance in the final Baghdatis took a Cypriot flag and paraded it around the stadium to rapturous applause. One of the first to congratulate him on his achievements in the United States was President of the Cyprus Tennis Federation (CTF) Philios Christodolou, who described his performance at the tournament as "outstanding".

    Naturally delighted with Baghdatis' achievements in the US, Christodoulou felt that the number two ranked junior player in the world had benefited from a change of coach, to Warik Pashord, former coach of Amelie Muresmo and the news that a postponement from National Guard duty was a possibility.

    "I believe what we have seen was a reaction to the good news that we might have about military service," said Christodoulou, "It is a big weight off his mind."

    Baghdatis was en route back from New York yesterday and unavailable for comment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Government welcomes Greek support

    THE government yesterday welcomed assurances by the Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis that Athens was prepared to tackle any difficulties that may arise with regard to Cyprus' European Union accession course and efforts to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    "Simitis' statements reflect the resolve and the firm support Greece gives the people of Cyprus with special emphasis on the effort to conclude our accession course," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

    Simitis told a news conference on Sunday that Greece would fight a difficult battle to see that Cyprus was included in the first wave of candidate countries, which will be invited to join the bloc in December.

    He said that although there were no meetings currently planned between Simitis and President Glafcos Clerides, one could possibly take place either before or after Clerides meets again with UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan in New York on October 3 and 4.

    Annan, who met Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Paris last Friday, has invited the two leaders to New York after asking them to intensify their efforts for a solution. He said that although gaps between the two sides still existed, they could be bridged and that on some issues at least, the gaps appeared to be smaller.

    However, on his return to Cyprus late on Saturday, Clerides told reporters that the issues where the differences of opinion were smaller were not serious issues. He said that on fundamental issues such as sovereignty and the establishment of a new state "there appears to be no way of closing the gap".

    Clerides will resume direct negotiations with Denktash tomorrow in Nicosia.

    Commenting on Simitis' statements, House President Demetris Christofias said the remarks caused concern about Cyprus' European aspirations.

    "We are now faced with the possibility to see the Cyprus question linked to our accession course," Christofias warned, and called on everybody to work hard to avert such a development.

    The House President said the Greek Cypriot side could not move away from its current positions on a settlement as it believes firmly that there must be one state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, views which the Turkish Cypriot sides does not share.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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