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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-10-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


  • [01] Greece's feta trademark to hit Cyprus producers
  • [02] Musharraf wanted to fight with Turkey in 1974: Cyprus 'astonished'
  • [03] 150 million sewage plan will be on line by 2010
  • [04] Save water plea on World Food Day
  • [05] BP sale announcement in coming days?
  • [06] Greek Cypriot members of talks committee 'already at work'
  • [07] De Soto: time is running out
  • [08] Spanish journalists kicked out of the north
  • [09] Paphos co-op official put on leave pending investigation
  • [10] DISY backs Omirou
  • [11] EU to clamp down on fishing around Cyprus
  • [12] Doctors in mercy flight

  • [01] Greece's feta trademark to hit Cyprus producers

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRIOT cheese manufacturers were yesterday considering the impact of an EU ruling that says feta cheese can only be called feta if it is produced in specific areas of Greece.

    The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said on Monday that it had adopted a formal position and had given feta the same kind of protection as Parma ham or Champagne.

    "After this ruling, feta cheese can only be made in certain regions of Greece and respecting strict product specifications," the commission said in a statement. "Other member states or those who do not respect these specifications have a maximum of five years to modify their description or to stop production."

    The EU ruling is seen as a victory for Greece, which has lobbied since 1994 to have the goats' milk product protected, particularly in the face of the huge Danish feta industry.

    But Denmark is not the only victim of the ruling. Cyprus, despite its own Greek identity, has also been caught in the net, since the decision will also be applicable on the island.

    Pittas Dairies said yesterday they were aware of the decision, but would not like to comment until the company had looked into the implications thoroughly.

    However, Panicos Hadjicostas, the managing director of Christis Dairies, told the Cyprus Mail the company was not particularly worried at the moment, since there was a five-year transition period.

    "Greece also is affected itself. In Crete, they can no longer call it feta either," Hadjicostas said. "The decision will affect Cyprus, but it's not a major issue. We can call it something different instead of feta."

    He also said the Cyprus-made feta was comparable to the Greek product and "even better in some cases".

    He did not foresee any major cost for the company in terms of packaging or branding. "This will all come later on. We have time to continue with feta in the meantime until we work out a different name to call the product and to get the customers used to dealing with this name."

    Although Denmark is one of the best-known manufacturers, cheese under the name of feta is also produced in other EU countries, such as Germany. Greece has campaigned since 1994 for geographical protection for the cheese.

    The EU executive said earlier this year that it had more information showing that consumers overwhelmingly associated feta with Greece and that products elsewhere were mainly made from cow's milk using different techniques.

    Even Britain has been affected by the ruling. A British company making cheese under the name has vowed to fight the ruling in Europe, as has Denmark.

    The British company said it faces the enormous expense of renaming and remarketing its Yorkshire Feta line after selling the cheese for over 12 years in major supermarkets across the UK.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Musharraf wanted to fight with Turkey in 1974: Cyprus 'astonished'

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it was "astonished" by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's revelation that he had wanted to fight as a volunteer in the Turkish army during the 1974 invasion.

    Speaking at a Turkish military academy in Istanbul on Sunday, in the presence of Turkey's chief of staff General Hilmi Ozkok, Musharraf revealed he had wanted to fight on the Turkish side in 1974.

    "I remember at the time of the Cyprus operation in 1974 that every Pakistani was ready to fight alongside the Turks as volunteers," he said. "There was a Turkish student attending class with me. I told him 'I have such motivation that I am ready to fight with Turkish forces if Turkey requires volunteers.'"

    Commenting on the statements, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told his daily press briefing yesterday: "If these statements are true, then I can only express my astonishment that a head of state could so light- heartedly side with a crime against international law and the UN charter."

    Observers say Cyprus-Pakistan relations are cool at best, and the remarks by Musharraf could further sour diplomatic ties, especially in the wake of a successful visit to the island by India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee last week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] 150 million sewage plan will be on line by 2010

    By Jean Christou

    NICOSIA Municipality will on Monday announce details of its comprehensive plan for the capital's sewage system as Mayor Michalakis Zampelas yesterday called on the media to end speculation about the project.

    In a brief announcement, Zampelas said that on Monday he would reveal the details of the massive project to connect every household to a central sewage system.

    An official in the sewage board told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the 150 million plan would take eight years to complete and that the charges levied on each household would not be excessive.

    The official said the amount charged to consumers over the next 18 years would be based on 1980 house values. "If a property was estimated at 50, 000 in 1980, the amount paid would be 150 per year, but on average the charge will work out at around 47 per year," he said, adding there would also be an extra charge directly related to the household's water bill, which would work out at around 1 per month per property.

    At present, most of Nicosia is not connected to a central sewage system, with households paying for sewage removal from private septic tanks several times per year. The sewage project is designed to have all households in the capital connected to a central system by 2010, as new treatment plants will be built. "Some areas will start to be connected to the existing system from next year," the official said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Save water plea on World Food Day

    CYPRUS' biggest challenge is the efficient management of its water resources, Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous said yesterday.

    He was speaking on the occasion of World Food Day and stressed the need for awareness, readiness and action to contribute to struggles against hunger, malnutrition and poverty on a national and international level.

    Themistocleous warned that prolonged water shortages and the gradual degeneration of water resources constituted "a real and severe threat to humanity".

    "In our country, we have experienced how vital water resources are," he said. "These are restricted in quantity, as the mean annual rainfall is as small as 500 millimetres and evaporation as high as 80 per cent." He said rainfall was the only source for replenishing those water resources, but that two or three years of severe drought usually created negative effects.

    "The only solution," said Themistocleous, "is the development, conservation and proper management of the surface and underground water resources," which in turn would cover "human needs, protect the environment and keep open solutions available for the coming generations".

    Although every household and industrial unit was connected with water supply pipes and more than 105 water dams and ponds were in place with a storage capacity of over 306 million cubic meters, he said the government had in the past been forced to restrict water supply for household and irrigation purposes.

    However, Themistocleous said the government was now implementing measures to combat this problem. Two desalination plants were already in operation, a third was planned for the Limassol district, with a possible fourth plant in Paphos, he said.

    Additional measures taken by the government included the use of treated effluents for irrigation of certain crops and for the re-charging of the aquifer, the use of saline water, promoting crop production that was less water intensive, the establishment of a central water authority and instilling water conservation messages in the public, said Themistocleous.

    Furthermore the government "is also promoting the construction of additional water works. In this respect, two dams have recently been completed, that of Arminou in the Diarizos River and that of Tamasos on the Pedieos River, while the Kannaviou dam is under construction".

    Despite these measures and the heavy rainfall last winter, Themistocleous still cautioned Cypriots to show maximum restraint for the proper management of water supplies.

    "It is obvious that the supply of this valuable resource is reduced by time, " he said, so "let us take care to use only whatever quantities of water are needed and avoid waste".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] BP sale announcement in coming days?

    By Jean Christou

    REPRESENTATIVES of BP said yesterday the British oil giant may announce the sale of its 70 outlets in Cyprus over the next few days, but insisted no deal had yet been made.

    Reports yesterday suggested a deal had already been struck, probably with the Greek Petroleum Company, for the sale of the 70 outlets on the island. The reports also said the government might force BP to sell to more than one company in order to ensure fair competition.

    BP already sold 16 outlets to Russian company Lukoil in July.

    But a representative for BP said yesterday that no deal had yet been struck for the sale of the 70 outlets. "The company has said that it would probably have a deal in place by mid-October," he said. "The stations have not been sold."

    He added that if any deal was made in he next few days it would be announced.

    BP reviews its operations every 10 years, putting its assets up for sale to the highest bidder. The current uncertainty over the company's future in Cyprus is related to this policy.

    Last week, BP outlets and central offices in Cyprus were closed for two hours by a strike by employees worried about their future.

    The uncertainty emerged in August, with government sources at the time saying BP was close to striking a deal with a foreign company. It was understood BP would maintain its refuelling operations at the island's airports.

    The government has said no deal can be struck with rival Exxon Mobil, as it would create a monopoly on the island.

    Last year, when Mobil merged with Esso, it was forced to sell off 22 of its stations to BP and 16 to newcomer Lukoil in a deal worth 12 million. French giant Total Elf, the Greek Petroleum Refineries and Greek company Eco are reportedly in the picture for BP.

    BP started business in Cyprus in 1982 and currently employs 64 people. Reports suggest BP's employees would simply be transferred to its successor if the company pulls out.

    Lukoil's current 16 stations give the company a six per cent share of the Cyprus market. BP sold four stations in Nicosia to Lukoil, two in Limassol and two in Larnaca. Exxon sold four Esso stations in Nicosia to Lukoil, one in Limassol, one in Paphos and two in villages in the Larnaca and Famagusta districts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Greek Cypriot members of talks committee 'already at work'

    THE GREEK Cypriot members of a bilateral technical committee set up to work on the UN-led peace process have begun work, following consultations with the UN talks team on the island, led by Special Adviser Alvaro de Soto, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported yesterday.

    The team is headed by Attorney-general Alecos Markides and includes two other legal experts. The committee will deal with legislation that will be in place, if and when a comprehensive settlement is reached between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides, engaged in direct talks since January.

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has asked the two sides to "create two ad hoc bilateral technical committees to begin work immediately on important technical issues." Each side is expected to nominate its own representatives to the committees. The Turkish Cypriot side said on Monday it was not ready to announce the members of its team.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the UN and the Greek Cypriot side were ready to begin work, but added: "It is impossible to work on our own, if the Turkish Cypriot side refuses to work with us within these committees, then they will cease to exist."

    The Greek Cypriot side has already informed the UN of the representatives it has appointed to the two committees, but the Turkish Cypriot side says its top priority at the moment is to see leader Rauf Denktash recover from heart surgery he underwent in New York last week.

    Papapetrou said Denktash had the last word on the composition of the committee for the Turkish Cypriot side. The Turkish Cypriot leader is not expected to assume his duties before the end of the month.

    Sources told CNA that the UN had given the Greek Cypriot side a list of legal issues that needed to be ironed out so that, should an agreement be reached, these could be applied immediately as legislation of the new common state.

    The vast majority of the issues on the list have already been dealt with in the context of Cyprus' harmonisation effort with the European Union.

    Attorney-general Markides heads the Greek Cypriot representation to both committees. The one dealing with legal matters will comprise Leda Koursoumba, senior lawyer with the Republic's Law Office, and Commissioner on Legislation George Stravrinakis.

    The second committee will tackle treaties the Republic has entered into and agreements the Turkish Cypriot regime might have clinched in the past couple of decades with a view at deciding which ones will be in force if and when the Cyprus question is resolved.

    That committee is made up of Director of the Cyprus problem division at the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Tassos Tzionis and retired Ambassador Nikos Makris.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] De Soto: time is running out

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and the UN Secretary-general's special adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, met yesterday do discuss the ongoing peace talks and the work of two technical committees established to speed things up.

    Speaking after the hour-long meeting, De Soto admitted time was running out in the effort to find a negotiated settlement, but added: "All is not lost."

    De Soto was tight-lipped about possible UN plans to submit an overall solution plan to the two sides and said he had no wish to add to current speculation about such an option.

    "I do not think I should be talking about my intentions in public. We are of course ready to assist the parties in whatever way we can and we are conscious of the fact that time is running out, though all is not lost," he said.

    Commenting on his meeting with Clerides, he said: "We discussed the functioning of the committees, the state of play and plans for the future, I am also in touch with Mr Denktash's staff in New York and hope he recovers very soon." The Turkish Cypriot leader is recovering from heart surgery in a New York hospital.

    "As I understand, (Denktash) is still in hospital, he should be coming out soon, he will rest for a time in New York and then go to ?urkey to rest for a couple of weeks," De Soto said.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the Greek Cypriot side was not prepared to accept "absolutely anything'" that was put forward at the negotiating table, saying it had certain "safety limits" beyond which it could not go.

    The spokesman said that if and when the UN presented both sides with a proposed solution, the Greek Cypriot side would examine it thoroughly and take everything into consideration before expressing an opinion.

    "Let us see first of all if such a plan will be forthcoming or not, let us see what its content is and on the basis of what we have before us, we shall take a stance," the spokesman said.

    His comments come in the wake of speculation that the UN intended to present a blueprint for an overall solution after the Turkish elections in November, and before the EU's Copenhagen summit in mid-December.

    "The government will take into consideration all factors, including our accession course, but this does not mean that our reply will be a positive one, for the sake of any solution plan," the spokesman said.

    Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis are expected to evaluate developments in the Cyprus question and the island's EU accession course during talks on Friday in Athens.

    "The purpose of the visit is to have a general assessment of the situation with regard to the two central goals of our policy - to settle the Cyprus problem and to conclude successfully our accession course," Papapetrou said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Spanish journalists kicked out of the north

    FOURTEEN Spanish journalists and two academics have been expelled from the north by the occupation regime, it emerged yesterday.

    The Spanish group are on the island taking part in an EU-backed seminar entitled "Spain and Cyprus: facing the challenge of an enlarged EU".

    On Monday, the journalists crossed the Green Line to meet non-governmental organisations and other Turkish Cypriot journalists.

    The Chief Editor of El Pais, Xavier Vidal Folch, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that as they were meeting their Turkish Cypriot colleagues, they were ordered to leave.

    "(We were told to) abandon the territory, either voluntarily or we would be thrown out with the use of force. So we decided not to create problems to the people who invited us and came back to Nicosia," Folch said.

    He added the Turkish Cypriot authorities had justified their expulsion by their failure "to ask for an 'official' permit to meet all these people". He added this had reminded them of the Franco era in Spain, and said their colleagues in Spain had been informed of the incident.

    Cyprus' Chief EU Negotiator George Vassiliou said yesterday that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was "acting under the illusion that what he does strengthens the entity of his illegal regime".

    But in fact, said Vassiliou, "he achieves exactly the opposite because he manages to persuade everyone that his is a regime based on force and seeking to survive with the use of force".

    CNA said the incident was met with fury in the Turkish Cypriot press yesterday, with reports of embarrassment and ridicule.

    Ortam said the north had been ridiculed and Yeni Duzen headlined the incident with 'Shame', questioning such a manifestation of hatred towards the EU, at a time when Turkey was seeking a date for accession talks with the Union.

    The opposition Turkish Cypriot Republican Turkish Party described the regime's attitude towards journalists of an EU member state as "unacceptable".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Paphos co-op official put on leave pending investigation

    By Alex Mita

    THE Permanent Secretary of the Paphos Co-Op Bank, Andreas Tsiappis, was yesterday put on administrative leave pending a government investigation into allegations that companies evaded mortgage fees by registering as members of the bank.

    Speaking to CyBC radio yesterday, Tsiappis said it was widely known that the co-op was approving loans.

    "Co-op officials were advertising that companies could get a loan from us without paying mortgage fees," he said.

    Asked whether nobody had wondered why they were the only co-op providing such a service and if they didn't know it was illegal, Tsiappis said nobody had pointed out the fact to them.

    "We have been doing this for 10 years and nobody told us we were doing something illegal," Tsiappis said.

    He pleaded that he and the co-op officials had misunderstood the certificate of approval issued by the Auditor-general, which said that companies could get loans from co-op banks.

    "Company directors are members in the co-op as individuals," he said.

    "Maybe they thought the privileges of being a member of the bank also affected their companies. We had no intention of committing fraud against the government and we did not make a profit from giving out the loans."

    Tsiappis said that since their actions were not intentional, he had proposed that the co-op return the outstanding amount to the Land Registry Department.

    "We had no intention to cheat the government. We were only trying to do what was best for our customers," he said.

    Tsiappis admitted he had illegally approved a 700,000 loan to a company without the approval of the Inland Revenue Department, but insisted he did it only after it had been approved by the bank's committee.

    Paphos Co-op chairman and DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis said Tsiappas' comments were different to what he had said a day earlier.

    "Yesterday, he was saying that nobody knew what they were doing was illegal and that they were doing it in all good faith," he said.

    "But when he was repeatedly asked by myself as to why he did not inform the bank committee of the loans he said it was not up to the committee to decide and it was a matter that concerned himself and the Land Registry Department.

    "It is obvious that after he was put on administrative leave he changed his story. However, we have evidence which contradicts what he said today," Pittokopitis said.

    Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou said yesterday he would discuss the matter with the Attorney-general and would be advised on whether the Permanent Secretary had committed a criminal offence. Panayiotou added that the investigations into the Paphos Co-op scam would be concluded shortly, but said investigations into other cases reported by Pittokopitis would take up to two weeks to be completed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] DISY backs Omirou

    RIGHT-WING party DISY yesterday decided to back KISOS President Yiannakis Omirou in the 2003 Presidential elections.

    Following a marathon meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss which candidate the party would support, the party's political office decided to recommend Omirou to its council.

    This long-awaited decision was based on DISY's belief that Omirou will be able to fulfil the needs of a new era and live up to the expectations of the people who want a new president with modern ideas and who is orientated towards Europe.

    "Honest and incorruptible, capable of promoting reform and ready to work in a spirit of team co-operation" was how a DISY statement described Omirou.

    The ruling party's political office said the KISOS leader would also be best able to serve two of Cyprus' primary goals - its EU accession course and resolving the Cyprus problem - and called for its party's leadership's support and that of the people.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] EU to clamp down on fishing around Cyprus

    THE European Union is set to introduce strict measures to control overfishing in Cyprus, after a Fisheries' Department study revealed that certain fish populations had been decimated over the last 10 years.

    An estimated 900 square kilometres of sea are used by fishermen on the Greek Cypriot side, yielding over 4,000 tons of fish.

    According to Politis, the EU has already introduced the first common measures for the protection of the Mediterranean that would effectively ban certain fishing methods and techniques.

    A European Commission spokesman told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that some steps had already been taken.

    "There is already a directive that determines the size of net openings, in order to allow small fish to escape," he said.

    Other steps include suggestions from the EU for a further development in fish farming in order to meet demands and to allow fish populations to recover.

    Fish farming is already a growing industry in Cyprus that is now producing over 1700 tons of fish with yearly revenue of over 9 million.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Doctors in mercy flight

    FIVE Austrian doctors flew into Cyprus last night to pick up transplant organs from the Paraskevaidion Surgical and Transplant Foundation in Nicosia, said police.

    Around 10.45pm, the five doctors flew into Larnaca airport and were then flown to Nicosia's police headquarters by helicopter. "Due to the severity of the case, we were requested to send police helicopters to fly them into Nicosia," a police officer told the Cyprus Mail.

    "From the police headquarters they were then taken by patrol cars to the foundation to pick up the organs and then taken back to the airport in the same way they came."

    No one was available for comment at the Paraskevaidion Foundation last night.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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