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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-03-04

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

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


Tuesday, March 4, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus Airways profits up on increased passenger numbers
  • [02] Turkey sending 'conflicting messages'
  • [03] Markides' resignation postponed pending developments in Cyprus problem
  • [04] New ministers pledge unity and hard work
  • [05] Occupied snails land Turkish Cypriot in trouble
  • [06] Turks divided over referendum issue
  • [07] Baptism and Orthodox wedding for Turkish Cypriot couple

  • [01] Cyprus Airways profits up on increased passenger numbers

    By Jean Christou

    THE Cyprus Airways (CY) Group yesterday announced an indication of results for 2002, which states the airline posted pre-tax profits for the group of £4.6 million, up from £4.1 million in 2001.

    The Indication of Results, which was approved by the Board on Friday but has not yet been fully audited, said that Group revenue, excluding the revenue of the associated company Cyprus Airways (Duty-Free Shops) Limited, reached £185.4 million in 2002 in comparison with £178.3 million in 2001, registering an increase of £7.1 million or 4.0 per cent.

    The airline said the increase in revenue was mainly down to the fact it had carried 170,000 more passengers, up 8.5 per cent on the previous year.

    “This increase was achieved despite the decrease in tourist traffic to Cyprus and came as a result of the increase in the seat capacity offered to the market, in an effort to fill the void left by other airlines,” a CY announcement said.

    The strengthening of the fleet, with the addition of two new A319 aircraft - - one in April and one in July 2002 -- also brought positive results, since there was an increase in the load factor of CY by 3.0 per cent to 73.1 per cent in 2002 compared to 70.1 per cent in 2001, the airline added.

    Pre-tax losses for the Group, before the inclusion of the £7.1 million profit from the Duty Free Shops -- up from £6.6 million in 2001-- was £2.5 million.

    Turnover at the Duty-Free Shops increased to £55.3 million in 2002 from £51.6 million in 2001, a rise of £3.7 million or 7.2 per cent.

    “This increase, which was achieved despite the reduction in passenger numbers, was the result of the effective management and the know-how for the specific sector developed by the company,” CY said. The airline also received a boost from new tax rates, which added another £8.3 million.

    As part of its strategy to expand to Greece, the CY Group has also proceeded with the incorporation of Hellas Jet, a new airline company based in Athens, which is expected to start operations in the summer. Cyprus Airways owns 49 per cent of the Share Capital of Hellas Jet; the remaining Share Capital is owned 25 per cent by AEF European Capital Investments B.V. (100 per cent subsidiary of Alpha Equity Fund S.A.) and the other 26 per cent by Omega Bank S.A.

    CY said it would complete the renewal of its fleet in 2003, with the delivery to Cyprus Airways of a second A330 aircraft in April -- the first one was delivered last December -- and with the gradual withdrawal and delivery to their buyer of the four A310 aircraft by May this year.

    CY charter arm Eurocypria will take delivery of four new Boeing 737-800 aircraft in April this year. With the completion of the renewal of the fleet, the average age of the Group's fleet will be reduced from 20 years to six.

    “The uncertainty which has resulted from the possibility of a war in Iraq has adversely affected the tourist industry, which had already been negatively affected from the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 as well as from the general economic recession affecting many European countries. Although the Group has prepared an action plan in case of a war, it is very difficult to make any safe forecast for the prospects of 2003,” the announcement said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    [02] Turkey sending 'conflicting messages'

    By a Staff Reporter

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday said Turkey was sending conflicting messages on Cyprus with some officials voicing their desire for a solution while others backed the intransigent positions of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Speaking at his first briefing, Chrysostomides said the National Council would be meeting tomorrow to discuss a United Nations request to hold a referendum on a plan for the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has asked the two sides to go to The Hague on Monday and reply whether they will put a revised plan presented to them last week to a referendum.

    Chrysostomides said the Greek Cypriot side's decision would be taken by the National Council, irrespective of what the Turkish Cypriot side said or did.

    He added it would be up to the political forces participating in the council to inform the people on the pros and cons of the plan, in accordance with their positions.

    “I would imagine that. Depending on the positions they adopt at the Council, political parties would have to inform the people accordingly,” the spokesman said.

    Asked on what the government expected from the Turkish Cypriot side at The Hague, Chrysostomides said: “There is a conflicting policy from Turkey; we have (the leader of the ruling AK party Tayyip) Erdogan trying to convince us that the Turkish government wants a solution in Cyprus and on the other hand we have his Foreign Minister expressing support for Denktash's policy”.

    The spokesman suggested there would not be any fallout on the Greek Cypriot side if the Turkish Cypriots rejected the plan.

    “If the Turkish side decides in the meantime to reject the Annan plan, this will certainly affect the future course of the negotiations on the basis of the timeframe as this has been defined,” he said.

    Concerning the legitimacy of a referendum in the occupied north, Chrysostomides said there were fears the Denktash regime could attempt to rig the vote if the plan was put to a referendum.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    [03] Markides' resignation postponed pending developments in Cyprus problem

    By a Staff Reporter

    ALECOS Markides is to stay on as Attorney-general until March 10 in view of developments in the Cyprus problem.

    President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have agreed to go to The Hague next Monday to give an answer on whether they will put the Annan plan for a solution to the electorate in separate referenda.

    Markides, who was the most senior member of former President Glafcos Clerides' negotiating team, made an unsuccessful bid as a presidential candidate on February 16. Papadopoulos, however, has kept him in the negotiating team.

    After a meeting between Papadopoulos and Markides on Saturday afternoon, it was decided Markides should stay on as Attorney-general until the March 10 deadline and until March 30 if the referenda go ahead.

    Annan has warned that if either side says no on March 10, it will be the end of the line for UN involvement in the Cyprus problem, at least for the remaining three years of his term.

    “We had an open discussion based on my statements before the (presidential) elections and because of the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, i.e. the submission of the third plan and the incredible amount of work required within the framework of the technical committees during the next 10 days”, Markides said after his meeting with Papadopoulos.

    “We have arrived at the conclusion that under the circumstances, my resignation is not advisable now. The issue will be concluded once the Cyprus problem is settled,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    [04] New ministers pledge unity and hard work

    By George Psyllides

    MINISTERS of the new government yesterday assumed their official duties under President Tassos Papapadopoulos in a procedure, which kicked off early in the morning and was completed at noon.

    The new Cabinet was sworn in on Saturday.

    New Foreign Minister George Iacovou, 65, gave assurances he would do his best to prove worthy of the new President's trust and to provide the vision and leadership necessary for the ministry to carry out its task.

    Iacovou said he was deeply moved to return to the well-known area of foreign policy and its people.

    He said he was satisfied because he was assuming a strong ministry that he described as the “shield and spear” of the Republic.

    Iacovou previously served two terms as foreign minister, one under late Spyros Kyprianou from 1983 to 1988 and the other under George Vasilliou from 1988 to1993.

    His appointment has raised eyebrows, as he is seen as having been imposed on Papadopoulos by his partner in government, AKEL leader Demetris Christofias, who apparently exerted considerable pressure on the new president to secure Iacovou's posting.

    Papadopoulos had declared he was not going to appoint people who had served in previous governments.

    New Justice Minister Doros Theodorou, 64, pledged to remain a faithful devotee of honesty, integrity, and meritocracy adding that his policy would be based on Papadopoulos' programme.

    “Our efforts will focus on implementing the President's declarations and the vision approved by the people,” Theodorou said.

    Fifty-seven-year old Dina Akkelidou, who was appointed Health Minister, promised to do all she could and co-operate with everyone to improve the area to the highest possible level.

    “I have visions for the public health area, a difficult area, which is so important, not only for the people's welfare but also for the future generations,” Akkelidou said.

    Labour Minister Iakovos Keravnos, 54, said he felt a heavy responsibility by assuming the ministry as it bore the seal of Papadopoulos, who served as Labour Minister in the first government of the newly founded Republic.

    He paid tribute to outgoing minister Andreas Moushiouttas, adding he hoped to have his support and help any time its was needed.

    New Interior Minister Andreas Christou said the government would reinforce and further consolidate meritocracy, institutions, and equal opportunity.

    Christou, 55, said he understood the importance of his ministry's role and promised to try and simplify procedures and modernise certain structures because the island's course towards the European Union demanded new approaches and citizens had more demands from the civil service.

    Finance Minister Marcos Kyprianou, 43, stressed that one of his ministry's immediate priorities was to tackle the potential effects to the economy from a war in Iraq.

    He said the government's contract with the people was Papadopoulo's election programme, whose “main aim was serving the citizen, the peoples' welfare, meritocracy and equal opportunities”.

    Kyprianou said the economy was the most important aspect of a state, noting the need during this period to harmonise with the acquis communitaire and prepare Cyprus for accession to the common EU currency.

    The second younger member of the cabinet, Trade Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas, said success was a collective matter and called on the ministry's officials to work with him to implement and enrich the President's election programme.

    Fourty-three-year-old Lillikas said his door would always be open for suggestions and dialogue but warned he would be a demanding minister because the peoples' requests had to be satisfied.

    The new Education Minister said his aim was to implement the government's programme appealing for ministry officials' co-operation towards that end.

    Pefkios Georgiades, 68, said he would try and put the government's policy on education and culture into effect as soon as possible.

    Defence Minister Kyriacos Mavronikolas pledged to continue to reinforce the National Guard until a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He said developments were rapid but that the country's defence would continue to be upgraded until the day a solution was found.

    “It is logical that the policy that was followed and the reinforcement of the National Guard to have a continuity and depth over time, because our requirements demand it and the people have fought and are fighting for their survival,” Mavronikolas said.

    Forty-eight-year-old Agriculture Minister Timis Efthimiou said the government's project would now be judged by the people adding that the responsibility was greater with the EU accession.

    Efthimiou said co-operation was important because a minister could not succeed if he could not count on his staff.

    “I will wait for the permanent secretary's briefing to set the priorities and manage the obligations we have before us,” Efthimiou said.

    Communications Minister Kikis Kazamias, 52, assumed office with a pledge to re-examine long-pending issues and decide which ones to resolve quickly and which could possibly be written off.

    He thanked Papadopoulos for entrusting him with a ministry, adding that his priority would be to implement the President's election programme.

    The new Government Spokesman, Kypros Chrysostomides, 61, said that in him journalists would discover a “workaholic associate” who would spare no effort for the good of the country and the spirit of unity sought by the President.

    Chrysostomides said the new government was taking over at a difficult time and the President's wish was to create a climate of unity.

    He said he hoped to achieve the same good relationship with all journalists in order to have a reciprocal co-operation to carry out the task he was assigned to.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    [05] Occupied snails land Turkish Cypriot in trouble

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE rainy weather is dictating smuggling patterns from the occupied north, providing stiff competition for soaring local vegetable prices.

    Police said yesterday Turkish Cypriot builder Mustapha Ibrahim had been charged and released after police intercepted him in the buffer zone village of Pyla at the weekend with 120kg of snails, five kilos of wild mushrooms and 30 bunches of wild asparagus in his car.

    The 46-year-old, who lives in the free areas in Livadhia village, allegedly confessed to buying goods from a Turkish Cypriot in Pyla village.

    According to police, officers from the Crime Prevention Unit stopped the car for a routine check when they found the smuggled goods in black plastic bags in the backseat of the car.

    Due to the quantity of the seasonal produce, police suspected Ibrahim was preparing to sell the goods in the free areas. Agricultural produce from the occupied north is attractive to restaurants in the south, coming at much lower prices than the market rate.

    Larnaca police officer Kyriacos Stavrou told the Cyprus Mail that smuggling from the occupied north was not an uncommon activity in Pyla, which explained the greater number of police patrols in the area.

    He said that apart from in-season produce like snails, wild asparagus and mushrooms, other popular smuggling items were whisky, cigarettes and tracksuits. “We are also on the look out for fire crackers because it's about that time now when Easter's coming nearer,” he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    [06] Turks divided over referendum issue

    By Jean Christou

    THE TURKISH Cypriot 'assembly' is to convene today to discuss the issue of a possible referendum on a solution on March 30, Turkish Cypriot papers reported yesterday.

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has invited the two sides to The Hague on March 10 to agree to put the third version of his solution plan to separate referenda, having failed to secure agreement on a comprehensive settlement by the UN deadline of February 28.

    According to a report in Yeni Duzen, the majority of Turkish Cypriot 'deputies' are in favour of putting the plan to referendum. It said 26 of the 48 'deputies' said they were in favour, compared to 18 that would say no.

    Kibris reported yesterday that 'prime minister' Dervis Eroglu had urged Turkish Cypriots to reject the Annan plan, saying it aimed at annihilating the Turkish Cypriots, while Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said it would be meaningless to go to The Hague just to say 'no'.

    He said Annan had called for referenda instead of agreement on a comprehensive settlement, specifically in order to bypass the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    “The plan is to bypass Denktash,” he said. “He assumes the results of the referendum will be 'yes'.”

    Denktash also said that if the Turkish Cypriot people themselves “throw themselves deep into the well despite my warnings,” he would withdraw. He said looking for the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the Annan plan was trying to look for a needle in a haystack.

    Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party, told Britain's Daily Telegraph at the weekend that popular pressure in the north would force the deal through. “Denktash's time is over,” he said. “He'll sign or he'll resign, because we have to accept this plan. There is no better one.”

    The pro reunification Platform for Cyprus movement has announced it will be holding events, including a general strike, to pressure the Turkish Cypriot leader all this week ahead of next Monday's March 10 deadline

    Pro-Denktash factions have also announced a rally for 'Sovereignty and Existence', due to take place on Friday at Inonu Square in occupied Nicosia. According to a statement by the organisers, they want to show support for two separate states in Cyprus and to stress that Turkey “is the only country that has the right of intervention on the island”.

    The whole issue of the Annan plan has raised tensions in the north between pro and anti factions. Two home-made bombs were discovered at last week's demonstration in favour of the plan, while reports yesterday said shots were fired at the car of one of the organisers, and the windows of his house smashed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 4, 2003

    [07] Baptism and Orthodox wedding for Turkish Cypriot couple

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A TURKISH Cypriot couple took the plunge over the weekend, tying the knot in a Greek Orthodox church in Larnaca, after deciding to leave the occupied areas for a new life and new faith, according to Politis yesterday.

    The couple met over a year and a half ago in occupied Famagusta. Not happy with conditions in the north, they decided four months ago to start a better life together. They came to the free areas and with the help of Greek Cypriot friends sealed their marriage after having their Greek Orthodox baptism.

    Thirty-three-year-old Merkan met his 23-year-old bride in occupied Famagusta. Now called Marios Athanasiou, he told the paper on Sunday “Yesterday I was baptised and today I'm getting married. I am very happy for it.” The ceremony took place at Chrysopolissas Church in Larnaca.

    He told the paper he was against the current situation in the occupied north and was quoted saying, “Here, I have a job and many friends.”

    The couple were baptised by father and daughter, Athanasios Ditis and Christina. Ditis told Politis that the bride took the name of his daughter, Christina, while Merkan adopted the name of the Virgin Mary.

    Marios, who works as a builder, has begun his new life with his new wife and with the help and support of his new godparents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003


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