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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-03-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


  • [01] So much for a simple 'yes' or 'no'
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot opposition say they'll hold their own referendum
  • [03] Yes vote edges it in weekend poll among Greek Cypriots
  • [04] Donor drive extended in face of overwhelming response
  • [05] Cypriots head for the fields in their thousands
  • [06] Three dead in Paphos horror crash

  • [01] So much for a simple 'yes' or 'no'

    By Jean Christou

    UN SPECIAL envoy Alvaro de Soto said last week that no more than one day would be necessary in The Hague because the two leaders were only required to give a simple 'yes' or 'no' to Secretary-general Kofi Annan's request for separate referendums on March 30.

    Famous last words…

    The first glitch appeared when the meeting scheduled at The Hague's Peace Palace for 1pm Cyprus time between Annan, President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, was postponed until 4.15pm.

    Reports from The Hague later said the meeting had been postponed for another hour. It was then put off a third time until 7pm Cyprus time. By nine, Papadopoulos was still in his hotel waiting for the call…

    Reports said the two leaders had given their answers to Annan during their separate meetings with him in the morning. But Annan, when asked later if the two sides had given him a clear answer, said: “obviously they did not.”

    Speaking at a brief news conference after meeting both leaders, he said he could not elaborate because the meetings were still going on. He also said his work on the Cyprus issue had been “overshadowed by the crisis in Iraq”.

    Asked to give more information on his Cyprus contacts, Annan said: “We are discussing that, I cannot tell you much”.

    The UN had previously made it clear that if either side said 'no' it would be the end of the road for the Cyprus issue, but the failure to obtain a clear answer forced yesterday's process into an endless round of meetings and contacts.

    Asked if the meetings would continue into today, Annan said: “sometimes, to get to what you call a simple yes or no takes quite a lot of doing”.

    “This is a real opportunity, a unique opportunity, which if it is missed I am not sure it is going to come around for a long, long time and as I have indicated I doubt it will come around again during my term as Secretary- general and I have another four years to go,” Annan added.

    In an editorial published in the International Herald Tribune yesterday Annan said that decision time had arrived.

    “If a divided Cyprus signs the (EU) treaty, the favourable conditions that exist today for a settlement will be radically altered: The division of the island will be further entrenched, Greek-Turkish relations will be set back, and Turkey's European aspirations will be harmed,” Annan said.

    “That is why putting off any further a decision to go to referendum is tantamount to rejecting any solution any time soon -- and why the choice is not between my plan and a radically different one. The real choice is between my plan and no solution at all. And I believe the plan is a fair and honourable compromise bringing real benefits to each side.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 11, 2003

    [02] Turkish Cypriot opposition say they'll hold their own referendum

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE TURKISH Cypriot opposition Republican Turkish Party and Communal Liberation Party have said they will organise a referendum of their own on the acceptance of the Annan Plan in the occupied north, in a move of defiance against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The announcement came after Denktash dealt a blow to those Turkish Cypriots hoping for reunification based on UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's plan, by blocking a 'parliament' move to put the plan to a referendum. Pro- Denktash deputies boycotted the Turkish Cypriot 'parliament' on Saturday, denying it the numbers needed to assemble and debate the referendum, which the United Nations had wanted on March 30.

    Turkish Cypriot press reports said yesterday that Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Communal Liberation Party leader Hussein Angolemli had said they would ask the United Nations and the European Union to oversee and monitor a referendum in the north.

    The two leaders said they would not let the intervention and obstacles set before them by the 'parliament' stand in their way, expressing the view that a public referendum would prove to the international community that the Turkish Cypriot people wanted a solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    The two parties have agreed to boycott any general 'parliament' meetings until March 30, in protest against Denktash's stance.

    Thousands of anti-Denktash demonstrators left candles on the steps of parliament at the weekend, as a sign of their disappointment and frustration that the motion to approve the holding of a referendum had failed.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 11, 2003

    [03] Yes vote edges it in weekend poll among Greek Cypriots

    By Sofia Kannas.

    WITH THEIR leaders in The Hague to pronounce on a UN call for simultaneous referendums on the Annan plan, a poll released on Sunday said Greek Cypriots would be narrowly in favour of a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the revised plan.

    The poll, which was based on the responses of 454 individuals and conducted by company AC Nielsen/AMER for Politis newspaper on March 6-7, is the latest in a series of polls designed to determine public opinion on the question of a settlement.

    According to the poll results, released on Sunday, 40 per cent of Cypriots would say 'yes' to the latest peace plan proposed by Annan, making those in favour of the plan marginally higher than the 38 per cent who would say 'no'; 23 per cent of poll participants declined to answer or were undecided.

    The results also showed that the percentage of those favouring the plan varied according to region. Poll participants in Larnaca showed the strongest tendency to reject the plan, with 48 per cent saying they would vote against the adoption of the Annan plan in a referendum.

    This was followed by Limassol and Paphos where 39 per cent and 38 per cent of those questioned said they would say 'no' to the plan. The apparent discontent with the plan in Larnaca and Paphos is due, the paper says, to the fact that a large number of landowning Turkish Cypriots used to live in these areas before the Turkish invasion in 1974, sparking fears among current inhabitants that a solution based on the plan would see the return of Turkish Cypriots to reclaim land.

    The greatest support for a settlement was evident in Famagusta, where a resounding 60 per cent would say yes to the revised Annan Plan which allows for the complete return of all refugees to the area.

    Nicosia was the only other city where the plan was favoured by the majority of poll participants, with 43 per cent agreeing to the plan as opposed to 33 per cent against.

    Public responses to the plan also varied between age groups -- the majority of those who said they would reject the plan as a basis for a solution were to be found in the 18-34 age group. The greatest opposition was shown by 18- 24 year-olds with 47 per cent of those questioned saying they would reject the plan, followed by those aged 25-34, of whom 45 per cent were not in favour.

    The least opposition to the plan was shown by those aged over 55: 47 per cent of 55-64 year-olds questioned said they would say 'yes' to Annan's plan, and just 16 per cent of 65-70 year-olds said they would reject it. This is in marked contrast to feelings about the plan among the same age groups in the occupied north, where opinion polls conducted recently showed the younger generations to be the most fervent supporters of the Annan plan, and the older generations to be most against it.

    Responses to the plan also showed large variations according to political affiliation. The poll findings suggest AKEL and DISY are the parties most in favour of a solution based on the Annan plan, with 43 per cent of AKEL members and 49 per cent of DISY members questioned favouring the revised plan.

    Clear opposition to the plan was expressed by President Papadopoulos' DIKO, 54 per cent of whose members said they would reject the plan, as against 37 per cent who would accept it.

    By far the strongest opposition to the plan was shown by the openly rejectionist New Horizons, of which just 18 per cent favoured the Annan Plan, and a resounding 55 per cent rebuffed it. This trend was also to be seen among KISOS members, with 44 per cent rejecting the plan as the basis for a solution.

    Meanwhile George Vassiliou's United Democrats were split exactly down the middle on the plan, with 50 per cent saying they would accept it and 50 per cent expressing their opposition to it. This same split was seen among George Perdikis' Greens.

    The poll also asked participants a number of questions pertaining to security as well as satisfaction with the new President.

    Asked what they would fear most from a solution to the Cyprus Problem where security was based on the presence of a multinational force, as proposed in the UN Secretary General's plan, 25 per cent of those questioned cited Turkish settlers as their main worry; 20 per cent said they were anxious about living with Turks and 15 per cent worried about incidents of violence between the two communities; 14 per cent expressed concern at living side by side with Muslims and 13 per cent said they feared the presence of the Turkish military.

    Fifty-one per cent of people questioned said they believed that if security was to be guaranteed by the United Nations, Cyprus could function properly on the basis of the Annan Plan, while 38 per cent did not.

    Seventy-two per cent of people said they approved of the way President Tassos Papdopoulos had handled his duties so far; 24 per cent were unsure and just four per cent said they disapproved.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 11, 2003

    [04] Donor drive extended in face of overwhelming response

    By a Staff Reporter

    Sofia Kannas

    THE RACE to find a bone marrow donor for a five-year-old Turkish Cypriot girl dying from leukaemia will continue until Friday, organisers confirmed yesterday.

    The Bi-communal Forum, Doctors of the World, Karaiskakio Foundation (the Cyprus bone marrow donor registry) the United Nations and the Kemal Saracoglu Foundation are all involved in organising the blood sample collection for Jale Sakaoglu.

    Since last Thursday when the donor drive began, thousands of people from both sides of the Green Line have flocked to the Ledra Palace to give blood

    to save Jale, after doctors predicted she would die within three weeks unless a donor was found.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, organiser and Bi-Communal Forum member Marinos Ioannides said blood donations would now continue until Friday, in the hope that a donor could be found.

    “We will continue until Friday now - we have got the extension with the approval of the UN and the relevant authorities. So we will be collecting blood at the same times, between 9 am and 5 pm for the next four days. There are no barriers at the Ledra Palace, from the north or south. Everyone who wants to come and give blood is welcome and free to do so.

    “We have to date collected over 5,000 samples from donors on both sides,” he added. “The majority have been from Turkish Cypriots, but we don't know the exact figures yet.”

    Asked if the organisers were pleased at the number of blood samples received so far, Ioannides said:

    “We are pleasantly surprised and very pleased at the response there has been.

    “We had 502 blood samples given on Thursday when donations began, 900 the second day, 1,000 the third day, and 1100 the fourth day. And on Monday we had more than 1,500 samples donated, despite the fact there was a public holiday in the south.”

    Ioannides expects more than 10,000 samples to be donated by Friday.

    “We had a great day (on Monday), and we hope for four more.

    “We are also looking for volunteers, doctors and nurses to help collect more blood samples.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 11, 2003

    [05] Cypriots head for the fields in their thousands

    By a Staff Reporter

    THOUSANDS of Cypriots yesterday hit the mountains and valleys to celebrate the start of Lent or Green Monday, flying kites and eating greens and fish.

    But more than 200 traffic police officers also hit the highways in order to control the mass traffic that was expected to build up on the return of people to their homes.

    Police Chief Demitris Demitriou said yesterday the police had taken extra measures to help co-ordinate and ease traffic on the island's motorways, especially roads leading to and from the Troodos mountains and all city exits.

    Demitriou said the police would intensify their presence in the highways and carry out Alco-tests.

    Police told the Cyprus Mail last night that around 4,800 cars had used the road from Nicosia to Troodos in just one hour and that over 20 minor accidents took place in urban areas.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, March 11, 2003

    [06] Three dead in Paphos horror crash

    By a Staff Reporter

    THREE people were killed and two seriously injured last night in an accident on the Polis to Paphos road.

    The accident happened at around 7pm outside Tsada village, when a car carrying four British residents of Cyprus collided head-on with a car driven by 60-year-old Aristodemos Ephraim.

    Driver Dorina Drieman, who was driving the car, her husband Eric, and Ephraim died instantly.

    The victims were trapped in their cars, and the Fire Brigade had to be brought in to release them.

    The two British survivors were rushed to Paphos hospital. Doctors said their condition was serious but they were out of danger.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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