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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-05-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


  • [01] Government wants talks to resume soon
  • [02] Papadopolous: Annan plan is outdated
  • [03] Cyprus urges Turkey to lift embargo
  • [04] Omonia clinch the title in style
  • [05] AG’s advice sought on Turkish Cypriot properties
  • [06] Registrar ready for Turkish Cypriot companies
  • [07] Checkpoints packed despite weekend heat
  • [08] CTO puts out new warning on north
  • [09] Censorship Board to get an EU facelift
  • [10] Hellas Sat take-off postponed
  • [11] Heat digs in until end of the week
  • [12] Arrests made after football violence

  • [01] Government wants talks to resume soon

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday said UN-led peace negotiations for a comprehensive settlement should resume as soon as possible.

    Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the government’s position had already been outlined to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and to EU governments.

    ''We insist on the resumption the talks, on the basis of what has happened in The Hague, on what the National Council has decided and on the content of the President's letter to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on April 2,'' he said.

    President Tassos Papadopoulos has said negotiations should resume under UN auspices, on the basis of Annan's peace plan, with a view at adjusting some of its provisions.

    Chrysostomides talks should resume in order to reach a political settlement before February next year to avoid a repetition of the scenario, which took place at The Hague in March this year.

    The talks collapsed in March when Denktash refused to put the Annan plan to a referendum and demanded far-reaching changes to it and its fundamental philosophy.

    ''The President wants to make his positions absolutely clear to everybody. There is no change in his position as it was outlined after the collapse of the talks in The Hague,'' the spokesman said.

    Referring to the visit last Friday to the north by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. the spokesman said it was obvious that Turkish policy on Cyprus had not changed. Erdogan’s comments during his visit left no doubt that Ankara fully supported Denktash’s vision of two separate states and two separate sovereignties on the island.

    ''What President Tassos Papadopoulos had said before the visit (last Friday) was proven right. We did not expect anything positive out of this visit. Erdogan, in spite of appearing to be more flexible, continues to move within the constraints of the traditional Turkish policy,'' Chrysostomides told his daily press briefing.

    He said that Erdogan, Denktash and his son Serdar, ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ of the ‘TRNC’ all reiterated the same positions and insisted on a solution based on what they call the realities on the island.

    Commenting on Erdogan's call to the Cyprus government to lift the so-called embargo, Chrysostomides said that the government does not impose any embargo on the Turkish Cypriots.

    He said the embargo was the result of a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg, according to which goods exported from Cyprus to the EU must be accompanied by health certificates issues by the authorities of the Republic.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [02] Papadopolous: Annan plan is outdated

    By Elias Hazou

    IN HIS first interview since the elections, President Papadopoulos described the Annan plan on Cyprus as outdated, adding that many of its provisions must be revised to adapt to ongoing political developments and the island’s accession to the EU.

    Pundits observed that Papadopoulos’ interview -- published in a supplement of Greek newspaper To Vima -- was partly to counter accusations that his government had failed to request the good offices of the UN Secretary- general for the resumption of talks. The President’s response was that Kofi Annan himself informed him he would not undertake any new initiatives on Cyprus unless there were “strong indications that both sides were willing to reach a solution.”

    “What the UN Secretary-general means by ‘indications’ is that the plan be accepted as is and unconditionally,” Papadopoulos interpreted.

    “And he (Annan) wants a date to be fixed for the carrying out of referenda.”

    Despite reiterating that he was ready for dialogue with the Turkish-Cypriot side, Papadopoulos pointed out that the Annan plan was “not exactly unrealistic, but rather outdated in some of its provisions.” He went on to list a number of improvements to the plan.

    According to the President, one of the plan’s major drawbacks was the composition of the “Presidential Council,” which comprises four Greek- Cypriot and two Turkish-Cypriot ministers. In Papadopoulos’ view, this form of the executive was not in line with the acquis communautaire.

    Papadopoulos was also opposed to the rotating presidency stipulated in the Annan plan, saying former President Glafcos Clerides was also against it.

    Other drawbacks were restrictions on human rights, such as freedom of movement, settling in homes and right to property. He also said there were limitations to democratic procedures in the election of parliament.

    The last round of talks collapsed in March when the two leaders failed to reach an agreement at The Hague. A visibly disappointed Annan described the impasse as a “missed opportunity,” hinting he would not be undertaking any new initiatives any time soon. Most observers blamed the deadlock on the intransigence of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    In a recent interview with another Greek newspaper, Denktash reiterated his long-held position on two separate states on the island. The veteran Turkish-Cypriot leader went on to suggest that the Republic of Cyprus be “de-recognised.”

    He also claimed that the southern part’s accession to the EU was illegal under past treaties and therefore posed the major obstacle to a political settlement. Denktash warned that accession to the EU would lead to a permanent division of the island.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [03] Cyprus urges Turkey to lift embargo

    By a Staff Reporter

    COMMUNICATIONS AND Works Minister, Kikis Kazamias, yesterday pressed on with a government demand that Turkey lift the embargo it illegally imposed in 1974 on Cypriot-registered transport means.

    The minister will put forward this demand when he attends an informal meeting of European Union Transport ministers in Athens later this week.

    ''When we join the EU in May 2004, Turkey will essentially bar some 25 per cent of the European fleet, if it continues to bar Cyprus-registered vessels from its ports,'' the minister said.

    Commenting on recent statements by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kazamias was quoted by Cyprus News Agency as saying it is not the Republic of Cyprus which is prohibiting the transport of goods to the occupied areas, but the EU whose decisions clearly state that transactions with illegal ports and airports are prohibited.

    According to an official statement, Kazamias said with Cyprus’ accession to the EU, Turkey will basically prohibit 25 per cent of the European fleet being served at Turkish ports, a measure which not only affects Cyprus but also European citizen’s interests who have chosen to register their ships in Cyprus.

    Regarding the opening of the air corridors, also closed in 1974 by Turkey, Kazamias said the issue had already been raised with Ankara, noting that the initial response was not negative.


    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [04] Omonia clinch the title in style

    By a Staff Reporter

    NICOSIA powerhouse Omonia won the league championship in style on Sunday, thrashing Apollon of Limassol 5-0 and setting off a frenzy of celebrations in the capital.

    This season, the title race was too close to call until the very last; with contenders Anorthosis FC and Apoel breathing down their necks, Omonia needed all three points in their final match to ensure the title came their way.

    With the players painting their hair green, Omonia took control of the game early on, as prolific German striker Rauffmann netted four goals. The festive atmosphere inside the GSP stadium – packed to capacity with some 22, 000 fans – was replete with Mexican waves, firecrackers and chants.

    The celebrations carried over into the streets of Nicosia and around Eleftheria Square, lasting well after midnight. This was Omonia’s 19th championship title.

    For their part, Apollon finished 11th in the standings after a mediocre season that saw their priorities focusing on avoiding the relegation zone.

    Runners-up Anorthosis finished just a point behind Omonia, after beating Aek 4-1 in Larnaca and earning a ticket to the UEFA cup next season. The Famagusta side next face Ael of Limassol in the cup final this coming Saturday; if they win the trophy, then the second UEFA slot will go to third-placed Apoel, otherwise Ael go through. Two teams -Olympiakos and Ethnikos - qualify to the Intertoto competition.

    In a season of high drama, defending champions Apoel saw their hopes of a repeat dashed in week 24, when they suffered a shock defeat to minnow Dighenis. Apoel’s recent win over archrivals Omonia was therefore seen as little more than a moral victory. This weekend, they suffered more humiliation, losing out 2-1 to Ael away in Limassol.

    At the bottom of the league, the relegation issue was also wide open to the last; Salamina’s impressive 8-1 win over Alki was not enough to save them, and so they follow Aris and Alki to the second division.

    The scoring race was also tight, as Marios Neofytou of Anorthosis finishing in top place with 33 goals, followed by Rauffmann’s 32; Papandreou of Dighenis came in third with 22 goals.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [05] AG’s advice sought on Turkish Cypriot properties

    By Elias Hazou

    The Government has sought the advice of the Attorney-general’s office on how to deal with Turkish-Cypriot properties that are in Greek guardianship, Interior Minister Andreas Christou said yesterday.

    The issue came up after a number of Turkish Cypriots began making enquiries about their properties abandoned because of the invasion. After 1974 the government set up a body known as the Guardian of Turkish-Cypriot properties where Greek-Cypriot refugees settling in homes belonging to Turkish Cypriots would have custodianship – but not ownership – of the property.

    Now the government must work out how to deal with Turkish Cypriots visiting the land registry department and claiming their property back. Under the current regime, Turkish Cypriots are required to live in the south for a “valid” period of time before claiming their property.

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday did not clarify this point, reiterating simply that the validity period was at the discretion of the Guardian of Turkish-Cypriot properties. The spokesman added the Guardian’s definition and consequent decision on a case could be contested in court.

    Chrysostomides was taken to task about one case where a Turkish-Cypriot couple have yet to receive an answer from the Guardian despite apparently qualifying to have their property returned – the couple have been living in the south since 1991.

    “If they have not received an answer yet, then I can’t see what else they can do except take recourse to Cypriot courts,” offered Chrysostomides.

    For his part, the Interior Minister said two specific measures were being taken to assist Turkish Cypriots in their enquiries. First, an administrative officer would be appointed at each district branch of the land registry department to specifically deal with these matters. Secondly, efforts were underway to appoint Turkish-speaking employees at the department.

    Christou said the constitution, human rights and the law pertaining to the status of Turkish Cypriot properties in the south would all be taken into account in regulating this thorny issue. But he added that the concerns of displaced Greek Cypriots should also be addressed.

    According to the Interior Minister, the Cabinet would convene to make “political decisions” on the matter after receiving the AG’s legal counsel.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [06] Registrar ready for Turkish Cypriot companies

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE REGISTRAR of Companies is preparing to register Turkish Cypriot companies, a senior official at the Registrar’s office said yesterday.

    Authorities in the south say a number of companies in the occupied north will apply for registration, nearly two weeks after the Greek Cypriot side lifted a decades-old ban on trading with the north, as part of a series of measures designed to help Turkish Cypriots.

    Section Leader of companies at the Registrar of Companies Theophanis Michael confirmed yesterday that the registration process was now open to Turkish Cypriot companies.

    “We have prepared all the forms in Turkish and we are waiting to give them the necessary forms to register so they can apply,” he said. “We are ready to proceed.”

    He added the application procedure was the same for Greek and Turkish Cypriots wishing to register a company.

    “The procedure is just the same as for other local companies – they (both) have to register a company through a lawyer,” he said, adding that all lawyers involved in application procedures had to be officially registered in the south. “The law demands a practising and registered lawyer, so I think young Turkish Cypriot lawyers will not be able to (represent companies).”

    Michael confirmed no applications had been processed as yet, but said interest had been shown recently by one company in the north.

    “For the time being we don’t have applications from Turkish Cypriot companies but we expect some,” he said. “I have heard of one lawyer, a Greek Cypriot, trying to apply on behalf of two Turkish Cypriots from Mia Milia.”

    Express registry of a company takes 2-3 days to complete while the ordinary service requires up to a month.

    Turkish Cypriot companies wishing to register in the south must also ensure they comply with VAT regulations.

    “If companies are registered officially with the Registrar’s office in the south and their business’ annual income exceeds £9,000, then they are obliged to register with the VAT office like any other taxable person,” an official at the VAT office in Nicosia told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The official added authorities in the south were concerned that monitoring companies based in the occupied areas would prove difficult.

    “There are risks involved because we cannot exercise full control in the north and this is a setback.”

    “The problem is with control – if the domicile address (of the company) is in the north of Cyprus, then there is a problem as far as language is concerned, and with the auditing we usually carry out. These are difficulties which have all been explained to the Ministry of Finance,” the official said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [07] Checkpoints packed despite weekend heat

    By Sofia Kannas

    GREEK CYPRIOTS queuing up to cross the Green Line in their cars, waited for hours in the 37-degree heat to enter the north on Sunday.

    The tailbacks at Pergamos, Strovilia and Ayios Dometios checkpoints were reminiscent of scenes at the end of last month, when the Turkish Cypriot side first eased restrictions on the free movement of citizens between the occupied north and free south.

    “It was very, very slow on Sunday,” said one police officer. “There were very long tailbacks at all the checkpoints -- it was a weekend and people weren’t working, so everyone tried to get across. It was basically like the first few days all over again.”

    The officer added Greek Cypriots crossing to the north experienced the worst of the delays: “at the Turkish checkpoints, due to the procedure of getting a visa. It can take 10-15 minutes for every driver to get one. So, many people at the back of the queues were waiting for hours.”

    According to police, 15,663 Greek Cypriots crossed into the occupied areas on Sunday, while around 7,752 Turkish Cypriots made the journey into the government-controlled areas. A total of 2,760 Turkish Cypriots in around 600 cars entered the south via the newly-opened Ayios Dometios checkpoint, which is not open to pedestrians.

    Movement to and from the occupied areas was speedier yesterday, as many Greek and Turkish Cypriots returned to work after the weekend, decreasing the volume of traffic attempting to traverse checkpoints. Police statistics show that by 4.30 pm, 2,563 Turkish Cypriots had crossed from the north, while just 2,440 Greek Cypriots had entered the occupied areas.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [08] CTO puts out new warning on north

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE CYPRUS Tourism Organisation (CTO) is putting out a new travel advisory cautioning tourists that they visit the northern breakaway regime at their own risk.

    Lefkos Phylactides, senior policy official at the CTO, told the Cyprus Mail the new document is essentially an update aimed at informing foreigners that the situation in the north has not changed in spite of recent developments.

    “People abroad may get the impression that, because of the free movement now allowed, it is legitimate or safe to visit the occupied areas; so this new document clarifies that this is not the case,” explained Phylactides.

    The CTO’s previous advisories, forwarded to tour operators abroad, have repeatedly warned tourists of safety hazards in visiting the north. Almost all risks derive from the fact that the breakaway regime is not an internationally recognised state. For example, there are no guarantees on the validity of travel insurance or on hygiene standards.

    The document will also clarify what the Cypriot government can or cannot do to help tourists if they face any snags in the north. It should be ready for distribution later this week.

    Phylactides noted the advisory was primarily targeted at foreign tourists, rather than Greek Cypriots visiting the north lately.

    Tour operators and hoteliers associations have expressed their opposition to overnight stays by Greek Cypriots in the north. Commerce and Tourism Minister Giorgos Lillikas has described as unacceptable Greeks “holidaying” in the occupied territories. The government has said that so far only a few dozen Greeks have stayed overnight.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [09] Censorship Board to get an EU facelift

    By Tania Khadder

    THE FILM Censorship Board is to be replaced by the Film Classification Board as soon as the House of Representatives approves the new regulations drawn up by the Interior Committee. The decision to change the committee to match European Union standards was approved late last year, but the regulations specifying how to do so are still pending.

    “The difference is that the Film Classification Board won’t have the power to censor movies,” Ioannis Solomou, the president of the Film Censorship Board and director of the Public Information Office, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. “Instead they will classify movies into the age groups they are suitable for.”

    But even before plans to officially change the committee were put in motion, Solomou said censorship or rejection of films was not often done anymore. The committee, he said, has been evolving on its own over time.

    “This change is mostly a cosmetic one – to change a name that is loaded with of negative connotations. In actual fact, it doesn’t mean much,” he said.

    But for the time being, the name cannot change without approval of the new regulations.

    In the past six years, two films have been banned in Cyprus for objectionable material. The most recent, the French film Romance was rejected because of its sexual content. When it was played at the Acropole cinema under the umbrella of a film club membership in 2000, police raided the theatre and confiscated the film, which caused a major uproar on the island.

    “It doesn’t pay to make a fuss about it, because you are trying to stop a small number of people from watching it,” Solomou said. “In the end, you draw attention to it and many more people watch it.

    “The purpose of our committee should only be classification of films for the protection of minors,” he added. “As an adult, I should be allowed to judge for myself and have as bad taste as I want. That is democracy.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [10] Hellas Sat take-off postponed

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE FIRST Greco Cypriot telecommunications satellite, which was due to be launched into space last night was postponed for 24 hours for unspecified technical reasons.

    Hellas Sat, which is an Astrium Eurostar E2000+ model, was set for take-off from Cape Canaveral in Florida between 12.57am and 1.31am local time this morning but the flight was called off last night.

    The 3,450kg spacecraft will carry 30 Ku-band transponders, with an expected lifespan of 15 years.

    This is the first domestic satellite for Greece and Cyprus will be used to provide voice, internet, video and broadcast services to both European and Balkan markets. The satellite will also be used to broadcast the Summer Olympics from Athens in 2004.

    Five companies are part of the Hellas-Sat Consortium including the Cypriot Company Avacom Net, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, the Cyprus Bank of Development, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry and Canada’s Telesat.

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis and Cyprus Communications and Works Minister Kikis Kazamias described the launch as an historic occasion.

    In an joint statement, the ministers noted the launching of Hellas Sat, ''signals a new era for Greece and Cyprus in the telecommunication's field, as well as their entrance in European Space Agency – (ESA).

    “With the Hellas Sat, Greece and Cyprus are able now to establish their presence in the space. “The political and economic significance is obvious for both countries,” the announcement said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [11] Heat digs in until end of the week

    By a Staff Reporter

    AIR CONDITIONERS around the island will be whirring on full pelt this week with temperatures set to remain at 37 degrees until Thursday, the Meteorology Department said yesterday.

    But “this is not a heat wave”, said Meteorology Department head, Kyriakos Theofilou.

    A heat wave constitutes a combination of high maximum temperatures, high humidity and low wind force, he said. But, at present humidity and wind force were at normal levels.

    He said temperatures yesterday and on Sunday reached 37 degrees.

    “Over the next few days, including Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, there should be no real change,” said Theofilou.

    According to the bureau, over the last ten years May has had an average of 14 days per month with temperatures over 30 degrees with 11 of them reaching over 34 degrees.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Tuesday, May 13, 2003

    [12] Arrests made after football violence

    By a Staff Reporter

    SIX PEOPLE were arrested and two police officers were wounded after clashes that broke out between fans and police at Eleftheria Square following Omonia’s championship winning game against Apollonas on Sunday.

    According to a police bulletin, at around 1am yesterday morning some 300 Omonia fans, had gathered at Eleftheria Square on Sunday night to celebrate their team’s championship success.

    Some of the fans suddenly attacked police with bottles, stones and flares while others brought down a set of traffic lights.

    Elsewhere, two Apollonas fans were arrested on Limassol Avenue for throwing stones and flares at Omonia fans.

    One of the police officers injured was taken to hospital was reportedly hit on the head by a stone, while the other was hit on the back of the head with a bottle. The officers were treated and later released.

    The suspects claimed they were attacked first by the police.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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