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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-05-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


  • [01] 93 Larnaca passengers in SARS scare
  • [02] Missing persons list published
  • [03] Six-lane stretch planned for motorway
  • [04] Synod votes against election
  • [05] Turkish Cypriots find work in the south
  • [06] Increase in demand for Turkish Studies
  • [07] Zavos in Cyprus next week
  • [08] CY stall goes up in smoke
  • [09] Schoolmates’ reunion is a dream come true
  • [10] Communication lines open
  • [11] Papadopoulos holds firm on solution stance
  • [12] De Soto: I’m still on the case
  • [13] Cypriot deputies sit in on EU parliament
  • [14] New Deputy Police Chief
  • [15] Larnaca port ‘ready by 2006’
  • [16] Former AG to undergo major heart surgery in Cyprus

  • [01] 93 Larnaca passengers in SARS scare

    By Stefanos Evripidou and Sofia Kannas

    NINETY-THREE passengers who got off a plane carrying Greece's first suspected SARS victim at Larnaca airport on Saturday were advised yesterday to keep a vigilant eye on their health for at least ten days.

    According to a statement by the Medical Services, the 23-year-old airline stewardess who arrived in Greece on Saturday and developed SARS symptoms on Sunday had flown on Emirates flight 105 from Dubai to Athens via Larnaca. The plane stopped over for one hour and 93 passengers disembarked.

    "The fact that the symptoms began the next day of the flight lessens the chances of transmitting the virus to the crew or passengers of the same flight," the statement said. The island's health services recommend those passengers who arrived in Cyprus on that flight to be on the alert -- at least until May 20 -- for any symptoms such as high fever (above 38C) and coughing and breathing difficulties and to contact the nearest hospital if such symptoms occur. According to the Athens News Agency, initial SARS tests on the air hostess proved negative, but a doctor at the Athens hospital where the South African is quarantined said the case met all the World Health Organisation's (WHO) criteria for a suspect SARS case. The results of further bacteriological examinations are due today, she added. Meanwhile, a 32-year-old Filipina was rushed from Larnaca Airport to a special ward in Limassol Hospital yesterday after showing signs of fever after a flight from Bahrain. Medical staff wearing masks took her to Larnaca hospital before moving her to the special ward in Limassol set up to deal with suspected SARS cases.

    Dr Stavros Stavrou said that initial SARS tests proved negative and that she did not have any clinical symptoms of the virus. He said she had a slight temperature and that she was being kept in for observation overnight as a precautionary measure and for further tests. She is a permanent resident of Cyprus who works in Ayia Napa, and was coming back from a month- long holiday in the Philippines.

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the government is in close contact with the WHO as well as with the European Union and the Special Infections Control Centre in Greece. Health Minister Dina Akkelidou said her ministry has been in constant contact with the Greek authorities since the suspected SARS victim was hospitalised in Athens.

    She emphasised that the suddenness with which SARS cases appeared necessitated strict measures to try and control the spread of the disease. "We are ready to implement further measures if necessary," she said.

    The ministry postponed the registration of foreign students from SARS- affected countries at colleges across the island on Monday, in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [02] Missing persons list published

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday published a list of the 500 Turkish Cypriot persons missing since 1974, whose cases have been submitted to the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP).

    The names were published in the Official Gazette following a cabinet decision to do so on April 30.

    The Gazette said that in 201 of the listed cases, evidence and information on the death and the site of burial have been given to the CMP’s Turkish Cypriot representative, within the framework of the 1997 agreement on the issue of missing persons, signed by former President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    As far as Greek Cypriots are concerned, 1,493 cases have been submitted to the CMP. The remains of 10 Greek Cypriots and three Greeks have been identified while Andreas Kasapis, a US citizen of Greek descent who was 17 when he went missing, had been identified earlier.

    A total of 126 cases have not been submitted to the CMP. From this number, the remains of 19 Greek Cypriots have been identified.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [03] Six-lane stretch planned for motorway

    By Sofia Kannas

    PLANS ARE underway to build the island’s first six-lane stretch of motorway, a government source said yesterday.

    The project is part of a wider scheme to improve roads and road networks in the free areas to accommodate the increasing volume of traffic on the island.

    An official at the Ministry of Communications and Works confirmed there were plans afoot to extend the stretch of motorway between Nicosia and Ayia Barbara from four lanes to six.

    “The need for a six-lane road is approaching,” he said. “This is an area which is the most heavily loaded by traffic – the need is becoming imminent.” Several thousand cars an hour are reported to pass over the stretch of highway in question.

    The difficulty of the proposed extension has lead the government to draw on the expertise of specialist engineers to coordinate the preliminary work.

    “It’s a difficult project to implement, especially if one considers that the existing road will be in use while improvement work is taking place,” the official said. “There is a ministerial decision to employ two engineers to review the contracts and drawings so as to facilitate procedures for the construction period. The ministry is currently proceeding with the employment of these experts.”

    He added that the creation of a six-lane motorway had been suggested by engineers as far back as 1998.

    “Drawings were prepared a few years back,” he said. “This is something that has been in the air for several years now.”

    The project will also involve the construction of another interchange at the new GSP stadium in Nicosia, as well as the improvement of existing interchanges.

    The government will invite tenders from interested construction companies in two years time, and the cost of the project is estimated at between £10 and £15 million.

    However, the official played down reports that the proposed improvements were necessary to bring Cypriot roads into line with EU standards.

    “Our motorways are already built to international standards,” he said. “We have been using British standards mostly.”

    “We have a three metre verge on our motorways, whereas in some other countries they have just one-and-a-half metre verges,” he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [04] Synod votes against election

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    THE BATTLE of the bishops went a step further yesterday when the Holy Synod concluded that the throne of the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus would not be declared vacant, declaring instead that the matter would be left in the hands of God.

    The majority of the Holy Synod which was against holding elections for the throne of the Archbishop included the Bishops of Kitium Chrysostomos, Kyrenia Pavlos, Limassol Athanasios, Morphou Neophytos and Salaminos Varnavas.

    Those for a new election to replace the ailing Archbishop Chrysostomos departed from the Holy Synod meeting critical of the majority decision.

    The Bishop of Kykkos, Nikiforos, told reporters, “Certain clerics gave me the impression that even if the archbishop died, they would suggest embalming him and placing him on the throne to avoid elections for a new primate”.

    He added: “Ruled by fixed ideas, suspicions, interests and calculations which darken the mind and block communication, while hidden behind pseudo- legalistic theories which imprison the truth, they fought with passion against every attempt to reach an end to the problem which has shaken the church for the last year.”

    The Bishop of Paphos, Chrysostomos, was more direct in his assessment, saying that there is only one truth: “They did not want an election because an election now would mean the appointment of the Bishop of Kykkos”. He hoped the decision taken on the matter would be a temporary one, adding, “It seems again that our personal interests are put above those of the church”.

    Meanwhile, the Bishop of Kitium, Chrysostomos, who voted against the elections, pointed out “God enlightened the Holy Synod which in turn decided to leave the solution of the problem to the will of God”.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos is widely reported to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and has taken a back seat in Church affairs since last September. The Holy Synod will meet again beginning of June.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [05] Turkish Cypriots find work in the south

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    TWO TURKISH Cypriots have already found employment in the free areas while around 30 others are actively seeking employment after signing up at District Labour Offices, Labour Minister Makis Keravnos said yesterday.

    Speaking after a ministerial committee meeting to discuss foreign and Turkish Cypriot employment, Keravnos said that the measures announced to facilitate Turkish Cypriot employment have been implemented and are bringing results. He added that the numbers were small so far, with 25-30 Turkish Cypriots having signed up at District Labour Offices to look for work, while two Turkish Cypriots have already found employment.

    Interior Minister, Andreas Christou, noted that Turkish Cypriots also had the option of finding work in the government-controlled areas by informing their unions that are collaborating with Greek Cypriot unions to find jobs for Turkish Cypriots.

    Regarding foreign employment, Christou said that the moratorium on foreign workers might be extended or relaxed in various categories depending on the needs of the country but also on the realities of European Union accession. He noted that Cyprus might have to adopt a different strategy on workers coming from EU member states.

    Christou added that in light of EU accession and the return of Turkish Cypriot workers to the Cypriot labour market, the committee would prepare a proposal to submit to cabinet on the formation of a new policy on employment.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [06] Increase in demand for Turkish Studies

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE NUMBER of students wishing to take Turkish Studies at the University of Cyprus has risen by 63 per cent in the last year, Politis reported yesterday.

    According to the report, the decision has already been taken to increase the number of positions available within the department, and is now waiting for approval by the University. Fifteen more places will be made available, ten for Cypriot students and five for Greek students, in order to deal with the huge increase in demand for the course, coinciding with recent developments on the divided island, including the easing up of restrictions on freedom of movement.

    Department head, Ioannis Theocharides, noted that most department graduates end up working for the Foreign Ministry, the Press and Information Office or at research centres.

    In a related development, the government will introduce Turkish lessons in Greek-speaking secondary schools from September as part of a package of goodwill measures, the Education Ministry said yesterday.

    Cyprus's official languages are Greek and Turkish, but very few people are fluent in both because of the segregated structure of the education system.

    The Turkish lessons will be optional for pupils aged 15 and above. School authorities will also run evening classes for Turkish Cypriots wishing to learn Greek, the ministry said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [07] Zavos in Cyprus next week

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRIOT AMERICAN fertility expert Panayiotis Zavos will be on the island next week following significant developments in his work, a spokesperson for his Kentucky-based clinic said yesterday

    An announcement from his clinic said he would be visiting relatives in Cyprus at a time when several serious and significant developments have occurred in his work.

    Zavos, one of several scientific teams worldwide engaged in the cloning race announced last month that had cloned the first human embryo to make a baby.

    The embryo, which has been made for an American couple, was being kept frozen while awaiting tests. It will be considered for implantation in the mother only if the scientist is certain it has no abnormalities and is capable of growing into a healthy baby, Zavos said.

    On Sunday Zavos circulated an article from the internet news site ‘The Drudge Report’. The report said “in a few weeks' time, (Zavos will) don his surgical mask, gloves and gown, open a medical refrigerator in a laboratory somewhere in the Middle East and take out a tiny glass dish containing a minuscule living human embryo – an embryo which represents the world's first "documented" case to create a cloned human child!” The entire procedure will be documented on camera, according to Drudge.

    “Zavos has allowed the veteran British filmmaker Peter Williams, who documented the creation of the world's first in-vitro fertilization baby - Louise Brown - back in 1978, to chart the entire process over two-and-a- half years,” Drudge said, adding a wealthy 46-year-old American woman has provided her DNA for the creation of her cloned child.

    Zavos told the Sunday Times recently he would rather see a cautious implementation of cloned embryos than an irresponsible one and was both critical and sceptical when a UFO sect claimed it had already produced several cloned babies.

    Zavos’s first controversial visit to Cyprus took place in March 2001 when he unofficially asked the government to allow him to use Cyprus in his cloning experiments and was refused.

    His visit is shrouded in vague comments that the cloning would be carried out on an unnamed Mediterranean island, coupled with Cyprus’ then lack of legislation on the issue, gave rise to reports that Cyprus might be the island in question.

    However the government made it quite clear that Cyprus could not go against a Council of Europe protocol, which bans human cloning even for fertility purposes and rushed to implement relevant laws.

    Since then the House has passed legislation banning cloning and the government has set up a bioethics committee, to authorise, after application, up to an extent any cloning or bioethical issue to be approved or done in Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [08] CY stall goes up in smoke

    By a Staff Reporter

    A FIRE yesterday morning gutted the Cyprus Airways (CY) pavilion on the Cyprus State Fairgrounds.

    The fire, which started at around 9.45am, was put out by the fire service before it could spread to adjacent pavilions.

    Workers on the grounds had been trying to bring the fire under control using fire extinguishers before the fire service arrived.

    Police ruled out foul play and said the fire was caused by a short circuit to a fuse connected to equipment used by a labourer doing some work on the pavilion.

    An eyewitness told the Cyprus Mail that the fire service took 15 minutes to arrive though another one said that it was not notified immediately when the blaze broke out.

    Damages have not yet been estimated.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [09] Schoolmates’ reunion is a dream come true

    By Alexia Saoulli

    DREAMS DO come true, or at least according to Ahmet Kiani they do.

    In 1993 the Turkish Cypriot man had a dream where he was taken to see Archbishop Makarios. In this dream, Ahmet said he walked into a room where he saw a cleric, dressed in black robes, sitting with his back turned to him. When he made his greetings, the cleric turned around and looked at him. It was Yiannis Klitou – his childhood playmate.

    The touching story was written by Politis editor Andreas Paraschou and appeared in yesterday’s edition. According to Paraschou, he, Ahmet and Yiannis were inseparable from 1970-1974 when they boys sat at the same desk at the American Academy in Larnaca.

    Although the boys were from different ethnic backgrounds, Politis said Yiannis, who was from the town of Asha in the occupied areas, and Ahmet, who was from Lefka, did everything together from smoking in secret to bunking off school.

    “Then came the coup and the invasion. We saw Ahmet for the last time as a prisoner, at what is now Droshia gymnasium. Yiannis Klitou stopped travelling to Larnaca from Asha. He moved to Larnaca as a refugee. Along with his home, Yiannis had also lost his friend,” said Politis.

    As the years passed, Ahmet completed his education and his military service and enrolled in teaching college. There he met his future bride and had two children.

    Having completed his education and his military service, Yiannis joined an accounting firm. After two years he found himself drawn toward the spiritual world, and in 1981 he headed for Stavrovouni where he embraced life as a monk and took on the name Dionysus.

    Nearly 20 years after the invasion and 12 years after Yiannis joined the monastery, Ahmet had his dream – a dream he could not explain until now.

    On Sunday, Paraschou and Ahmet, along with their families, visited Ayia Varvara – a small church that belongs to Stavrovouni monastery – where they met Father Dionysus.

    “Ahmet’s eyes started to water, but he controlled himself. They hugged and kissed. A silence followed that said all that could not fit into 29 years of loneliness. Underneath the black robe and long grey beard, Ahmet recognised his friend. In that moment the dream was explained…” said Politis.

    The tears poured in torrents, “speaking the language of true friendship”. Initially Ahmet hid, but then cried freely before his family and friends.

    During their reunification, Ahmet pulled out a letter from his wife’s bag. It was a Christmas card from 1972 with a drawing of an airplane called Asha Airways. It read: “To my friend Ahmet. John.” This was the only reminder Ahmet had been able to take with him as he fled, and he has kept it as a token of a friendship that “no one and nothing can ever destroy”.

    Talking about Asha made Ahmet ask his old friend if he would be visiting his village in the occupied areas again. When Father Dionysus replied that if it was God’s will he would, Ahmet insisted he would join him.

    When their visit came to an end, Paraschou said the two men tried to stall their goodbyes by talking about trivialities, such as the plants in the garden.

    “We got into the car and from the monastery’s double door, Father Dionysus followed us with his eyes. Then I realised that as Ahmet and I were saying goodbye to Father Dionysus – however harsh it sounds – we were also saying goodbye forever to our smiley and mischievous classmate, Yiannis Klitou,” said Paraschou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [10] Communication lines open

    By a Staff Reporter

    SOME 22,000 calls were made from the government-controlled areas to Turkey in the first week since landline communications were restored on May 2, after 29 years but oddly less than 10,000 of those were directed at the Turkish Cypriot side.

    According to a press release from the Communications and Works Ministry 21, 995 calls were made to Turkey and 5,987 were answered.

    There were 9,410 calls made to the north via Turkey and 3,571 were answered, the release said. Just over 4,058 calls were made through the UN switchboard, the previous method of calling the north.

    Calls made via Turkey are charged at international rates and through the UN at local rates from the Greek Cypriot side.

    In the north, 1,456 Turkish Cypriots made calls to the government- controlled areas through the UN.

    The reopening of telecommunications took place after the government announced a series of measures for Turkish Cypriots on April 30.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [11] Papadopoulos holds firm on solution stance

    By Jean Christou

    THE PARTIAL lifting of travel restrictions by the Turkish Cypriot side, which began last month, is not even a ‘step’ towards a Cyprus settlement, President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday.

    Papadopoulos also said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s only aims are eliminating the UN plan and that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan never had a different policy on Cyprus than the usual one followed by Ankara.

    ''The Greek Cypriot side, in spite of Denktash's attempt to impose his position that the question of Cyprus was solved in 1974 and that what remains to be settled is to implement measures for good neighbourliness. We will not cease to stress that these measures are not even a step towards a political settlement,'' Papadopoulos told reporters.

    The President said UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan would be ready to undertake a new initiative if the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides accept his plan without terms, something he would consider real proof of political will on their part to proceed with a solution and fix dates for a referendum on the plan.

    ''We have repeatedly communicated our positions to the Secretary-general. The changes we wish to have in the peace plan are outlined in writing in a document I have submitted to him,'' Papadopoulos said.

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday they would welcome the involvement of the EU in efforts for a new Cyprus initiative to be undertaken.

    “We expect there will be an involvement to an extent, based on decisions to be taken by the Council,” he said adding that the EU “supports, monitors and strengthens” the negotiating framework but does not become involved directly and in a leading manner in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem. ''To the degree that it is possible for the EU itself, any involvement is welcome.” He added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [12] De Soto: I’m still on the case

    By Jean Christou

    U.N. SPECIAL Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto yesterday denied he was being taken off the Cyprus desk and assigned to other duties.

    Turkish Cypriot press quoted Denktash as saying De Soto would be given other duties and wished the envoy every success.

    However speaking from New York, De Soto told the Cyprus Mail the reports were untrue and said he was still “on top” of the Cyprus issue. He said if Secretary-general Kofi Annan assigned him to other duties then he would be more than happy to comply but this was not the case, he said.

    De Soto also commented on statements by Foreign Minister George Iacovou on Monday that the UN Security Council and the EU were not well informed on the Annan plan.

    “I don’t know why he suggested that,” De Soto said adding that both the Security Council and the EU were extremely well informed from both the website and hard copies. “I don’t know where this is coming from. It’s all readily available and clear. Iacovou is slightly off the mark,” De Soto added.

    “I am puzzled by the statement because the Annan plan is in the public domain and was discussed in long sessions with the Security Council and they were all extremely well informed.”

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday defended Iavocou’s statements saying that he was sure the Minister had his own information and views. “The Annan plan is a bulky plan and legal document and it would be impossible for anyone to know it to the full extent unless they studied it in depth,” he said. “There are various aspects that may be unknown to people the Foreign Minister talks to.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [13] Cypriot deputies sit in on EU parliament

    By a Staff Reporter

    SIX CYPRIOT representatives are to participate in the European Parliament for the first time in history. Since the April 16 signing of the European Union Accession Treaty in Athens, 162 deputies from the ten new member states have joined the Parliament as observers year to familiarise themselves with the work involved.

    Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament, welcomed the new Parliamentary Observers last night in Strasbourg.

    “This unprecedented gathering of parliamentarians in Strasbourg today marks a special moment on our shared pathway to our old continent’s rendezvous with an exciting new chapter in our history,” he said.

    The six Cypriot deputies/observers are Doros Christodoulides and Eleni Mavrou from AKEL, who will be joining the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (EUL/NGL), Panayiotis Demetriou and Dimitris Syllouris from DISY, have joined the European People's Party/ European Democrats (EPP/ED), Marios Matsakis from DIKO, has the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) and Vassos Lyssaridis from KISOS, who has joined the European Socialist Party. The distribution of the Observers among the European Parliament political groups is provisional and may change.

    After May 1, 2004, the new states will be able to appoint full-fledged members of the Parliament for a few weeks until the Europe-wide elections in June.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [14] New Deputy Police Chief

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos appointed Charalambos Koulentis as Second-in- Command of the police force yesterday, declaring the government’s aim to uphold meritocracy and rid the force of any political party dependence.

    Koulentis joined the police force in 1968, serving in various posts throughout his career. In 2002 he was promoted to one of the four positions available for Deputy Chief of Police. The 56-year-old Koulentis succeeds Andreas Stephanou, who retired from the post of Second-in-Command a few days ago.

    Papadopoulos said he had to make a difficult decision because there were three other equally suitable candidates but chose Koulentis to safeguard stability and continuity in the police force. He stated that the government’s aim was “to rid, to the degree possible, the police of any political party dependence,” both regarding administration and promotions.

    “We want to restore the prestige of the police on the highest possible level,” said Papadopoulos, adding that the image of the police must be that of “a servant of the people, the whole of society, and not a servant of those in power”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [15] Larnaca port ‘ready by 2006’

    By Sofia Kannas

    THE GOVERNMENT will invite tenders for the redevelopment of Larnaca port later this year, An official at the Communications and Works Ministry said yesterday.

    The plan to turn Larnaca port into the island’s main cruise centre was mooted last year when the first bidders’ conference took place, after the government invited proposals for the redevelopment scheme. Larnaca port has been in decline for several years now with container traffic dwindling significantly in the last decade.

    Alecos Michaelides, Chief Executive Engineer at the Public Works Department, confirmed yesterday that preparations to commence the transformation of the port would soon be underway.

    “Right now we are at the stage of pre-qualification – the (tender) documents will be submitted after mid-September,” he said. “Once we have these documents we need to evaluate them and then invite final tenders. We won’t be able to invite final tenders before the beginning of 2004.”

    If all goes to plan, by 2006, Larnaca should take over from Limassol as Cyprus’ main cruise centre.”

    “It will be a cruise port, mainly,” Michaelides said. “The main change will be that the port side will be made bigger, and the turning circle will be made bigger than the one we have today. There will also be development of the land side.”

    He emphasised the government was open to suggestions regarding the layout of the proposed centre, adding that it was difficult to calculate the project’s final cost.

    “There is some flexibility – the interested parties will be free to send us their own proposals, so we cannot tell what the cost will be.”

    “Tenders will be invited from foreign and local consortia,” he added.

    Meanwhile, port-workers in Limassol are undecided whether they will stage a 24-hour strike tomorrow.

    A Limassol port manager confirmed that representatives from port workers’ unions were expected to meet with port authorities yesterday or today.

    “The syndicates are going to discuss the matter with the General Manager and the Board of Directors – but we don’t know what the decision will be yet,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    [16] Former AG to undergo major heart surgery in Cyprus

    By Alexia Saoulli

    FORMER ATTORNEY-general Alecos Markides will undergo coronary by-pass surgery at the American Heart Institute in Nicosia today. This is the first time a high profile public figure will undergo surgery of this scale in Cyprus, his cardiologist Dr Pambis Nicolaides confirmed yesterday.

    Following an angiogram at Nicosia general hospital’s cardiology unit last Friday, Markides’ doctors detected two of his arteries were partially blocked and required immediate surgery.

    “The most important thing is because the problem was detected and diagnosed early, there was no damage to his heart muscle,” said Nicolaides. “I believe he will make a full recovery.”

    Despite rumours that the 60-year-old was due to fly abroad for the procedure, Nicolaides said Markides decided put his faith in local doctors and to have the operation at the American Heart Institute, which is based at the Apollonion Private Hospital in Nicosia.

    In March 2000 the Health Ministry and the American Heart Institute signed a cooperation agreement, which provides Cyprus with assistance by the institute in the field of open-heart surgery operations. The American Heart Institute offers high quality services in terms of equipment and medical staff, equalling any other European heart centre.

    “This was his own decision. We were scheduled to fly to St Mary’s Hospital in London this afternoon (yesterday) and Mr Markides decided he wanted to have the operation here. I say ‘well done’ to him because we have very good doctors here,” he said.

    The former Attorney-general is only the second high-profile figure to undergo surgery in Cyprus and the first to have an operation of this scale. It is expected to last four to five hours and will be carried out by cardiac surgeon Dr Marinos Soteriou. Nicolaides will also be present in the operating theatre.

    Just over three years ago, on May 5, 2000, former President Glafcos Clerides underwent successful surgery to remove a polyp growth from his large intestine at Evangelistria clinic in Nicosia. Unlike Markides’ procedure, doctors said Clerides’ surgery was a “routine” operation. He left the clinic 10 days later and recovered fully within six weeks.

    Five days after Clerides’ operation, Cyprus’ former EU Chief Negotiator and President of the United Democrats party, George Vassiliou, underwent surgery at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London to remove a benign brain tumour on his cerebellum. He returned to Cyprus a month later.

    Earlier in the same year, late House President and President of the Republic, Spyros Kyprianou, had flown to St Mary’s in London for emergency surgery, following complications just weeks after undergoing a double- bypass operation at Cleveland Clinic in the United States.

    And in March 1999, AKEL Secretary-general and House President Demetris Christofias, also underwent open-heart surgery at St Mary’s. He stayed in the UK about a fortnight. Later that year, on August 12, Christofias had a kidney transplant at the same hospital. On that occasion he remained in London a month and was treated as an outpatient.

    Finally, in January this year, just before the presidential elections, incumbent President Tassos Papadopoulos’ political party, DIKO, rubbished rumours claiming he could not speak due to a throat condition, which required an operation. Instead they said he was suffering from “acute laryngitis together with a heavy cold”.

    But, just two months later, Papadopoulos flew to the United States for unspecified health problems. This was in spite of the government’s initial claims he was going for his “annual private medical check-up”. The government later changed its story and said Papadopoulos received treatment on his vocal cords, which has since limited the use of his voice and reduced it to a hoarse whisper. Rumours have suggested the president is suffering from cancer.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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