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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, June 5, 2003


  • [01] Hannay steps down from Cyprus job
  • [02] Thirty in a house: neighbours complain of hygiene nightmare
  • [03] Peyia mail chaos continues despite post office pledge
  • [04] Strovilia residents told to get power from the north
  • [05] Unemployment inches up, but still low
  • [06] Cabinet decides to slash airport VIP list
  • [07] Three held over drug seizure

  • [01] Hannay steps down from Cyprus job

    By Jean Christou

    LORD David Hannay, Britain’s special envoy for Cyprus since 1996, has bowed out of the island’s political problem and will not be replaced unless the need arises, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announced to the House of Commons yesterday.

    Straw said that in the light of recent developments in the Cyprus problem, Britain had been reviewing the arrangements for ensuring an active British input into Cyprus diplomacy.

    “For seven years, our contribution has been led with great distinction by Lord Hannay as special representative,” Straw said. However, he added that both he and Prime Minister Tony Blair had accepted Hannay’s recommendation that his term should end with effect from yesterday.

    “And I have decided for the time being at least, not to make any further appointment of this kind,” Straw said in a written announcement issued both in London and Nicosia.

    The British Foreign Secretary said that the announcement of Hannay’s withdrawal “ in no way indicates a weakening of the government’s determination to work with others under the aegis of the UN to find a solution to the Cyprus problem”.

    “Should events again make it appropriate for a Special Representative to be appointed, the government will not hesitate to do so,” he said.

    “The search for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem has been and remains a high priority for the government. But in the light of recent developments, we have been reviewing the arrangements for ensuring an active British input into Cyprus diplomacy.”

    Straw was referring to the collapse of the Cyprus talks in The Hague in March, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to put a solution plan drawn up by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan to a referendum in the north. Denktash’s stance angered diplomats such as Hannay and UN special Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto, who had worked around the clock to broker a deal before Cyprus signed the EU treaty in Athens in April.

    Referring to Hannay’s mission, Straw said the British envoy had worked “with enormous professionalism and dedication in support of the United Nations to bring peace, security and prosperity to Cyprus in the form of a comprehensive settlement so as to enable a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union in 2004”.

    “Lord Hannay’s support and advice during his time as Special Representative - invaluable here in London, but also singled out for praise by the UN Secretary-General and many of our international partners - have brought this country great credit,” Straw said.

    Commenting on the Cyprus issue, Straw said: “For reasons set out in the subsequent report by the UN Secretary-General and endorsed in UN Security Council Resolution 1475, this final effort ended in failure, for which the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Denktash, bore the prime responsibility. It is the British government’s firm view that the Annan Plan remains the best way forward.”

    Straw added: “The House will understand that this announcement in no way indicates a weakening of the government’s determination to work with others under the aegis of the UN to find a solution to the Cyprus Problem.”

    British High Commission spokesman Stuart Summers told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that Straw had been quite clear that Hannay’s withdrawal should not be taken as an indication that Britain was less serious about the Cyprus problem.

    “It is tied in with Annan’s judgement on taking no new imitative,” Summers said. “The issue will be left open.”

    Summers it would be “business as usual” for Britain’s Cyprus desks in London, Nicosia and Ankara, “which will continue to facilitate any settlement”. “But the post of special representative will not be recreated unless circumstances decree it,” he said.

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the matter was an internal issue for Britain. ‘The government is satisfied by the statement that it does not imply a lessening of the British interest to contribute in efforts to promote a solution to the Cyprus problem,” Chrysostomides said. He said the Cyprus government had not been consulted on the move.

    “The issue has no substantial effect in efforts to promote procedures to solve the Cyprus problem,” he added.

    Kofi Annan repeated yesterday that he would not be taking a new initiative on Cyprus until he received signals from both sides that they were ready.

    “We have not given up on Cyprus,” Annan said in New York.

    He said he was prepared to work with the parties but wanted to see genuine political will to make progress.

    “And I think both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots as well as the motherlands are looking into prospects for pressing ahead with the process. But I will wait to see the signal that both sides are ready,” Annan said.

    Annan’s spokesman Fred Eckhard told journalists that the Secretary-general has no plans to send De Soto back to Cyprus any time soon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, June 5, 2003

    [02] Thirty in a house: neighbours complain of hygiene nightmare

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    OVERCROWDED, rundown houses filled with foreign students and workers are raising serious health concerns for people living within the Nicosia city walls.

    According to one parking attendant, the situation has got so bad that tenants are filling buckets with human waste and dumping them on his parking lot.

    “They use buckets as toilets and empty them everywhere,” said Andreas Zimarides, manager of a small parking lot on the corner of Vassiliou Voulgaroctonou and Arsinois Streets. “They cram into these houses, sometimes 30 in each one. When they are too many for one bathroom, they deposit all their waste, human and rubbish, on my parking lot, bringing an onslaught of flies,” he said.

    The row of dilapidated houses and shop windows on Arsinois Street in the old town has become a popular location for Asian workers and students, given its centrality and proximity to other immigrant communities.

    However, the houses are in a serious state of decline. Many share damp floors and decaying walls and as the tenants bring in more tenants to cut the rent, living conditions get worse and worse.

    One three-bedroom house held 30 tenants, while the landlord had only rented it out to 10. Another house had 10 tenants sharing one bathroom, leading to many showering in the yard with a hosepipe or urinating in buckets and emptying them outside. Between the houses, broken-down and abandoned shops are used as sleeping quarters.

    Petros Kassabis sublets one of the houses to Asian workers and students. “I book four in a room but then they bring all their mates. Once we found 60 in one house,” said Kassabis. “They say they are just visiting. It doesn’t matter how many times I kick them out they always bring more. The girls are much cleaner than the boys though,” he added.

    Head of Health Services for Nicosia Municipality, Philipos Petsas, told the Cyprus Mail that he was aware of the situation and had informed Immigration of the huge number of foreigners on the street. “Immigration will be investigating whether there are any illegal immigrants on the street,” he said.

    “Meanwhile, the Health Services have already visited the houses and instructed tenants to take greater hygiene measures. We have also warned the owner to adopt a more supervisory role,” said Petsas.

    Asked what action could be taken by the Health Services if the problem continued, Petsas replied: “We can only go after the owner if he fails to perform his duties, like not provide a sewage disposal system in working order. But if the tenants do not take heed of our hygiene measures, then our only option is to take them to court for ‘nuisance’. This is not so simple because we have to provide evidence that there was a danger to the health and safety of neighbours.”

    According to Petsas, no housing law exists to limit the number of people in a house. “If they continue to create conditions that endanger the health of others, then it is our obligation to take measures,” he said.

    Emilios Emmanuel is the owner of the block of houses on that corner, as well as owning a substantial amount of property within the Nicosia walls. He held a different view on the situation.

    “I encourage foreigners to rent in the old town as a direct reaction to the municipality’s behaviour. Now, it has reached the point where they are dropping their waste in the streets. This is a problem for the whole of old Nicosia,” he said. Emmanuel applied for planning permission in 2001 to transform the block into a hotel with two restaurants.

    According to Emmanuel, the municipality refused to review his application, citing a moratorium imposed that year on new nightclubs and eateries. “They won’t let me redo the houses because I will be adding restaurants. But they are letting nightclubs open up all over the old town. Some are even scared that I want to open up a bordello,” he added. “Nobody seems to care about the state of the old town. I want to do something about it but they won’t let me.”

    The property owner maintained that until he could get planning permission to build on his properties, he would continue to rent to non-Cypriots.

    “Cypriots are not interested in renting in the old town. They don’t see the value of it. And once they rent for more than a month, they become ‘sitting tenants’, meaning it is impossible to get rid of them,” he said. “I spent over £100,000 on compensation for Cypriot tenants to leave that block because I thought they were going to grant me planning permission. And they didn’t.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, June 5, 2003

    [03] Peyia mail chaos continues despite post office pledge

    By Tania Khadder

    PEYIA residents still aren’t getting their mail, despite insistence from the Paphos post office and the central post office that the situation there has been sorted out.

    One British resident living in the Paphos village called the Cyprus Mail yesterday morning and said it had been six weeks since she last got her mail.

    “Some people are getting it but we haven’t received anything,” the 50-year- old woman said. “I’m waiting for my phone and electricity bills, an income tax rebate, and even some things my mother sent me.”

    But both the Paphos district officer, Andreas Philippou, and the central post office manager, Soteris Avgustos, insisted yesterday afternoon that residents were receiving all of their mail, including delayed mail. When asked specifically about the resident who had complained, he suggested that perhaps the woman hadn’t been sent any mail in the past six weeks.

    When the Peyia postman quit in April, the postal service was left in shambles and people were forced to search through piles of mail left at the old Co-op Bank building without any organisation or security. After one month without mail, two new postmen were hired and things were said to be back on track.

    But the British woman said yesterday the Paphos post office had told her the new postmen could not read addresses written in English.

    She called back later in the afternoon to say that her husband, who had gone to the Paphos Municipality searching for answers in the morning, had been told to go to an unnamed coffee shop and talk to “the man in the corner” to find his mail. He went and was reunited with at least some of his mail.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, June 5, 2003

    [04] Strovilia residents told to get power from the north

    By Sofia Kannas

    RESIDENTS of the Green Line checkpoint village of Strovilia have been told by authorities in the occupied north to apply to them for electricity, water and telephone lines, British Bases Police confirmed yesterday.

    The government this week voiced its concern over “new Turkish violations of the status quo” in Strovilia. Following a meeting on the issue with British High Commissioner Lyn Parker on Tuesday, Foreign Minister George Iacovou told journalists that Turkey was violating the status quo by widening a road in the area, thereby disrupting the electricity supply of families living near the checkpoint. As a result of these actions, he said, residents in the area were being forced to submit application forms to the breakaway regime for a telephone connection, water and electricity supply.

    Greek Cypriot residents of three houses in Strovilia were earlier quoted as saying they felt insecure after coming under pressure from the authorities in the north to apply for power.

    Assistant Chief of Police at the British Garrison in Dhekelia, Theodoros Tsiarlis, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) yesterday that two Greek Cypriot families living in Strovilia had been informed by Turkish Cypriot authorities that water, power and telephone lines could be cut due to improvement works near the checkpoint, adding that no such cuts had been made yet.

    He stressed, however, that the area in question did not fall within the jurisdiction of the bases, making any intervention by the bases impossible. Tsiarlis also denied reports that occupying forces had encroached on bases territory. He reiterated that no such violations had occurred, and said the status quo in the southeastern village had not changed since alterations were made two years ago.

    Police at a British base near Strovilia yesterday suggested the reports of Turkish violations had been exaggerated. They told the Cyprus Mail that the handful of Greek Cypriot families living in the area in question had not complained of cuts, adding that residents usually informed the bases of any problems with Turkish Cypriot authorities. Turkish Cypriot ‘police’ and taxi drivers at the checkpoint also denied that any disruption to power, water or phone lines had been made.

    But British High Commission spokesman Stuart Summers expressed British concern at the situation in Strovilia, adding that Britain’s stance on the issue remained the same as that expressed when occupying forces encroached on the village in 2000. He reassured that developments were being monitored closely, saying the British had already communicated with Turkish Cypriot authorities and the occupying forces on the subject.

    Referring to the issue yesterday, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides also stressed the severity of the situation.

    “It is a serious situation,” he said. “It is under examination and observation by the relevant state authorities.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, June 5, 2003

    [05] Unemployment inches up, but still low

    By a Staff Reporter

    UNEMPLOYMENT rose slightly in April, but Cyprus continues to have the best rate among acceding countries and the third best overall among the 25 EU member-states, according to Eurostat.

    The unemployment rate in Cyprus in April reached 4.3 per cent compared to 4.2 per cent in March, while the average rate in the EU was 8.1 per cent for both months.

    The rate of unemployment among men reached 3.2 per cent in April, compared to 3.1 per cent in March.

    It was higher among women with 5.7 per cent compared to 5.5 per cent the previous month.

    The average unemployment rate among men in EU member-states is 7.3 per cent and nine per cent for women, remaining at the same levels for the past two months.

    At the same time the average unemployment rate in acceding countries stood at 14.7 per cent.

    Poland has the highest unemployment of the 10 acceding countries with 20.2 per cent, followed by Slovakia at 16.9 per cent.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, June 5, 2003

    [06] Cabinet decides to slash airport VIP list

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE Cabinet yesterday decided to slash the number of people using Larnaca airport’s VIP lounge, and to set up a second lounge whose users would have to pay a fee.

    The current list had been the subject of heavy criticism in the past as it included - apart from the president and his family, the Archbishop, ministers and diplomats - a long list of senior government officials, House deputies, party leaders, former presidents and House presidents, senior judges and former senior judges and many more.

    In addition, there was an approved list of company directors entitled to VIP treatment when on state business and an obscure category of special personalities, which covered anyone the Cabinet wanted to place on the VIP list.

    To make things worse, local VIPs routinely caused problems by demanding and getting similar preferential treatment for family members.

    Yesterday, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the Cabinet had decided to split the authority for the VIP lounge between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Communications.

    “The Foreign Ministry will be responsible for the President of the Republic, his family, the Archbishop, the House president, the Supreme Court President, heads of diplomatic delegations, and the Communications Ministry for all the rest,” Chrysostomides said.

    He did not say who or how many people would now be eligible for the VIP lounge.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Thursday, June 5, 2003

    [07] Three held over drug seizure

    By a Staff Reporter

    THREE Limassol men were yesterday remanded in custody for five days on suspicion of possessing and trafficking one kilogram of cannabis.

    Around nine kilos of cannabis have been found in Limassol in the past two weeks.

    The latest seizure was made in a garage in the suburb of Zakaki after a tip off.

    Police had been told there would be a drugs sale on Monday night in a garage belonging to 36-year-old Costas Vasilliou, which was immediately placed under surveillance.

    It was approached by the two other suspects, Yiannakis Yiangou, 36, and Iakovos Polycarpou Sakkos, 30, at around 7pm.

    The two drove up and parked in front of the garage where Vasilliou was waiting for them.

    Yiangou walked to an adjacent open space where he picked up an object, which he placed under his t-shirt.

    He then joined the other two and all three suspects entered the garage.

    They were immediately followed by drug squad officers, who found the object apparently picked up by Yiangou lying on a counter.

    Police said it contained one kilo of cannabis wrapped in tape.

    The scene was cordoned off and officers continued their search with the help of dogs.

    The three refused to co-operate with police, who are looking for a fourth suspect and more drugs.

    Around nine kilos of cannabis have been seized by police in the past two weeks.

    Investigators did not rule out the drugs being linked to the discovery of over five kilos of cannabis a few days back.

    Two more kilos were found in the possession of two individuals currently in police custody.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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