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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-11

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, June 11, 2003


  • [01] Weston vows to keep up the pressure on Denktash
  • [02] Hannay: Denktash can forget a two-state solution
  • [03] Papadopoulos insists no new taxes to plug deficit
  • [04] Church strives for unity to heal bitter divisions
  • [05] English School offers 20 places for Turkish Cypriots
  • [06] Sparks fly over Hellas Jet
  • [07] Man held for spate of icon thefts
  • [08] Most Cypriots would be willing to support bi-communal party

  • [01] Weston vows to keep up the pressure on Denktash

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE U.S. SPECIAL envoy on Cyprus vowed yesterday to put pressure on the Turkish Cypriots to reconsider their rejection of the Kofi Annan peace plan and let the island enter the European Union reunited next year.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was widely blamed for the collapse of the direct talks in March after he refused to accept the land and population transfers sought in the plan.

    Even without a settlement, the European Union intends to admit Cyprus on May 1, 2004 -- a move that could wreck Turkey's own ambitions to open accession talks with the bloc.

    "(A settlement) requires a lot of work and contact between the United States, the European Union, EU member states and others," Washington's envoy Thomas Weston told reporters after talks with senior EU officials in Brussels.

    "We are still in a situation where we have to overcome a tremendous amount of distrust... But I see a chance (for an agreement) and I think we all have to work for it," he said.

    Weston will have further talks on Cyprus in the coming days in Rome, Athens, Ankara and in Nicosia with the leaders of both communities.

    "A solution to the Cyprus problem can only help Turkey's own relations with and advancement towards the EU," he said.

    The European Union has offered the Turkish Cypriots an aid package and has eased trade restrictions in a bid to bring them on board. Denktash immediately rejected the aid.

    Asked whether Denktash was the biggest obstacle to a settlement, Weston said: "The main stumbling block is that there is too much history on the island of Cyprus."

    He praised the Turkish Cypriot decision in April to relax restrictions on the movement of people across a Green Line, but added: "These measures are not a substitute for a settlement and don't diminish the need for a settlement." (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [02] Hannay: Denktash can forget a two-state solution

    By a Staff Reporter

    A CYPRUS settlement can never be based on the idea of two states on the island, Lord David Hannay, Britain’s former Special Envoy for Cyprus said yesterday, expressing the hope that the island’s political leadership would realise the advantages of a solution and return to the negotiating table.

    In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) after his resignation from the Cyprus post last week, Hannay said the parties involved in the Cyprus problem needed to realise that general statements expressing willingness to continue negotiations were “not enough” to persuade UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan to reengage in the peace effort.

    Hannay said it was Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s insistence on a two-state solution that had frustrated the UN effort and brought the latest search for a solution to deadlock in The Hague in March.

    “Denktash to the very end was saying he did not want to live in the same house as the Greek Cypriots, he wanted a second house, he wanted two houses and a little corridor between the two houses which he could control,” he told CNA.

    Hannay said he did not believe a settlement was possible on the basis wanted by Denktash and stressed a solution based on two states was simply not on the cards.

    “I do not think it ever has been and I do not see any circumstances in which it ever will be. One has to look towards a reunited Cyprus, albeit one in which the two people will run their own day-to-day affairs for everything like health, education and police and transport, each on their own without interference from the other, but they will do certain things in common.

    “This is what the Annan plan provided, a common house in which the two Cypriot people could live in security and increasing prosperity within the EU, but at the same time recognising there are a lot of things they would do separately and they would not interfere with each other in the way they did in the previous Cyprus established in 1960.”

    He agreed with Annan that the current circumstances provided insufficient grounds for a new UN initiative. “Unfortunately, so far there has not been much of a response on the specifics of what the Secretary-general has said, although there have been some general statements of willingness to continue the negotiations. It is necessary for all concerned to grasp that that will not be enough, it will not persuade the Secretary-general to reengage with a reasonable certainty that reengagement will lead to a positive outcome.”

    Nevertheless, he remained optimistic that there was still time for peace talks so that a reunited Cyprus could join the EU bloc in May 2004, warning the status quo was unstable and unsatisfactory, and that there were “real risks and dangers in the assumption that things can go on as they are”.

    “In reality they are not going on as they are. The opening up of the Green Line has indeed begun to change things. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can get on together. The idea that the status quo is something everyone can rely on has been shown to be not very solid; one has to go on very firmly to get a settlement but just now prospects are not terribly brilliant,” he told the news agency.

    Hannay stepped down as Britain’s special envoy last Wednesday and the British government decided not to replace him in the light of the current deadlock.

    Hannay admitted that, “at the moment, there is not a big contribution one can make”. He said he believed he had made a “bit of a contribution”, but a comeback on Cyprus was not on the cards for him.

    “I think it would be unwise to work on that assumption,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [03] Papadopoulos insists no new taxes to plug deficit

    By George Psyllides

    PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday insisted the government had no plans to impose new taxes to cover the £270 million in dues left behind by the previous administration.

    The issue has sparked bitter exchanges between the government and the opposition, with both sides blaming each other for the poor state of the island’s finances.

    It all started when Central Bank Governor Christodoulos Christodoulou warned last month that the fiscal deficit was spiralling out of control and that the government would have to take unpopular measures to bridge the gap.

    But with no new taxes in the pipeline, the opposition challenged the government to say where the money would come from to cover the supplementary budget of around £300 million expected to be submitted for approval to the Cabinet today.

    Papadopoulos, however, repeated that no new taxes would be imposed.

    “We will proceed on the basis of the financial facts of the country; all these (claims concerning new taxes) are cheap arguments because the opposition have no answers other than to make people worried that we will tax them,” Papadopoulos said.

    He said the government was still applying the budget drawn up by its predecessors and it was its duty to give a correct and precise report of the financial condition it had inherited so the public could draw their own conclusions later on.

    Papadopoulos pointed out that when the House approved certain funds they should be paid at the time of approval and payments should not be postponed for the next year.

    The new government, which took over in March, accused it predecessors of leaving £270 million in dues to be paid this year.

    Papadopoulos rubbished accusations that his administration had managed to wreck the economic indicators in just three months since it took over.

    Authorities now fear the fiscal deficit could rise to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year, the highest since 1998 and well above the three per cent ceiling set by the EU’s Maastricht criteria for single currency membership.

    Finance Minister Marcos Kyprianou said yesterday that the £300 million in commitments made by the previous cabinet without House approval would be tabled before the Cabinet today.

    Kyprianou said the forecasts presented by the previous government to the European Union were wrong and that the new government needed a long time to explain to the EU why they had the wrong forecasts.

    “We think that cooking the books is a third world practice; we give a real picture with transparency,” the minister added.

    Kyprianou ruled out the possibility of the EU imposing sanctions on Cyprus over the affair.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [04] Church strives for unity to heal bitter divisions

    By a Staff Reporter

    IN AN effort to restore unity in the Church of Cyprus, all the island’s bishops will today conduct a liturgy together, while a second such function has been scheduled for the end of the month.

    The decision was taken by the Holy Synod on Monday, following months of bitter fighting among bishops over the succession of the ailing Archbishop.

    The Synod’s secretary, father Marios Georghiou, said the first joint liturgy would be held today at Saint Barnabas church in Dasoupolis in Nicosia while the second was scheduled for June 29, the feast of Saint Paul.

    Georghiou said some problems had arisen for the second liturgy because of bishops’ prior arrangements, though they would try to iron them out in order to hold the liturgy in Paphos.

    Georghiou said the Holy Synod had on Monday examined financial issues; according to press reports yesterday, a huge deficit in the Kykkos monastery balance sheet had drawn criticism from the majority of bishops.

    Politis reported yesterday that the monastery’s balance sheet has shown huge, unexplained deficits, most of which were justified as operating expenses.

    Most members of the Holy Synod wondered how a monastery could incur such high operating costs, which surpassed the operating costs of the Archbishopric.

    For 2001, Kykkos monastery showed a deficit of £1.1 million, while 2002 was even worse with the deficit rising to £3 million.

    The daily said 70 per cent of the deficit concerned the second half of the year, a period when an unofficial election campaign for the archbishop’s succession had been in full swing.

    The Synod has since decided it will not hold any elections for as long as the Archbishop is still alive.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [05] English School offers 20 places for Turkish Cypriots

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE ENGLISH School announced yesterday it had 20 places available for Turkish Cypriot students in Years 2, 3, 4 and 6.

    Candidates for places at the school should complete a registration form available from the school office, or which can be downloaded from the school website at by June 23. Late entrance examinations for Years 2, 3 and 4 will be held at the school on June 6. Candidates for Year 6 will be interviewed in early September.

    Parents and students interested in finding out more about the school are invited to attend the English language Orientation Evening on June 19 at 6pm, in the School Hall. For non-English speakers, representatives from Turkish Cypriot teaching unions KTOS and KTOEOS will be present to translate.

    The English School was a bi-communal school since its foundation in 1900 and, until 1974, had a substantial number of Turkish Cypriot students. The school has repeatedly stated that it will accommodate Turkish Cypriot students as soon as they are able to attend, with the government covering the cost of fees. For Years 2 and 3 the fees are £2,590, for Year 4 they are £2,620 and for Year 6 they are £2,675.

    For more information contact the Head Teacher on 22-799302 or email

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [06] Sparks fly over Hellas Jet

    By Alexia Saoulli

    COMMUNICATION Minister Kikis Kazamias and former Cyprus Airways chairman Harris Loizides yesterday locked horns over recent government criticism of the handling of Hellas Jet, the national carrier’s new Greek subsidiary.

    Cyprus Airways set up Hellas Jet after it abandoned a bid to take over Olympic Airways. Hellas Jet is 49 per cent owned by Cyprus Airways, while Alpha Bank and Omega Bank hold the remaining 51 per cent. It will initially link Athens to London, Paris, Brussels and Zurich.

    Kazamias yesterday accused Loizides of delaying securing operating permission from the Greek civil aviation authority by 10 weeks, adding that his Greek counterpart, Christos Verelis, had expressed annoyance with the way in which Cyprus Airways, under Loizides, had dealt with the operational acquisition procedures.

    But Loizides rejected the minister’s criticism and said the company, under his chairmanship, had followed standard procedures to the letter.

    “The creation of an airline, as in all European countries, involves adhering to specific prerequisites before licence permission is granted. These include hiring trained personnel, the creation of maintenance settings and ensuring flight security settings. To fulfil all these conditions an airline, which is under formation, must follow certain procedures, such as hiring staff. And the staff hired under my chairmanship were for the most part Greek civil aviation staff, so that we could submit our licence of operation application,” he said.

    Loizides also questioned the claim that Greek Communication Minister Verelis had expressed displeasure at the way Cyprus Airways had handled the licensing procedures. “But even if he did say something (to Kazamias) it was in confidence and never should have been publicised,” he added.

    The former Cyprus Airways chairman, who recently resigned, went on to ridicule Kazamias for announcing on Saturday that the aircraft operator’s licence (AOC) would be issued within a few days or hours, when in fact it had already been issued by the Greek civil aviation authorities the day before.

    Kazamias hit back and said he had not been informed that Hellas Jet had secured its AOC licence on Friday because Cyprus Airways had only received positive confirmation on Monday.

    “Besides, I was in Luxembourg at the time and whether he (Loizides) had his own different sources is of no concern to me,” Kazamias said.

    “We have secured the aircraft operator’s license, which is the hardest to acquire. The second stage is the securing of the commercial licence, again by the civil aviation authority,” he said. Once both licences are approved, the Communications Minister will sign the agreement and Hellas Jet will be operational.

    However, he reiterated his criticism of Loizides’ handling of the whole enterprise and called on him to admit he had made a mistake, saying Hellas Jet should have been granted its AOC 10 weeks ago and not now in the middle of the summer season.

    Kazamias could not confirm when the remaining two stages would take place nor when the airline would be up and running. “We will start flight routes as soon as possible, but we have no definite date yet. Cyprus Airways deals with that and will keep us informed,” he said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [07] Man held for spate of icon thefts

    By a Staff Reporter

    A LARNACA court yesterday remanded a 57-year-old man in custody for eight days on suspicion of stealing and selling church icons.

    Police sergeant Costas Michael said Kofinou police station was investigating Argyro Demetriou from Paliometocho in Nicosia on suspicion of breaking into churches, stealing icons and illegal possession of church icons during the period May 30 to June 8.

    According to police, an icon worth £150 was recently stolen from Ayia Paraskevi chapel in Choirokoitia. On June 4, the suspect allegedly tried to sell the icon to car salesman Costakis Nicolaou in Larnaca for £20. Nicolaou, suspecting something was wrong, bought the icon and took it to Kiti Archbishopric, where it was determined to be the stolen icon. On June 8, Demetriou showed up at Kofinou police station for an unrelated matter and was arrested in connection with the icon theft.

    During his interrogation he allegedly took police officers out to his car and showed them another 18 icons he had stashed away. The court heard he was unable to give a coherent answer as to where they had come from and police plan to ask church experts and priests for help.

    The court also heard Demetriou had been separated from his wife for 15 days and had been involved in similar offences in the past. He also has psychological problems and was an alcoholic with no permanent address, sleeping in his car the past fortnight, the court was told.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 11, 2003

    [08] Most Cypriots would be willing to support bi-communal party

    By a Staff Reporter

    A MAJORITY of Cypriots - Greek and Turkish - would be willing to support a party that appealed to both communities, a survey has shown.

    The survey, published in Politis yesterday, found that 55 per cent of Greek Cypriots and 37.5 per cent of Turkish Cypriots would be prepared to join a bi-communal party whose aim would be to express the trend of rapprochement between the two communities.

    Twenty-eight per cent of Greek Cypriots said they would not join such a party, compared to 46 per cent of Turkish Cypriots - most of whom Politis suggested were settlers from the Turkish mainland.

    Asked which part of the island enjoyed more democracy, 98 per cent of Greek Cypriots said the south.

    The majority of Turkish Cypriots agreed, though 35 per cent said the occupied north was more democratic.

    Politis, however, suggested that the 28 per cent of Turkish Cypriots who did not answer the question also agreed there was more democracy in the south, but were unwilling to say so because the interview was over the phone.

    The majorities of both Greek (72 per cent) and Turkish (73 per cent) Cypriots said they had no problem with going out to the same places or working in the same jobs as members of the other community.

    Thirty years of division have, however, taken their toll.

    This is clearly indicated in the number of Greek Cypriots who said they had no Turkish Cypriot friends - 82 per cent - and vice versa - 59 per cent.

    Interestingly, 34 per cent of Turkish Cypriots said they would not mind their children marrying Greek Cypriots compared to 24 per cent of their Greek counterparts.

    Turkish Cypriots were also ahead when asked whether they would agree to live under Greek Cypriot administration should there be a federal solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Thirty-three per cent said they would live in the Greek Cypriot component state, compared to 13 per cent of Greek Cypriots who said they would live under Turkish Cypriot administration.

    Seventy-four per cent of Greek Cypriots, however, said they would live in a mixed environment, compared to 56 per cent of Turkish Cypriots.

    The survey was carried out between June 2 and 6 on behalf of Politis by Amer Nielsen in the south and Kadem in the north.

    The sample was of 700 Greek and 600 Turkish Cypriots randomly selected and interviewed by phone.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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