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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-10-06

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cypriot officials to meet US businesspeople
  • [02] Bank of Cyprus to open office in Yugoslavia
  • [03] "Romantica" towed to Limassol port
  • [04] Ierodiakonou: Turkish measures against Cyprus ships dangerous
  • [05] Famagusta Mayor appeals to UN

  • 1100:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cypriot officials to meet US businesspeople

    Nicosia, Oct 6 (CNA) -- Cyprus' Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou and Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou flew to New York yesterday to join President Glafcos Clerides at a meeting tomorrow with US financial personalities.

    The meeting takes place at the initiative of US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke and will be attended by American personalities from the financial and banking sectors and prominent journalists.

    The aim of the gathering will be to promote Cyprus as a regional economic centre and attract investments and business activities either in Cyprus or through Cyprus to other countries, an official announcement said here Monday.

    Clerides is already in New York where today he will address the UN General Assembly.

    Before that, he will have meetings with UN Secretary-General and General Assembly President and will later lunch with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    Later this evening Clerides will meet Holbrooke to discuss developments in the Cyprus problem.

    CNA EC/GP/1997

    [02] Bank of Cyprus to open office in Yugoslavia

    Nicosia, Oct 6 (CNA) -- The Bank of Cyprus has decided to open a representative office in Yugoslavia, as part of its plans to make Cyprus an international centre for services.

    A bank statement said the decision was taken last week during a meeting of the Bank's Board of Directors and following its recent move to open a similar office in Moscow.

    "It is part of a wider vision of the Group to make Cyprus an international services centre", the statement added.

    The office will provide information to Yugoslav companies which plan to open offshore companies on the island and to help Cypriot and Greek businessmen to become active in the Balkans.

    CNA EC/GP/1997

    [03] "Romantica" towed to Limassol port

    Nicosia, Oct 6 (CNA) -- Cyprus-registered cruise liner "Romantica" ablaze off Cyprus was towed and just before midnight anchored next to southern Limassol port, after 700 people, mostly foreign tourists, were forced to safely evacuate it in the early hours of Saturday.

    A spokesman for the Marine Police told CNA today the 9.500-tonne vessel has anchored some 200 metres from the coast, off the dock, with a firefighter by its side.

    He said it did not seem to be still on fire, although smoke kept coming out from it. The firefighter continuously kept throwing water on the ship to avoid danger of a possible explosion from overheating, he added.

    The spokesman ruled out any danger of fuel leakage into the sea and clarified that investigations on the vessel have not yet started.

    It was immediately put under round the clock police guard while the authorities said an inquiry which started into the accident would be "thorough" and would "take time".

    "Romantica" with 487 passengers and 186 crew-members had been on its way to Limassol from Port Said, Egypt, when it caught fire on Saturday dawn some 70 nautical miles off Cyprus.

    Passengers and crew evacuated the ship safely in lifeboats and were picked up by another Cyprus-flagged cruise liner "Princessa Victoria", which had been 12 miles away. Others were winched to safety by British Air Force helicopters stationed at the British Base of Akrotiri.

    The operation to tow the burning ship started Saturday afternoon, stopped overnight, and resumed yesterday morning by a tug at a speed of 2 miles an hour due to strong winds and the fact that the fire rekindled and spread to its interior.

    Police spokesman Glafcos Xenos had said the boat was at a tilt of approximately 20 degrees and had sunk 12 feet, so it was towed to shallow waters to avoid it from sinking.

    The 298-cabin cruise liner was insured by Lloyds for 4 million US dollars, which covers damage to passenger and crew as well, owner Michalis Anastasiades of New Paradise Tours said.

    The vessel had been commissioned in 1939 and was fully reconstructed in 1988 and refurbished earlier this year. It was operated by Paradise Cruises since May.

    Despite its age, Anastasiades noted, the ship had never before had any problem, apart from a recent obstruction in drainage system by mussels that was repaired.

    He dismissed passengers' allegations for crew being slow to notify passengers of the incident and for lifeboats problems.

    The ship owner said the safe evacuation operation was a "feat" due to the proper expertise of the crew that acted with coolness and in coordination.

    Investigating officer, Nicos Economides, told Cyprus TV Sunday evening the passengers rescue operation was smooth and everything was carried out in compliance with maritime regulations.

    Officials said the vessel had complied with safety standards.

    Although the cause of the fire is still unclear, preliminary reports indicate it started at the chimney of the second engine.

    The crew, most of them foreigners, were yesterday questioned at the Merchant Shipping Department and said the fire broke out in the engine room.

    "Romantica's" passengers included 225 Russians, 120 Britons, 34 Hungarians, 22 Swedes, 21 Dutch, 18 Germans and smaller numbers from Poland and Norway. Six Cypriots were on board.

    CNA AP/GP/1997

    [04] Ierodiakonou: Turkish measures against Cyprus ships dangerous

    Nicosia, Oct 6 (CNA) -- Restrictive measures unilaterally introduced by Turkey against Cyprus ships is a dangerous precedent affecting international trade and transport.

    This was stated here today by Cyprus' Communications and Works Minister Leontios Ierodiakonou, addressing the "Maritime Cyprus 1997" Conference that opened in Nicosia.

    "You all know that Turkey has unilaterally introduced restrictive measures against Cyprus ships. This is a dangerous precedent and affects international trade and transport", Ierodiakonou warned.

    Pointing out that Turkish measures undermine the European Union policy for efficient, cost effective and safe transport in the Mediterranean, Ierodiakonou added:

    "We appeal that every effort should be made to persuade Turkey to abandon this unacceptable behaviour."

    Ierodiakonou stressed the Cyprus government is committed to enhance the quality of ships flying the Cyprus flag and is deeply concerned about safety and the protection of environment.

    Stressing the need for cooperation in order to upgrade standards, he noted that there is still "an unfortunate minority (of ship owners) who is unwilling or incapable to comply with our requirements".

    He referred to instances where survey standards are being compromised, stressing the intention not to allow such surveyors to perform on Cyprus flag ships.

    Ierodiakonou also said reports for deficiencies of Cyprus ships would be investigated and followed up.

    Opening the conference, Acting President of the Republic, House President, Spyros Kyprianou, said Cyprus is an important shipping centre and would continue to develop as such through cooperation of state and private initiative.

    "The international standards which we wish to ensure for our shipping will be further strengthened by the legal framework of the European Union of which Cyprus aspires to become a full member soon", Kyprianou added.

    During the opening ceremony, attended by more than 1000 delegates from over 30 countries, Zenon Katsourides, member of the Cyprus Shipping Council Executive Committee, was awarded the Cyprus Maritime Prize, in recognition of his services.

    The conference ends on Thursday, October 9.

    CNA MCH/GP/1997

    [05] Famagusta Mayor appeals to UN

    Nicosia, Oct 6 (CNA) -- Famagusta Municipality has appealed to the UN to intervene in Cyprus and safeguard human rights and basic freedoms grossly violated by Turkey since its 1974 invasion and occupation of Cyprus' northern third.

    The appeal was made in a telegram by refugee Famagusta Mayor, Andreas Pougiouros, to the UN Secretary-General, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the head of the delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus.

    It follows fresh Turkish threats to colonise the town of Varosha (Famagusta) in reply to a decision by the internationally-recognised government of Cyprus to purchase Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    Famagusta belongs to its lawful residents and it should be returned to them without delay, according to UN Security Council resolution 550, Pougiouros said in his message.

    He called on the UN to put an end to the illegal settlement of Turks on the island and dynamically intervene to stop the "law of the jungle" imposed by Turkey on the island since 1974.

    A part of Famagusta has been fenced since the invasion and remains uninhabited. It is controlled by Turkish troops and used by the Turkish Cypriot regime as a bargaining tool in negotiations.

    UN Security Council resolution 550 of 1984 "considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United nations".

    CNA EC/GP/1997
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