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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-06-04

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus Airways staff call off strike
  • [02] Bank of Cyprus opens New York, Moscow offices
  • [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange
  • [04] EU task force says progress with Cyprus is "smooth"
  • [05] British deputy asks for clarifications from Defence Ministry
  • [06] Environment minister calls for protection of marine ecosystems
  • [07] Cyprus issue not to be discussed in Cardiff
  • [08] Taxi driver receives 20 years in jail for French tourist murder
  • [09] "Agon" newspaper to fold

  • 1420:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Cyprus Airways staff call off strike

    Nicosia, Jun 4 (CNA) -- Cyprus Airways staff have called off a 24-hour warning strike it had announced for Friday, after an initiative by Communication and Works Minister Leondios Ierodiaconou to call a management and staff meeting later today.

    An announcement by SYNIKA, the carrier's largest trade union, says Ierodiaconou has pledged to help bridge differences.

    SYNIKA called the strike to press for demands for a 4.5 per cent pay rise and benefits, but management says the staff already got a 7.25 per cent pay increase.

    Cyprus Airways management has submitted a two per cent rise as part of negotiations for the renewal of the staff collective agreement, and says their demands should be discussed during general negotiations to help the national carrier meet increasing competition.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [02] Bank of Cyprus opens New York, Moscow offices

    Nicosia, Jun 4 (CNA) -- The Bank of Cyprus has announced the official operation of its new representative office in New York and in Moscow.

    A Bank press release notes the "immense importance" of opening an office in New York, one of the world's most important financial centres.

    The office will establish contact with international banks, investors and offshore units in the US, the press release said.

    The Moscow office marks a new beginning in the Bank's expansion plans in overseas markets, it adds, noting it aims to serve Cypriots who may wish to invest in Russia and offshore companies, associated with the Bank of Cyprus.

    CNA MM/MA/1998

    [03] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Jun 4 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
        CSE General Index                          84.25 ( 1.19)
       Traded Value            CYP 1,293,938
       Sectural Indices
       Banks                   CYP 1,001,932      98.24 ( 1.56)
       Approved Investment
       Companies               CYP    23,822      60.88 ( 0.30)
       Insurance Companies     CYP    54,927      62.31 ( 0.96)
       Manufacturing Companies CYP     6,214      75.70 ( 0.64)
       Tourism Companies       CYP    10,310      66.53 (-0.67)
       Trading Companies       CYP    43,231      46.23 ( 1.25)
       Other Companies         CYP    34,389      69.81 ( 0.29)
    The third column presents the percentage variation of the indices as compared to the last meeting.

    CNA AP/1998

    [04] EU task force says progress with Cyprus is "smooth"

    Larnaca, Jun 4 (CNA) -- European Union (EU) officials, who arrived here today within the framework of the accession talks preparations, have described progress with Cyprus so far as "smooth".

    Speaking on arrival, Director General of the European Commission's Task Force for the accession negotiations, Nikolaus van der Pas, said the purpose of the visit is to get a clearer picture of the situation in Cyprus.

    Van der Pas is accompanied by the Task Force's negotiator for Cyprus, Leopold Maurer.

    "We have already made some good progress, we have started the very detailed analysis of the European rules and legislations, which Cyprus has to take over, and we have already moved now to eight out of 31 negotiating chapters," he said.

    He expressed satisfaction because "progress has been smooth, we have not discovered up to now any serious difficulties which would require negotiation with the Cypriot side."

    However, the EU official added that "we will soon come to somewhat more difficult chapters and no doubt detailed discussions at a certain stage of negotiations will be necessary."

    Van der Pas said that during their stay they will meet the President of the Republic, politicians and ministers, as well as the members of Cyprus' negotiating team.

    "I hope that during those talks we'll get a clearer idea of what the Cypriot situation is," he said.

    The EU official described the official opening of talks with Cyprus and five central and eastern European countries, in March, of "historic importance".

    "We are talking here about the unification of the European continent and we are proud to be part of that exercise and very pleased that Cyprus is included in that," he said.

    Replying to a question, he confirmed that screening will end in July 1999, but said the EU has not yet decided how to proceed if a country's screening process ends before.

    "We have decided to make the screening into an exploration exercise. We're not only explaining the rules and legislation to the Cypriot side and the other candidates, we are already trying to find out where possible difficulties might be and what the negotiating substance may have to be," he said.

    Van der Pas pointed out this "takes a bit longer, but at the same time it makes the whole process shorter."

    He also reiterated that "the negotiations take place with each of the candidate countries on their own merits. In other words, if a country goes fast then the negotiations can start fast and accession can be fast."

    Asked if political problems will be discussed, he said that at a certain stage they are bound to come up and will be dealt with by the member-states and the candidate countries.

    Replying to a question, Van der Pas said the countries which join the EU will have the option of joining the single European currency or not, after going through tests.

    "This is not a precondition for joining. Accepting the prospective is, but not realising it at this moment," the EU official explained.

    He pointed out that the EU itself also has to reform, to be able to cope with enlargement adding that this process is expected to be completed by the beginning of next year.

    CNA MAN/MA/AP/1998

    [05] British deputy asks for clarifications from Defence Ministry

    Nicosia, Jun 4 (CNA) -- A British deputy has called on the British Defence Secretary to restore confidence in his government's handling of the issue of Russian defence missiles, due in Cyprus later this year, and the peace process.

    Sir Sydney Chapman sought clarifications from George Robertson, Defence Secretary, about a report in the Sunday Times that Britain has contingency plans to evacuate 250,000 British nationals from the island because of increasing fears about war in Cyprus.

    The report linked the rise in tension with the arrival of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, which, according to the paper, will be delivered in July.

    Cyprus has purchased the missile system to defend itself against any possible attack from Turkey. It is expected to be deployed in autumn.

    In a letter to Robertson, Sir Sydney notes that the article spread "considerable alarm in Cyprus and is causing damage to the Cypriot economy and our good relations with Cyprus" and expresses "the gravest concern that Defence Department officials should talk to the press about them."

    At the same time, he "acknowledges the Department's view that it should have "reserve positions to deal with all sorts of potential emergencies at home and abroad."

    "This has resulted in material damage to the economy, and a clouding of the issues relating to both the peace process and the EU accession talks," the letter, dated 3 June, said.

    Sir Sydney suggests to the Defence Secretary to provide assurances about "the government's intentions over the missiles issue and the peace process" as these are needed to "restore confidence in the British government's handling of these very sensitive issues."

    Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory in 1974.

    The Sunday Times report quoted a Defence Ministry source as saying that plans exist for "a worse-case scenario at the height of the summer tourist season to evacuate a quarter of a million people."

    In a statement Monday, the Cyprus government said that the leaking of information by the British Defence Ministry "will not change our position nor does it contribute to the good relations between Cyprus and the United Kingdom."

    It also expressed the view that "this step was taken as leverage for the cancellation or non delivery of the missiles to Cyprus".

    CNA MM/MA/1998

    [06] Environment minister calls for protection of marine ecosystems

    Nicosia, Jun 4 (CNA) -- Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Costas Themistocleous today stressed the need for the protection of Cyprus' seas and their ecosystems.

    In a message on the occasion of tomorrow's International Environment Day, Themistocleous said that this year's theme, the protection of the seas, is especially important for Cyprus.

    "We must concentrate our efforts on keeping our seas pure and clean and as a consequence safeguard the functioning of the coastal and marine ecosystems," he added.

    The minister said the protection of the environment depends on balanced and correct development, noting the special importance of this factor in Cyprus, where the division enforced by the 1974 Turkish invasion has increased the environmental problems.

    CNA MA/AP/1998

    [07] Cyprus issue not to be discussed in Cardiff

    Brussels, Jun 4 (CNA) -- The political problem in Cyprus will not be discussed at the European Union (EU) summit, to be held in Cardiff, June 15- 16, a presidency source said today.

    The source added that no specific discussion pertaining to any of the applicant countries is scheduled.

    However, current British EU presidency will brief the 15 member-states on progress achieved in the screening process with the six countries that opened talks in March.

    Cyprus, along with Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland and Estonia are included in the first wave of countries to embark on accession negotiations within the framework of EU enlargement.

    Regarding the protracted Cyprus problem, the same British source said that progress cannot be achieved for as long as the Turkish Cypriot side does not return to the negotiating table.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has said he will not participate in peace talks unless Cyprus withdraws its application to join the EU and the illegal regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognised.

    CNA NB/MA/AP/1998

    [08] Taxi driver receives 20 years in jail for French tourist murder

    Limassol, Jun 4 (CNA) -- A Cypriot taxi driver was today sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for killing a French tourist, shortly after her arrival to Cyprus, on Christmas Day 1997.

    Passing sentence, Assizes' judge described the crime carried out by Kyriakos Andreas Zanas, 37, from Zyghi, as "atrocious".

    Zanas had admitted to shooting Jacqueline Francoise Chomik, 49, claiming they had a row while he was transporting her from the airport to the southern coastal town of Limassol.

    He shot Chomik four times and with her corpse in the boot of his taxi he went to a Christmas party. He later dumped the body into a dry well in a field near the eastern Xylotymbou village, with the help of a friend and then went drinking in a cabaret.

    Chomik's body was found two months after the murder, when a DNA test of blood discovered in Zanas' taxi was found to match that of her mother and brother.

    Panicos Andreou, 38, also a taxi driver, has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact and is awaiting trial.

    Zanas, a father of three, was very cool as the sentence was read out, while his relatives present in the courtroom broke down in tears.

    Chomik, from Lyon, had arrived to Cyprus for a week-long holiday. President of the three-bench Assize court, judge Efi Papadopoulou, said "the circumstances of the killing can cause only revulsion."

    CNA CS/MA/AP/1998

    [09] "Agon" newspaper to fold

    Nicosia, Jun 4 (CNA) -- One of Cyprus' oldest dailies, "Agon" (struggle), will fold on Monday, June 8, after a decision by its publisher that it is no longer cost-effective.

    "Agon", owned by Justice and Public Order Minister Nicos Koshis, was first published in 1964, only four years after the island gained its independence from British colonial rule.

    In a letter to the newspaper's executive director, Konstantinos Koshis, the Cyprus Union of Journalists expressed "deep sorrow", not only because employees will loose their jobs but also because "Agon" is one of the island's oldest papers.

    "Agon's" chief editor, Panayiotis Papademetris, told CNA the written press is facing difficulties.

    "Newspapers' circulation is falling, because TV stations are reporting all the news. If you take a look at other papers they are trying to control their circulation through coupons with special offers," he added.

    Papademetris also pointed to the low quality of the press, because it does not make enough money to have specialised reporting.

    CNA DP/MA/AP/1998
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