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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-12-12

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


CONTENTS

  • [01] ‘Take nothing for granted’, says UN
  • [02] Parties react cautiously to EU development
  • [03] General Rana of Nepal new Unficyp chief
  • [04] Police hunt man after drugs suspects held
  • [05] Sisters suspected of forgery and property offence
  • [06] Cyprus bookings down as Britons stay home for the holidays
  • [07] Baby found in a box

  • [01] Take nothing for granted, says UN

    THE UN Secretary-general's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, has told reporters in New York that nothing related to the Cyprus talks can be taken for granted.

    Speaking during a press briefing at UN headquarters, before the European Union decision to grant candidate status for Turkey, Eckhard also said that the proximity talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are expected to continue into the coming week.

    "These talks are still under way... we expect they'll go into the next week."

    "Nothing is certain when it comes to the Cyprus talks," Eckhard added, saying the UN hoped the parties would want to continue their talks on Tuesday.

    "That is our hope and if the parties want to continue they will and we'll be at their disposal."

    The talks began on December 3, and are aimed at paving the way for a possible resumption of direct talks between Clerides and Denktash. The two last met for direct negotiations more than two years ago in Glion, Switzerland.

    [02] Parties react cautiously to EU development

    By Athena Karsera

    POLITICAL parties in Cyprus yesterday continued to be cautious in their comments on Friday's decision to give Turkey European Union candidate status at their Helsinki summit.

    The passage relating to Cyprus included in the terms for Turkey's candidacy said that the EU welcomed the current New York proximity talks but that a solution to the Cyprus problem was not a precondition to Cyprus' accession.

    "The European Council underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union," it said. "If no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council's decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition. In this the Council will take account of all the relevant factors."

    Neither President Glafcos Clerides nor other members of the Cypriot contingent in New York had made statements on the issue by late yesterday afternoon. CyBC sources said that the Greek Cypriot side was waiting to be officially informed by the European Council before making any comment.

    Disy deputy Prodromos Prodromou took a positive view, telling CyBC that Greece had achieved something positive from Helsinki talks and that Turkey would now be monitored by the EU in terms of the non-violent solving of problems, humanitarian issues and the Cyprus problem.

    He said the EU would judge both sides' efforts to this end and that unlinking the Cyprus problem from the island's EU accession had come at the "most official level".

    Akels parliamentary spokesman Andreas Christou expressed the concern to CyBC that the EU had not made what it expects from Turkey clear enough, and party leader Demetris Christofias told Ant1 FM he had "not been satisfied by the development".

    Diko's acting president Nicos Kleanthous said that it was natural for Greece to see the move as an achievement under the circumstances. He said Turkey should greet its nomination by contributing to progress on the Cyprus problem.

    In a written statement yesterday, Diko's president Spyros Kyprianou said that the summit's results would be "extremely important" to the Cyprus issue.

    Edek secretary-general Marinos Sizopoulos said any comments on the decision had to be carefully put and that his party would meet over the next few days to form a final position.

    United Democrat vice-president George Christofides said that Greece had achieved what it had set out to do within the current European framework.

    Meanwhile Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday said that the Turkish position on the Cyprus problem would not change, and that the existence of two separate states on the island was not up for debate.

    "As we have always said, there cannot be an agreement until it is accepted that there are two separate independent states on Cyprus," he told reporters yesterday at Ankara airport before leaving for Helsinki.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that the main achievement connected to Turkey's candidacy was the accession process going on independent of a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    [03] General Rana of Nepal new Unficyp chief

    UN SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan has announced the appointment of Nepalese Major-general Victory Rana as the new military commander of Unficyp, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

    Rana, 54, will succeed Major-general Evergisto Arturo de Vergara of Argentina, who was appointed in 1997 and relinquishes his post on December 15.

    Rana is a graduate of the US Army War College and the German Command and General Staff College, as well as the Indian Army Senior Command course.

    He served most recently as the Inspector- general of the Nepalese army and was responsible for military security for general elections in the Himalayan nation this year.

    Rana served in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) in 1980-

    81 as a military information officer, and he was military assistant to the force commander in 1989-90.

    [04] Police hunt man after drugs suspects held

    TWO DHERYNIA MEN were yesterday remanded for eight days for alleged drug possession and trafficking, and a third man is being sought by police in the same case.

    Andreas Panteli, alias Kopros, and Vassos Markou, both 21, were arrested on Friday in the village of Phrenaros in the Famagusta district, after police received a tip-off that Panteli was dealing in drugs.

    Police told Famagusta District Court they followed the two suspects to Phrenaros high school, where they parked their car. Panteli got out of the car and headed for the buildings, when he noticed the approaching police officers.

    He is alleged to have thrown a plastic bag he was holding under another car parked in the school yard. Police recovered the bag and found 10 grams of cannabis inside. They showed the drugs to Panteli, who denied having any knowledge of them.

    The court heard police then searched the suspects' car and found an additional 3.5 grams of cannabis. Markou, who owns the car, allegedly told police that the drugs belonged to Panteli.

    Police later searched the suspects' homes and say the found five more grams of cannabis under Markou's mattress.

    During questioning Markou named Christos Mousiou from Liopetri as being the provider of the drugs. Police found Mousiou in his home, but when they told him he was under arrest he attacked the officers and managed to escape.

    Police believe that when they arrest Mousiou this will help them bust a drug-trafficking network.

    [05] Sisters suspected of forgery and property offence

    TWO NICOSIA sisters yesterday began a six-day remand in custody after being arrested in connection with alleged forgery and property offences.

    Andri Heracleous, a lawyer from Makedonitissa, and Maria Ioannou, a lab technician from Lakatamia, were arrested on Thursday for allegedly forging a power of attorney and illegally transferring property.

    The court heard that the two sisters had sold a house and other property in the Ayios Dhometios suburb of Nicosia, for £56,000, to 80-year-old Antonis Kay and wife Angela, 83, in August 1996.

    All necessary documents and transfers had been properly submitted to the Land and Survey Department.

    After the sale, Ioannou rented part of the property and used it as a lab.

    Earlier this month however, the elderly couple's daughter went to the Land and Survey Department and discovered that her parents' property had been transferred back to the previous owners -- the two sisters -- in February this year.

    She also found documents stating that the two sisters had paid £44,000 to buy back the property.

    Among the documents was a power of attorney stating that Heracleous had been appointed by the Kays to represent them.

    Antonis Kay, who saw the document, told police that he had never signed such a document and he had never authorised anyone to transfer the property.

    He also told investigators that he had never received any money from the suspects, apart from the monthly rent that Ioannou paid him.

    The defendants' lawyer Neophytos Papamiltiadous told the court that the signatures on the warrant had been properly certified by a certifying officer.

    Police said that they will investigate the circumstances under which the warrant was certified, and did not rule out more arrests.

    [06] Cyprus bookings down as Britons stay home for the holidays

    By Athena Karsera

    IT SEEMS Cyprus will be joining a list of usually popular holiday destinations that are being avoided this year as Britons prefer to stay home over Christmas and the new millennium.

    Confirming reports in the British media, Noel Josephides, managing director of Sunvil Travel in London, told The Sunday Mail yesterday there was "most definitely" a decline in reservations to Cyprus.

    The former chairman and now member of the UK-based Association of Greek Cypriot Travel Agents, Josephides said: "This is the worst December anyone can remember."

    He attributed the Britons' apparent lack of interest in spending the festive season abroad to several factors, including being "fed up about the hype about the millennium".

    He said that people also seemed to have decided to spend these particular holidays with their families.

    Josephides said prospective travellers had probably also been put off by initial price hikes and perhaps even worry about the Y2K bug, "not so much about the aircraft but in case the water or electricity doesn't come on for some reason".

    He said that, in general, many travel packages to all destinations now had gone down 60 to 70 per cent in cost: "Demand is non-existent," he said.

    In Cyprus' case, Josephides said that many of the hotels were giving discounts and that the ones that could boast good attendance were the "deluxe hotels offering something really special".

    He said that most of the hotels would have plenty of room but it would be difficult to know how prices would be affected by the lack of interest.

    "Cyprus Airways is doing well because people are travelling backwards and forwards to be with family, so its the tour operators that are not doing so well."

    If he had to put a number on expected price reductions, Josephides said 10 to 30 per cent, "depending on how desperate they are."

    On Friday, the Evening Standard newspaper said: "Stay-at-home Britons forced desperate travel firms to slash the price of breaks over Christmas and the millennium by up to 80 per cent in a bid to shift a record 300,000 unsold winter holidays."

    This number represents five per cent of the expected six million winter trips, it said.

    [07] Baby found in a box

    A NEWBORN baby boy was found abandoned yesterday in a cardboard box on the pavement outside the municipal theatre on Museum Avenue in Nicosia.

    The baby, wrapped in a bloody cloth, was found by a Filipina woman who took it to Paphos Gate police station.

    Police last night told The Sunday Mail the boy was in good condition, and had been placed on a ventilator at the Makarios Hospital.

    They said they were investigating the case.

    Hospital staff last night refused to comment on the baby's condition, saying that they had been told not to divulge any information.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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