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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-12-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, December 14, 1999


  • [01] Denktash sets conditions for return to talks
  • [02] Cyprus hails Helsinki decision as triumph of Greek diplomacy
  • [03] Auditor-general probing CyTA nepotism allegations
  • [04] Cyprus offers to host Israel-Syria talks
  • [05] Man killed in Limassol, colleague arrested
  • [06] Six held after new outbreak of soccer violence
  • [07] Share prices plunge ahead of new issues
  • [08] Paphos schools need urgent repair to stave off collapse
  • [09] Greens dismiss 'miraculous' rain
  • [10] Woman admits abandoned baby was hers
  • [11] Builder accused of indecent assault

  • [01] Denktash sets conditions for return to talks

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday that whether he returns for further talks on the Cyprus problem, probably next month, would depend entirely on what kind of resolution was adopted this week to renew the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp).

    The renewal resolution has in the past contained elements that the Turkish Cypriots object to, including references to the government of Cyprus, which they do not recognise as the government of the whole island.

    Denktash was speaking to reporters before and after his latest session with the UN secretary-general's special adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, who earlier met separately with President Glafcos Clerides.

    The so-called "proximity talks," in which the two leaders do not meet face- to-face, began on December 3 and are aimed at establishing a basis for direct negotiations on reuniting the divided island. The current round of talks is due to end today.

    Asked if he would return to New York next month, if invited by the United Nations, Denktash replied: "I think that will depend on how we are treated at the Unficyp extension resolution."

    He was even tougher on his departure from UN headquarters, saying whether he took part in another round of talks depended "entirely" on the wording of the Unficyp renewal resolution.

    The 1,200-member UN force has been stationed on the island since 1964. Its current six-month mandate expires tomorrow.

    The final version of an Unficyp renewal resolution has not yet been officially circulated. Council members did not wish to give advance publicity to a text that might raise additional problems while Clerides and Denktash were engaged in proximity talks with UN officials.

    Asked why he was objecting now so strongly to a resolution that he had accepted in the past, if only reluctantly, Denktash said: "Enough is enough. For 36 years Unficyp's mandate has been extended under a resolution which refers to 'the government of Cyprus.' We have always said we do not recognise this resolution," while nonetheless treating the UN force "as our guests," he added.

    He said he came to New York for the proximity talks "under a new invitation" that referred only to "the parties," as equals. But he found that the term "'the government of Cyprus' still exists in the (Unficyp) resolution... and today we are told that further things will be added to it, because the Greek Cypriot side wants it," Denktash said.

    "This situation shows that (the UN) is not taking us seriously", he added.

    He said he was not threatening the Security Council, but charged that Clerides had done so.

    He was alluding to a letter to the council in which Clerides expressed unhappiness over an early version of the resolution that omitted some of the language that the Turkish Cypriots objected to.

    In the letter, seen by the Reuters news agency, Clerides said he considered "the draft resolution in its present form as unacceptable" and that it had been worded in a way designed "to bring Mr Denktash to the present proximity talks."

    "I would go as far as saying that if I had to choose between accepting the draft resolution and the non-renewal of the Unficyp mandate I would prefer the non-renewal of the mandate," Clerides wrote.

    The talks are "envisaged to adjourn tomorrow," the UN Secretary-General's Spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said after yesterday's round of contacts.

    Asked when the talks would resume, Eckhard replied: "when they began it was seen as an open ended process," adding that De Soto would be discussing with the parties over the next couple of days "about the next steps".

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [02] Cyprus hails Helsinki decision as triumph of Greek diplomacy

    By Athena Karsera

    THE CYPRUS government yesterday hailed the European Union's declaration inviting Turkey to become a candidate state as a triumph for Greek diplomacy.

    Returning to Cyprus problem talks in New York from the EU summit in Helsinki, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides told reporters that Greece and Cyprus should make full use of the new situation that had emerged from the summit.

    The passage relating to Cyprus in the terms presented by the EU to Turkey on Friday said a solution to the Cyprus problem was not a precondition to Cyprus' own accession.

    "The European Council underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. 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," the document said.

    Cassoulides said the clause on Cyprus was "an important victory for Greece".

    He said Greece had fought "a big diplomatic fight and succeeded mainly in politically disassociating, at the highest EU level, the solution of the Cyprus problem from the island's accession."

    Though he conceded he did not expect Turkey to "make a complete volte-face in 24-hours", Cassoulides said a new environment was being created: "the situation has eased off and there is an effort for conciliation", which "we have an obligation to make full use of".

    Back in Nicosia, however, the political parties were divided on what had been achieved in Helsinki at the weekend.

    Ruling Disy's acting-president Panayiotis Demetriou welcomed developments, saying the Cyprus problem had now become a European problem.

    "It must not escape our attention that the EU and the United States wanted Turkey to become a candidate country. Greece fought a great battle to achieve what was achieved for the Cypriot side."

    The government's chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou, who was with Cassoulides in Helsinki, said in Nicosia yesterday he believed that not only was the decision historical, but "the groundwork has finally been laid finally for the solving of the Cyprus problem."

    But opposition party Akel said that no satisfaction could be taken from the summit's results.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, party spokesman Nicos Katsourides said Turkey had became a candidate without giving anything on the Cyprus problem in return.

    Katsourides said Turkey's future obligations in regards to the Cyprus problem were unclear and open to interpretation.

    He said that while Akel recognised Greece's battle for Cyprus in Helsinki, the Cyprus government had been absent from the developments, impassive and inactive.

    Katsourides said the outcome of the summit could only be seen as having some value if the main goal for Cyprus' future was EU accession and not, as his party believed, a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Diko's Tassos Papadopoulos, meanwhile, said both Cyprus and Greece had backed down in Helsinki.

    Papadopoulos said he did not believe the Cyprus problem had been disconnected from the island's accession, as reference had been made to "relevant factors" that would be taken into account before accession took place.

    He did, however, note that the decision had seemed to indicate a change in the attitude of some countries, which had not wanted the two issues to be separate at all.

    Edek president Vassos Lyssarides said Cyprus' and Greece's attention should now focus on taking advantage of the decision's positive aspects: "We can carefully take advantage of the positive points and not project the negative points publicly."

    Lyssarides said there had been a clear distinction between the accession process and a solution to the Cyprus problem, but echoed Papadopoulos' concerns on the factors to be taken into account before accession.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [03] Auditor-general probing CyTA nepotism allegations

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE AUDITOR-GENERAL, Chrystalla Yiorkadji, is looking into allegations that the Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) awarded contracts to a company owned by CyTA chief, Michalakis Zivanaris.

    According to a report in yesterday's Politis newspaper, Zivanaris and a former member of the CyTA board, Eleni Marangou, were the sole shareholders of CYMAR Market Research, which won CyTA contracts in 1994 and 1995.

    This alleged irregularity is only the most serious of a whole series of mismanagement, nepotism and money-wasting claims under investigation by Yiorkadji's office.

    The CyTA chairman denied these allegations in a statement he made to the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "I do not wish to comment as the matter is being investigated by the Auditor-general. What I can say is that there are no irregularities at CyTA, but I will await the findings of the Auditor-general (before commenting further)," Zivanaris said.

    CYMAR won contracts to carry out a market research survey for CyTA in May 1994. The company was paid 10,000 for the work, Politis reported.

    In December 1995, CYMAR was paid by the semi-governmental utility to conduct an attitudes survey amongst CyTA staff.

    Another allegation is that CyTA bought a large number of luxury cars from a company managed by a member of the authority's board.

    CyTA is also said to have bought five luxury vehicles to be used by Zivanaris and other top officials at the authority, a practice not followed at any other semi-governmental organisation.

    It is also claimed that unnecessary positions were created at CyTA in order to accommodate relatives of top authority officials.

    Politis also reported that the authority had failed to recover money owed to it by radio and television stations and a private firm.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [04] Cyprus offers to host Israel-Syria talks

    CYPRUS has offered to host peace talks between Israel and Syria, who have agreed to resume negotiations after nearly four years.

    A government statement issued in Nicosia said that, given Cyprus' excellent relations with Israel and with Syria, the island was offering to host the negotiations between the two.

    The government said it welcomed the decision to resume negotiations and supported a comprehensive solution to the Middle East problems, "as overall peace in our region will have a beneficial effect on the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem".

    "We think Cyprus is an ideal venue for the talks," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday. "It has proximity and is a neutral observer with excellent relations with both countries."

    Negotiations between Syria and Israel have been stalled for the past 45 months. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak will meet Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara in Washington tomorrow to relaunch the talks.

    A senior Syrian official said in Damascus yesterday the peace talks between Syria and Israel would continue in the United States after initial sessions in Washington this week.

    "According to the current plans the talks will continue in the United States after the Wednesday and Thursday sessions," the official told the Reuters news agency.

    Cyprus has a long history of neutrality in the Middle East and was one of the few countries in the region with both an Israeli embassy and a Palestinian mission before the 1993 Oslo peace accord.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [05] Man killed in Limassol, colleague arrested

    By Athena Karsera

    A MAN was shot dead in Limassol in the early hours of yesterday in a murder that police say was unrelated to the city's rampant gangland violence.

    Fifty-eight-year-old father of three Adamos George Christophis was found dead at approximately 7.20am yesterday.

    A man was later arrested in connection with his killing.

    Police yesterday said the suspect was a colleague of the victim, 59-year- old Theodoulos Papaconstantinou, from Pyrgos near Limassol.

    Both men worked at the Thera Complex building in Amathus, where the victim had been working as a gardener for the last 15 months.

    Police said the murder seemed to have taken place over personal differences, and that there was little to suggest it might be connected to gangland violence.

    A colleague found Christophis in a pool of blood in his underground office next to the complex's car park.

    He told police he had been looking for Christophis after hearing gunshots.

    Police said that the victim, originally from Larnaca, had been shot twice with an automatic weapon. Preliminary investigations showed that Christophis was shot once in the chest, probably while sitting at his desk, and then in the right eye once he had fallen to the ground.

    State coroner Sophocles Sophocleous yesterday carried out an autopsy at the scene of the crime. Christophis' body was later taken to Limassol morgue.

    Papaconstantinou was arrested shortly before 1pm, after police received information from an eyewitness and heard that the suspect had been threatened with dismissal a short time ago.

    Papaconstantinou is expected to appear before Limassol district for remand today.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [06] Six held after new outbreak of soccer violence

    By Martin Hellicar

    SIX SUSPECTED hooligans were yesterday remanded following the ugly crowd violence at Sunday's cup match between Apollon and Apoel at Limassol's Tsirion stadium.

    The clash - between two of the island's top and best-supported teams - degenerated into a stone-throwing spectacle between rival fans.

    According to police, the violence broke out at about 4pm, after the visiting Nicosia team, Apoel, went three goals up.

    "Apollon fans left the stands and moved towards the southern outer perimeter of the stadium, from where they began stoning the east stand, where the Apoel fans were," a police statement read.

    "Apoel fans left the stands and moved towards the rival fans, throwing stones as they went," police added.

    Police and riot squad (MMAD) officers rushed the 200 to 300 rioting fans. The hooligans scattered, but smashed the windscreens of a number of cars - including two MMAD vans - as they went.

    Police arrested 16 of the rampaging fans, 11 of these minors (including two 14-year-olds and a 15-year-old).

    Yesterday, six of these suspected hooligans were brought up before Limassol District Court. Three of them were remanded for two days each and another three for one day each.

    The other 10 suspects were released without charge, police said.

    This is the second serious outbreak of soccer violence in the space of 15 days.

    On November 28, Omonia fans rioted at the Paralimni stadium, in the Famagusta District, following a match against the local team. Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the stadium and to shops in nearby Xylophagou village.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [07] Share prices plunge ahead of new issues

    By Hamza Hendawi

    THE CYPRUS stock market's spectacular 1999 gains were dented anew yesterday, when the all-share index plunged 5.6 per cent in the third negative finish in as many sessions.

    The index shed 43.68 points to close at 731.78 on a modest volume of 21.53 million. The combined losses of the three consecutive sessions now stand at 13.12 per cent, but the market's gains on the year remain an impressive 707.43 per cent.

    Brokers said the downward trend was caused by a wave of selling by investors seeking shift to new issues scheduled to begin trading before the year's end.

    They said prices have now fallen sufficiently to lure buyers back and allow the market to stage a recovery to last until the year's end. Some brokers, meanwhile, expected the three-session skid to come to a halt today, when investment powerhouse and brokerage Severis & Athienitis makes its debut on the market.

    All shares available to the public were sold through a private placement, except for some 200,000, which were oversubscribed last month by several hundred times.

    The shares, with a nominal value of 50 cents but sold at 2 were expected to open at a much higher price, anything between 5 and 20 if market speculation is to be believed.

    The association of stock market investors, meanwhile, blamed the recent falls on remarks by Finance Minister Takis Klerides on a possible tax on capital gains made on the market.

    The association, which has been unusually vocal in recent months, said his remarks were a mistake and reflected what it called his amateurishness.

    In yesterday's trade, a total of 20 shares remained out of the market as part of the exchange's scheme to allow listed companies time to update their share registries and put right erroneous share deeds they issued.

    Of the 38 shares traded, only four finished in positive territory, while the rest plunged by as much as 1.77 in the case of Drousia Heights, the day's biggest loser.

    Hellenic Bank, making its comeback after nearly a month out to sort out its share deeds and registry, had a disastrous day, shedding 1.21 to finish the day at 4.41 on a volume of just above 1 million.

    The Bank of Cyprus and the Popular Bank, the island's two largest financial institutions, did not fare much better. The first was down by 0.49 to close at 10.70, while Popular finished at 14.55, down by 0.37.

    The bloodbath in the market's blue chips did not spare the small Universal Bank, which finished sharply down at 7.22.

    All four companies traded yesterday in the investment sector were in negative territory by the end of the session, with Athena the biggest loser. It was down 1.17 to finish at 5.85.

    None of the nine companies listed in the industrial section finished up.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [08] Paphos schools need urgent repair to stave off collapse

    By Phanis Droushiotis

    SCHOOLS in the Paphos area are in urgent need of repair if they are not to collapse, Paphos Akel deputy George Hadjigeorgiou warned yesterday after a visit to Polis and Yiolou.

    "Schools in Paphos urgently need to be fixed or rebuilt as they face the imminent danger of collapse," he told reporters. "If this were to happen, the Minister of Education would not be able to face students and parents."

    Hadjigeorgiou was visiting schools in Polis and Yiolou with the chairman of the House Education Committee Thrasos Michaelides.

    He said he was very disappointed with what he had seen and that he would urge Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides to remember the promises he made during his visit around Paphos schools in September.

    "Promises must not be left unfulfilled," he said.

    Ioannides said in September that all schools in Paphos would be repaired and refreshed and that a special committee would check if any schools had problems of structural stability, a problem highlighted by recent earthquakes in the area.

    "It is not only the problems that might arise in the event of an earthquake, but also that of the suitability of the schools," said Hadjigeorgiou, who urged his colleague Michaelides to place this matter on his committee's agenda.

    "The Secondary School of Polis as well as the elementary school of the area and the elementary school of Yiolou, being remote, must have skipped the ministerial attention, and this is dangerous," said

    Michaelides, who promised that he would raise the issue at the next session of the Committee, scheduled for next Monday.

    More than 1,500 pupils attend the affected Polis and Yiolou schools. Local residents told the Cyprus Mail they were struggling to stem the flow away from the villages towards the cities. "But the government is not helping us at all," they complained.

    "The buildings are ready to fall on our heads and the rainwater is dripping on us through the ceilings. Nobody however seems to care," said 17-year-old George Andreou, president of the pupils' committee in Polis, a remark echoed by his Headmaster, George Constantinou.

    "The school buildings all over Paphos face serious problems, and they could be characterised as dangerous," said Chrysostomos Italos, president of the Civil Engineers' association in Paphos, who has repeatedly gone on the record to say that most schools in the Paphos area should either be rebuilt or demolished.

    Andreas Soteriades, the Education Ministry branch chief in Paphos, told the Cyprus Mail he was hopeful that government plans for schools in the district would be implemented in the coming months. He assured residents that their complaints would be addressed.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [09] Greens dismiss 'miraculous' rain

    By Jean Christou

    PRAYING for rain is not going to solve the water shortage, the Greens announced on Sunday, just hours before the heavens opened in apparent answer to special prayers for rain in churches across the island.

    But as the heavy showers continued in many parts of the island yesterday, providing a welcome relief from the current drought, the Greens remained unrepentant.

    In an announcement issued on Sunday in response to the Church's call to pray for rain, the Green party said that, although it respected the island's culture and traditions, it felt the gaps in the government's water policy could not be bridged by prayer alone.

    Yesterday, Green party president George Perdikis said the sudden rainfall following the prayers was not a miracle.

    "The miracle will be if we manage to deal with the water problems with wisdom," he said. "It's not a miracle to have water fall from the sky, but if we are silly enough to wait for the skies to provide us with all the water we need for our essential use and our unwise use of water, no God is going to provide it for us to make golf courses."

    It looked as if Perdikis' prediction was not far off the mark. Meteorological chief Cleanthous Philaniotis said yesterday that the isolated showers would only last until Wednesday. From then until the end of the week the weather is expected to be dry and mild.

    As of last week, the island's reservoirs were ten per cent full, compared to last year's 5.2 per cent at the same period.

    Officials admit that if the rain situation does not improve, there will have to be a rethink on rationing.

    A new desalination plant for Zakaki, which is opposed by the village and by the Greens, is due to for completion in 2001.

    But Agriculture Minister Costas Themistocleous said yesterday that the plant would have to be ready by the summer of 2000.

    Themistocleous was speaking after a meeting with the chairman of the House Environment Committee, Edek deputy Demetris Eliades.

    The minister said work on the plant had to be speeded up because it had already been delayed by a year while an environmental study was carried out.

    But Eliades said a full environmental study on the plant had never been carried out.

    He said that if a complete study was done, then the committee would support any scientific findings it published. "In our opinion, such a study has not yet been carried out," Eliades said.

    Tenders for the new plant, with a daily output of 20,000 cubic metres, close on December 22.

    [10] Woman admits abandoned baby was hers

    THE BLOODSTAINED "baby in a box" found in Nicosia on Saturday was actually the newborn child of the Filipina woman who reported finding the child, police said yesterday.

    Jennifer Lopez, who works as a maid for an elderly Nicosia couple, brought the infant boy, "covered in bloody clothes," to the Paphos Gate police station in Old Nicosia, Police spokesman Glafcos Xenos said.

    Lopez claimed she had found the infant abandoned in a cardboard box on the pavement outside the Municipal Theatre, not far from the apartment block where she lives with four other Filipinas, he said.

    Xenos said Lopez was examined by a physician, "who established that she gave birth recently, and after examination, she confessed that it was her child."

    Both mother and baby were reported doing well in Makarios Hospital, medical sources there said. One hospital source said the infant was "a bit premature," so was put on a ventilator.

    According to Xenos, Lopez is a widow, and "there are suspicions" the boy's suspected father, an Arab, left Cyprus some time ago. Xenos did not know the country of the man's origin.

    CID Officer Socrates Socratous said no charges were being filed against Lopez "for the time being."

    But he said the filing of charges remained a possibility, since "she gave false information at first to the police." He added that police would review her entire case before deciding on what, if any charges, to file.

    Tuesday, December 14, 1999

    [11] Builder accused of indecent assault

    A 23-YEAR-OLD Limassol builder has been remanded in custody on suspicion of abducting and indecently assaulting two sisters, aged eight and 12.

    The suspect was brought up before Limassol District Court on Sunday and remanded for three days. The remand hearing was conducted behind closed doors in order to protect the identity of the minors involved.

    Police have not released the suspects' names and took care to keep him away from cameras as they took him to court.

    The only information released was that a man had been arrested on Saturday morning, on suspicion of abducting and indecently assaulting the two girls.

    Reports suggest the man is a friend of the girls' family and had persuaded the sisters to go round to his flat. Once there, he allegedly showed them a pornographic video and indecently assaulted them.

    The suspect is expected to reappear before the district court tomorrow.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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