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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-03

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, February 3, 1998


  • [01] S-300s 'will be delivered on time'
  • [02] When National Council confidentiality can be broken
  • [03] Now they're arguing about sovereignty
  • [04] Citizenship amendment would affect foreign husbands
  • [05] Batu claims Enosis has already happened
  • [06] Talat urges EU course for Turkish Cypriots
  • [07] Denktash to demand visas from Britons
  • [08] Kurd 'ready to name massacre officers'
  • [09] Limassol Zoo elephant seriously ill
  • [10] Fish farm employee drowned
  • [11] Olive oil strike ends
  • [12] Clerides honoured by Russian Academy
  • [13] 'UFO spotted over Kyrenia'
  • [14] Anorthosis goal machine resumes operations
  • [15] Michaelides backs Galanos
  • [16] Iacovou leads Clerides in poll

  • [01] S-300s 'will be delivered on time'

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THE government yesterday rejected Turkish press reports that a strike at a factory in St Petersburg would delay delivery of the Russian-made S-300 missiles.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides told his daily press briefing he had contacted Russian Ambassador Georgi Muratov over the report in theof the Turkish daily Hurriyet.

    "The reply is simple. It is a rehash of information of two years ago when there was a strike at the factory.

    "The S-300s are not being manufactured by one factory, but dozens of factories are co-operating together... This particular factory, the Severny, has a very small role in the whole process. The assurance is repeated that the missiles will be delivered," the spokesman said.

    Christofides was also asked about a report in the Cypriot paper To Tharros that a team of 52 National Guard officers was being trained on the missile system in Russia. The paper added that Cypriot officers would participate in a test firing of the missiles. The final phase of their training will be watched by the Cypriot Defence Minister and the commander of the National Guard, it added.

    For its part, the Athens weekly To Vima said Russian military experts were due in Cyprus in the next few days to give advice on where the missiles should be located.

    The spokesman said he was not in a position to comment on the reports. But he added: "What there is the following. Yes, personnel for the S-300s are being trained."

    Christofides was also asked to comment on statements by presidential candidate George Iacovou that if elected, he would bring the missiles sooner.

    He said that the governments of Russia and Cyprus had decided on a timeframe, and this would be adhered to.

    To those who have been protesting over Cyprus' plans to deploy the missiles, Christofides said there was plenty of time after March, when EU accession talks and negotiations on a Cyprus settlement are expected to start, for well-meaning negotiators to achieve progress.

    Earlier Muratov told reporters the missiles cannot be delivered before the agreed time, but did not give the exact date. The ambassador had been asked to comment on Iacovou's comments that if elected he would bring the missiles earlier.

    [02] When National Council confidentiality can be broken

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THE government yesterday sought to stay out of a dispute over the confidentiality of National Council meetings.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides said that in principle confidentiality should be respected. But he said there could perhaps be exceptions - and that these could be governed by regulations which National Council members could draft and abide by.

    Christofides was replying to a barrage of questions after a bitter weekend row between Disy and Akel over the secrecy of National Council meetings.

    Akel general secretary Demetris Christofias has accused Disy president Nicos Anastassiades of "blowing up the foundations of the National Council" by revealing excerpts of a document submitted by Akel as a working paper in 1992. Anastassiades' move came during a more generalised row over sovereignty and which party was "softer" on the issue.

    Christofides, asked yesterday whether President Clerides approved of Anastassiades' action, said he did not "have instructions to refer to this issue".

    Pressed whether as a matter of principle from now on anything discussed in the National Council could be made public, the spokesman countered with a query of his own.

    "If a member of the National Council gives his views in the National Council and outside says the complete opposite, the question arises on whether confidentiality still exists."

    And he added: "These are questions I am not authorised to resolve. These are questions the members of the National Council should resolve with regulations which would commit them."

    Pressed whether documents can be made public or not, Christofides replied that "the rule is that documents are not made public because it is the National Council where political parties can speak freely".

    But the question remained whether there can be an exception so that a member can defend one's view in instances where a National Council member argues the stark opposite in public from what he has said inside, and uses this against someone else. This can only be tackled by the members themselves, the spokesman said.

    Asked whether Anastassiades had asked for President Clerides' approval before making his revelation, Christofides said: "I do not know."

    [03] Now they're arguing about sovereignty

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE ISSUE of sovereignty took centre-stage in pre-election sparring yesterday, with the government denying it was inclining towards recognising a separate Turkish state in Cyprus.

    "In all his five years of government Clerides has always recognised only one sovereignty," Government Spokesman Manolis Christofides told his daily press briefing.

    Clerides' main rival in Sunday's presidential elections, George Iacovou, has accused him of conceding ground to the Turkish side on the sovereignty issue.

    Christofides pointed to the Turkish side's disaffection with Clerides' position on sovereignty during settlement talks. If Clerides had been ready to recognise a separate Turkish state on the island then Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would be satisfied, but this is patently not the case, Christofides argued.

    "It is an insult to common sense to suggest that Clerides has accepted two sovereignties," the spokesman said. "The government's position on sovereignty is not questionable."

    Iacovou stuck to his guns, repeating his claims that the stance Clerides had taken on the issue during UN settlement talks played into Turkish hands.

    Iacovou said the president was guilty of "giving negotiators the impression" that what was being discussed was a settlement involving two sovereignties. He said Clerides had spoken of different "internal and external sovereignties" after a solution. The UN is proposing a bi-zonal federation settlement based on separate Greek and Turkish Cypriot cantons, but a single sovereignty.

    Iacovou is being backed by left-wing Akel and centre-right Diko for the elections, while right-wing Disy is supporting Clerides' re-election bid.

    Other candidates added their two pennies' worth to the sovereignty debate. Only Nicos Koutsou of the minority New Horizons party expressed any support for Iacovou's position.

    He went a step further than Iacovou, claiming that the idea of a bi-zonal federation should be shelved altogether. Koutsou said discussing the idea of separate cantons opened the door for talk of a separate Turkish state.

    Liberal candidate Nicos Rolandis said there were no grounds for questioning Clerides's stance on the issue. The president had never backed double sovereignty, he said.

    Rolandis then jumped on his hobby-horse: opinion-poll bashing. He again disputed the validity and reliability of recent polls, all of which have given him about 1 per cent - or less - of the vote.

    Edek candidate Vassos Lyssarides agreed with Rolandis on the sovereignty issue. He said there was nothing indefensible about the government's position on the issue. There is only one sovereignty and it is not divisible, the veteran socialist said.

    George Vassiliou, standing for the United Democrats, warned that making sovereignty a pre-election issue could weaken the Greek Cypriot side's negotiating position in settlement talks.

    Vassiliou also said it would be "good" if his party and Edek could plot a "parallel course" for the second round of the elections. He stopped short of suggesting that the parties actually form an alliance for the second Sunday.

    Lyssarides did not rule out working with any other party in the second round, but also rejected the idea of actual alliances.

    Opinion polls predict the elections will go to a second round, with Clerides and Iacovou each securing about a third of the vote on the first Sunday's voting this weekend.

    [04] Citizenship amendment would affect foreign husbands

    By Martin Hellicar

    FOREIGN men married to Cypriot women will be entitled to citizenship if a legal amendment approved by the cabinet becomes law.

    The cabinet has also approved a second amendment granting Cypriot nationality to the offspring of foreign men married to Cypriot women.

    As the law stands, only foreign women married to Cypriot men are entitled to automatic naturalisation, and only the children of foreign women married to Cypriot men get Cypriot nationality.

    The existing citizenship law has been criticised both by Ombudsman Nicos Charalambous and in the US State Department's 1997 human rights report as constituting sexual discrimination.

    The amendments, announced yesterday, would also mean foreign spouses would only have to complete three years' residence before they were entitled to citizenship. The current residence requirement is five years.

    The cabinet-approved amendments must be voted in by the House before becoming law.

    A foreign man gaining citizenship by virtue of having a Cypriot wife would not be called up for military service with the National Guard unless the relevant law was also amended, a lawyer specialising in citizenship matters told the Cyprus Mail.

    [05] Batu claims Enosis has already happened

    MILITARY 'Enosis' between Greece and Cyprus has happened and political and economic integration is imminent, a senior Turkish official has claimed.

    Speaking to the Turkish Daily News, Inal Batu, the deputy undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said that Enosis - the union of Cyprus with Greece - has already happened.

    Batu said now that the military integration has come about with the fulfilment of the 1993 Greece-Cyprus defence dogma, political and economic integration was planned and would be maintained through EU membership.

    "However they want two votes against Turkey in the EU and they want to increase the presence of Hellenic nations in the union. That's why they prefer to be separated but it is obvious that the military, political and economic ideals of Enosis have been created," Batu is quoted as saying.

    Batu, Ankara's top diplomat for Cyprus and Aegean affairs, added that Greece wanted the Cyprus problem to turn into a problem between the EU and Ankara, not a bilateral dispute between Athens and Ankara. "The military see Greece and Cyprus as one state," he said.

    This view was echoed by a second Turkish diplomat who told the newspaper that if an armed conflict breaks out in Cyprus "it is certain that Greece and Turkey will get involved".

    "Of course if a conflict occurs between Athens and Ankara, Cyprus will get involved in the clash," the unnamed diplomat said.

    He added that tensions have escalated as a result of the lack of dialogue between Turkey and the EU over Cyprus and the Aegean.

    "Greece uses a double standard policy towards Turkey's relations with the EU. It wants to see Turkey having relations with the EU because it wants the continuation of the EU pressure on Turkey over Cyprus," the diplomat said.

    [06] Talat urges EU course for Turkish Cypriots

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot politician Mehmet Ali Talat has urged his compatriots to aim for EU membership, according to press reports yesterday.

    Talat, who is leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), said the Cyprus issue will gain momentum in the coming days.

    He was referring to the probable resumption of direct talks between the two sides after the presidential elections.

    Accession talks with the EU are due to begin at around the same time.

    Talat said "various circles" have stressed how important it is for the Turkish Cypriot side to participate in the EU accession process.

    "Extensive efforts should be exerted to secure favourable developments until the EU launches the accession process with the Greek Cypriot side," Talat is reported as saying.

    He added that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's comments that he will only participate in the political talks on the basis of two states could be interpreted as new preconditions.

    "Great sensitivity should be displayed in assessing the talks aiming at solving the Cyprus issue," Talat said in a statement.

    Referring to reports of a document being prepared by the UN, Talat said President Clerides "is silent" about the reports, even though both leaders oppose any such document.

    "The Turkish Cypriot side should carefully assess the trap it will fall into should it find itself rejecting a document based on the Boutros-Ghali (former UN Secretary-general) set of ideas," Talat said.

    Meanwhile discord within Talat's party over the expulsion of his predecessor Ozker Ozgur continued at the weekend, with the resignation of many members.

    According to Turkish Cypriot press reports the resignations "were pouring in", particularly from the Nicosia area.

    The papers said that so far 150 resignations have been received from members accusing the party's administration of "making concessions on the party's principles in order to stay in government and of not resisting the regime despite the exploitation of the party".

    "Ozgur's expulsion is being described as the 'straw that broke the camel's back'," one paper said.

    Ozgur was expelled last week for declaring the recent party congress illegal after objecting to a second roll call and for allegedly conducting a campaign against the party. The expulsion decision by the party administration was unanimous. Ozgur was the RTP leader from 1976 to 1996.

    [07] Denktash to demand visas from Britons

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday he would respond to a British ending of visa-free entry to Turkish Cypriots by demanding payment from British citizens entering the occupied north.

    "We have to balance this issue by asking for the same amount of Cypriot lira as the British government asks from my people," Bayrak television quoted Denktash as saying.

    Britain said last month it would end visa-free entry to holders of Turkish Cypriot travel documents after a spate of unfounded asylum claims.

    Denktash called the move unfair and unjust and said he would refuse to see London's special representative on the Cyprus issue, Sir David Hannay, until the issue was resolved.

    [08] Kurd 'ready to name massacre officers'

    A KURD who claims he witnessed a massacre of Greek Cypriots in 1974 could name the Turkish officers who ordered the killings.

    In a telephone interview with state TV on Sunday night, a man claiming to be a friend of the Kurdish man, Mustafa Ongan, said he was ready to name those who ordered the murders.

    Ongan, 45, who is a former Turkish soldier and now lives in Germany, told the pro-Kurdish daily Ozgur Politika last week that around 100 Greek Cypriot civilians, mainly elderly men, along with some women and children, were slaughtered and buried near Nicosia during the Turkish invasion.

    Because Ongan is very ill he decided to clear his conscience, he told the newspaper.

    In the TV interview on Sunday his friend said Ongan was able to say where the mass grave is located.

    The man also said there was a possibility that other Kurds who served as Turkish soldiers in Cyprus in 1974 may also come forward and name names.

    Ongan said Turkish and Turkish Cypriot army chiefs ordered the killing of fleeing civilians who were later buried.

    The government is taking the matter seriously and is investigating.

    [09] Limassol Zoo elephant seriously ill

    LIMASSOL Zoo's Indian elephant Julie was last night said to be "seriously ill" after her osteoarthritis took a turn for the worse.

    Julie's condition, affecting her front legs, was diagnosed at the beginning of the year. The change in her condition was first noticed yesterday afternoon.

    Julie is being cared for by vet Lambros Lambrou.

    The 48-year-old elephant was one of the first animals at the zoo.

    [10] Fish farm employee drowned

    A 36-year old man found in the sea off Limassol on Sunday died from drowning, a post mortem concluded yesterday.

    Father of two Marinos Thalassitis was found dead around 500 metres off the shore at around 5pm on Sunday.

    He had left home at 2pm with his cousin see to the fish at the Akrotiri fish farm where he worked.

    After arriving at the new Limassol port he boarded a small boat alone to head out to the fish farm to turn off the machine feeding the fish.

    According to reports he told his cousin he wouldn't be long but when he failed to return one and a half hours later his cousin alerted the police.

    A search was launched immediately and the body was found at 5pm. Police said it appeared Thalassitis' boat had capsized.

    [11] Olive oil strike ends

    WORK finally restarted at olive oil-bottling company SEKEP yesterday, after striking workers brought their industrial action to an end.

    The six workers had been on strike since January 23, demanding an improvement in working conditions and a salary increase.

    Over the past few days, this has resulted in a shortage of olive oil on the island's supermarket shelves, with SEKEP forced to bring in olive oil from Crete to satisfy demand. The six are all members of workers' union SEK.

    Andreas Pantelas, SEK General-secretary for Semi-Government Workers, said yesterday that negotiations over the workers' demands were continuing, under mediation by the Labour Ministry.

    [12] Clerides honoured by Russian Academy

    THE Russian Academy of Natural Sciences yesterday declared President Glafcos Clerides an Honorary Member.

    The declaration was made at a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, where Academy Vice President Vladimir Pirumov described Clerides' efforts to solve the Cyprus problem as "tireless".

    Accepting the membership, Clerides noted that "the dream of peace is in the heart of the people of Cyprus who are still being plagued by the evils of war, violence and injustice."

    The ceremony was also attended by Russian Ambassador to Cyprus, Georgi Muratov.

    [13] 'UFO spotted over Kyrenia'

    An unidentified flying object (UFO) was spotted over Kyrenia on Saturday, Turkish Cypriot press reports said yesterday.

    The UFO was allegedly seen on the Nicosia-Kyrenia road by the Merter family from Kyrenia who were on their way home after visiting a friend's house.

    They said an object "like a flying saucer" with white revolving lights had appeared 50-100 metres above their car and followed them.

    [14] Anorthosis goal machine resumes operations

    By George Christou

    ANORTHOSIS returned to the top spot in the table on Sunday, thanks to their superior goal difference, after the 7-1 annihilation of Famagusta rivals Salamina.

    In Achna Ethnikos survived a second half onslaught by struggling Anagennisis to win 1-0 and climb to third place, just two points behind Anorthosis.

    On Saturday night at the Makarios stadium, Apoel needed two penalties to defeat Ael 3-1, a result that flatters the home side.

    The champions have started the second round in the same way they had started the first - sweeping aside their opposition with big scorelines and looking invincible. A week ago they hit five against Anagennisis and on Sunday went two better against Salamina.

    This was how they had began the season and this may explain why the slumped towards the end of the first round. They won their first nine games against relatively weak opposition, but when they had to face the stronger sides they were unprepared.

    They took just two points from the last four games of the first round, losing twice at home where they had not tasted defeat for almost four years. Coach Dusan Mitosevic, who praised his side's first half performance on Sunday, will not allow his players to get complacent again.

    In fairness, beating a poor Salamina side, who surrendered without a fight, is nothing to boast about. The visitors were a truly sad spectacle - undisciplined, disorganised and unwilling to work. No wonder they suffered their worst ever defeat by Anorthosis.

    The champions were four up by half-time through Krismarevic (two), Michailovic, who took his tally to 14 and is joint top scorer with Rauffman, and Ioannou.

    In the second half, the three players signed from Salamina in the summer - Andreou, Okkas, Elia - all scored against their former club. Adamou scored his side's consolation goal.

    Ethnikos Achna extended their unbeaten run to 12 games, with their 10th victory of the season. They will be the first to admit that they were fortunate to take the three points, because Anagennisis deserved a point, on the strength of their second half performance.

    Neocleous scored the all-important goal, six minutes after the interval, heading in Jurev's free-kick. Anagennisis threw everyone forward after this and should have had an equaliser.

    Twice Ethnikos defenders cleared the ball off the line, while Shimitras pulled off some superb saves to keep Anagennisis, who are second from bottom, out.

    Apoel's clash with Ael came alive at the midway point of the second half, when the home side were awarded a penalty for a foul on Hadjiloucas and Arsticloeous scored from the spot-kick.

    Ael were level two minutes later, Romanian midfielder, Ilie Stan, scoring from direct free-kick. A dubious penalty, awarded for another foul on Hadjiloucas and converted by Aristocleous, restored Apoel's lead in the 78th minute. Hadjiloucas appeared to have dived after a gentle nudge by Michael.

    Ioannou completed the scoring to maintain a 30-year tradition during which Ael has never beaten Apoel in Nicosia.

    [15] Michaelides backs Galanos

    DIKO vice President Dinos Michaelides yesterday again broke with the party line and expressed his support for rebel presidential candidate Alexis Galanos.

    Galanos, a former house president and Diko member was expelled from the party after he announced his candidacy. Diko is backing independent candidate George Iacovou.

    Speaking at a press conference attended by other high-ranking Diko party members, Michaelides said backing Galanos would be "a respectable way out of our dilemmas" for the party.

    Ever since the decision was taken in December to support Iacovou, Michaelides has maintained that Diko's candidate should be one of its own members.

    His views have previously resulted in his being called before a party disciplinary committee.

    [16] Iacovou leads Clerides in poll

    By Andrew Adamides

    GEORGE IACOVOU is moving ahead in the race for the presidency according to poll findings released yesterday.

    The poll, carried out by Amer research on behalf of Antenna television, gave Iacovou 38.9 per cent of the vote in the first round of elections, while current President Glafcos Clerides received just 36.5 percent.

    The poll also found that Iacovou would also come out on top in the second round, with 47.1 per cent, against Clerides' 45.6.

    Earlier figures compiled by Amer gave Clerides a marginal second round lead of 0.1 per cent, but put the two candidates almost neck and neck in the first round, giving Clerides 36.1 per cent and Iacovou 36.6 per cent.

    Of the other candidates, the new first-round figures gave Edek's Vassos Lyssarides 9 per cent, former President George Vassiliou 5.9 per cent, Diko dissident Alexis Galanos 4.2 per cent, New Horizons' Nicos Koutsou 1.9 per cent and Liberal Nicos Rolandis just 0.6 per cent.

    One per cent of those polled said they planned to cast a blank vote in the first round, while 3.7 percent sd d they would do so in the second. Two per cent said they did not know who they would be voting for in the first round, with 3.7 per cent unsure about their choice of candidate for the second round.

    Interestingly, the vast majority of 18-year-old first-time voters polled still back the ageing Clerides, with 44.8 per cent saying they would vote for him. Iacovou, by contrast, gathered just 29.1 per cent of the first- time vote in spite of his relative youth.

    Earlier in the day, Clerides' party Disy held a press conference at which they expressed reservations about the result of the poll. Disy spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the party would issue further statements after the findings of the poll were made public.

    Replying, Amer Director Yiannis Papadopoulos said that anyone who had any substantial proof that the poll's findings were incorrect should contact him with it so that it could be investigated.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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