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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 6, 1998


  • [01] Lyssarides boosted by Euro-socialist support
  • [02] The youth appeal of the oldest candidate
  • [03] 'Reasonable' proposal for Turkish Cypriots in EU talks
  • [04] Clerides flies in to visit air base
  • [05] Denktash blasts those opting for Cyprus passports
  • [06] Tourists in road rage claim
  • [07] Greek Cypriot meat 'on sale in Famagusta supermarket'
  • [08] Former minister Frixos Petrides dies
  • [09] Gulf and Russian tourists are the biggest spenders
  • [10] How do we stand up to Europe
  • [11] Theatre groups in Paphos tax protest

  • [01] Lyssarides boosted by Euro-socialist support

    By Martin Hellicar

    AS THE front-runners for Sunday's presidential elections again traded accusations, Vassos Lyssarides's campaign was boosted by the unabashed support of the European Socialist party.

    The visiting secretary-general of the party, Jean-François Vallin, said Lyssarides - standing for fellow socialists Edek - could play a vital role in securing Cyprus's entry to the EU.

    "Am I interfering in the election campaign? Yes, I'm sorry, but yes," Vallin said during a joint morning press-conference with Lyssarides.

    "I really think that if the choice for Cyprus is to join the EU then Vassos Lyssarides - playing an active part in the workings of the European Socialist party - is a good ticket in this effort," Vallin said.

    "The fact that twelve of the 15 EU governments are socialist means Cyprus can use Vassos Lyssarides in efforts to join the community," he added.

    Lyssarides said EU accession would help secure a "safe" Cyprus settlement.

    Opinion polls predict Lyssarides will get about 8 per cent of the vote in Sunday's presidential elections. With polls also predicting President Clerides and George Iacovou will each win about a third of the vote on Sunday, Lyssarides could play a decisive role in a second round on February 15.

    Meanwhile, Iacovou charged the government with barring National Guard chief Nikolaos Vorvolakos from seeing him, and Clerides' most ardent backer, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades, slammed Iacovou's approach to the Common Defence Dogma military pact with Greece.

    Iacovou - who is backed by Akel and former government coalition party Diko - complained that the door had been shut in his face when he tried to meet Vorvolakos to tell him of his plans for the National Guard.

    He said Vorvolakos had told him he had consulted Defence Minister George Charalambides and would not be able to see him.

    Angling for the army vote, Iacovou promised that, if elected, he would double conscripts' pay and implement a five-day week for permanent servicemen.

    Anastassiades, speaking during a visit to Larnaca, lambasted Iacovou for suggesting Greece and Cyprus should have an agreement on use of the new Paphos military air-base. The Disy leader said the government and Greece had always worked hand-in-hand on the air-base within the context of the Dogma. He said it was "insulting" of Iacovou to suggest otherwise.

    Liberal candidate Nicos Rolandis criticised Clerides for not contacting Russia, China or France when appealing for international pressure on Ankara to become more flexible concerning the Cyprus problem.

    Clerides said on Wednesday he had written to the UN, US and Britain to ask them to help change Turkey's "negative attitude."

    "As a move, sending the letter was correct, but I don't see why only two members of the UN Security Council were contacted and not the others," Rolandis said.

    "When we have followed this tactic in the past we had misunderstandings and complications," he warned.

    Rolandis also suggested the "smaller" candidates should form a coalition between the first and second round of the elections. According to polls, Rolandis will get less than 1 per cent of Sunday's vote.

    New Horizons candidate Nicos Koutsou complained that Disy were spreading malicious rumours that his party were to back Iacovou in a second round.

    Meanwhile, Diko rebel Alexis Galanos was busy meeting representatives of the relatives of the missing. He stated a national policy on the missing was urgently needed and suggested the relatives' representatives be invited to a National Council meeting immediately after the elections.

    [02] The youth appeal of the oldest candidate

    By Jean Christou

    ALMOST half of the 17,000 new voters in Sunday's presidential elections give incumbent president Glafcos Clerides the thumbs up.

    This will be the first time that 18-year-olds will be allowed to vote since the threshold was brought down from 21 last year.

    First-time voters number 16,938, of whom 8,902 are men and 8,036 are women. The total voting population stands at 446,731.

    Most opinion polls published so far appear to give Clerides, 78, a slim lead over his main rival, George Iacovou, 59.

    But when it comes to new voters, the indications are that the ageing incumbent is streets ahead of the younger Iacovou.

    Support for Clerides among 18-20-year-olds is phenomenal, with between 40 and 50 per cent of new voters supporting the veteran right-wing politician in the first round.

    Youth support for Iacovou, who is backed by communist Akel and centre-right Diko, however, ranges from a low of 18 per cent to a high of 29 per cent; about 25 per cent of young voters remain undecided.

    The explanation, according to sociologist Nicos Peristianis, who is the head of Intercollege, lies in the conservatism of Cypriot society, as well as factors relating to the island's political division.

    Peristianis said that Disy, the party founded by Clerides, was seen as the promoter of Western ideals and a model for development and Cyprus' course to EU accession.

    "Plus the fact that it represents ethnic ideals, a national identity and a strong policy towards standing against the invasion," he said.

    "Young people are attracted to the policy of putting up a harder resistance and not accepting defeat so easily, and Clerides is seen as a politician who is trying to do something."

    Peristianis was referring to the election battle over who would bring the Russian S-300 missiles to the island first.

    Previously, he added, Clerides was considered the person who would be most likely to compromise on the Cyprus question, but he has reinvented his image.

    He said that ten years ago, Disy was seen as the extreme right and Clerides as a traitor, but he had somehow managed to make himself more acceptable to the centre, "so why not some from the left as well."

    Peristianis said that Cypriot students, although aware of other problems such as education, were far more interested in politics and defence.

    He believes that while they are not informed on the details of the issue they are aware of them in a broader context.

    "Iacovou is now trying to appear even more willing to put up a fight. He realised this tactic is gaining votes," Peristianis said.

    "Akel has tried to present a new profile, but while they have managed to preserve their voters they are not gaining any new ones. The international climate has changed and the left-wing is losing ground."

    Tokos Thanasis, vice-president of the Disy youth wing Nedisy, said younger people felt safer with Clerides as President.

    "Security and the European Union are the most important issue for the young. Environment, education and the economy do not hold a great interest for them. They feel the occupation is the top of the list," Thanasis said.

    Clerides, he added, had been pursuing the issues of both security and the EU from the beginning and people felt he was simply the best person to see them through.

    But Stephanos Stephanou, Secretary-general of Edon, the Akel youth wing, said Clerides has failed to give the detailed content of his policies.

    "It's easy to talk to new voters about dogma and EU, but not easy to give the details," Stephanou said.

    He said those first-time voters who had said they would vote for Clerides were doing so just because he was already president.

    [03] 'Reasonable' proposal for Turkish Cypriots in EU talks

    CYPRUS will prepare a "reasonable" proposal for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the EU accession talks, the government said yesterday.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides was responding to reports that Britain's special envoy Sir David Hannay had asked for an "attractive" proposal on the part of the Cyprus Republic.

    "A proposal which is reasonable and sensible is, in a political framework, attractive," Christofides said.

    The Turkish Cypriot side has so far refused to participate in EU accession talks, due to begin after March 31.

    It says doing so would imply recognition of the Cyprus government as the government of the Turkish Cypriots.

    The Greek Cypriot side for its part will not accept the Turkish Cypriots as a separate delegation with opinions and veto powers.

    International mediators on the Cyprus problem have been trying for months to come up with a formula acceptable to both sides, even though EU accession talks with the government will go ahead as planned.

    "The Cyprus government will see to a reasonable representation, but the negotiator will be the government of Cyprus," Christofides said.

    He added the government would like to make the proposal before March, but warned "there will be no additions that will go over the limits that are acceptable to the government."

    Christofides repeated that Turkish Cypriot participation in the negotiating team should not imply recognition of the breakaway regime.

    He also stressed that those participating should support Cyprus' European course and said the government would not continue putting up new proposals if the Turkish Cypriots refuse to accept them every time.

    [04] Clerides flies in to visit air base

    PRESIDENT Clerides yesterday flew in by helicopter to visit the newly- constructed Paphos air base.

    Clerides was escorted by Defence Minister George Charalambides and National Guard commander General Nikolaos Vorvolakos.

    "The way the base is constructed could be considered as a model," Clerides told reporters after his visit.

    But he refrained from saying when Greek planes might be stationed at the controversial base, to be named after former Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    Asked when the base would be inaugurated, Clerides simply said: "We will set a date".

    It has been rumoured that the base, handed over by the contractors to the government on January 24, will be official inaugurated at the end of March.

    On Wednesday Cyprus officially protested to the United Nations over Turkish threats over the air base.

    In a letter to UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, Cyprus permanent representative to the UN Sotos Zacheos emphasised the government's right to self-defence.

    "As a sovereign and independent state, the Republic of Cyprus does nothing more but to exercise its inalienable right... through the enhancement of the defensive capabilities of the National Guard," the letter said.

    Zacheos said Turkey's reaction to the upgrading of Cyprus' defences "has the sole intention of maintaining the hugely imbalanced military status quo on the island."

    He urged the UN chief to remind the Turkish government of its obligations and responsibilities under the UN charter.

    Turkey has officially protested about the building of the air base to the UN Security Council.

    [05] Denktash blasts those opting for Cyprus passports

    COUNTER-measures planned by the Denktash regime over Britain's imposition of visa requirements would not harm Turkish Cypriots living in the UK, the Turkish Cypriot leader has said.

    At the same time Rauf Denktash blasted those Turkish Cypriots in Britain who have obtained Cyprus Republic passports from the embassy in London.

    Denktash is furious at last month's British decision to slap visas on 'TRNC' passport-holders and has decided to impose his own visa restrictions on Britons visiting the north.

    Opposition parties in the north believe the measures are tantamount to a self-imposed embargo.

    Denktash said the measures would be lifted as soon as the British lifted their restrictions on Turkish Cypriots entering the UK.

    Denktash said, however, that the measures would not hurt tourism and would be designed in such a way as not to harm Turkish Cypriots living in the UK.

    But those Turkish Cypriots who have obtained passports from the Cyprus embassy in London have come under heavy fire from the Turkish Cypriot leader, who said they should be treated like "foreigners".

    Turkish Cypriot press said yesterday it had been reported that as many as 30,000 Turkish Cypriots had obtained Cyprus passports. This figure is thought to be exaggerated.

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides told the Cyprus Mail recently that an increasing number of UK-based Turkish Cypriots had opted for Cypriot passports, but he did not believe the number who as high as is being claimed.

    Republican Turkish party leader Mehmet Ali Talat was quoted in yesterday's press as saying Denktash was "the first president to threaten his own citizens".

    Talat said Denktash and his 'government' had failed to fulfil their obligations towards their citizens. He said they were now trying to inflict punishment on these people for trying to find an alternative way out of their problems.

    [06] Tourists in road rage claim

    A BRITISH couple say they were the victims of a road rage attack while driving back to their hotel in Paphos.

    Police yesterday arrested two Cypriot men suspected of threatening David and Christine Hardy from Wigan with a pick axe handle.

    Police said the brothers Christakis and Stelios Christou, aged 25 and 26, are being questioned in connection with the incident.

    "I was frightened for my life when I saw this man wielding a big stick. I'm just grateful a local taxi driver intervened," Christine, 49, told the Cyprus Mail from her Paphos hotel yesterday.

    The altercation allegedly occurred on the Paphos to Limassol road after a car driven by a Cypriot was unable to overtake the tourists, then passed them on the hard shoulder and stopped suddenly.

    There was an exchange of words, but luckily other motorists intervened before anyone got hurt.

    "I've been to Cyprus many times before and this has never happened. It's not going to spoil my holiday," said Christine.

    [07] Greek Cypriot meat 'on sale in Famagusta supermarket'

    A SUPERMARKET owned by an in-law of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is selling Lambrianides Bros frozen meat products in the north, according to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Avrupa.

    Avrupa has criticised Denktash for waging war against "traitors of the state", while allowing Turkish Cypriot profiteers to line their own pockets and enrich the Greek Cypriot economy.

    The paper claims that Lambrianides bacon, sausages, and lounza is being sold at the Lemar supermarket in occupied Famagusta.

    The supermarket is owned by Ozer Boyaci, an in-law of Denktash.

    Avrupa accuses the Denktash regime of conveniently ignoring Lambrianides pork being sold at the supermarket, while turning its attention to the relative small fry who sell smuggled Greek Cypriot brandy at small taverns.

    [08] Former minister Frixos Petrides dies

    FORMER Education Minister Frixos Petrides passed away yesterday at the age of 83 following a lengthy illness.

    He died yesterday morning in Nicosia General hospital, where he had for the past month been receiving treatment for respiratory problems.

    The well-known educationalist served as director of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) from 1960 to 1970 and then as Minister for two years.

    Nicosia-born Petrides was also chairman of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) from 1972 to 1983. Before becoming CyBC director, Petrides worked as a Greek literature teacher and then headmaster at the Nicosia Pancyprian gymnasium.

    Petrides also took part in the EOKA liberation struggle, suffering lung damage from tear-gas thrown by British soldiers during a disturbance in Nicosia.

    The funeral will be tomorrow.

    [09] Gulf and Russian tourists are the biggest spenders

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    VISITORS from the Gulf and from Russia are the biggest spenders of the island's 2.06 million tourists, while Scandinavians leave the least, the latest Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) figures indicate.

    The CTO's visitors' expenditure survey for 1997 shows an increase in average per capita expenditure of some 3 per cent to £393.50. This means tourism receipts last year climbed to an estimated £825 million compared to £780 million in 1996.

    Daily per capita expenditure by visitors was down by 2.2 per cent to £34.20, but the average length of stay was up from just under 11 days to 11.5 days, the statistics show.

    Package tourists on scheduled flights spent the most on accommodation - £20.82 per day compared to £16.91 for those who took a charter flight, and £6.67 for those visitors who came on an individual basis.

    They also spent the most on additional expenditure within the place of accommodation - £2.94 per day compared to £2.38 for charter flight visitors and £1 for individual visitors.

    Outside their place of accommodation, charter flight and scheduled flight tourists spent more or less the same - some £12 a day, while individual visitors spent £14.37.

    Independent travellers turned out to be the biggest shoppers - they spent £4.58 a day or £61.48 per person. In comparison, charter flight visitors spent £2.92 a day and £32.85 per person, while visitors who came as organised tourists on scheduled flights spent £3.74 a day or £39.75 per person.

    Overall expenditure excluding accommodation ranged from £17.32 per day for charter flight tourists to £19.95 for individual visitors.

    Including accommodation, charter flight tourists spent £385.37 per person (£34.23 per day), scheduled flight tourists spent £361.28 per person (£26.92 per person) and individual travellers £361.28 per person (£26.92 a day).

    The tables released by the CTO give valuable insight into spending patterns and are used by tourism experts to monitor developments.

    The lowest spenders are Norwegian visitors on scheduled flights who averaged just £19.48 a day. Finns (£24.18 a day) and Swedes (£25.51) came a close second and third. At the opposite end of the scale were visitors from the Gulf (£65.82), Lebanon (£57.64) and Russia (£53.8).

    British tourists - who account for some 40 per cent of total tourist numbers - spent between £37 and £41 each a day, depending on whether they came on charter or scheduled flights.

    Tourists from Britain were actually among the few to spend more per capita on a daily basis in 1997 compared to 1996. Others included Italians and visitors from the Middle East.

    Average per capita expenditure per visit was up some 3 per cent, with the French, the Irish, East Europeans and the Russians registering the biggest upturn over the previous year. In contrast the Germans, the Austrians and the Israelis spent less.

    [10] How do we stand up to Europe

    THE average Cypriot man can expect to live longer than his EU counterpart - 75.6 years, as opposed to 73.7. But Cypriot women have a shorter life expectancy than those in EU member states, living to just 79.8 as compared to 80.1.

    The figures come from a new EU report comparing statistics from member states with those of candidate countries. Overall, Cyprus performed well in the comparison, with unemployment standing at just 3.1 per cent, while the EU average is 10.7.

    Living standards on the island are also high: Europe's inflation stands at 2.5 per cent, while Cyprus' is only slightly higher at 2.9 per cent. Turkey's inflation currently stands at 79.4 per cent.

    As in Europe, Cyprus' birth rate outstrips the death rate. In the EU, there are 10.8 births per 1,000 people, while the death rate is 10 per 1,000. In Cyprus, however, there appears to be something of a baby boom, with 16.3 births per 1,000 people, and just 7.2 deaths.

    [11] Theatre groups in Paphos tax protest

    A PAPHOS official yesterday confirmed that Theatro Ena and Satiriko Theatre were pulling out of the town in protest at a new performance tax.

    The theatres have also sent official letters of protest to the municipality, saying that no further performances will be held until the 5 per cent tax is abolished. Theatro Ena has already axed performances scheduled to take place at the Markidieo Theatre.

    The tax has previously been disputed by Limassol cinemas, which went on strike in the summer to protest at having to pay it. Performance tax varies from district to district: in Larnaca and Nicosia, theatres pay the tax, but it is returned to them through government sponsorship. In Nicosia theatres are charged the tax at 25 per cent.

    Theatre representatives described the tax as "an additional burden to the many expenses private theatres must bear".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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