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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-07

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

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


Saturday, February 7, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Winding up where they began
  • [02] Issues? What issues?
  • [03] The moment of truth
  • [04] The main players in tomorrow's elections
  • [05] Iacovou campaign team in night fracas over HQ posters
  • [06] Lawyers call for Iacovou imprisonment
  • [07] Policeman held over attack on Disy poster men
  • [08] An unlikely deal maker?
  • [09] Authorities sceptical of new testimony on the missing
  • [10] From pork to spare parts - selling to the north
  • [11] Police matching blood samples in search for French woman
  • [12] Direct debit or foot the bill
  • [13] Bases to plant 8,000 trees in Akrotiri

  • [01] Winding up where they began

    By Martin Hellicar

    AFTER weeks of often acrimonious pre-election sparring, yesterday's final day of campaigning was a low-key affair.

    A blanket ban on electioneering and media coverage of the elections came into effect at midnight last night. It lasts until after the close of polling booths tomorrow.

    Newspapers traditionally flout the ban, but campaign teams are expected to respect it.

    In an address to the nation, President Clerides rounded off his re-election campaign on the same note as he had begun. He said he felt a "weight of responsibility bearing down" on him "in these crucial times."

    Clerides repeated that international initiatives for a settlement were pending after the elections. He said he was the man to deliver a just and viable solution and warned against trusting others.

    "This initiative must find us ready. It will bring opportunity... if we stick with the tried and tested strategy of recent years," he said.

    "The initiatives, though, will bring dangers if mistakes are made, if we experiment, if experience is absent," the 79-year-old incumbent added.

    Clerides's main rival, Akel- and Diko-backed George Iacovou, confined himself to saying he was "optimistic" about the outcome of the elections.

    Opinion polls suggest Clerides and Iacovou will each secure about a third of the vote, forcing a second round of voting on February 15.

    Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides, who is expected to get about 8 per cent of the vote, said his party would decide who to back in the second round, with the national interest as the deciding factor.

    "We need a common, national strategy based on specific principles," the veteran socialist said.

    He also expressed regret at the "unacceptable" tone of pre-election exchanges between candidates.

    United Democrats candidate George Vassiliou also deplored the mud-slinging, claiming he had steered well clear of it. "I spoke clearly and presented positions and proposals, I did not try to muddy the waters," Vassiliou said.

    Nicos Koutsou of the New Horizons admitted his right-wing party had a different Cyprus problem policy to all the others. He said he would nonetheless talk to other parties before the second round with the aim of forging alliances. "The disagreements will remain, but we will seek to find a compromise that will guarantee human rights, the return of refugees and the withdrawal of settlers and Turkish forces from Cyprus," Koutsou said.

    Liberals candidate Nicos Rolandis said he would, contrary to poll predictions, secure about 3 per cent of the vote. Polls have given Rolandis less than 1 per cent.

    Alexis Galanos, standing as a Diko rebel, did a tour of tertiary education establishments and spoke of the need for government support for higher education.

    Meanwhile, Akel leader Dimitris Christofias issued a last-minute invitation to fellow left-wingers Edek and the United Democrats to come alongside Akel in the "battle for change."

    The chairman of right-wing workers' union Sek said it would always oppose whichever candidate Akel supported.

    [02] Issues? What issues?

    By Martin Hellicar

    APART from the unrestrained mud-slinging, the most notable thing about sparring between presidential candidates in the run-up to tomorrow's vote has been the lack of real debate on serious issues.

    The Cyprus problem and its many facets - sovereignty, defence, international initiatives - have taken centre stage as candidates have vied for the patriotic high ground, but exchanges have been more about challenging the opposition's credibility than arguing over actual policy.

    Dr Andreas Theophanous, director of the Intercollege research and development centre, commented that this pattern pointed to a certain lack of "sophistication" in campaign debating.

    "It is one thing to say why you don't want somebody else and quite another to convince someone why it should be you," the political analyst said.

    "Election campaigns may have become more sophisticated and more negative and antagonistic - which is part of game - but I think it would have been better if candidates had spent more time saying what they would do if elected," he said.

    The sole serious challenger to President Clerides's re-election bid, George Iacovou, has charged the incumbent with "selling out" to the Turkish side by accepting double sovereignty and a rotating Presidency. The Clerides team has vehemently denied this, stating repeatedly that only Clerides is capable of forging a viable and just settlement.

    Iacovou, who enjoys the backing of Akel and Diko, has also disputed the very existence of much-touted international initiatives for a settlement. The Clerides team has responded by questioning Iacovou's grasp of Cyprus problem developments.

    Iacovou has claimed he would pursue a more "assertive" foreign policy, but debate between the two main contenders has never got down to the minutiae of policy differences.

    "Certainly it would have been much better to have had qualitative debate," Theophanous said, adding that this would have given the voter far more information on which to base his decision.

    The analyst said EU accession - another battle ground for the front-runners - was a prime example of an issue begging for more analysis.

    "The question candidates should have been concentrating on is what EU accession would mean for the country. It would have been good to be able to see how all seven candidates reacted to this issue," Theophanous said.

    Debate on the economy has also been skin-deep. "The government is painting a rosy picture concerning the economy and Iacovou is speaking of disaster," he said.

    Theophanous said the government side had put the emphasis on Cyprus problem issues because polls showed "overwhelming support for Clerides's handling on these issues."

    And there would appear to be in fact little dividing the two camps on foreign policy issues.

    Both Iacovou and Clerides back single sovereignty, defence reinforcement through the Common Defence Dogma military pact with Greece and speedy EU accession. Iacovou seemed at first to be on a radically different tack to the government when he stated he would not bring the S-300 missiles to Cyprus, but he then did a complete U-turn and began claiming he would, if elected, have the Russian-made ground-to-air missiles in Cyprus before Clerides would.

    This common approach might explain why there has been so little serious debate, but Theophanous hinted a more likely reason was that no candidate wished to alienate voters by talking of sacrifices.

    "I think one of the problems in Cyprus politics is that some situations may require bold steps," he said. "For example, cutting the deficit in public sector spending would necessitate a re-examination of the government's role in the economy and how many people it hires," he said.

    [03] The moment of truth

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    CYPRIOTS vote for a new president tomorrow after a lacklustre election campaign characterised more by acrimonious wrangling than focused debate on key issues.

    The 450,000 strong electorate will have a record seven candidates to chose from, but know even before they cast their vote that none will secure the 50 per cent plus majority to win the election without a run-off.

    Opinion polls show front-runners Glafcos Clerides and George Iacovou neck and neck, securing some 80 per cent of the votes between them.

    Both are already positioning themselves for a fierce duel for next Sunday's run-off, actively wooing smaller parties and promising to govern by consensus.

    The same polls confirm smaller parties will decide who will be president on February 15. They also show first time voters - some 17,000 to join the electorate since the voting age was cut from 21 to 18, will have a decisive say.

    The significance of small parties and new voters has been evident in the campaigns of the two front runners.

    Their kid-glove approach, particularly to Edek's Vassos Lyssarides and the United Democrats' George Vassiliou, has contrasted sharply to the slanging matches between themselves.

    The campaign, fought primarily on television, has seen the first-ever airing of negative political advertisements. It has also led to endless hours of TV and radio debates, much haranguing over opinion polls and persistent complaints by many candidates of dirty whispers to lure away supporters.

    Candidates have also sparred over campaign spending and the objectivity of media coverage.

    But there has been more smoke than light over key issues such as moves to reunite Cyprus and take it into the European Union, the joint defence dogma with Greece, the new air-base and the planned deployment of the S-300 missiles.

    George Iacovou, an independent backed by Akel and Diko has accused the Clerides camp of ducking any debate on the economy and social issues, while taking swipes at the president whom he accuses of selling out on the Cyprus problem.

    Clerides, backed by Disy - the party he founded - has tried to cultivate the image of the experienced leader with national support best suited to deal with the Cyprus problem in the crucial times ahead.

    Both men have come under fire for running negative advertisements against each other, rather that sticking to their message. Campaign teams have responded that one negative advertisement demands another in reply.

    The other five candidates, though campaigning in the shadow of the big two, have had their share of the spotlight.

    Edek president Vassos Lyssarides, making his third bid for the presidency, has run what many observers see as the freshest campaign with original TV advertisements, targeting in part the young and undecided. His party has complained of smear campaigns to lure away votes, primarily by Akel, but Lyssarides himself has careful kept the two front runners at arm's length. With opinion polls indicating he will better Edek's 8.1 per cent showing in the 1996 parliamentary elections, Lyssarides will be in a position of strength in any talks with either frontrunner for support in the second round.

    Former president George Vassiliou is relying only on the strength of his United Democrats party. His third participation in a presidential race and the first without the support of the all-powerful Akel, he nevertheless hopes to increase the Free Democrats' 1996 vote of 3.69 per cent (Adisok which polled 1.4 per cent has since joined to establish the United Democrats) and thus place his party in a strong negotiating position for the second round. Vassiliou has also kept his cards hidden on what he plans to do.

    Of the other three candidates, all first timers, Diko rebel Alexis Galanos has attracted analysts' attention for the repercussions his candidacy will have on the political scene and particularly on Diko.

    Galanos, who has campaigned on a programme of renewal and fair government, says his candidacy fulfils Diko' role to act against polarisation between left and right. Shunned by the official Diko leadership, which has put its weight behind Iacovou - Galanos' team has even complained of dirty warfare - he has nevertheless secured the crucial support of party vice president Dinos Michaelides, Kyrenia deputy Katerina Pantelides and other leading Diko names such as former government spokesman Petros Voskarides. Opinion polls show Galanos securing some 4 per cent of the vote - reflecting Diko discontent with the party's decisions.

    Both New Horizons president Nicos Koutsou and Liberal party president Nicos Rolandis, on opposite ends of the political spectrum on the Cyprus issue, are making their first bid for the presidency, with polls showing them below the 2 per cent mark. Both have challenged the polls, but say their candidacies aim primarily to serve as a platform to air their positions.

    But, with the experience of the 1993 razor-thin majority of Clerides over Vassiliou still vivid in many minds, their respective votes, irrespective of their strength, may well be invaluable for the second round.

    With a close fight expected in the second round, most parties are saving their trump cards - students at universities abroad - for the next Sunday. Press reports have suggested as many as 11,000 students may be flown in from Greece and Britain on subsidised flights to cast their votes, with only a few due in for tomorrow's poll.

    Voting is compulsory. It begins at 7.00 am and continues until 5.00 pm with a one hour break from noon to 1.00pm at 1,023 polling centres. Enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites will vote at five special polling stations in the government-controlled areas. Counting will be carried out at district counting centres, beginning at 6.30 pm with first results expected around 9.00 pm. Final results may be announced by midnight.

    [04] The main players in tomorrow's elections

    GLAFCOS CLERIDES

    The incumbent president, 78, Clerides is battling for a second term at what he says is the most critical juncture for Cyprus. Having lost the Diko support which secured him the narrow majority in 1993, he is relying essentially on the support of Disy, but presenting his candidacy as non- party, insisting that Cypriots must vote on who they think can government best, and not their party affiliation. Though the real battle will be fought in the second round, Clerides needs a good showing tomorrow to build the momentum for the run-off. His campaign has focused on the Cyprus issue, the start of Cyprus-EU accession talks and defence. His team has tried to play up his experience, arguing that Iacovou could not really be trusted to take over at such a critical juncture. The campaign has been boosted by polls showing a preference among new voters, expected to play an important role is what is widely seen as a close fight. A former close aide to Archbishop Makarios, the first president of the House of Representatives and former Greek Cypriot negotiator in the bi-communal talks, Clerides formed his Democratic Rally party in 1976 and led it to become the biggest in Cyprus. He relinquished the party chairmanship after his 1993 election to the presidency. Son of a prominent Nicosia lawyer, Clerides was called to the bar in London, joined the RAF during World War ll and was shot down over Hamburg. He is married to Ireni-Lila and has one daughter Kate - a Disy deputy.

    GEORGE IACOVOU

    The technocrat who cuts an uneasy figure on the traditional election balcony, Iacovou enjoys the support of Akel - the island's second largest and best organised party - and of Diko. Theoretically this should have given him a clear lead, but bitter internal strife within Diko and the candidacy of Diko rebel Alexis Galanos have taken their toll. Iacovou's chances for the second round would be boosted by a clear majority on Sunday - thus putting him in a position of strength to woo the undecided for the run-off. The former Foreign Minister's campaign has tried to capitalise on discontent with the Clerides administration and to cast doubt on the president's record on the Cyprus problem by suggesting Clerides was ready to make dangerous concessions.

    The word "sell-out" has featured extensively in his campaign. Iacovou, 59 headed the services for the rehabilitation of thousands of refugees immediately after the Turkish invasion, served with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and was then appointed ambassador to Bonn in 1979. In 1983 he succeeded Nicos Rolandis to the Foreign Ministry in the Kyprianou government, retaining the position under President Vassiliou. From May 1993 to 1997 he chaired Greece's foundation for the repatriation of overseas Greeks. He is married to Jennifer and has four children.

    VASSOS LYSSARIDES

    The socialist party leader is making his third and last bid for the presidency, even though he stands no chance of making it to the second round. Yet Lyssarides has managed to escape being labelled Don Quixotic. As the Clerides and Iacovou camps bicker, Lyssarides has also managed to rise above the in-fighting - a stand in part helped by the rubber glove treatment he has been receiving from Iacovou and Clerides. He has instead concentrated on issues, helped by a smooth advertising campaign and boosted by opinion polls showing him bettering the Edek average. Wooed by the two front runners, Lyssarides could hold the key to who will be next president. Lyssarides, 78, was Archbishop Makarios' personal doctor for many years, He founded Edek in 1969 and has led it since, gradually changing its image from an anti-western movement to a social democratic party with close ties with Europe. House president from 1985 to 91, he is married with Barbara.

    GEORGE VASSILIOU

    The former president is making a bid for the presidency, stripped of the Akel support he enjoyed in 1988 and 1993. He too knows he stands no chance of making it to the second round, but his presence in the field reinforces his party - the United Democrats - and gives him a platform to air his views. Vassiliou will also be wooed by the rival candidates for the run- off. Vassiliou, 66, was a successful businessman, before he was elected president in 1988. He went on to lose the presidency by some 2,000 votes to Clerides. After his election defeat, Vassiliou formed the Free Democrats party, which secured two seats in the House in May 1996. Months later it united with the leftist Adisok to form the United Democrats. Vassiliou is married to Androulla, a deputy, and has three children.

    NICOS ROLANDIS

    This is the first time the Liberal party president, self-dubbed the politician of truth, is standing in a presidential race. Rolandis, 64, has already indicated a poor showing could signal his departure from politics altogether. A former foreign minister who broke away with Kyprianou and resigned his cabinet position, Rolandis supported Vassiliou in 1988. In 1993, he backed Clerides and his party, which he set up in 1986, also co- operated in the parliamentary elections with Disy. A lawyer and businessman, Rolandis has now chosen the solitary path and has used the campaign as a platform to make his voice heard.

    NICOS KOUTSOU

    Another newcomer, founder and president of the youngest party the New Horizons, Koutsou's presence is the race is another uphill battle. His party, founded in 1996, narrowly missed making it to the House of Representatives in May 1996. It differs from other parties in rejecting a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and supporting instead a unitary state. At 52, he is the youngest candidate, works as a management consultant with a private company, is married to Soula, and has two children.

    ALEXIS GALANOS

    The Diko rebel threw his hat into the ring after the party decided not to field its own candidate, but to back Iacovou. He has campaigned on renewal and fair government managing at the same time to attract support from Diko vice president Dinos Michaelides and other leading Diko figures - including deputy Katerina Pantelides and former Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas. His decision to run has incensed party president Spyros Kyprianou. Galanos, 57, was trained as a barrister and economist. A founding member of Diko, he has been a deputy for Famagusta since 1976. Former Diko parliamentary spokesman and vice president, Galanos was House president and now chairs the House Finance Committee. He is married to Alexandra and has two children.

    SPYROS KYPRIANOU

    The Diko president is not a candidate (even though for over a year he had insisted he would run) but the result of the elections could be crucial for his party - and himself. Victory for Iacovou would vindicate Kyprianou's choice, confirm his position as party president and give Diko a fresh lease of life in government. Defeat for Iacovou could allow Kyprianou opponents to challenge him.

    NICOS ANASTASSIADES

    For the Disy president, elected only a few months ago after Yiannakis Matsis stepped down amid considerable acrimony, the elections could prove a major test. Anastassiades has campaigned tirelessly for Clerides. Failure by Clerides to be re-elected could give internal opposition time to challenge him in the next party elections less that two years away.

    [05] Iacovou campaign team in night fracas over HQ posters

    By Charlie Charalambous

    GEORGE Iacovou's election bid came a cropper on Thursday night when giant billboards had to be taken down from his campaign HQ in Nicosia.

    Over-zealous Iacovou spin doctors sent in the cranes to hoist two billboards on the sides of the building, before seeking permission from the owners.

    It was only when the owners were tipped off by a passer-by that the covert operation on Grivas Digenis avenue was uncovered.

    "I arrived at the building, and to my amazement I saw a group of people drilling holes and putting up the posters without permission," the building's manager told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    He then confronted the builders and asked who had given them the green light, but they had already finished their work.

    "I then decided to pay the workers £35-an-hour to take the posters down."

    At this juncture, the Iacovou campaign team called the police and their lawyer to stop the workers from taking the posters down.

    A huddle then formed below the billboards involving the Iacovou spin doctors, their campaign lawyer, the property manager, the builders and the police.

    There followed a bout of claim and counter claim over who had permission to do what.

    But amicable negotiations won the day and it was finally agreed that a pint- size poster of Iacovou could reach for the skies.

    "This was not a political thing, they just acted as if they could do what they liked behind our backs," the building manager said.

    A call to an embarrassed campaign office yesterday brought this response:

    "There wasn't any trouble, everything was done according to the regulations... we discussed it with the owners then fixed it so we could have just one sign."

    [06] Lawyers call for Iacovou imprisonment

    By Jean Christou

    LAWYERS for the Limassol woman who is suing presidential candidate George Iacovou for the unauthorised use of her photograph in campaign material yesterday filed a new suit for his imprisonment.

    Neoclis Neocleous, the lawyer for Georgia Neocleous, told the Cyprus Mail the second suit related to Iacovou's alleged failure to withdraw the offending material.

    "Three days after serving the interim order he was in contempt and the new application asks for imprisonment," Neocleous said.

    Neocleous's client, Georgia Neocleous, 24, from Limassol, is

    a die-hard supporter of President Glafcos Clerides.

    She initially filed suit against his main rival Iacovou on Monday for using her photo in a campaign leaflet without permission.

    Since the publication of Iacovou's programme several weeks ago, the young woman claims she has suffered continual ridicule from friends and acquaintances and is seeking damages of between £25,000 and £50,000.

    Her friends, she said, knew she was an avid Disy supporter; when the photograph appeared she said she was subjected to a barrage of criticism and ridicule from people who believed she had changed her political beliefs.

    On Tuesday, Iacovou's campaign office issued an apology and said the photograph had been used by mistake and would be withdrawn, but Neocleous said it was not.

    A Nicosia journalist has signed an affidavit saying that on February 3, 4 and 5 material with the photograph was still evident in Eleftheria Square.

    The offending picture, taken three years ago for a private company's advertising promotion, shows the Limassol woman sitting behind a computer desk.

    However, it appears the advertising agency involved pulled the picture from their files for the Iacovou campaign without checking.

    Neocleous said his client intended to pursue the case whether or not Iacovou won the presidential elections.

    The case was not politically motivated, Neocleous said. "This is a professional case not political."

    [07] Policeman held over attack on Disy poster men

    A SPECIAL policeman was remanded yesterday for allegedly twice attacking two men pasting up pro-Clerides posters in Nicosia.

    The suspect, 25-year-old Christakis Koulermos from Nicosia, is detailed to guard the offices of Akel newspaper Haravgi, police said.

    Nicosia District Court heard he had verbally and physically assaulted two Clerides campaigners on January 28 and February 2.

    Koulermos, who was arrested on Thursday, was remanded for four days.

    This is the second serious incident of election-related violence reported this week.

    On Wednesday, a chain wielding gang attacked nine members of Akel youth organisation Edon who were pasting up posters of Akel candidate George Iacovou in Nicosia. One of the Edon members suffered head injuries and 30- year-old Chrysostomos Psaras was later arrested and remanded on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

    [08] An unlikely deal maker?

    GEORGE Iacovou looks "an unlikely deal maker" according to an editorial in this month's Economist magazine.

    Examining the current Cyprus situation, particularly with regard to the upcoming presidential elections, the editorial describes the campaign as "a grim business".

    It also points out that Iacovou's backers, the communist party Akel and what it calls the "hardline nationalists" of Diko, are less keen on the island's accession to the European Union, and are unlikely "to want to accommodate the Turks". Alluding to Iacovou's "vacillation" over the S-300 missiles, the editorial goes on to say that his u-turn on this subject came about after prodding from "the hardliners". A Iacovou victory, it concludes, would probably not give the peace-process the boost it needs to make the difference.

    Going on to say that neither the Greek nor Turkish sides are likely to come up with a settlement satisfying the other community, the piece describes the Turkish Cypriots as fearing "commercial, political and even physical domination by the numerous Greek Cypriots."

    In order to counteract this, the editorial suggests that the next incumbent should postpone the arrival of the S-300 missiles and include the Turkish Cypriots in the European Union accession talks.

    A further sweetener, it suggests, would be for the Greeks to allow Turkish Cypriot made goods into the EU at "favourable prices".

    The editorial also describes as "a good thing" that the set of ideas suggested by the UN has become "more or less accepted, at least as an outline for a settlement."

    In conclusion, however, the piece turns on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    "The suspicion lingers," is says, "that for his part Mr Denktash is quite uninterested in a settlement." In the long term, it adds, his people should be aware that this "spells economic misery" for the north.

    [09] Authorities sceptical of new testimony on the missing

    By Jean Christou

    JUST months before his murder in 1994, pro-Kurdish activist Theophilos Georgiades allegedly made a tape containing testimony relating to the missing, a Greek Cypriot magazine reported yesterday.

    Georgiades, president of the Kurdistan solidarity committee, was gunned down by unknown assailants outside his home in March 1994.

    According to the Greek-language weekly Selides, Georgiades made a video interview with a Kurdish man who was a former Turkish soldier.

    A few months before his death, Georgiades passed the tape on to a member of the solidarity committee, Lakis Pingouras, who has now revealed its contents in Selides. Pingouras said in the magazine that Georgiades already feared for his life at that stage.

    Pingouras justifies waiting four years to reveal the tape by saying that the testimony two weeks ago of another former Turkish soldier, Mustafa Ongan - also a Kurd - to a German newspaper had prompted him to come forward with the tape.

    Ongan, 45, who now lives in Germany, told the pro-Kurdish daily Ozgur Politika 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.

    According to Selides, the man on the video tape, identified as Ali Hak, also told of civilian executions and mass graves, and of how he witnessed hundreds of Greek Cypriots being put on boats for Turkey.

    However, both the authorities and the relatives of the missing are sceptical over the contents of the tape.

    Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the Selides report was the first his office heard of the existence of such a tape. "Nobody has any idea," he said. "And why reveal it now? Why not when the video was made?"

    Relatives of the missing were also unaware of the information. Representative Nicos Theodosiou said it should be investigated thoroughly.

    Ali Hak said he buried 60 people and saw another 600 transferred to Turkey. He said he drove the bulldozer used to pick up bodies, earlier buried in shallow graves, and to dig a grave three to four metres deep. "At least 60 Greek Cypriots were buried there," he said.

    "I tied a piece of cloth around my face and put on perfume in order to pick up the bodies which smelled bad," he said.

    He said the grave contained the bodies of women and children as young as seven, along with the bodies of around 25 soldiers.

    "I witnessed the execution of six people," Hak said.

    Ali Hak said that on his arrival on the island in Kyrenia he saw hundreds of men, mostly civilians, with their hands tied behind the backs and wearing blindfolds. They were being put on boats to Turkey.

    [10] From pork to spare parts - selling to the north

    By Charlie Charalambous

    LAMBRIANIDES meat company yesterday denied it was selling its products directly to the occupied areas, but said there was nothing to stop their customers from doing so.

    According to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Avrupa, a Famagusta supermarket owned by an in-law of Rauf Denktash is selling Lambrianides Bros frozen meat products in the north.

    "We are supplying 400 to 500 customers and we can't check where they send the products afterwards. But we are not supplying the occupied areas directly," company director Costas Lambrianides told the Cyprus Mail.

    He said he did supply a Turkish Cypriot in the mixed buffer zone village of Pyla and it was possible the goods were being sold on to the north, but added there was nothing illegal about selling to the other side.

    "The government is allowing trade with the other side as long we don't purchase from them."

    Lambrianides said trade with the north had been going on for years.

    "I can give you a hundred names of Greek Cypriots from Limassol and Nicosia who are selling things like spare parts to the other side."

    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 and military build-up.

    Avrupa ran a follow-up story yesterday under the banner headline: 'Passports Forbidden, Pork Allowed' - a reference to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's furious reaction to Turkish Cypriots in Britain applying for Cyprus Republic passports.

    The paper quotes the director of the 'Department of Trade', Ozkan Tekguc, as saying anyone could obtain a permit to sell goods from the south, and that the move was aimed at "helping tourism"

    [11] Police matching blood samples in search for French woman

    POLICE revealed yesterday that blood had been found on a vehicle impounded by officers investigating the disappearance of a French tourist five weeks ago.

    CID chief Natahanail Papageorgiou said forensic experts were yesterday trying to match the blood on the vehicle with that of 49-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomic.

    "The next 24 hours will be definitive for the course of the case," Papageorgiou said.

    Police believe Chomic - who has not been seen or heard from since she failed to catch her flight home on January 1 - may have been murdered.

    "Blood samples have been taken from Chomic's mother and brother in France and have been sent to the Institute of Neurology and Genetics for matching with the blood on the impounded car," he said.

    Local media reports have suggested the impounded car was a taxi cab, but police have declined to comment on this.

    Chomic, from St.Vallier, arrived in Cyprus for a holiday on Christmas day last year. Police have appealed for anyone knowing anything that might help with investigations to come forward. Chomic is described as 1.70m tall, slim, with red hair and blue-green eyes.

    [12] Direct debit or foot the bill

    THE BANK of Cyprus (BOC) is to charge customers paying bills at their branches unless they have a standing order arrangement with the bank.

    All banks and co-operative organisations so far offered this service free of charge.

    The bad news of the 25 cent surcharge, applicable as from March 1, was announced to all BOC account-holders in letters sent this week.

    The bank said the "very small" charge would go "some way" towards paying for the cost of the recently installed direct debit service. The debit service is offered free to all account-holders.

    However, the bank notice states, the 25 cent charge will be payable even by account holders using the debit service for bills where the biller "does not yet have the necessary technology to join the direct debit system."

    The Consumers Association said they were not aware of the new BOC charges but would be looking into the matter.

    [13] Bases to plant 8,000 trees in Akrotiri

    A JOINT British bases-Forestry department tree planting project kicks off next Tuesday, with 10 hectares of land to be planted with saplings.

    The bases-initiated project aims to contribute towards the government's target of 30 per cent tree coverage on the island.

    The planting, which will take place in an area previously used for military purposes between the Akrotiri Salt Lake and Lady's Mile beach, will begin after a 9am ceremony. This will be attended by Bishop Chrysostomos of Limassol, Chief Officer of the Bases Area, Patrick Rotheram, Forest Department Director Savvas Theophanous and Limassol District Officer Christakis Antoniou.

    Labour for the planting is being provided by the Bases. Local schools have also been invited to participate. It is estimated that it will take four days to plant the 8,000 saplings. The Bases administration is also making a one-off donation of £3,000 towards the cost of the seedlings.

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