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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-18

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

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


Wednesday, February 18, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Queuing up at the Presidential Palace
  • [02] Iacovou's 'moral victory'
  • [03] Iacovou summoned for contempt
  • [04] UN called in on Turks' new Ledra Palace 'visa' fee
  • [05] New chapter or more of the same?
  • [06] Man held after 'shots fired at Clerides supporters'
  • [07] New remand for Chomik murder suspect
  • [08] Drastic measures needed as water supply dries up
  • [09] Cyprus ranks high in 1997 ship losses
  • [10] It's carnival time
  • [11] Purge sparks fierce Diko infighting
  • [12] Stocks in a new high
  • [13] Holders drawn against champions

  • [01] Queuing up at the Presidential Palace

    By Martin Hellicar

    PRESIDENT Clerides met an array of possibles yesterday, but the make-up of his promised "government of national unity" remained unclear.

    Diko rebel Alexis Galanos, Edek member Efstathios Efstathiou, United Democrats' leader George Vassiliou, Liberals chief Nicos Rolandis and New Horizons number one Nicos Koutsou all visited Clerides at the President Palace.

    All five have a claim for government participation, having backed Clerides in Sunday's second round of presidential elections, helping the incumbent secure a narrow victory over Akel and Diko-backed challenger George Iacovou.

    Clerides also met with Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides, whose socialist party sat on the fence for round two, and Disy chief Nicos Anastassiades, whose right-wing party backed Clerides from the start.

    First up at the Presidential palace was Galanos. He said after the meeting that Clerides would be creating various "advisor" posts in his new government and would be keeping his pre-election promise to give one of these to him. He said it was "very early yet" to say whether fellow Diko rebels would secure cabinet posts.

    He also said mainstream Diko and its leader Spyros Kyprianou should be allowed "no say" in the new government because they had backed Iacovou.

    However, Vassiliou later said Clerides would be sending official invitations to all parties - including centre-right Diko - to take part in the government. Vassiliou also said he had discussed EU accession matters with Clerides, in line with Clerides's promise to make him head of the government's EU delegation.

    Anastassiades commented on communist Akel's refusal to participate in a Clerides government.

    "We have proposed unity, they have insisted on division. We have insisted on collectiveness, they are insisting on isolation. This is not our problem, " he said.

    Anastassiades said Disy, though expecting to secure the majority of cabinet posts, could be "flexible" concerning how many posts it got "for the sake of unity."

    Efstathiou, who sided with Clerides last week despite his party's neutral stand, said he had not discussed cabinet appointments with Clerides. Efstathiou said it would be "contradictory" for Edek not to participate in a unity government when the socialist party had spawned the idea.

    Lyssarides, however, said yesterday Edek would wait to see how Diko and Akel responded to invites for government participation before finalising its own stance on the issue.

    After the deadlocked first round of elections, both Clerides and Iacovou promised Lyssarides they would form a multi-party government in the hope that they would win the crucial Edek vote for round two.

    The two Nicoses, Koutsou and Rolandis, were cagey about the content of their talks with the President.

    They both said "views" had been exchanged.

    [02] Iacovou's 'moral victory'

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    George Iacovou (Picture: Christos Theodorides) GEORGE Iacovou yesterday drew the curtain on his failed election bid, urging public scrutiny of campaign financing and criticising media coverage of the race.The former foreign minister again congratulated President Clerides on his re-election and thanked Akel, Diko and other voters for their support. He spoke of a moral victory and said support from either Edek or the United Democrats, or both, would have secured him the presidency. On his own future, Iacovou was still undecided. But he ruled out setting up his own party and said he wanted to continue to offer his services to the country. His press conference was not without harsh words about the bitter election campaign that led to Clerides' narrow victory on Sunday. He spoke of favouritism, threats and pressure from the rival camp up to the last minute in order to secure Clerides' re-election. As an example he said a minister had given a voter a written guarantee he would be appointed special constable.

    And he said he had drawn two main conclusions from his election experience - "the role of means and the media".

    He queried the money spent in the elections, particularly important because of the narrow majority of some 6,600 votes.

    "All you need are five aeroplanes of students or workers to swing the balance of the elections. If victory is due to one businessman making available this relatively small amount of money to bring in another 3,000 voters then we must all examine whether democracy is operating well," he said.

    Complaints had come in that one employer would not give leave to some employees to come and vote, but facilitated others, Iacovou said. He did not elaborate.

    Asked whether he was prepared to make his own campaign costs and donors public, Iacovou said he was - if others made a similar move. "You will be surprised how limited our resources were."

    He took issue with TV coverage. "The ordinary citizen has concluded private channels were not even-handed and that state-run CyBC broke its code of conduct."

    Iacovou said Clerides and his ministers had been given much more air time. In the week between the two rounds, he had not been given a chance to appear on television at all.

    "Because Mr Clerides' campaign team advised him not to take part in a televised debate with me I was denied the chance to put my views to the electorate."

    Another surprising thing was the way political parties that had actively opposed to Clerides for five years had at the last minute embraced the incumbent president.

    "If either the United Democrats or Edek had supported me I would probably have been elected. If both had I definitely would have been elected." His result of 49.2 per cent showed this candidacy was not a "candidacy of defeat," he added.

    Asked whether his campaign had made any mistakes, Iacovou said he was ready to accept his share of responsibility. "Many have said our campaign was amateurish. We did not bring in foreign experts as Mr Clerides did. Perhaps we should have done."

    [03] Iacovou summoned for contempt

    By Jean Christou

    DEFEATED presidential candidate George Iacovou will have to appear in court next week to answer allegations of contempt, a Limassol lawyer said yesterday.

    Neoclis Neocleous, the lawyer for the Limassol woman who filed suit against Iacovou for the unauthorised use of her photograph in campaign material, said yesterday the case for contempt had been fixed for Monday.

    Neocleous said he had withdrawn the order for an injunction in the case of the publication of the leaflet with the unauthorised photograph of Limassol woman Georgia Neocleous, 24.

    However, Neocleous said he was pursuing the case filed days later for contempt of court when Iacovou's campaign allegedly failed to withdraw the leaflet.

    "The election is over now, but we are pursuing the contempt of court case," Neocleous said. "Iacovou must be present at court for this case."

    Neocleous's client is a die-hard supporter of President Glafcos Clerides and has alleged that her inclusion in the Iacovou leaflet caused her friends and acquaintances to ridicule her.

    She said people knew she was an avid Disy supporter and subjected her to a barrage of criticism, believing she had changed her political beliefs.

    Iacovou's campaign office issued an apology before the first round of the elections on February 8, saying the photograph had been used by mistake and would be withdrawn, but Neocleous claims 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.

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

    [04] UN called in on Turks' new Ledra Palace 'visa' fee

    By Jean Christou

    ENCLAVED persons may have to pay a new "exit and entry" charge imposed by the regime in the north, Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday.

    A group of 64 Greek Cypriots on their way to a funeral in the Ayia Triada enclave at the weekend were the first victims of the new measures. Each had to pay £15 sterling to cross to the north to bury the village priest, who had died in the free areas.

    Christopoulos said the authorities had asked the UN to look into the situation to clarify the position.

    "It appears that these measures apply to everyone, but nobody has come over yet so we can't say for certain," Christopoulos said.

    However, he added he would have more information closer to the weekend, when members of the enclaved communities would be crossing to visit their relatives.

    The new charges have been imposed by the Denktash regime in retaliation for the EU's December Luxembourg decision to open accession negotiations with Cyprus at the end of next month.

    It is believed the measures are also a means of retaliation against the visa restrictions recently introduced by Britain on Turkish Cypriots travelling to the UK.

    The measures came into effect last Friday, Turkish Cypriot press reports said; according to 'Foreign Minister' Taner Etkin, they are "changes that underline the TRNC's existence as a state".

    Etkin said that Greek Cypriots and Greek nationals who wanted to enter the north at the Ledra palace checkpoint would be required to produce passports or identity documents. They would also have to get visas, for which a fee of £15 pounds sterling or its equivalent in Turkish lira would be applicable.

    In addition, people travelling from the north to the free areas would be asked to pay £4 sterling, Etkin said. Third country tourists would also be asked to pay £4 when crossing to the north.

    "Greek Cypriots, Maronites, and third country nationals who reside in the TRNC and who travel to the south regularly will have or pay a monthly charge of £10 sterling," Etkin said.

    Unficyp, British bases and diplomatic personnel are exempt, but persons accompanying bases personnel will have to pay the £4 entry charge.

    [05] New chapter or more of the same?

    THE RE-ELECTION of President Clerides is either a new chapter in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem or simply a new page in an old book, the Turkish Daily News (TDN) said yesterday.

    "With Clerides' hands tied by his own declared policies, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash placing his rod higher, accession talks with the EU at the doorstep and the deployment date of the Russian-made S-300 missiles approaching, there is very little that the Greek Cypriot president can do to break the impasse in the Cyprus talks," TDN said.

    The paper said that Clerides, aware that international pressure would soon mount for a settlement, was trying to bring together all parties in a board- based national coalition.

    He will then have to face the army of British, US, UN and EU mediators expected on the island in March to launch the most ambitious bid yet for a settlement.

    TDN said Denktash had said he was willing to talk to Clerides "face to face", provided there were grounds for "state-to-state negotiations.

    Denktash said the international community had accorded Clerides two hats - "President of the Greek Cypriot Republic and communal leader of Greek Cypriots" - and underlined that unless the world also accorded the Turkish Cypriot leader two hats there could be no Cyprus settlement.

    TDN said that lately "ideas have been floating around from American sources as to whether Greek Cypriot 'acknowledgments' of a state in the north, a move just short of full recognition, would satisfy Denktash and force him to return to talks."

    The paper also said Denktash had suggested talks on a technical level before the two leaders meet face-to-face and make a deal.

    But the paper adds that the last time technocrats from the two sides worked out a deal, it was later refused by the Greek Cypriot side.

    [06] Man held after 'shots fired at Clerides supporters'

    A MAN who lost his cool during election celebrations, allegedly firing shots at Clerides supporters, was remanded in custody for five days yesterday.Petros Joseph, 23, from Paliometocho was brought before Nicosia district court on suspicion of illegal possession of an air pistol and firing shots from a hunting rifle outside his home. Police believe Joseph lost his temper when a group of noisy revellers started celebrating the Clerides election victory outside his door. One person later complained that he had been hit by shot gun pellets fired from Joseph's rifle. But police said this allegation later proved to be untrue.

    Petros Joseph (left) arriving at Nicosia district court yesterday (picture: Christos Theodorides)

    A MAN who lost his cool during election celebrations, allegedly firing shots at Clerides supporters, was remanded in custody for five days yesterday.

    Petros Joseph, 23, from Paliometocho was brought before Nicosia district court on suspicion of illegal possession of an air pistol and firing shots from a hunting rifle outside his home.

    Police believe Joseph lost his temper when a group of noisy revellers started celebrating the Clerides election victory outside his door.

    One person later complained that he had been hit by shot gun pellets fired from Joseph's rifle.

    But police said this allegation later proved to be untrue.

    However, a search of the suspect's home uncovered an unlicensed air pistol.

    [07] New remand for Chomik murder suspect

    A LARNACA taxi driver suspected of murdering a French tourist on Christmas Day last year was yesterday remanded for a further eight days.

    Kyriacos Andrea Zanas, 36, has confessed to shooting 49-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomik en route to her Limassol hotel after picking her up from Larnaca airport, police say. Chomik's body was found at the bottom of a 100 foot well near Xylotymbou village - 60 km away from the alleged site of the killing at Moni - on February 8, a month after she was reported missing.

    Limassol District Court heard yesterday that police were still searching in the vicinity of the Larnaca district village of Psevdas for parts of a shot- gun they believe was used in the attack.

    According to police, Zanas, from Kiti village, has said he dumped the disassembled gun and some of the victim's belongings in the Psevdas area as he drove to Xylotymbou from Moni with Chomik's body in the boot of his cab. Police say they have already recovered part of a shot-gun and some of the victim's personal belongings in the area.

    Zanas was arrested on February 7 after the DNA blueprint of blood stains discovered on his cab was found to closely match that of Chomik's relatives.

    Two other Larnaca taxi drivers were on Sunday remanded in connection with the killing.

    Police say Panicos Andreou, 38, alias Shioferos, helped Zanas dispose of the body after the killing. Zanas rang Shioferos right after the attack to tell him he had a body in his car and Shioferos led Zanas to the dry well outside Xylotymbou and then helped him dump the body, police say.

    The third suspect is Andreas Nicolaou, 30, who police say supplied Zanas with the murder weapon a month before the attack.

    Police say the motive for the attack was theft, Zana having stolen about £190 in cash from his alleged victim.

    The murder suspect's lawyer has told the court his client suffers from psychological problems.

    [08] Drastic measures needed as water supply dries up

    The water situation is so dire that drastic measures will be necessary to ensure there is enough drinking water for all over the Summer months.

    "Priority will have to be given to drinking water," a Water Development department officer said yesterday. He said irrigation water, already cut back, would have to be channelled towards domestic use. Agriculture normally consumes about three-quarters of water reserves.

    "More water from the Dhekelia desalination plant and water from wells and boreholes country-wide will also have to be used for drinking water," the officer said.

    Dams are only 12 per cent full, holding just under 34 million cubic metres of water. "It is estimated we need 80 million cubic metres to meet needs for the rest of the year," the water department officer said.

    Despite this, the officer said there was no risk of drinking water running out.

    The meteorological service reported that rainfall for the first half of February had been only 12 per cent of normal and rainfall between October and January 83 per cent of average.

    [09] Cyprus ranks high in 1997 ship losses

    CYPRUS had the second highest number of ship losses out of 47 countries in 1997, according to shipping newspaper Lloyds List.

    Out of a total of 89 ship losses for the year, Cyprus had eight, second only to Panama's 11. Turkey and Honduras came in joint third with six losses each.

    The Cypriot register's loss in 1997 was the same as that for 1996 in terms of numbers, although the tonnage lost last year was slightly lower than 1996.

    The last total loss sustained by the Cyprus flag was in mid-October when the Evoikos sustained a 50-metre-long gash in a collision off Singapore. No lives were lost

    Earlier in October, the cruise ship Romantica was completely gutted by fire en route from Egypt to Limassol. All 700 passengers and crew were safely evacuated.

    The biggest loss for the Cyprus flag in terms of human lives was the sinking last year off Norway of the Leros Strength with the loss of its 20 Polish crew members.

    Two-fifths of all ships lost last year were as a result of the weather, while collision, fire and explosion and other reasons each accounted for around one fifth of all casualties.

    [10] It's carnival time

    A FANCY dress parade through the streets of Nicosia, headed by King carnival, will signal the start of a weekend of carnival fun at the Nicosia international conference centre.

    The event is aimed at children and will include singing, games, dancing, clown and magic acts, food and a fancy-dress competition with prises for all participants.

    The parade begins at 3.30pm on Friday, and the carnival party will run from 4 to 9pm on Friday and 10am to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday.

    [11] Purge sparks fierce Diko infighting

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO'S decision to expel six more party members caused a backlash yesterday from the bold and the banished.

    Following its swift removal before the first round of leading lights Alexis Galanos and Petros Voskarides, Diko on Monday purged itself of other pro- Clerides supporters.

    Out went vice-president Dinos Michaelides and deputy Katerina Pantelides- Paschalides along with four other members, including Larnaca mayor George Lykourgos, for opposing the party's decision to back the candidacy of George Iacovou.

    But Michaelides was unrepentant yesterday and said he would challenge the decision in the courts by seeking an injunction order.

    "The executive committee has no authority to expel me and I cannot accept the decision. I can't consider this move legal and I will pursue it through the courts."

    Michaelides said the decision was rushed through without the proper procedures being adhered to.

    Upping the stakes in the party's internal crisis, Michaelides proposed that the Diko dissidents hold a rival party conference on the same day as the official one next month.

    Despite the threats of mutiny and legal action, Diko yesterday was standing fast by its decision.

    Diko General-secretary Stathis Kittis was unapologetic when he described the axed members as "insurgents" who were trying to "break the party".

    He denied that the Diko leadership carried out the expulsions as part of a personal vendetta in the wake of an election defeat.

    "The decision expressed the collective party machine, not personal viewpoints. There is a difference," he said, adding that Diko had acted in "defence of democracy".

    Tassos Papadopoulos, Diko's parliamentary spokesman, tried to end hostilities by appealing for party unity.

    But he conceded that expelling prominent members was not the best way to reconcile the warring factions and said he disagreed with the move as a matter of principle.

    "It is somehow contradictory to call for party unity and consent and then expel members for disagreeing with the leadership," he said.

    However, Papadopoulos suggested there might have been good reason to axe Galanos as he had gone it alone in the elections as a rogue candidate.

    Galanos added fuel to the controversy yesterday in a statement which bristled with contempt for party leader Spyros Kyprianou, whom he accused of doing enormous damage to Diko.

    "He (Kyprianou) should know that the Cypriot people have grown tired of him, " said Galanos.

    Galanos charged Kyprianou with treating Diko as his own "exclusive club" and of preparing to hand over the reigns of power to his son Markos.

    "Diko does not belong to Spyros Kyprianou and his lap-dogs," he said.

    The outspoken rebel also blamed Kyprianou for taking the party from a record 35 per cent of the vote to an all-time low of 7 per cent.

    "The decision by Kyprianou and the executive committee has not only written off six members of the party but more than 45,000 supporters," said the statement.

    Galanos confirmed yesterday that he had taken up a new post as special adviser to the president following his efforts to get Clerides re-elected.

    [12] Stocks in a new high

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE prices, powered ahead by the lucrative bank stocks, resumed their climb yesterday with the all-share official index closing up 0.18 per cent at 81.77 points, its highest level this year.

    "The market is in a very positive mood," said John Pitsillos of Share Link Securities. "Perhaps what happened yesterday was a belated reaction to President Glafcos Clerides's re-election on Sunday."

    Yesterday's volume totalled £1.16 million, mostly from trading in shares of the Bank of Cyprus and the Popular Bank -- the bourse's most traded stocks.

    The entire banking sector finished up half a percentage point, while the only other sector to gain in yesterday's trade was that of industrial companies. It closed 0.25 per cent higher.

    Yesterday's biggest losers were commercial companies, which shed 1.92 per cent of their value.

    With the exception of Feb 10 and 16, when the index fell by 0.69 and 0.15 per cent respectively, share prices have inched higher every day since the strong showing of Clerides, a conservative favoured by Cyprus's investment community, in the first round of the elections on February 8.

    [13] Holders drawn against champions

    CUP holders Apoel were yesterday drawn against league champions Anorthosis in the quarter-finals of the Coca-Cola Cup.

    This was the outstanding tie of yesterday's draw which has ensured that at least two of the smaller clubs will advance to the semi-finals by pitting them against each other.

    The first division's bottom club, Ethnikos Ashia could reach the semi-final stage for the first time in their history if they defeat resurgent Paphos club, Apop in one of the quarter-finals.

    Apollonas should also fancy their chances of making progress after being drawn against Salamina, conquerors of Omonia in the previous round.

    Finally, the season's surprise package, Ethnikos Achna, who are riding high in third place in the first division table play struggling club Anagennisis Dherynia.

    Last season Apoel beat Anorthosis in the semi-final stage on the way to winning the cup for the third time in a row.

    First leg ties will be played on February 25 and 26 and the return legs on March 11 and 12.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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