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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, February 24, 1998


  • [01] EU formula cannot imply recognition
  • [02] US defence official did meet ambassador over S-300s
  • [03] Diko urges Edek to snub government
  • [04] Kranidiotis arrives for six-day visit
  • [05] Second taxi driver charged in murder case
  • [06] Police blitz on taxi licences
  • [07] Cyprus hails Annan on Iraqi deal
  • [08] Power cut was caused by road works
  • [09] Human rights group appeals over imprisoned baby
  • [10] Police hunt Paphos diamond thieves
  • [11] Bomb destroys cabaret owner's car
  • [12] Crash victims were not wearing helmets
  • [13] Lost in Akamas
  • [14] Ethnikos perfect the art of counter attacking
  • [15] Cook to meet Clerides and Denktash

  • [01] EU formula cannot imply recognition

    ANY proposal to bring Turkish Cypriots into EU accession talks must abide by UN resolutions prohibiting direct or indirect recognition of the breakaway north, the government said yesterday.

    But spokesman Manolis Christofides clarified that no proposal has yet been made. And he said the Cyprus government would be in a position to put its own suggestions forward at the end of March - in time for the official launch of EU accession talks.

    His statement came amid indications of a flurry of diplomatic activity in March on two levels - the anticipated resumption of the UN-led peace process, and the search for ways to secure some kind of Turkish Cypriot participation in the EU accession talks.

    Both issues are expected to be top of the agenda as Greece's deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and Britain's envoy on Cyprus David Hannay pay separate visits to the island this week.

    President Clerides is due in Athens on March 10, and will then be attending the European Conference in London on March 12.

    Cyprus has repeatedly said it welcomed Turkish Cypriot participation in the team which will negotiate the island's accession to Europe.

    It has expressed willingness to discuss proposals to make this possible, but made clear any ideas must be within the framework it itself has set out - this means ensuring no recognition, direct or indirect, of the breakaway regime in the north.

    This point was clearly underlined again yesterday by the government spokesman. Asked about Hannay's visit, Christofides said the government was ready to discuss any ideas or thoughts he may be bringing with him on this issue. But he said any proposal - whatever its origins - must be in line with UN resolutions which stipulate no recognition, direct or indirect.

    Christofides also announced US State Department special co-ordinator Tom Miller would travel to Cyprus early next month.

    [02] US defence official did meet ambassador over S-300s

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    CYPRUS retains its sovereign right to defend itself, though attention is now focused on the resumption of the UN peace process in March, the government indicated yesterday.

    The statement came in response to reports that the United States had warned Cyprus not to deploy the S-300 missiles because they would be destroyed by Turkey.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides confirmed that US deputy defence secretary Jean Londal had recently met Cyprus' ambassador in Washington Andros Nicolaides. He would not elaborate, but said the US had often publicly said deployment of the missiles was counter-productive. Washington had never suggested its initiative on Cyprus was contingent on Nicosia heeding its views on the missiles, the spokesman added.

    Christofides was replying to a barrage of questions on a report in the authoritative Athens weekly To Vima that the US had made demarches over the arms build-up by the Greek Cypriot side.

    According to the paper, Londal bluntly told Nicolaides that Cyprus must not deploy the S-300 missiles and should not proceed with the Paphos air base. He described both as "frightful decisions" and said the missiles were a threat to peace and would be destroyed by Turkey.

    When the ambassador tried to argue Cyprus' case, Londal reportedly replied "we do not have the pressure to press Turkey. Not only is it not the 51st state of the US as you appear to think but moreoever no-one can oblige her to agree to something which goes against her fundamental interests."

    Asked about the report, the spokesman said the US has repeatedly made clear it believed deployment of the missiles would be counter-productive.

    "There is the view of the US as regards the S-300s and the base. At the same time our right to defence is recognised. We have done nothing else than to look out for our defence," he said.

    He was asked whether the demarche reported in Vima had taken place. "A meeting between our representative with the US official has taken place recently, but I do not have the contents in full. But I go into the substance of the issue - that the permament US position is that it is against the S-300s and the air base."

    The response was that Cyprus has the undisputed right to buy the S-300s and to build up its defence, he said. Turkish threats to attack the missiles had received a reply, he added - on Sunday President Clerides had said all necessary steps had been taken and rockets had already been deployed for protection.

    But he said it was wrong to blow up the issue - especially since the missiles were not due until autumn and talks on Cyprus were pending. The government has repeatedly said it will scrap the missile deal if there is progress in the talks, or an agreement on demilitirisation.

    "What is of primary importance at this moment is March. March sees the launch of talks to solve the Cyprus problem, it sees the start of EU accession talks, we enter a critical period where we need a lot of work and fewer words," he said.

    He was asked whether the Americans had set as a precondition for their involvement in a settlement bid the scrapping of the S-300 missiles.

    "There is no precondition. Both (President Clinton's special envoy on Cyprus Richard) Holbrooke and (State Department spoecial co-ordinator Tom) Miller will come as they have announced and they will make every effort to resolve the Cyprus issue."

    [03] Diko urges Edek to snub government

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO yesterday urged Edek not to join the new government as it could not hope to represent national unity.

    The party's general secretary Stathis Kittis argued that Edek could not join a government which consisted of "dissenters" and "troublemakers".

    He was referring to Diko outcasts Alexis Galanos and Dinos Michaelides being offered top jobs at the expense of loyal party members.

    Kittis said Diko was being left in the cold because it had fought against President Clerides' re-election.

    Although Diko has snubbed efforts by Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides to convince the party to join the new administration, Kittis said the official decision would not be taken until today.

    "We didn't say we wouldn't take part, but took an initial stance after Clerides had made it clear he did not want a government of national unity by inviting party dissenters," said Kittis.

    "Lyssarides should ask Clerides whether he is interested in a government of national unity or not."

    In response, Edek made it clear its final decision would not be determined by Diko's reluctance to join.

    However, Diko did win its fight to appeal against a temporary injunction order requested by the six party members expelled last week.

    Nicosia district court has agreed that the Diko lawyers can submit their objections to the pending injunction order on March 5.

    The Diko six - Dinos Michaelides, Michalis Michaelides, Katerina Pantelidou, George Lycourgos, Panicos Leonidou and Charalambos Karamanlis - are seeking an injunction which will revoke the party's expulsion decree.

    One of the rebels, Dinos Michaelides, has been tipped for a ministerial post in reward for his part in backing Clerides with the Alexis Galanos camp of disaffected Diko members.

    Government spokesman Manolis Christofides clarified yesterday that the Galanos camp was not being considered as part of Diko, but as representing a percentage of the electorate which had helped Clerides win the election.

    Christofides also confirmed that the president would have a finalised list of ministers by tomorrow, after consultations with Lyssarides.

    Talking about possible Disy cabinet members, the spokesman said none could serve as ministers while holding on to their party positions.

    It is understood the lion's share of cabinet posts will be taken up by Disy; two ministries are expected to go to Diko rebels and another two to Edek, with one to George Vassiliou's United Democrats and possible cabinet posts for small party leaders Nicos Koutsou and Nicos Rolandis.

    [04] Kranidiotis arrives for six-day visit

    GREECE'S Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Yiannis Kranidiotis, arrives in Cyprus today for a six-day visit during which he will discuss President Glafcos Clerides' upcoming visit to Athens.

    Talks will also focus on Cyprus' European Union accession course and the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in membership talks.

    Kranidiotis will return to Athens on Sunday. President Clerides is due in the Greek capital on March 10.

    [05] Second taxi driver charged in murder case

    By Martin Hellicar

    A LARNACA airport taxi driver was yesterday charged with helping colleague Kyriacos Andrea Zanas dispose of the body of a French tourist he is alleged to have murdered.

    Police say 36-year-old Zanas, from Kiti outside Larnaca, has confessed to shooting 49-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomik on the way to her Limassol hotel after picking her up from Larnaca airport on Christmas day. 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 had first been reported missing.

    Larnaca District court heard yesterday that 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 the boot of his car and Shioferos led Zanas to the dry well outside his village of Xylotymbou, and then helped him dump the body, the court was told.

    Shioferos pleaded not guilty to charges of being accessory after the fact and the court set the date for the first hearing in his trial for March 24.

    The taxi driver was released on £5,000 bail on condition he surrender his travel documents and report to his local police station daily.

    Shioferos was yesterday also charged with assaulting a Nicosia couple during a taxi drivers' blockade of Larnaca airport last June. Shioferos denied these charges.

    Another Larnaca airport taxi driver - 30-year-old Andreas Nicolaou from Oroklini - arrested on February 14 along with Shioferos, was yesterday released without charge.

    At the time of his arrest, police said Nicolaou had, a month before the attack, supplied Zanas with the stolen shot-gun used in the killing.

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

    The motive for the vicious attack was theft, Zanas having stolen about £190 in cash from the victim, police say.

    Zanas's lawyer has told the court his client suffers from psychological problems.

    [06] Police blitz on taxi licences

    POLICE are calling for three taxi drivers to have their licences revoked because of their criminal records.

    Taxi drivers have come under heavy scrutiny since two Larnaca drivers were arrested in connection with the December murder of a French tourist.

    Immediately after the arrests, police said they would check all existing taxi licences to see if any holders had criminal records.

    According to reports yesterday, senior traffic officer George Koutounas said police had established that three drivers had in the past been convicted of criminal offences.

    Koutounas was quoted as saying that a meeting at the Ministry of Communications and Works had revealed serious shortcomings in the method of granting licences.

    According to the regulations, a taxi driver convicted of rape can have the offence struck off his record after three years for the purpose of obtaining a licence.

    In a case of manslaughter, a record can be cleared after five years, and while theft is also seen as an offence, convictions for burglary are not considered a bar to obtaining a licence.

    Questions have also been raised about dozens of taxi drivers violating their professional code by appearing unshaven, having untidy cabs or not behaving properly.

    [07] Cyprus hails Annan on Iraqi deal

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday congratulated UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan on striking a deal which could end the Iraq crisis.

    "We congratulate the UN Secretary-general on the agreement he signed in Iraq, which constitutes an invaluable contribution to peace," Government spokesman Manolis Christofides said.

    Annan yesterday announced an agreement with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein aimed at allowing full access to suspected weapons sites and averting a threatened US military strike.

    "The signing of the agreement... is proof of what the UN can achieve when they have the necessary power at their disposal," Christofides said.

    He said the government recognised the contribution of the US and its allies in clinching the deal. "The Republic of Cyprus would like to hope that in its case the UN will have the necessary decisive backing from member-states to implement the resolutions on Cyprus," the spokesman added.

    [08] Power cut was caused by road works

    NICOSIANS were yesterday urged to minimise their electricity consumption until final repairs are carried out to the high voltage cable which was the source of Saturday's power cut.

    In a press release, the Electricity Authority (EAC) confirmed that the blackout had been caused by damage to a 132 KVolt underground cable in the Acropolis area. The cable was damaged by a mechanical excavator working on the Acropolis Avenue road works.

    The damage is expected to be fully repaired in the next few days.

    The authority has also called on those working on public service projects to co-ordinate their efforts with the EAC in order to avoid a repeat of Saturday's incident.

    The press release added that the authority wished to convey its apologies to the public for any inconvenience caused by the cut.

    During the blackout, which lasted from 12.12pm to 4pm, the capital was plunged into chaos, with around 40 people trapped in lifts and traffic disrupted by the failure of traffic lights.

    [09] Human rights group appeals over imprisoned baby

    THE PANCYPRIAN Human Rights Protection Association (PHRPA) has called for President Clerides to exercise his constitutional powers to secure a temporary reprieve for a mother recently jailed with her one-month-old baby.

    Maria Sotiriadou and partner Avraam Kyriacou were sentenced by the Nicosia Assizes to two years' imprisonment on Friday on several charges of burglary.

    PHRPA president Stelios Theodoulou sent a telegram to Clerides on Sunday asking for Sotiriadou's sentence to be suspended, thereby allowing her to rear the child in a normal environment.

    Citing the International UN Treaty on Children's Rights incorporated since 1990 into Cypriot law, Theodoulou said in every case a child's best interests had to be protected and all necessary steps taken to secure its healthy personality development.

    He also referred to scientific evidence indicating a child's first two years of life were crucial to the formation of its character.

    [10] Police hunt Paphos diamond thieves

    PAPHOS police are still searching for clues to shed light on a diamond theft which took place in Paphos on Sunday.

    The diamonds, worth about £60,000, were discovered missing from the Athos Diamond Centre located on Poseidon Avenue in Paphos, when the alarm went off between 4.30 am and 5.15 am on Sunday.

    The burglars broke through the shop's protective steel blinds, smashed the underlying glass with a 20-kilo stone and made off with 16 cut diamonds.

    According to police reports, no other items were taken.

    [11] Bomb destroys cabaret owner's car

    A CABARET owner's car was destroyed by a bomb explosion in Limassol in the early hours yesterday, police reported.

    Police said a home-made bomb had been placed under the bonnet of 46-year- old Klitos Kleovoulou's Toyota Corolla, which was parked outside his home in Yermasogia. The device went off just before 5am, and also damaged cars parked near Kleovoulou's.

    Kleovoulou, who owns the Mirage cabaret in Limassol town, blamed the attack on competitors.

    Police questioned two men in connection with the attack yesterday but made no arrests.

    In Paphos meanwhile, a janitor found a home-made pipe bomb planted in the Kato Paphos municipal toilets. The device was defused by police before it went off.

    [12] Crash victims were not wearing helmets

    TWO YOUNG people died in a motorcycle accident during the weekend.

    The accident occurred on Sunday at around 1.45 pm when a motorcycle ridden by car-mechanic Achilleas Lathas, 20, with pillion-rider Marios Sophocleous, 18, both from villages in the Limassol district, collided with a truck driven by Limassol-resident Andreas Pittalis, 57, on the Limassol to Agros road.

    The accident happened when Lathas lost control of the powerful bike, careering into the oncoming lane of traffic; he was killed outright in the head-on collision with the truck. National guardsman Sophocleous died whilst being rushed to Limassol hospital. Neither was wearing a crash- helmet.

    Pittalis' wife, who was a passenger on the truck, sustained minor injuries.

    Meanwhile, the traffic authority has announced it will be taking extra road safety measures during the carnival period and Green Monday.

    In a statement issued yesterday, the authority said extra traffic police would be patrolling all major roads with greater attention paid to speeding, the use of seat-belts and crash-helmets, and carrying out more breathalyser tests.

    On Green Monday in particular there will be widespread breathalyser testing on drivers between 3pm and 9pm.

    [13] Lost in Akamas

    A 24-YEAR-OLD Russian woman who spent Sunday night lost in the wintry wilds of the Akamas peninsula was rescued by a group of German tourists at around midday yesterday.

    Police said tourist Elena Michailova got lost on Sunday afternoon after going for a walk on the remote peninsula with her sister and three other Russians. The five apparently set off on a long trek into the forest from the Aphrodite's baths beauty spot, but Michailova got lost after deciding to make her own way back to the baths on her own.

    Police launched a search for Michailova late on Sunday but could not locate her. After a near-freezing night, the search was resumed at first light yesterday.

    Michailova was eventually found, unharmed, by a group of German tourists out walking in the Akamas. The Germans drove the rescued Russian down to Paphos police station.

    [14] Ethnikos perfect the art of counter attacking

    By George Christou

    ETHNIKOS Achnas extended their unbeaten run to 13 games on Saturday night after their comfortable 1-0 away victory over Salamina.

    What is the formula for the phenomenal success of the village clubs, who are in third place, just two points behind leaders Anorthosis? Hard work, discipline, defensive organisation and superb counter attacking skills must have something to do with it.

    In fact Saturday's defeat of Salamina provided an object lesson in these footballing virtues, which have been developed by Ethnikos' excellent coach Slobodan Vutsecovic.

    A run of 13 games without defeat, only two draws and six wins away from home cannot be a fluke and goes to show what can be achieved by small clubs under a good coach.

    At Salamina the Achna players once again gave a display in intelligent and efficient football. They chased and harried their opponents, closing down space in midfield and preventing them from developing any rhythm.

    This may have contributed to the poor entertainment value, but small clubs with few resources, have no choice but to play to their strengths and no sensible person could find fault with Ethnikos' defensive tactics, which win games.

    In a rare first half counter-attack, the club's irrepressible top scorer, Mousic scored the winner. He had combined well with Neoclous before finishing clinically for his 13th of the season.

    In the second half Salamina went in search for goal but could not break down the well-organised and disciplined Ethnikos defence. First they tried pumping long balls into the area, but got nowhere, central defenders Kastanas and Foulis coping easily. Then they tried to use the wings, but rarely threatened.

    All the chances kept falling to the visitors, who mounted one counter attack after the other. Netter finishing would have given Achna a win by a much bigger margin.

    The following day in Nicosia, Aek used exactly the same tactic to subdue a disappointing Apoel 2-0. It was another victory based on sound defensive organisation and lightning fast counter-attacks.

    Man of the match was full-back Thedotou who scored both the Aek goal. He struck in the 10th minute after being released by a superb pass by Paolinho, who had caught the Apoel defence ball-watching.

    His second was scored seven minutes before the interval after Georgiou and Paolinho combined to set him up. Wayward finishing by Aek, who created many chances on the break, kept the margin down.

    Apoel's players were criticised by their coach for their indifference and for not having their minds on the game. Their minds must have been on tomorrow's cup quarter-final clash against Anorthosis, which offers Apoel the only opportunity of salvaging something from a very disappointing season.

    [15] Cook to meet Clerides and Denktash

    IN a last-ditch attempt to bring about Turkish Cypriot participation in Cyprus' upcoming European Union accession negotiations, President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are to meet with British Foreign Secretary and EU Council President Robin Cook.

    Cook announced the meetings yesterday after a meeting of the EU council in Brussels. His meeting with Clerides is to take place on March 12 on the sidelines of the EU conference in London.

    A date has not yet been set for the meeting with Denktash, although it is thought that it will take place before accession negotiations start on March 31.

    Cook also said that Turkey would not be participating in the EU conference because of the conditions set out for it to do so by Luxembourg. He added that they would be sent the invitation anyway.

    During the EU council meeting, Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou attacked both Ankara and Denktash, saying it was they who were trying to prevent the Turkish Cypriots from participating in the accession negotiations.

    He also reiterated the Cyprus government's position that the Turkish Cypriots should be represented in the negotiations, adding that the accession process will be launched on March 30 at a meeting of the member states' Foreign Ministers.

    Meanwhile, Denktash said yesterday that he will not meet with European Union envoy Sir David Hannay, when the British diplomat visits the island later this week.

    Hannay, who is also Britain's Special Representative on Cyprus, arrives on Thursday morning for a 24-hour visit to discuss Cyprus' upcoming European Union accession talks, and attempt to pave the way for the restarting of negotiations between the two sides.

    The discussions regarding EU accession are expected to focus on the question of Turkish Cypriot participation in the negotiations. Britain last night expressed its displeasure with Denktash's position.

    An official Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman called for the "Turkish Cypriots to have a real say in the accession talks" adding that this could only happen if Denktash took advantage of the "opportunity" on offer to him.

    During his visit, Sir David will meet with President Glafcos Clerides, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, and leaders and representatives of Turkish political parties. He will also meet with former President George Vassiliou who is to head up the EU negotiating team.

    It is his first visit to the island since Britain assumed the EU's rotating presidency in January.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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