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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-27

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 27, 1998


  • [01] Marina dispute costing £20,000 a day
  • [02] Edek confirms Omirou for defence, education still undecided
  • [03] Vassiliou EU role in foreign minister's shadow
  • [04] Hannay arrives to prepare ground for talks
  • [05] Greens warn of new British exercises in Akamas
  • [06] Government denies it is to buy new tanks
  • [07] UN staff to be paid next week
  • [08] Diplomats promise help to Denktash 'visa' requirements
  • [09] Kibris sparks massive row with passport claims
  • [10] Neighbour says she saw shadowy figures on night of the crime
  • [11] Large overseas presence at next week's education fair
  • [12] Police find getaway bike

  • [01] Marina dispute costing £20,000 a day

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CYPRUS' reputation for marine tourism is fast losing cash and credibility in a mind-boggling dispute over a crane tender at Larnaca marina.

    Boat owners mooring at the marina have not been able to get their yachts in or out of the water since the beginning of January because of a disputed tender between two rival crane contractors, which is crippling the local economy.

    The cranes are needed to lift the boats out of the water to bring them in and out of the marina.

    "The damage these people (crane owners) are doing to Cyprus is unforgivable. It is costing the owners, the marina, and the economy in general £20,000 a day," Larnaca marina director Glafcos Karalaou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Although the CTO - which handles the crane tender - has taken the case to court, the queue of boats waiting to get in and out is growing every day.

    Another side-effect of the stand-off is that yachts are by-passing Larnaca altogether after being warned of the difficulties on shore.

    "People are getting onto the ham radio warning ships not to dock here," said one owner.

    The marina can expect up to 50 or 60 boats using the marina for short- or long-term stays between December and March after they come up from the Red Sea.

    But not only have these usual customers not arrived, but those stuck at the marina are vowing never to return to Cyprus.

    "This marina will be empty next year because no one trusts it," said the owner of the Marquitta, Ulf Larsson.

    "I've been everywhere in the world and I've never seen anything like this," he added. "How can Cyprus join the EU with this attitude?"

    The feeling of despair was echoed by many other seafarers who did not want to be named, fearing repercussions.

    "I've been waiting to get my boat lifted out of the water for one month, it's a complete shambles," said one yachtsman who has been coming to Cyprus for 10 years.

    Those stranded on dry land also complain of being kept in the dark.

    "The only thing we can see is that this is a mess, and as outsiders we feel uncomfortable," said Herman de Winney of the 46-ft Mistress.

    In a desperate attempt to try and resolve the situation, Karalaou yesterday tried, and failed, to jump-start one of the idle cranes.

    He was reported to the police for his troubles.

    "I'm here to serve the marina and I'm prepared to go to jail if need be," said Karalaou.

    Takis Hadjiantonis, of the Cyprus offshore association, said his organisation was writing a letter of complaint about the whole sorry business.

    "It's all creating bad publicity for Cyprus, which can only harm the island's reputation and economy. This place will be empty next year."

    The CTO told the Cyprus Mail it was expecting a court decision very soon.

    "We have a very clear tender procedure, but those involved have not acted as provided in the contract," said CTO official Phoebe Katsouris.

    But she did concede the dispute was harming the island's image as a marine destination.

    "I hope this will not continue because it is damaging our reputation."

    [02] Edek confirms Omirou for defence, education still undecided

    By Martin Hellicar

    EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides yesterday officially informed President Clerides of his party's decision to participate in government.

    There was plenty of other to-ing and fro-ing from the Presidential palace, but the make-up of the new cabinet remained a closely guarded secret late yesterday.

    Government spokesman Manolis Christofides said the President was in the "final stages" of deciding whom to name in his cabinet, but added that Clerides was not obliged to announce anything till tomorrow.

    On his exit from the Presidential Palace, Lyssarides confirmed that Edek vice-president Yiannakis Omirou was to be given the Defence Ministry post. He also said he had presented Clerides with a list of "widely acceptable candidates" Edek was proposing for the Education Ministry. The ministry seemed to be the last remaining sticking point, with all other posts more or less decided and set to go to those who helped Clerides secure re- election on February 15.

    Diko rebel Alexis Galanos, who also met Clerides yesterday, confirmed that fellow rebels Dinos Michaelides and Andreas Moushiouttas were odds on favourites to return to the cabinet posts they held before Diko abandoned the government late last year. Michaelides would be Interior Minister and Moushiouttas Labour Minister.

    New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou might also secure a ministry, most likely Health. Koutsou, after meeting Clerides yesterday, said that he would be participating in government, though he did not define in what capacity. He said Clerides's main backers Disy, whose former deputy Christos Solomis is in the running to retain the Health Ministry, had "no objections" to his participation.

    Four Disy ministers are seen as hot favourites to retain the posts they left on Wednesday: Yiannakis Cassoulides (Foreign Affairs), Christodoulos Christodoulou (Finance), Leontios Ierodiakonou (Communications) and Nicos Koshis (Justice).

    The Agriculture Ministry is expected to go to United Democrats general secretary Costas Themistocleous. Nicos Rolandis, whose Liberal party merged with Disy earlier this week, is tipped for the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

    Christos Stylianides, of the movement for political renewal, is set to be the new Government spokesman, with incumbent Christofides securing a new role, as yet undefined.

    Lyssarides was at pains yesterday to point out that his socialist party would have no qualms about pointing out the failings of the Clerides government even if it were no longer, strictly speaking, in opposition.

    "Omirou will inform us of what goes on in the cabinet and where we disagree we will make our objections known," the veteran party leader said.

    [03] Vassiliou EU role in foreign minister's shadow

    By Martin Hellicar

    GEORGE Vassiliou is not so much the head of the government's EU delegation as the Foreign Minister's chief side-kick on the job, it emerged yesterday.

    United Democrats (UD) chief Vassiliou was promised the post of head of the EU accession talks team in exchange for backing President Clerides in round two of the presidential elections earlier this month.

    But Government spokesman Manolis Christofides "clarified" yesterday that Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides was the main man in accession talks.

    "In accession talks, the Republic is represented by the Foreign Minister," Christofides said.

    "But during the accession talks the Foreign Minister can have help in his task and this assistance will be offered by Mr Vassiliou," he said.

    The spokesman added that Attorney-general Alecos Markides was preparing a verdict on the legality of the new role created for Vassiliou. Christofides said there was no conflict between the former President's new role and his holding a seat in the House.

    Cassoulides - who met with Clerides and Vassiliou yesterday to mull over the thorny issue of Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession talks - said he had no qualms about working with Vassiliou. "On the personal level there is no problem," he said.

    Vassiliou said Markides would be making his opinion on the new role known today.

    On the issue of Turkish Cypriot participation, Vassiliou said the government was still in the "initial stages" of formulating a proposal. "Act in haste and repent in leisure," he said.

    [04] Hannay arrives to prepare ground for talks

    BRITAIN'S special envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, arrived on the island for an official visit yesterday.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport shortly after his arrival yesterday afternoon, Sir David said he would be focusing on preparing the ground for the re- start of UN-led settlement talks. Another aim of his visit would be finding a formula for "joint" Greek and Turkish Cypriot participation in the team negotiating Cyprus's EU accession, he said.

    Hannay is to meet Clerides this morning, but is being snubbed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who has said he will not meet the envoy because of Britain's recent decision to demand visas from Turkish Cypriots visiting the UK.

    Hannay said yesterday he was "saddened" by Denktash's stance, and described the Turkish Cypriot leader's stated reasons for snubbing him as "groundless".

    [05] Greens warn of new British exercises in Akamas

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    ENVIRONMENTAL activists are gearing up for fresh protests against plans by the British bases to carry out live fire military exercises in the sensitive Akamas peninsula in March.

    The plans were leaked yesterday by the Greens, who said they had information British troops would use life fire in training exercises between March 23 and 27. And they urged the government, political parties and the House of Representatives to react "immediately, dynamically and effectively."

    A British bases spokesman confirmed yesterday that low-level infantry training was expected to take place on those dates. Final details were still pending.

    The House Environment Committee - which has campaigned for an end to British war games in the Akamas - is being kept informed of developments and will react if the need arises, chairman Demetris Eliades told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Authorities are understood to be studying a British request to hold exercises in late March. A reply is still pending. Under the Treaty of Establishment, the British have the right to 70 days of military training in the Akamas, but have increasingly been using the peninsula less and less.

    The government says it wants the exercises ended in a peninsula earmarked as a national park, but acknowledges its legal obligations under the treaty. It has instead concentrated on trying to find an alternative site.

    Mounting pressure from local and international environmental groups - including Greenpeace - have given impetus to these efforts.

    The alternative is expected to be near Akrotiri, both within and outside sovereign bases area. Talks between the government and the British are understood to be well advanced, but complex.

    But even once a decision is taken, authorities will need some six months to prepare the new site. This automatically raises the question of whether the British will insist on training in the Akamas until then.

    [06] Government denies it is to buy new tanks

    THE government yesterday denied reports that it had signed a $20 million deal to buy 40 new T-80U tanks from an arms factory in the Siberian city of Omsk.

    It said the T-80 tanks bought in 1995 had been delivered and had significantly boosted the island's defence capabilities. It had not placed an order for more.

    The government's denial was echoed by Russia's ambassador to Cyprus, Georgi Muratov, who said he knew of no deal.

    A Russian news agency reported on Wednesday that Cyprus had signed the deal and given a $3 million downpayment. It quoted the speaker of the Omsk national assembly Vladimir Varnavsky as the source for the report.

    [07] UN staff to be paid next week

    By Jean Christou

    CHEQUES are being prepared for some 125 UN employees who had not received their benefits for more than a year after their contracts were renegotiated.

    An announcement by Sek trade union yesterday informed the employees that the cheques were being prepared at the British Bases; they should contact the UN next week to pick them up.

    The issue was highlighted late last year when a Nicosia man who retired more than a year ago from the UN revealed how after 33 years as a driver he was now living on £140 a month because he had not been paid his benefits.

    Charalambos Avraam, 63, from Ayios Dhometios, estimates that the UN owes him and his former colleagues amounts in terminal benefits of up to £30,000 each.

    One hundred of those affected are still employed at the UN; the other 25 have retired. At least one of these has died.

    Avraam, like another 450 or so workers, fell foul of changes in the payment system in the early '90s, when employees were re-hired as United Nations local staff.

    Previously, a complicated system had been in operation involving part payment by the British army through the bases administration and part payment by the UN.

    When the system changed, all employees became entitled to terminal benefits before beginning anew as full UN local staff in 1995.

    After negotiations, some 300 received their benefits but the remaining 125 did not.

    They claim the UN has been stalling on payment.

    [08] Diplomats promise help to Denktash 'visa' requirements

    REPRESENTATIVES of Karpasia committees were promised continued support by foreign embassy officials in their efforts to secure the lifting of taxes recently imposed by the Denktash regime on crossings to and from the government-controlled area.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash recently imposed a £15 Sterling 'visa' on Greek Cypriots crossing to the occupied areas, with a £4 Sterling tax for people crossing over from the occupied area.

    The committee representatives met yesterday with Russian Ambassador Georgi Muratov, US Embassy appointee Deborah Grace, British High Commissioner David Madden as well as Foreign ministry senior official, Tassos Tjioni.

    Karpasia Coordinating Committee president Nicos Falas said the committee representatives were warmly received and shown "complete understanding and support".

    "They described the measures as intolerable," said Falas, adding "each promised to continue to work with the UN and other interested organisations to secure the lifting of the measures."

    The taxes were imposed by Denktash in retaliation for the British government's decision to demand visas from 'TRNC passport' holders entering the UK.

    They are also believed to be in retaliation for the EU's Luxembourg decision to open accession talks with Cyprus.

    Falas said the taxes, combined with overpriced transport for people crossing to the occupied areas, caused great hardship.

    During the February 16 crossing to attend the funeral of enclaved priest, Papamichalis Troolides, in Ayia Triada, 65 relatives ended up paying CY£845, not counting transport costs by taxi and bus at £10 and £5 respectively.

    [09] Kibris sparks massive row with passport claims

    TURKISH Cypriot daily Kibris has come under heavy fire over its report on Wednesday that 13 politicians were holders of Cyprus Republic passports.

    According to other newspapers in the north, Kibris has stirred up the biggest controversy of recent times with all the 'deputies' named strongly denying the allegation.

    Ortam called the allegation a "frightful lie" and accused Kibris of publishing unfounded reports.

    'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu said the report was a "deliberately fabricated lie", while 'Speaker' Hakki Atun

    said the report was an attack on the moral character of the 'Assembly'.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said the carrying of the 'TRNC passport' was a "matter of honour".

    The seven governing National Unity and Democratic Party 'deputies' named on the list accused Kibris of "media terror" and said they would all bring suits against the paper.

    Several have already made written complaints to the 'Attorney-general' demanding an investigation.

    Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat was quoted as saying the passport issue, "which had been started by Denktash", had been raised above all issues and was being stirred up.

    "But the public should not lose sight of one thing," he was quoted as saying. "There is no one except Denktash who is not a traitor or wrong. This is the impression that efforts are being made to create."

    Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Communal Liberation party, one of the accused, said he did not approve of obtaining "Greek Cypriot" passports.

    "But it is not those who had obtained the passports who should be condemned, but those who created the conditions that made it necessary to do so," Akinci is quoted as saying.

    The strongly anti-Denktash daily Avrupa said Turkish Cypriots had been phoning the newspaper to declare their view that those who regarded the passport of the Republic of Cyprus as a Greek Cypriot passport were violating the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    The paper said that after the storm kicked up by Denktash, many people who did not have Cyprus Republic passports now wanted to obtain them.

    [10] Neighbour says she saw shadowy figures on night of the crime

    By Aline Davidian

    A PROSECUTION witness at the trial of the Aeroporos brothers, charged with the attempted murder of Antonis Fanieros, said yesterday she had seen three shadowy figures leaving the brothers' uncle's house on the night of the crime.

    Chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides had earlier testified the brothers went to their uncle's house after the shooting to bathe and change their clothes.

    Simellides has also testified that the Aeroporos brothers Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, were, respectively, instigator, architect and hit-man for the May 29 attack on 57-year-old Fanieros. Father-of-three Simellides is serving a nine-year sentence for acting as get-away driver for the machine-gun attack at Fanieros' Larnaca gambling club.

    Housewife Antigone Charalambous, next-door neighbour to Loucas Charalambous, uncle of the Aeroporos brothers, said yesterday she had seen three shadowy figures leave his house on the night of April 29.

    The witness said she and her husband had been sitting on their veranda when they saw a car pull up sharply in front of Charalambous' house at around 10.45pm. The car remained there for a while, then drove away.

    Later, between 12.30am and 1am of the same night, the witness said she and her husband again went out on the veranda to smoke a cigarette and noticed three figures leaving Charalambous' house.

    "But I could not identify them because the lights to our house were out," she said.

    Her attention was drawn to the figures, she added, from the noise made by a nylon bag which one of the figures took from a box in Charalambous' car, parked near his house.

    She said the three then got into another car and left, but could not say whether it was the same vehicle which had pulled up earlier.

    Asked by defence attorney Efstathios Efstathiou to identify Charalambous' house from an exhibit photograph, the mother-of-two obliged, but her choice did not match the one identified earlier by Simellides as the Aeroporos' uncle's house.

    Under Efstathiou's cross-examination the witness maintained she had only seen three shadowy figures leave Charalambous' house. She had not seen them enter.

    The trial is set to continue on March 12.

    [11] Large overseas presence at next week's education fair

    OPENING next week, the fifth International Education fair aims to inform "students, educationalists and parents of the opportunities and possibilities offered" by institutions in Cyprus and abroad, State Fairs Authority Chairman Demetris Joannou said yesterday.

    Speaking at the press launch of the fair, Joannou added the event, to be held from March 4 to March 8, was a "substantial contribution to the overall effort for the upgrading and modernisation of our education system".

    A total of 103 exhibitors are participating in this year's fair, representing Cyprus, Greece, Austria, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon, Switzerland, the US and, for the first time ever, Russia.

    Cypriot participants include the University, the Higher Technical Institute, the School of Nursing, the Industrial Training Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Popular Bank and 12 private high schools.

    The Cyprus Youth Foundation will also be present, with an exhibition entitled "Alcoholism and Addiction to Various Substances".

    Greece is the best represented foreign country, with 12 universities, 12 technical schools and the Ministry of Education all holding their own stands.

    Participants from other overseas countries include 18 universities, 13 colleges, the British Council, the French Cultural Centre, the German Goethe Institute and the American Fulbright Foundation. Overall, foreign participation makes up 70 per cent of the exhibits

    The fair is not targeted at Cypriots alone, with 20,000 visitors from nearby countries expected to attend.

    Of historical interest will be the exhibition of wax figures from the Museum of St Petersburg at the Russian pavilion.

    After its inauguration by the Minister of Education and Culture on Wednesday, the fair will be open from 9am to 1pm and again from 5pm to 9pm on weekdays and from 4pm to 9pm on weekends. Entrance is free.

    [12] Police find getaway bike

    POLICE investigating Wednesday's bank hold-up yesterday discovered what they believe was the robbers' getaway bike.

    A 250cc Honda was found just before 4pm in an underground car park on Athalassa Avenue in Nicosia, a stone's throw from police headquarters.

    At around 10.40am on Wednesday, two hooded gun-totting robbers got away with £33,680 in cash from a Bank of Cyprus branch in the Strovolos suburb of Nicosia. No arrests had been made by midnight yesterday.

    Meanwhile, the general secretary of bank employees' union Etyk, Loizos Hadjicostis, warned union members would take protest measures if banks failed to take proper steps to ensure staff safety.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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