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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-28

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, February 28, 1998


  • [01] Koutsou withdrawal threatens 'broad-based' government
  • [02] Hannay urges avoidance of recognition issue
  • [03] Health Ministry delays Cabinet announcement
  • [04] Diplomatic pressures mount
  • [05] Ethics committee raps media for naming sex victims
  • [06] Bases investigate alleged sex-act with sheep
  • [07] 80,000 tab for electricity blackout
  • [08] Market index highest since January 1997
  • [09] Over 2,000 T. Cypriots hold Republic passports
  • [10] Burglars strike again in Paphos
  • [11] Two held after rape claim
  • [12] Top three meet bottom three

  • [01] Koutsou withdrawal threatens 'broad-based' government

    By Jean Christou

    A BROAD-based Cyprus government due to be sworn-in today was in jeopardy last night after a minority partner accused President Clerides of lacking credibility.

    Announcing his withdrawal from the partnership, New Horizons leader Nicos Koutsou accused Clerides of failing to keep his promise to give his party a government ministry.

    Koutsou's government post was to be the reward for the New Horizons votes which helped Clerides win in the second round of the presidential elections on February 15.

    He blamed Disy for bringing pressure to bear on Clerides to exclude him from a ministerial post.

    The very possibility of a broad-based government has now been thrown into question by running into trouble even before it has been formed.

    "It's a matter of credibility," Koutsou said, suggesting there had been a divergence from political ethics by the President. "I believe you have to do what you agreed to do," he said.

    Koutsou last night also urged socialist Edek, the instigators of the broad- based government concept, to question its own participation in such a government in the wake of developments.

    Edek won 10.6 per cent in the first round, which put it in a strong position to negotiate in the second.

    "We ask Edek to re-examine if there is or is not a broad-based government and we ask them examine whether the events which led to our exclusion allow Edek to participate further," Koutsou told Sigma TV.

    He said his party believed that if the reasons for his exclusion were not lifted Edek would not participate in the new government. This, he added, would leave the government to be run by two parties: Disy, and the group of Diko rebels led by Alexis Galanos who are to take two ministries in return for their four per cent of the presidential vote.

    Behind-the scenes contacts were believed to be taking place late last night to salvage the overall package. Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides was reportedly in contact with the Presidential Palace.

    New Horizons had been hotly tipped to garner the Health Ministry, run for the past five months by Disy member Christos Solomis, who took over during a government re-shuffle last year.

    Instead of the Health Ministry however, Koutsou said he was offered only a deputy ministry, which he turned down last night.

    Liberals leader Nicos Rolandis, who took fewer votes than Koutsou in the elections, is more than likely to acquire the Commerce Ministry following a merger of his party with Disy this week.

    Speaking to journalists, Koutsou blamed Clerides's change of heart on Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and his deputy Panayiotis Demetriou, whom he accused of edging him out to leave the way open for Solomis.

    Solomis, who has a petition signed by hundreds of hospital staff for his return as Health Minister, would hold what is essentially the only Disy post in the government.

    Other ministries such as Justice and Finance will revert to their former bosses who are 'Clerides men' rather than staunch Disy members.

    [02] Hannay urges avoidance of recognition issue

    By Jean Christou

    A DEAL to include Turkish Cypriots in the Cyprus-EU negotiations would have to preclude the "recognition" factor, British envoy Sir David Hannay said yesterday.

    "Whatever might be decided about a joint negotiations team would need to be ring-fenced from other matters," Sir David, who is Britain's special envoy for Cyprus, told a bicommunal press conference in Nicosia.

    "That is to say that one would have to be very clear that whatever innovative arrangements are come to for the European Union negotiations did not involve a recognition on the part of the Republic of Cyprus of the TRNC, and did not involve recognition by the TRNC that the Republic of Cyprus was the sole government of Cyprus, because these are matters which can only be settled in the UN negotiations."

    Referring to the opening of EU negotiations with Cyprus on March 31, Sir David said that for the talks "to be meaningful" the Cyprus government's position would have to be known well in advance "so that we can discuss it with the Turkish Cypriots and see whether there is any possibility of reaching an agreement on that."

    He described it as a "complex and sensitive" area and one which needed a lot of careful work. But he hoped the offer from the Greek Cypriot side on the EU entry-talks format would be "serious and generous" and would receive a positive response from the Turkish Cypriot side.

    "But if it does not then I believe it should stay on the table and be available throughout the negotiations (EU)," Sir David said.

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has invited Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to London later next month in the hope the issues can be pursued fruitfully but there has as yet been no response, Sir David said.

    He said the EU was also working on developing closer ties with Turkey and that the EU Commission would on March 4 table a paper which will set out a number of practical ways in which the Customs Union can be developed.

    Sir David said Cyprus was at a turning point and that decisions would be made in next few years that would be of fundamental importance to everyone on the island.

    "The solution that most people would like is that a bicommunal federal Cyprus join the EU," Sir David said. "That is the best for everyone. In my view it is the best for the people of Cyprus and certainly best for the European Union and for others and that is what we should be trying to achieve."

    He expressed his "sadness" and "regret" that Denktash, whom he called "a man of wisdom and experience", had refused to meet him during this trip.

    "I am saddened because I would like to have heard his views on all these subjects... because we are not going to get solutions on any of them without the co-operation of the Turkish Cypriots", Sir David said.

    Sir David said he did manage to have some contacts with two Turkish Cypriot party leaders, although two others did not show up.

    "My failure to see Mr Denktash and the other two party leaders today was none of my doing and I don't therefore feel that I can accept any responsibility for that," Sir David said.

    He also made it clear that Britain does not take the same view as the Turkish side on the interpretation of the 1960 agreements which Turkey says bars Cyprus from joining the EU if Turkey is not a member.

    [03] Health Ministry delays Cabinet announcement

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE HEALTH Ministry post appeared to be the last stumbling block forcing a further delay in the announcement of the new cabinet yesterday.

    The official government line was that President Clerides did not consider it "correct" to name his cabinet ahead of his official swearing-in at the House at 11.30am today.

    But the comings and goings at the Presidential Palace yesterday told a different story.

    The two hot tips for the Health Ministry are New Horizons chief Nicos Koutsou and Christos Solomis, of Clerides's Disy party, who held the post till four days ago. Visiting Clerides yesterday were Koutsou, whose backing helped Clerides secure re-election on February 15, and Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades.

    Neither Koutsou nor Anastassiades were giving anything away after the meetings.

    "There will be no announcement of the make-up of the cabinet today," Government spokesman Manolis Christofides told his daily press briefing. He said this was not due to "problems" with ministerial appointments, but rather to the President's desire to wait till after his official swearing- in.

    The cabinet has to be announced today, as the new ministers are to be sworn in at the Presidential Palace at 12.30pm.

    Educationalist Lykourgos Kappas yesterday emerged as favourite for the Education Ministry. Kappas' was one of the three names put forward for the post by Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides on Wednesday.

    Edek, who sat on the fence for the elections, have been promised the Defence Ministry for their vice-chairman Yiannakis Omirou.

    All other posts, barring major surprises, are set to go to those who backed the President's re-election bid.

    Clerides did invite all parties to take part in government, upholding a pre- election pledge he made to Edek, but communist Akel and centre-right Diko - who backed main challenger George Iacovou in the elections - declined.

    Diko rebels Dinos Michaelides and Andreas Moushiouttas are favourites to return to the Interior and Labour Ministry respectively, posts they held before Diko abandoned the government late last year.

    Set for immediate returns are Disy ministers Yiannakis Cassoulides (Foreign Affairs), Christodoulos Christodoulou (Finance), Leontios Ierodiakonou (Communications) and Nicos Koshis (Justice).

    The Agriculture Ministry is expected to go to United Democrats (UD) 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 favourite to replace Christofides as Government spokesman.

    [04] Diplomatic pressures mount

    By Jean Christou

    BRITAIN'S special envoy Sir David Hannay may return to the island next week as diplomatic activity hots up to resolve the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking after a meeting with President Clerides yesterday, Sir David said he might come back next week when EU External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek arrives.

    Sir David was involved in a round of talks with senior officials yesterday. He said he had asked to meet Rauf Denktash but the Turkish Cypriot leader had refused.

    The British envoy advocated quiet diplomacy in handling the issue of Turkish Cypriot participation in the Cyprus-EU negotiations.

    It was also reported yesterday that the UN Secretary-general's special adviser on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, would come to the island on March 16.

    The Washington correspondent of the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) quoted UN sources for the report, saying Cordovez would also travel to Athens and Ankara in a week-long visit to the region.

    However, a UN spokesman in Nicosia said Unficyp as yet had "no confirmation" the visit would take place.

    UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel is currently in New York and is expected back on the island early next week, the spokesman said.

    Diplomatic sources in Cyprus told CNA that Cordovez would have his work cut out for him.

    Referring to the dilemma over Turkish Cypriot participation in forthcoming EU negotiations, the sources said: "As if this wasn't enough, the S-300 missiles due to be delivered late this year and the Paphos air base becoming operational are sure to complicate matters for Mr Cordovez."

    [05] Ethics committee raps media for naming sex victims

    By Martin Hellicar

    VICTIMS of rape and other sexual attacks in Cyprus, particularly foreigners, are more than likely to suffer the additional trauma of having their names splashed across the headlines.

    The local media's gross insensitivity in such cases has drawn complaints from foreign embassies, the chairman of the Journalistic code of conduct committee, Andreas Mavrommatis, said yesterday.

    "There needs to be more respect for people's suffering, Mavrommatis said. "We have to avoid victims' relatives finding out about attacks from the television, the authorised persons need to be given a chance to tell relatives first," he added.

    There are no laws banning the publication of victims' names, but the committee has agreed a voluntary code of ethics with media bosses. The committee believes this had led to "significant progress" in recent years.

    "The principle of not revealing the names of victims is basically now adhered to where Cypriot citizens are concerned," a committee statement read.

    "We note, however, that this commendable approach is not kept to in cases where the victims of sex crimes are foreigners," it added.

    Mavrommatis said this double standard was something foreign embassies had picked up upon and often complained about.

    He said the committee was working to change things, but admitted it had no power to deal out punishment to those violating the agreed ethical code.

    "The code works by self-management, it is voluntary," he said. "There is no punishment except that all media bosses have agreed to carry reports of code violations that involve them," he said.

    Mavrommatis said the police, who release the names of victims, had to take some of the blame for the situation.

    He pointed out that police also released the names of suspects in sex attack cases, another area the committee is concerned with.

    "It takes two to tango, you can't blame the media for covering a case when it takes place in a public courtroom," he said.

    "Police even notify the media when they are taking a suspect down to court, " he said.

    "In certain cases, courts should not be open to reporters and police should protect suspects who do not want to be photographed," Mavrommatis said.

    In a small country like Cyprus, even if a suspect is eventually cleared of any charges, his reputation remains tarnished.

    "If police were careful to avoid certain actions, there would not be so much damage done," Mavrommatis said.

    [06] Bases investigate alleged sex-act with sheep

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A 29-YEAR-OLD man is being questioned by British bases police (SBA) over an alleged indecent act with an animal in Xylophagou.

    The man was reportedly caught in the act with a sheep by the animal's owner some time last week.

    Local farmer Hambis Chiratou told SBA police the incident took place within the Dhekelia base area. He said he caught the suspect, naked below the waist, in his barn, in flagrante delicto.

    The man is being detained at Dhekelia where he apparently confessed to visiting the farm on numerous occasions, and where, he said, there happened to be goats and sheep roaming around.

    He was examined by a psychiatrist who confirmed the suspect was not suffering from any mental illness.

    A Dhekelia court issued a seven-day remand order so that the man could continue to help police with their inquiries.

    "I can confirm that an individual appeared in an SBA court yesterday (Thursday) answering charges in connection with an indecent assault involving an animal," bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne-Jones told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    "The man was remanded for psychiatric reports last week, then had his remand renewed for a further seven days to allow him the opportunity to obtain legal representation."

    He could not confirm whether, given that the alleged offence occurred on British sovereign territory, the suspect could apply for British legal aid.

    [07] 80,000 tab for electricity blackout

    By Andrew Adamides

    THE COST of repairing damage to the two high-voltage cables that caused last Saturday's Nicosia blackout could be as high as 80,000, Electricity Authority Spokesman Tassos Roussos told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    The cables were damaged during road works on Acropolis Avenue.

    The repairs are so expensive because the Dutch-made cables are extremely specialised. Two experts have in fact been flown in from Holland to oversee the work, as the Electricity Authority only has two technicians trained in repairing this kind of cable.

    Roussos added, however, that under normal circumstances the cables were very reliable: the two that were damaged were 20 years old, and had only malfunctioned twice in that time.

    He said the damage to the cables that had caused the cut had actually occurred approximately a month and a half ago during an earlier phase of the protracted Acropolis Avenue road works. The cables had initially held out - long enough for the road to be resurfaced - but the gradual accumulation of power caused them finally to give way last Saturday.

    Roussos said the chance of another power cut while repairs were being carried out was "very remote", as tests were being carried out to ensure that one of the cables could be put back into operation from yesterday, before repair crews moved on to the second.

    Power had initially been restored to the capital on Saturday by diverting electricity from another source.

    Full repairs should be complete by Monday or Tuesday, though in the interim the Electricity Authority is asking residents to cut back on electricity consumption in order to make sure there are no further cuts.

    Saturday's blackout, which lasted from 12.12pm to 4pm, plunged Nicosia into chaos, trapping around 40 people in lifts and causing mayhem on the roads as traffic lights failed.

    [08] Market index highest since January 1997

    By Hamza Hendawi

    THE ALL-share Cyprus Stock Exchange index yesterday climbed to its highest level since January 1997 to close at 82.57 points, up 0.56 per cent on Thursday's close.

    The new record, achieved on the last trading day of February, was the perfect finale of a month in which the index rose by an impressive 3.32 per cent, thanks largely to the February 15 election of conservative President Glafcos Clerides to a second, five-year term in office and the better-than- expected 1997 results announced last week by the Bank of Cyprus Group, whose shares top the market in terms of capitalisation -- 360.9 million by 1997's end.

    Yesterday's record of 82.57 points, surpassing the 82.46 points recorded on January 2, 1997, coincided with renewed interest in the shares of the drinks conglomerate KEO after the Limassol-based group announced it was laying off 82 of its 700-strong workforce. The move, it said, was inevitable after the large-scale automation of its factories.

    KEO, which holds a traditionally strong share of the local wine, beer and spirits market, said the decision to go ahead with the redundancies was taken after lengthy negotiations with the unions and the personnel affected.

    "We thought long and hard about our decision," KEO said in a statement, which also catalogued what it described as the tougher competition it faced both at home and abroad.

    News of the redundancies, the subject of persistent rumours for several weeks, pushed KEO shares up by 3.8 cents to close at 1.18-1.19 with nearly 14,000 shares changing hands. The shares, capitalised at 21 million at the end of 1997, also rose on Thursday by 4.2 cents.

    Yesterday's volume was a little more than 1 million, much of it taken up by the blue-chip bank shares, all of which finished slightly up. Nearly 100, 000 Bank of Cyprus shares changed hands in yesterday's trade, compared to 39,228 from the Popular Bank and almost 51,000 from Hellenic Bank.

    The three banks top the bourse's 100 or so securities in terms of capitalisation, accounting for about two-thirds of the market's entire value. Both Popular and Hellenic banks were expected to announce their 1997 results in early March. They are widely expected to be better than anticipated.

    All sectors on the market finished up yesterday except for `other companies' and insurance. The sub-index of the commercial companies rose by 1.54 per cent to close at 41.46 points, the biggest one-sector gain.

    The Bank of Cyprus (Greece), meanwhile, said in a statement made available in Nicosia yesterday that its 1997 pre-tax profits, 7.1 billion drachmas, were up by a staggering 57 per cent over the previous year.

    The statement also announced that BoC Greece was seriously considering breaking into the insurance market in Greece and that structural changes were under way to gain autonomy from the mother group in Cyprus.

    BoC Greece, the source of 35 per cent of the BoC Group's entire 1997 profits, has 11 branches and will open five more this year.

    [09] Over 2,000 T. Cypriots hold Republic passports

    OVER 2,000 Turkish Cypriots have obtained Cyprus Republic passports since 1988, authorities said yesterday.

    Following an uproar in the occupied areas over claims that 13 Turkish Cypriot politicians held such passports, immigration chief Christodoulos Nicolaides yesterday revealed that a total of 2,132 Turkish Cypriots had obtained Cyprus passports.

    Nicolaides said all these passports had been issued since 1978, most from the Cypriot embassy in London.

    "There is nothing unusual about applications, but in the last few years there has been in an increase," Nicolaides said.

    Uproar continued yesterday in the north over the allegations made against the 'deputies'.

    An investigation has been launched by the 'Attorney-general' after a complaint by seven of the accused.

    The same seven laid a wreath at the door of Kibris, which first named the 13.

    The paper is refusing to hand over the documents on which their report was based, citing confidentiality of sources.

    [10] Burglars strike again in Paphos

    BURGLARS have struck again in Paphos, breaking into a jewellery shop and making off with 8,000 worth of designer watches, police said yesterday.

    The robbery occurred around 10.45pm on Thursday when robbers raided a Kato Paphos jewellery shop in the Limnaria shopping centre on Poseidon street. They stole three Rolex and six Tag Heuer watches, worth around 8,000 in total.

    According to police reports, the robbers entered by smashing open the shop's aluminium security door with a sharp implement. It is believed the robbers left the same way despite the alarm system being triggered.

    In a separate incident, again in Paphos, robbers broke into the Studio Italiano Vero boutique on Galateia street, taking Versace clothes and accessories amounting to 3,150. The burglary took place some time between 1pm on Wednesday and 9am on Thursday, police said.

    Last Sunday, 60,000 worth of diamonds were stolen after another Paphos jewellery shop break-in.

    [11] Two held after rape claim

    TWO MEN were detained yesterday, suspected of raping a Ukrainian cabaret artiste.

    The two, both Syrian nationals, were arrested after the 20-year-old artiste told police that at around 9pm on Thursday, three men who appeared to be Arabs had snatched her as she left Nicosia's Roxy Cabaret.

    She claims that after bundling her into their car, they threatened her with a knife and drove to a field, where all three assaulted her and one raped her.

    They then allegedly took her back to the cabaret, where they left her at around 2am, after threatening to kill her if she reported them to the police.

    The victim was taken to Nicosia General Hospital, where an examination by State Pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous revealed that she had wounds to her chest, thighs and buttocks that were concurrent with her story.

    [12] Top three meet bottom three

    By George Christou

    THE TOP three sides should, logically, maintain their winning momentum at the weekend, as they have home ties against the sides occupying the bottom three places in the league.

    League leaders Anorthosis, after a hard-fought midweek 1-0 victory in the cup over Apoel, will take things easy today when they meet third from bottom Alki at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium.

    Alki, deep in relegation trouble, have the worst defensive record in the first division, having conceded 49 goals - an average of three per game. Last weekend, despite taking the lead they collapsed in the second half, losing 4-1 at home to Paralimni.

    The performance provoked the strong criticism of the players by the their coach. It does not seem likely that they would be able to trouble Anorthosis.

    Second from bottom Anagennisis travel to Nicosia for a game against second- placed Omonia, who had beaten them 7-0 in their previous encounter this season.

    Anagennisis have shored up their defence, as their recent results have shown (on Wednesday they held Achna to a 1-1 draw in the cup), but they are still losing by the odd goal. A draw for the visitors would be considered a major success.

    The two Ethnikos, of Achna and Ashia, which are at different ends of the table, third-placed and bottom respectively, meet in Achna. Ashia have still to win an away game, while Achna have not lost at home yet.

    Achna will be without their midfield dynamo Kenny Dyer and might find it difficult against a side that will defend rather than allow them to play their traditional counter-attacking game.

    Fourth-placed Apollonas meet Salamina, the only side to have beaten them this season, at the Tsirion stadium in Limassol for the second time in four days.

    On Wednesday a very disappointing Apollonas needed an injury time penalty to earn a 1-1 draw against nine-man Salamina in a cup quarter-final, first leg tie. Keeper Ioannou, sent off for a professional foul in the first half, and Nicolaou dismissed for a second bookable offence 10 minutes from time, will both miss today's game.

    However Apollonas will be without five first choice players. Papavassiliou, Mladenovic and Philippou are injured, while Spoliaric and Djiouras are suspended. This could enable 10th-placed Salamina a score a double over the home side whom they had beaten 2-0 earlier in the season.

    The last week has not been very good to Apoel coach Andreas Mouskallis, whose side had suffered two consecutive defeats - to Aek on Saturday and Anorthosis on Wednesday. These were the first defeats suffered by Apoel since Mouskallis had taken over.

    Today the cup holders travel to Paphos to play Apop, for whom a change of coach had also proved beneficial. Apop lost only their

    first game since Nicos Argyroulis took over, last weekend.

    The Paphos side will be without Radmilo MIchailovic, but could surprise Apoel who have been struggling since the transfer of their top scorer, Croatian striker Kozniku.

    Paralimni who broke their home ground jinx a few weeks ago - winning their first league game there in a year - will be hoping to make it two in a row when they meet a revitalised Ael side, with whom they are level on points.

    Ael, in seventh place, is above Paralimni on goal difference.

    Finally, fifth-placed Aek are at home to strugglers Evagoras who will be happy to leave Larnaca with a point.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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