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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-01-05

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

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


Wednesday, January 5, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] National Council convenes to conclude Cyprus problem discussions
  • [02] Papandreou to visit next week
  • [03] Britain says no nuclear weapons at Akrotiri now
  • [04] Exiled Greek King to visit Cyprus for sailing conference
  • [05] Shares start the year on sluggish note
  • [06] Government condemns massive Avrupa fine
  • [07] Limassol police round up illegal immigrants
  • [08] Man who abducted son found in occupied areas
  • [09] New Accountant-general appointed
  • [10] Russian embassy security stepped up after Beirut attack

  • [01] National Council convenes to conclude Cyprus problem discussions

    By Jean Christou

    THE NATIONAL Council met yesterday to conclude a meeting begun on December 30 concerning the recent round of proximity talks in New York.

    No statements were made after the meeting, in line with a blackout imposed by the UN on developments in New York.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said only that the council would meet again before the second round of talks, due to begin in Geneva on January 31.

    "The National Council will meet again before the second round of talks," Papapetrou said yesterday. "Today's meeting took place in an environment of unity. Members expressed their opinions on developments in the Cyprus problem focused on the first round of the talks."

    Papapetrou confirmed to reporters that the issue of leaks of details of National Council meetings to the press had been discussed yesterday.

    President Clerides wrote to party leaders pleading for discretion after details of the New York talks appeared in the press the day after the December 30 National Council meeting.

    Until the National Council meeting, nothing had emerged on what had been discussed in New York, in line with the agreed news blackout.

    Last monthís The New York talks were also the focus of US President Bill Clintonís latest bi-monthly report on Cyprus.

    In a letter to the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Clinton said: "The goal of these talks is to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem."

    He added: "This welcome news was highlighted during my trip to Turkey and Greece from November 15-20 as a positive step toward bringing about a just and lasting solution for all Cypriots and improving Greek-Turkish relations for a more secure southern Europe."

    But while the Greek Cypriot side and the international community appear optimistic for a positive outcome to the talks, the Turkish Cypriot side continues to play hardball.

    Dervis Eroglu, the `Prime Minister' of the breakaway regime in the north, was yesterday reported as saying that the Greek Cypriot side "escaped from the negotiating table when a peace was about to be provided".

    Eroglu said the Greek Cypriot side should accept the fact there was a `state' in the northern part of the island.

    In an interview published yesterday with the Turkish newspaper Cumhurryiet, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said that the "fair results" in New York had been accomplished by his own efforts and with the support of Turkey.

    He said he was working towards peace and finding an agreement on the Cyprus problem, but that the main condition for the security of Turkish Cypriots was Turkey's membership in the EU.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [02] Papandreou to visit next week

    GREECE'S Foreign Minister George Papandreou will arrive in Cyprus next week for a series of meetings with the government and the island's political leadership, it was confirmed yesterday.

    During his visit, Papandreou will review the outcome of the first round of UN-led talks in New York in December, and the conclusions of the EU's Helsinki summit.

    Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said discussions would also focus on the strategy to be followed at the second round of proximity talks to be held in Geneva at the end of the month.

    Beglitis said President Clerides and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides would receive Papandreou, who arrives on January 11 for a two-day visit. He will also meet party leaders.

    This will be Papandreou's second recent visit to the island. He paid a short visit in November before the start of the proximity talks and the EU summit.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [03] Britain says no nuclear weapons at Akrotiri now

    THERE are no nuclear weapons on the British bases in Cyprus, a British Defence Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

    According to the Cyprus News Agency, the British spokesman said that aircraft now using the bases did not carry nuclear weapons, but he declined to comment on 30-year-old British documents released at the weekend, which said Britain's defence "rests ultimately on the global nuclear deterrent, of which the United Kingdom's forces in Cyprus are a part".

    The documents also said that, in 1969, military aircraft based at Akrotiri had been carrying nuclear bombs.

    President Clerides on Monday confirmed there might have been nuclear weapons stored at the British bases in the past, but said the Cyprus government was not informed.

    Clerides said there was a time when the government had some indication that nuclear weapons were probably on the bases, but added "things have changed".

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [04] Exiled Greek King to visit Cyprus for sailing conference

    THE EXILED former king of Greece is due to visit Cyprus in May, the government confirmed yesterday.

    Speaking after yesterday's meeting of the National Council, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said that King Constantine would be making the trip for a conference of the International Sailing Federation, of which he is president. The visit was not in any way official, Papapetrou said.

    While the government will not be represented on Constantineís arrival to the island, the state will officially welcome the King of Norway and Great Britain's Princess Ann, also expected to attend the conference.

    The Federation, of which Constantine has been president since 1994, will be holding the conference to discuss issues such as its activities in this year's Sydney Olympics and the 2004 Games in Athens.

    Media sources claim the former king intervened to ensure the conference was held in Cyprus, rather than in Denmark or in Turkey, which also showed interest in hosting the event.

    Organised by the Cyprus Sailing Federation, the four-day conference begins in Limassol on May 3 and will include participants from 103 countries.

    The occasion will be Constantineís second visit to the island in the last 23 years. His last visit lasted only a few hours and took place so that he could attend the funeral of Archbishop Makarios.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [05] Shares start the year on sluggish note

    SHARES started the year on the downside yesterday in a sluggish session in which selling pressure depressed the index to 699.07 points, down 2.09 per cent.

    Balking a trend in most world markets, which opened strongly on the first day of trading after the New Year, the Cyprus all-share index was off 14.90 points on lower volumes of £21.1 million and just 4,277 trades.

    However, it could have been worse, as most European bourses took a pounding yesterday as concerns of higher interest rates sent shares sharply lower.

    Cypriot investors were not seen running for the exits, since then the volumes would have been much higher, said traders. However, the market did look numb, they said. "Ours is a local market which cannot affect, or be affected by other exchanges," one broker said, pointing to the existence of exchange control laws, which inhibit foreign investors from quickly taking up positions in the Cyprus bourse.

    The all-share index was dragged down by commercials and investment shares, where the declines were most pronounced of the seven sectors. Buoyant banking stocks, the marketís capitalisation heavyweights, which yesterday outperformed the rest of the market dropping just 1.11 per cent, prevented further losses.

    Traders said the market was still recovering from the holiday lull and a four-day break. "The market may take some time to regain momentum," a broker said.

    Stocks came under pressure in the first half hour of trading, when the general index fell to an intraday low of 690.76.

    One floor trader said some brokers had been issuing bearish signals on the market and that was affecting sentiment among investors.

    The market would probably recover by as early as today after signs in mid- session of a turnaround when the index briefly touched an intraday high of 701 points before scaling back to 699.07, traders said.

    "The exchange performed as was expected," said stockbroker Andreas Leonidou of A.L. Pro-Choice. "The holidays affected the market but judging by buying in the second part of the session the market is heading for a rebound tomorrow or the day after," he said.

    Volatile commercial stocks, which have been seesawing and have been the target of speculators in recent weeks, were off 9.2 per cent while investment firms were 4.95 per cent lower.

    Bourse newcomer Logicom, which put ten million ordinary shares and one million warrants on the market, opened at seven pounds. Its last trade was at £6.55 on a turnover of 954,482 shares.

    Heavy trading was reported in the Bank of Cyprus, which fell 25 cents to £10.70, CCC Tourist, which was unchanged at 73 cents and Louis Cruise Lines, which was off 14 cents to £2.96.

    Blue-chip Severis and Athienitis Financial Services (SAFS) surged 1.93 cents to £23.92 after the firm announced its board would discuss a possible share split, increase in equity and a warrant issue on January 14.

    The company made its debut on the stock exchange in mid-December after its 220,000 share IPO was oversubscribed more than 600 times.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [06] Government condemns massive Avrupa fine

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday condemned the decision of a `court' in the north to impose a crippling fine on the Avrupa newspaper for slander against Rauf Denktash.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday called on the international community to react to the decision.

    "The decision of the so-called court in the occupied areas to put such a huge fine on a newspaper is essentially equivalent to closing it down," Papapetrou said.

    "The government condemns these kinds of methods, which undermine the freedom of the press and of democracy, and it calls on the international community to show some sensitivity to this."

    The fiercely critical Avrupa has been ordered to pay $260,000 to the Turkish Cypriot leader in a slander suit.

    The newspaper and six of its journalists are also being prosecuted before a Turkish military court on charges of "inciting hate among the people against the Turkish Cypriot state and undermining the security forces".

    The heavy fine has put the future of the newspaper in serious jeopardy and has caused outrage on journalistic circles on both sides of the Green Line.

    The Union of Cyprus Journalists has already written to international organisations to complain, and on Monday said it has also written to the ambassadors of the "Big Five" member countries of the UN Security Council, the US, Britain, China, Russia and France. The union also wrote to Denktash himself with an appeal.

    In its letter to the ambassadors, the union denounces the "persecution" of Avrupa as a flagrant violation of press freedom and the freedom of expression in the Turkish Cypriot community.

    "It is a ruthless effort to muzzle and strangle a newspaper fighting consistently for a fair peaceful and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem and for restoring and building rapprochement, confidence, friendship and cooperation between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities," the union said in its letter to the ambassadors.

    It asks them to use their influence on Denktash to stop the prosecution and to relieve the newspaper of the fine.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [07] Limassol police round up illegal immigrants

    EIGHTEEN illegal aliens were yesterday arrested in Limassol after an immigration department sweep.

    Ten Iranians, five Syrians and three Jordanians were rounded up after an immigration department operation.

    All the men had been living and working on the island without permits.

    The operation started at 4 am and lasted for four hours.

    The men were arrested while waiting for their employers to pick them up.

    The sweep was part of an ongoing island-wide campaign to locate and arrest illegal aliens.

    "The foreigners were transferred to the central prison, and the procedure for their deportation has already began," a senior immigration department official said yesterday.

    The campaign for finding and arresting illegal foreigners will continue, he added.

    Meanwhile, the survivors picked up when a ship sank off Cape Greco on New Year's Eve have been put up at the Pefkos hotel in Limassol while police look into the incident.

    Police suspect that the 17 survivors of the shipwreck may not be telling the truth about the incident, since weather conditions when the ship sank were good and the seas were very calm.

    The 17 survivors of the Syrian-flagged Seven Seas cargo ship were rescued by the combined efforts of a British bases helicopter and the Cyprus coastguard.

    The survivors were found in or around a dinghy lifeboat.

    An extensive coastguard search failed to locate any trace of the 4,700 tonne vessel that was said to have gone down.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [08] Man who abducted son found in occupied areas

    A PAKISTANI man and his three-year-old son he abducted last week were yesterday found in the occupied areas.

    Unficyp yesterday notified the police that the man and his son had been found in the north and that arrangements were being made for their transfer to the free areas.

    Police were looking for Magid Yusuf Han after he failed to return the boy to his Cypriot ex-wife.

    Han had picked up his son Daniil from his in-laws' home in Pallouriotissa, Nicosia, last Wednesday.

    Under the terms of the court order that gave his wife custody of the child, Han had been due to return Daniil by 6.30pm the same day.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2000

    [09] New Accountant-general appointed

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides appointed a new Accountant-general during a special Presidential Palace ceremony yesterday.

    Assuming the position, 42-year-old Lazaros Lazarou pledged to carry out his new duties with the public interest as his guideline.

    Married with three children, Lazarou was senior principal assessor at the District Income Tax Office in Limassol before becoming Accountant General.

    He has a BSc in Economics from a British university and also attended the Institute for Tax Administration in Los Angeles.

    He graduated from Harvard Law School's International Tax Program and has a master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government.

    Lazarou is also an elected member of the International Assembly of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, representing the 19 countries of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Gulf.

    Lazarou takes over from Antonis Georgis, who went into pre-retirement leave on Monday.

    [10] Russian embassy security stepped up after Beirut attack

    NEWS OF possible attacks on Russians in Europe and the Middle East has caused the Cyprus government to step up security at the Russian embassy and other Russian interests.

    Justice and Public Order Minister Nicos Koshis said yesterday that the government had increased security measures because they had received "supplementary information."

    "There is information that during this period certain Islamic organisations, illegal criminal organisations, will carry out criminal activities against Russian citizens, institutions and other Russian interests in Europe and the Middle East," Koshis said.

    "We received the information and have taken our measures some time ago as we usually do in such cases," he added.

    Asked if security measures had been stepped up after Monday's attack on a building near the Russian embassy in Beirut, Koshis said that measures had been reinforced.

    A heavily armed gunman was killed in Beirut yesterday after he launched grenades in the direction the Russian embassy compound. A policeman also died in the ensuing gun battle. The man left a note saying he wanted to die in solidarity with Muslim rebels in Chechnya.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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