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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-01-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, January 13, 2000


  • [01] Turks had been warned not to bring BRT logo
  • [02] Papandreou assures no risk of recognition
  • [03] Stock market falls back in aimless trading
  • [04] ‘Deal appears close’ on Ergates foundry
  • [05] Moldavian waitress says Tsangarides fixed her work permit
  • [06] Accused deputy asks House to investigate him

  • [01] Turks had been warned not to bring BRT logo

    By Jean Christou

    PRESIDENT Clerides gave the final order for Turkish Cypriot television station BRT to remove its logo at the Greek Foreign Minister's press conference on Tuesday, the government said yesterday.

    But according to spokesman Michalis Papapetrou the Turkish Cypriot journalists had been warned in advance, in writing, through the UN that BRT, the official channel of the breakaway regime, should not display its logo.

    This was confirmed by Unficyp spokesman Charles Gaulkin, who said that a note about the logo from the Greek Cypriot side had been passed on verbally to the Turkish Cypriots. "It was a standard message that we relayed," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    Just before the start of a joint press conference to be held by Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Cypriot counterpart Yiannakis Cassoulides on Tuesday evening, the BRT crew was asked by Press and Information Office (PIO) officials to remove the station's logo from the microphone, which was to be placed in front of the two ministers.

    Annoyed Turkish Cypriot journalists walked out in protest while consultations were held behind the scenes. The Turkish Cypriots were told to return, only to find PIO officials trying to hide the BRT microphone behind the flower arrangement.

    The Turkish Cypriots again left in protest and the press conference went ahead without them.

    Papapetrou said the removal of the logo was a political issue and was in line with a policy that had been in effect since the unilateral declaration of the ‘TRNC’ in 1983.

    Papapetrou suggested yesterday that since the BRT journalists had been aware of the standard procedure over the logo, they might have deliberately created a stir in order to spoil the recent co-operative climate.

    A similar claim was made yesterday in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen, but other papers in the north expressed outrage over what had happened.

    The incident was also embarrassing for Greece since Papandreou arrived on the island extolling the virtues of improved relations between Athens and Ankara.

    Commenting yesterday after a meeting with President Clerides, Papandreou said he was on the island as a guest and had no say in deciding such issues.

    "I think it was an event that seems to prove there are still problems, but it also proves the need for a solution to be found to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible," he said.

    He added these issues, often seen as strange or unreasonable, could be worked out through a solution in which the two communities would work together in all areas.

    Papapetrou said that the Turkish Cypriots had been quite welcome to attend the press conference and that what had happened was unfortunate.

    "The government wants this issue closed as soon as possible for the proper environment to be created, which will bring the most beneficial climate in the days before the second round of proximity talks so that we can go forward with a sincere attempt to solve the Cyprus problem," Papapetrou said.

    He denied reports that he had argued with Cassoulides over the issue and said it would be unfair to blame him for trying to prevent contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    "My position on rapprochement is well known," he said.

    Both communist Akel and socialist Edek agreed with the government's action on the logo, but Akel general secretary Demetris Christofias accused the government of paying too much attention to petty details while allowing bigger issues to pass by.

    Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides said he agreed fully with the way the issue had been handled.

    "It's a fact that there is no reason for them to provoke us with symbols that express a separate entity," he said.

    The Union of Journalists was uncharacteristically silent yesterday.

    Union president Andreas Kannaouros said he was still attempting to establish all the facts.

    Indeed the issue of who first noticed the logo remained unclear. Witnesses said that, once the press conference was over, Cassoulides had asked the Greek Cypriot journalists which of them had complained, but no one owned up. One witness said a PIO official had spotted the offending logo.

    A Western diplomatic source said what had happened was "typical of the Cyprus problem".

    "We spend so much time working on the big issues and in the end it comes down to little things like this," he said.

    Thursday, January 13, 2000

    [02] Papandreou assures no risk of recognition

    By Athena Karsera

    GREEK foreign minister George Papandreou yesterday completed his two-day contacts with the government and political leadership, assuring them there was no danger of recognition of the Turkish Cypriot regime.

    Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Papandreou told reporters there was no chance of the so-called ‘TRNC’ being recognised.

    The Greek foreign minister was speaking in the wake of comments by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that he would initiate contacts of his own with the European Union.

    Papandreou also reminded journalists of Clerides’ invitation to Turkish Cypriots to take part in Cyprus' EU negotiation team, noting that the invitation was still open.

    Asked about a German invitation to Denktash to visit the country, Papandreou replied: "It is an issue that has been solved. For a while now the EU has decided on the way it will interact with the Turkish Cypriot community and there is no reason for this issue to be reopened. For two years now President Clerides has made proposals in relation to Turkish Cypriots taking part in EU negotiations. This is something that Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides has recently repeated to the EU in Helsinki."

    Papandreou said he hoped the Turkish Cypriots would take advantage of this offer and that the issue of the invitation to Berlin would shortly be discussed with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou later echoed Papandreou’s view that there was very little chance of the pseudo-state being recognised by the international community.

    Papapetrou also said that third countries should be careful not to give Denktash the impression that they may recognise the occupied areas as an independent state: "It would make solving the Cyprus problem more difficult, " he added.

    Papandreou said he and Clerides had mainly discussed the forthcoming second round of proximity talks and changes in the Cyprus problem since the EU's decision to make Turkey an EU candidate country.

    Papandreou said no one could guarantee that there had been a change in Turkish policy and that the professed goodwill would have to be put in action.

    Papandreou later met with party leaders, and with Attorney-general Alecos Markides and Archbishop Chrysostomos before leaving for London, where he will meet Foreign Secretary Robin Cook for talks that will also touch on Cyprus.

    Thursday, January 13, 2000

    [03] Stock market falls back in aimless trading

    THE STOCK market retreated into negative territory yesterday, with a 1.5 per cent drop on profit taking sparked by Tuesday's 4.17 per cent surge, but trading was broadly mixed across sectors.

    In an otherwise quiet session, the all-share index shed 9.83 points, or 1.57 per cent to 616.86 on a turnover of £25.9 million, some five million less than Tuesday. There were 5,556 transactions.

    Stockbrokers said the market was not following any particular trend and trading was expected to be directionless in the next few days.

    "We will be seeing swings on the index, plus or minus," one trader said. "Investors are still very cautious."

    Yesterday's session started with an upswing. It opened at 634.06 points from Tuesday's close of 626.69, when institutional funds controlled by banks propped up the bourse to prevent a further tumble to shares which had plummeted 9.4 per cent on Monday.

    But the session soon turned negative. The opening index was the highest intraday high and the market succumbed to profit taking pressures early on. The slide gathered pace in the final minutes of the session, touching an intraday low of 615.13 before climbing back up to 616.86.

    Traders said the ongoing liquidity shortage was stunting the market. "There is not enough money around to push the market up further," one said.

    In yesterday's session five sectors fell and two rose. Gains were recorded in the investment sector, which climbed 43.12 points, or 7.75 per cent. Investment firms Cytrustees International, Regalia and Triaina led advances in that category, climbing between 50 and 23 cents each.

    Banking heavyweights moved marginally lower, losing 0.6 per cent, or 4.7 points. Bank of Cyprus lost 19 cents to close at £9.60 on a volume of 391, 914 shares, while the Popular Bank rose 15 cents to £12.90 on a significantly lower volume of 196,422.

    One of the highest performers of the day was Universal Life, where news that it was a target of a takeover bid by brokerage Severis and Athienitis rekindled interest in the share which jumped £1.37 to £17.01.

    Severis and Athienitis, on the other hand, retreated one pound to £24.01 on news that the Central Bank may raise objections to the bid. The Central Bank maintains that its permission should be sought for the takeover, since Universal own subsidiary Universal Savings Bank.

    In any case, Central Bank boss Afxentis Afxentiou has told the CSE that authorities do not favour the takeover of any bank by a stockbrokerage or affiliates.

    Thursday, January 13, 2000

    [04] ‘Deal appears close’ on Ergates foundry

    By Anthony O. Miller

    THE LAWYER for the Marios & Andreas foundry near Ergates said yesterday he should know by Friday whether his clients would close their factory for six months - as the government wants - and install modern anti-pollution machinery on its chimneys.

    Nicosia District Officer Andreas Papapolyviou, head of the state's talks with the foundry, said he expected to send the Council of Ministers by "early next week, by Wednesday," at the latest, a final proposal on the cost of modernising the foundry to comply with tough, new pollution standards.

    Papapolyviou said yesterday that a deal appeared close after talks between one of the foundry's two owners, Marios Petrou of Lakatamia, foundry lawyer Doros Ioannides, and representatives of Ergates village.

    He said the foundry seemed willing to close down for the four to six months that it might take to install new anti-pollution filters and other "green" machinery - provided the government paid for the re-tooling and reimbursed the foundry for any business lost during the close-down.

    He was not ready to say what that might cost, adding the Finance Minister would be discussing it with the foundry owners.

    "My clients are willing to accept any solution according to the law and according to their licence," Ioannides said yesterday.

    Apart from the cost of the new equipment, any drop in business caused by a closedown is "a matter for damages. Surely (the foundry) has the right to claim damages," Ioannides said.

    He said he did not know whether this would be settled via a lawsuit in court, or simply in a written agreement between the government and the foundry.

    "I will discuss with Marios & Andreas the proposal of the representatives of Ergates, and I will give my answer to the government this week," Ioannides said.

    He said he probably would have his answer ready tomorrow.

    The foundry's emissions have been found to contain lead and cadmium, and are suspected of also containing deadly dioxin.

    Public health physician Dr Michalis Voniatis found cancer and respiratory disease rates far higher than the national averages in the residents of Ergates, which is situated in the shadow of the foundry's chimneys.

    Thursday, January 13, 2000

    [05] Moldavian waitress says Tsangarides fixed her work permit

    A MOLDAVIAN waitress yesterday told the Nicosia District court how `pink slip' suspect Andreas Tsangarides arranged for her to come and work illegally on the island.

    Irina Lavrit, 32, appeared as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of the former organisational secretary of Disy.

    State prosecutor Costas Nicolaides is trying to prove that Tsangarides, who worked as a labour agent, made a business out of arranging for foreigners to work on the island illegally. Tsangarides denies 27 charges relating to the illegal employment of foreigners and enticing a public official to abuse his position.

    Lavrit was due to testify on Tuesday, but the defence objected to her testimony being translated by the same man who had translated her original statement to police.

    Another translator was found for yesterday's testimony.

    Lavrit is to be cross-examined by Tsangarides' lawyer, George Georgiou, tomorrow.

    According to police, Tsangarides' scam was to arrange for foreigners to arrive on the island as visitors and then to arrange work and permits for them when their visitor’s permit expired.

    During the first day of the trial on Monday, Nicolaides told the court that Tsangarides had told a prosecution witness he "considered himself a God" and therefore ignored laws and regulations on the employment of foreigners.

    Tsangarides' lawyer dismissed Nicolaides' claims, charging the prosecutor with "playing to the media."

    Tsangarides is one of a number of `big names' netted by the police probe into allegations that police officers and others in positions of authority were abetting underworld prostitution rackets by providing pink slips, sometimes forged, for cabaret dancing girls.

    Former Immigration chief Christodoulos Nicolaides is among those under suspicion as a result of the probe, launched in October.

    Thursday, January 13, 2000

    [06] Accused deputy asks House to investigate him

    By Martin Hellicar

    A DEPUTY for governing Disy yesterday took the unprecedented step of asking a House committee to probe his own involvement in an alleged building scam.

    Antonis Karas asked the House Interior Committee to investigate what he insists are libellous claims by Akel deputy Kikis Yiangou. Karas offered to resign if the committee found the opposition deputy's allegations held water.

    Karas also said he would be taking Yiangou to court and challenged him to drop his parliamentary immunity and appear before court to answer libel charges.

    Yiangou accepted the challenge, but also tried to take the sting out of Karas' attack, insisting he had never "named names" when launching his allegations.

    On Tuesday, Yiangou sent a written complaint to the Interior Ministry claiming that a Disy official had secured "favours" to allow the building of 22 flats on a plot in Ayia Napa not designated for development. Yiangou - who has earned a reputation for making "scandal" allegations - added that a road to these flats had been built at taxpayers’ expense.

    The Interior Ministry responded immediately, announcing that the Yiangou claims would be investigated.

    On Tuesday night, a private television channel reported that Karas was the "Disy official" referred to by Yiangou.

    Karas yesterday threatened to take the television station to court too.

    But he reserved his main attack for Yiangou.

    "I will deal with the deputy in question, and I hope he will be man enough not to cite his parliamentary immunity and to appear before court," Karas said.

    Yiangou's response was swift: "I don't need a certificate from anyone to prove my manhood," he pronounced, accepting Karas' challenge.

    Karas said he wanted the House Interior Committee to get to the bottom of the matter.

    "I have tabled the issue of the possible responsibilities of Antonis Karas concerning buildings going up in Ayia Napa," he said.

    "If it turns out from the investigation that I in any way - directly or indirectly - asked for favours from any public servant... I will resign my seat at once," the Disy Famagusta deputy vowed.

    "This is the first time a deputy has tabled an issue concerning himself, but I have done this so that the truth can shine forth," he said.

    Karas said he hoped this probe would put a stop to "irresponsible" television reporting. He charged Yiangou with "using" his parliamentary immunity "as a tool for persecuting and branding citizens or state officials."

    Karas said the plot of land referred to by Yiangou was owned by relatives of his. These relatives had been granted a building licence by the Ayia Napa municipality, whose board was Akel-dominated, Karas added.

    Yiangou insisted he had never referred to Karas when making his claims, but only to a "politician."

    "I did not accuse the municipality or anyone else. What I want is an explanation as to why a licence was given to build 22 flats on a plot outside a development zone," the Famagusta deputy said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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