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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-02-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Wednesday, February 13, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Mother denies abducting her son from Cyprus
  • [02] Hannay: it's make-or-break for Cyprus
  • [03] Government blasts Tory Euro MP over house in the north
  • [04] Teachers plan demo over wage reform
  • [05] Six-year-old girl to receive special tuition to avert school crisis
  • [06] Cyprus beat Switzerland in penalty shootout
  • [07] Drugs lessons for toddlers
  • [08] Ministries row over airport hotel plan
  • [09] Hannay: it's make-or-break for Cyprus
  • [10] Helicopter reports 'just rumours'
  • [11] Cassoulides tells Istanbul summit Cyprus has always been a bridge of civilisations
  • [12] Litre of milk four cents dearer from today
  • [13] Drugs lessons for toddlers
  • [14] Hasikos denies conscripts ordered to shout Grivas slogans

  • [01] Mother denies abducting her son from Cyprus

    By George Psyllides

    THE AMERICAN mother of a 12-year-old boy yesterday denied she had abducted the child and fled the island last July.

    Karin Von Krenner, 38, who used to be married to a Cypriot man - the father of the boy -- told the Cyprus Mail last night that she had not abducted her son Kristopher from the jurisdiction of the Cyprus court.

    But last Wednesday, a federal marshal acting on a court order took the boy from Karin's house in a small town in Idaho, and placed him in protective custody.

    The action was taken after an appeal filed by the ex-husband invoking the Hague Convention, an international treaty ensuring the return of children wrongfully removed from participating nations.

    The couple divorced in 1992, and after a bitter custody battle Karin and her ex-husband decided that it would be best for Kristopher to stay with his mother to avoid dragging the child from one parent to the other every week.

    The father was granted visitation rights and the court ordered that the child would not be allowed to leave the country without its permission or the consent of both parents.

    But, according to her ex-husband's lawyer Emilios Lemonaris, in July 2001 Karin asked permission from the court to take her son on holiday. This was granted on the condition that she return to Cyprus by July 31.

    Lemonaris told the Cyprus Mail that Karin took Kristopher and never came back, thus violating the court order.

    "She left and no one knew where she was," Lemonaris said. He revealed that her former husband used the help of foreign organisations to track down his ex-wife.

    But Karin denied last night she had abducted Kristopher.

    "I have not abducted my son," she said. "While on holiday he told me he didn't want to go back."

    She said there were legal documents in which Kristopher is quoted as saying he wanted to be with his mother and leave Cyprus.

    The case will now be heard in a US federal court on February 27.

    Karin, who told local media that she was not optimistic she would win custody of her son, said last night: "I will stand here and defend my son with everything I have."

    She said she would immediately appeal if the court's decision went the other way, but was afraid that Kristopher would be flown to Cyprus before any appeal could be heard.

    Karin said that her son did not have to be in protective custody and blamed her former husband for requesting it.

    "Kristopher could have been home with me and they could have been checking on us; instead he asked the authorities to put him in protective custody," she said.

    But according to US authorities it is common in child custody cases for judges to order children to be sheltered to minimise the risk of a parent fleeing.

    Kristopher's father did not want to comment last night.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Hannay: it's make-or-break for Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    BRITAIN'S special envoy for Cyprus Lord David Hannay said yesterday 2002 would be the make-or-break year for Cyprus, expressing hope for a settlement later this year.

    "We the British government intend to do everything we can to ensure that it is a 'make' year for Cyprus and we will do all we can and all that is in our power to make that happen," Hannay said on arrival at Larnaca Airport for a two-day visit.

    Hannay said he had not brought with him any proposals, ideas, plans blueprints or suggestions. "This is a negotiation between the two Cyprus leaders about the future of their country. This is their opportunity, and my government at least hopes they will take it," Hannay said referring to the ongoing face-to-face-talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which began on January 16.

    "The reason I am here is to listen to the views of the two leaders and of the United Nations Secretary-general's special adviser on the process so far and on the immediate prospects for the future," he added.

    Hannay said it was his government's view that the negotiations should continue and hopefully be concluded by the end of the year, which he said would be followed by Cyprus's entry to the EU.

    He said the elements of a solution were already present, but that there were also substantial gaps between the points of view of both sides. "But I do believe myself that a settlement - a comprehensive settlement - which respects the vital interests of both sides, is obtainable and could be obtained within a reasonable frame of time," Hannay said.

    "I am not here to interfere or intrude into the process that began on January 16, which we, the British government, strongly support and which we believe is being handled in an extremely effective and positive way by all concerned, nor am I here because that process is in crisis or is stuck, because the process is not in crisis and the process is not stuck, so that is not a purpose or motive for my coming here now."

    Today Hannay will have a working breakfast with President Clerides and later cross to the north to meet Denktash before leaving the island later in the day.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Government blasts Tory Euro MP over house in the north

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday blasted a prominent British Tory MEP for leasing a holiday home from the occupation regime for just one dollar per year for the next 49 years.

    Yesterday's Guardian reported that James Corrie, Tory MEP for the West Midlands, was last December given what the paper described as an "expropriated property" by the Turkish Cypriot administration.

    Corrie, who chairs the EU-Africa Caribbean and Pacific joint parliamentary group, admitted he had negotiated the deal as "leverage" to get back another property he owned should the authorities in the north be replaced following a peace deal.

    The Tory MEP bought two homes in the north after 1974. One home was in occupied Myrthou, and a second house, which he claims cost 60,000 to build, was confiscated by the Turkish army two years ago as it was within the precincts of a new army camp. Now he has been given another property near Kyrenia, the Guardian said.

    Corrie told the newspaper that his lawyer had been advised that if he did not take the deal there would be no leverage to get his own house back if a settlement was agreed. He accepted "on the understanding that when a settlement was agreed I would get my own house back and the new house would be returned to the original owner."

    "The excuses the honorable member of parliament is trying to fabricate, are not only not convincing at all, but are ridiculous," Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    Papapetrou said it was clear that Corrie was aiding an effort to take properties from their legal owners and entering into dealings with an illegal regime. "We thought, and could expect that especially British MPs should show more respect for values which are considered sacred in their own country," the spokesman added.

    Corrie also came under fire in the UK. Mary Honeyball, Labour MEP for London, and a member of the joint parliamentary committee for the European Union and Cyprus called for an inquiry into the affair. "This seems to be an extraordinary deal negotiated at a very delicate time," she said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Teachers plan demo over wage reform

    By Melina Demetriou

    TEACHERS' and students' unions are planning a demonstration outside the Presidential Palace next week in protest at a plan to cut public sector starting salaries.

    The demonstration is scheduled to take place at 3 pm next Thursday - outside school hours.

    The government proposal, adopted by the umbrella civil servants' union PASYDY last week, would cut public sector wages by 10 per cent for the first two years of service.

    State secondary school teachers and doctors remain vehemently opposed to the plan.

    Supporters of the scheme say it will benefit staff in the long run as they will step up the promotion ladder at a quicker pace.

    "Teachers' unions OELMEK, OLTEK, POED, umbrella students' associations FEPAN and POFNE as well as political parties' youth branches will demonstrate outside the Presidential Palace on Thursday next week at 3 pm," OELMEK chairman Takis Gabrielides said yesterday.

    "We will in no way enter dialogue aimed at reducing our junior members' salaries," Gabrielides said, adding that teachers' unions would soon discuss the matter with parliamentary parties.

    The chairman of doctors' union PASYKI, Stavros Stavrou, yesterday suggested the government should take measures to increase productivity in the government sector in order to justify high wages.

    "This will reduce costs too," he said.

    PASYDY member Dinos Kathedjiotis yesterday charged that the union base was in crisis over the decision to back the government proposal.

    "The decision was basically made by PASYDY's leadership. Members were blackmailed to adopt a plan they did not like," Kathedjiotis claimed, adding: "we did not want to take the food out of our children's mouth."

    The union member claimed lower wages in the public sector would lead to reduced salaries in the private sector.

    But Finance Minister Takis Klerides yesterday reiterated his view that once the plan was implemented the wage gap between public and private sector employees would narrow.

    "This is a free market so we should not make comparisons between the two sectors," said Klerides.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Six-year-old girl to receive special tuition to avert school crisis

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE six-year-old girl who cannot be separated from her mother is to receive special lessons from today in order to avoid giving offence to other parents at the school.

    Gregoris Hoplaros, director of primary education at the Education Ministry, said the mother's continued presence at the Strovolos school five months after the beginning of term, was a small problem, blown out of proportion by the media.

    "The child can read and write and communicate, but she can't be alone without her mother," he said.

    "It has to be overcome step by step. Firstly the mother is in the class. Secondly she's outside the class but maintains eye contact with the girl. Then she's out of the class without eye-contact, but in the building," he said.

    The mother refused a Monday-deadline imposed by Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides for her departure.

    To make matters worse, parents of other pupils are complaining about the situation, threatening to keep their children at home unless drastic action is taken.

    To avoid tensions escalating further and to dissipate parents' threats, officials yesterday decided to remove the child from the regular classroom.

    An educational psychologist and school inspectors have decided the girl should be taught by a special needs teacher in a small group of other children.

    Her mother was granted permission to remove her child from nursery and kindergarten, citing behavioural problems.

    The mother will be allowed to be at her daughter's side and parents have been appeased by the family's separation from mainstream activities.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Cyprus beat Switzerland in penalty shootout

    THE CYPRUS national team yesterday in Nicosia beat Switzerland 4-2 in a penalty shootout and advanced to the final of the international tournament organised by the football federation.

    The two teams were level at 1-1 on the final whistle, a score that remained unaltered after the 30-minute extra time.

    Panathinaikos of Athens star Michalis Constantinou opened the score for Cyprus on the 21st minute.

    The Swiss squad equalised 11 minutes later with Hakan Yiakin.

    The game went to the penalty procedure where Anorthosis of Famagusta goalkeeper Nicos Panayiotou saved two spot kicks, to give Cyprus victory.

    The Nicosia game was the first of two for the tournament.

    In Larnaca the Czech Republic took on Hungary in a game that started at 7pm.

    The winners of the two games qualified to the final, which will be held today at 7pm at the GSZ stadium in Larnaca.

    The other two teams will battle it out for third place at the Tsirion stadium in Limassol at 5pm.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Drugs lessons for toddlers

    By Jennie Matthew

    KINDERGARTEN children will get five hours of drug awareness teaching this year, in a new initiative launched by Kenthea, the Drugs Rehabilitation Centre and the Pedagogical Institute.

    Announced simultaneously with the results of a new study, one of the principal aims of the lessons is to teach children that smoking is a form of dependency.

    "Not all smokers become hashish or marijuana users, but there isn't a single marijuana or hashish user who has never smoked. Not all hashish or marijuana users go onto heroin or cocaine, but they all graduate from hashish," Kenthea scientific consultant Dr Kyriacos Veresies told Politis yesterday.

    According to a survey carried out by Kenthea, the Pancyprian Health Organisation and the Psychiatry Services, a quarter of smokers begin under the age of 15. Of the rest, half begin puffing between the ages of 16 and 20.

    The research also claims that tobacco use has an immediate connection to other substance dependencies.

    Veresies believes pre-school children need to learn the value of self- respect, how to express their feelings and make the right decisions.

    Lack of awareness about dependency and the problems it causes, he says, is the main reason that children don't question the dependency of smoking.

    As of March 15, Kenthea volunteers will give 300 to 400 kindergarten children dependency lessons, as part of their home economics class.

    The Ministry of Education has allocated five hours for the course, which will last one year.

    Children will be exposed to a wide variety of substances that can corrupt the body and influence emotions, from sweets to smoking or pills.

    According to the study, 81.6 per cent of heavy smokers admit to having other dependencies, even more use other legal substances with or without a prescription and 67 per cent of heavy drinkers also smoke.

    Heavy smokers accounted for 26.3 per cent of the sample - 40.8 per cent of men and 12.4 per cent of women.

    Of the smokers, 36 per cent said they had tried to kick the habit but failed.

    Some 19.3 per cent of heavy smokers live in rural areas and 24 per cent in towns. The highest proportion (42.7 per cent) herald from Famagusta and the lowest (21.3 per cent) from Limassol.

    A group from the Medical Association is examining the findings of the study this week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Ministries row over airport hotel plan

    By Melina Demetriou

    THE COMMUNICATIONS and Environment ministries are at odds with each other over plans to build a hotel in the area of the Larnaca Salt Lake.

    The Government has decided to appoint a strategic investor to develop the Larnaca airport by the BOT method (Build, Operate and Transfer). But the deal will also grant the investor the right to construct and operate an airport hotel.

    Deputies on the House Environment Committee, which convened to discuss the matter yesterday, opposed plans to build a hotel in the Salt Lake area, which is listed as an environmental heritage area under the Ramsar Convention.

    Myroulla Hadjichristoforou of the Agriculture Ministry's environmental service expressed outrage at Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou, who insisted the hotel should be build within the area.

    Hadjichristoforou declined to make further statements to the media after the discussion, saying only she had had enough of the Communications Ministry.

    Neophytou hit back later when asked to comment on the Agriculture Ministry's disagreement with the proposal.

    "I cannot have state employees on the lowest wage scale telling me where a hotel should lie," the minister said angrily.

    But committee chairman George Lillikas of AKEL accused the government of being insufficiently sensitive when it came to environmental issues.

    "We have signed the Ramsar Convention and we must respect it," he stressed.

    Lillikas spoke of plans to include part of the Lake in the hotel's premises.

    "One of the main ideas on the table provides that part of the lake with the flamingos and the other birds will belong to the hotel," said Lillikas.

    "If the hotel expands into the lake or even touches its boundaries then we are violating the Convention," he said, adding: "we've already scared many people away - I hope we don't do the same with the flamingos."

    Coming out of the meeting, Green Party deputy George Perdikis accused the government of third world behaviour.

    "If two ministries are expressing contradictory views before a committee we are dealing with third world phenomena," he charged.

    Nicos Tornaritis of DISY slammed the practice of hunting wild ducks at the Salt Lake.

    "I think it should be banned altogether because when it is dark early in the morning or late in the afternoon hunters may shoot flamingos and swans by mistake," he said. The game service insists it does not allow duck shooting on the Salt Lake, only in adjoining areas.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Hannay: it's make-or-break for Cyprus

    By Jean Christou

    BRITAIN'S special envoy for Cyprus Lord David Hannay said yesterday 2002 would be the make-or-break year for Cyprus, expressing hope for a settlement later this year.

    "We the British government intend to do everything we can to ensure that it is a 'make' year for Cyprus and we will do all we can and all that is in our power to make that happen," Hannay said on arrival at Larnaca Airport for a two-day visit.

    Hannay said he had not brought with him any proposals, ideas, plans blueprints or suggestions. "This is a negotiation between the two Cyprus leaders about the future of their country. This is their opportunity, and my government at least hopes they will take it," Hannay said referring to the ongoing face-to-face-talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which began on January 16.

    "The reason I am here is to listen to the views of the two leaders and of the United Nations Secretary-general's special adviser on the process so far and on the immediate prospects for the future," he added.

    Hannay said it was his government's view that the negotiations should continue and hopefully be concluded by the end of the year, which he said would be followed by Cyprus's entry to the EU.

    He said the elements of a solution were already present, but that there were also substantial gaps between the points of view of both sides. "But I do believe myself that a settlement - a comprehensive settlement - which respects the vital interests of both sides, is obtainable and could be obtained within a reasonable frame of time," Hannay said.

    "I am not here to interfere or intrude into the process that began on January 16, which we, the British government, strongly support and which we believe is being handled in an extremely effective and positive way by all concerned, nor am I here because that process is in crisis or is stuck, because the process is not in crisis and the process is not stuck, so that is not a purpose or motive for my coming here now."

    Today Hannay will have a working breakfast with President Clerides and later cross to the north to meet Denktash before leaving the island later in the day.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Helicopter reports 'just rumours'

    By Jean Christou

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday denied Turkish newspaper reports that the government was planning to buy 40 attack helicopters from Russia.

    "I don't know of any helicopters. These are rumours," Cassoulides told reporters on the sidelines of the OIC-EU summit in Istanbul.

    The Greek Cypriot side has also recently accused Turkey of sending new weapons to the north, but the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime has denied the charges.

    The Turkish Daily News (TDN) reported on Monday that the US had stepped up pressure on the Greek Cypriot side over the delivery of 40 Russian attack helicopters, because it was casting a shadow over renewed face-to- face talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which began on January 16.

    TDN said that not only had the purchase of the helicopters upset Turkey but also the US and other Western countries pressing for a solution before the island joins the EU.

    Cassoulides said the current process of intensive face-to-face talks was expected to last several months, adding it should be clear by June whether progress was being made.

    But he criticised Denktash for insisting on "conditions like the creation of two states in Cyprus, which does not make much sense".

    Cassoulides also said he was keen to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. "I have made appeals to Mr Cem to meet him and discuss face to face a number of issues in order to dissipate misconceptions between us, but I'm afraid it's Mr Cem who does not want to have such a meeting," Cassoulides said.

    A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Reuters that there had been no request for such a meeting at the forum.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Cassoulides tells Istanbul summit Cyprus has always been a bridge of civilisations

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides yesterday addressed a joint summit of the Islamic Conference and the European Union in Istanbul, but avoided any direct reference to the Turkish occupation.

    However, the Minister made it clear that Cyprus was entitled to enjoy the same rights as other nations - including the right to respect for its culture and civilisation. He said that in Cyprus, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots had lived together for centuries until the Turkish invasion forcibly divided the two communities, civilisations had always coexisted and determined the island's history.

    Cassoulides said Cyprus was a vivid example of a melting pot of civilisations and had an important role to play in linking cultures. But he added that dialogue was imperative among nations if human relations and differences were to be solved.

    "We consider our role as a link of cultures of primal importance and we see this role as an obligation on our part to promote peace, stability, prosperity within our region and to enhance awareness of each other's commonalities, bridging gaps that might separate us," he said.

    "Each culture and civilisation must be accorded the respect it deserves and the respect Cyprus affords each culture is the benchmark by which our commitment to multicultural symbiosis will be judged and guaranteed."

    Commenting on the fact that the systematic violations of human rights were still being carried out in many parts of the world, Cassoulides said that promoting co-operation, tolerance, dialogue and mutual understanding among peoples, countries, cultures and religions was the imperative choice of survival.

    Referring to the global fight against terrorism, the foreign minister said Cyprus categorically rejected any attempt to allow nations to fall victim to "polarisation and ephemeral considerations" by stressing the universal nature of the struggle against the terrorist assault against the US.

    "Let us not forget that dialogue is a sine qua non for harmonising human relations and solving differences amongst us, that dialogue can triumph over discord and is capable of transforming heavy burdens of a culture of violence into the seeds of a culture of peace," Cassoulides said. The Minister also thanked Turkey for hosting the conference.

    Some 17 foreign ministers from countries of the OIC and another 17 from EU and candidate countries are participating in the forum. Also present at the meeting are the General Secretaries of the Council of Europe, the Arab League and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [12] Litre of milk four cents dearer from today

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PRICE of milk goes up four cents a litre in the shops today, despite protestations from trade unions and the Consumers Association that the matter was decided unfairly.

    The four-cent increase came into effect for factories yesterday, hiking milk prices from 41 to 45 cents a litre.

    The increase is also likely to have a knock-on effect the cost of other dairy products, such as yoghurt and cheese, fully liberalised and outside the fixed price mechanism.

    "All dairy prices will increase because of forces in the local market and competition, but there is enough competition in Cyprus to keep prices low," said the director of competition and consumer products at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, George Mitides.

    He said the price hike was justified exclusively by the rising costs of milk production and that only producers would take the extra money.

    Nevertheless, the Consumers Association was displeased. "We have objected and expressed our concern to the Ministry for not conveying the matter to the advisory committee on prices so that they could express their views," said the president of the group, Dinos Ioannou.

    Mitides pointed out that it was the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) that decided milk prices, and that the Ministry was obliged to rubber-stamp any changes without consulting an advisory committee.

    But Ioannou claimed the government did have the right to control prices for pasteurised milk, unlike un-pasteurised milk.

    "Those who get a cost of living allowance will be reimbursed to some extent; those who don't will be punished," said Mitides.

    He said the shortage of milk was due to the MMB's reluctance to produce more than demand, for fear of waste. Given the immediacy of the product, preservation is not an option.

    He added that in a month there would be an excess of supply, caused by the production of sheep and goat's milk from the end of February to the middle of the year.

    Cheese manufacturers say they are not receiving enough milk to fulfil their export commitments, and have threatened to stop production from today if their quota is not raised.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [13] Drugs lessons for toddlers

    By Jennie Matthew

    KINDERGARTEN children will get five hours of drug awareness teaching this year, in a new initiative launched by Kenthea, the Drugs Rehabilitation Centre and the Pedagogical Institute.

    Announced simultaneously with the results of a new study, one of the principal aims of the lessons is to teach children that smoking is a form of dependency.

    "Not all smokers become hashish or marijuana users, but there isn't a single marijuana or hashish user who has never smoked. Not all hashish or marijuana users go onto heroin or cocaine, but they all graduate from hashish," Kenthea scientific consultant Dr Kyriacos Veresies told Politis yesterday.

    According to a survey carried out by Kenthea, the Pancyprian Health Organisation and the Psychiatry Services, a quarter of smokers begin under the age of 15. Of the rest, half begin puffing between the ages of 16 and 20.

    The research also claims that tobacco use has an immediate connection to other substance dependencies.

    Veresies believes pre-school children need to learn the value of self- respect, how to express their feelings and make the right decisions.

    Lack of awareness about dependency and the problems it causes, he says, is the main reason that children don't question the dependency of smoking.

    As of March 15, Kenthea volunteers will give 300 to 400 kindergarten children dependency lessons, as part of their home economics class.

    The Ministry of Education has allocated five hours for the course, which will last one year.

    Children will be exposed to a wide variety of substances that can corrupt the body and influence emotions, from sweets to smoking or pills.

    According to the study, 81.6 per cent of heavy smokers admit to having other dependencies, even more use other legal substances with or without a prescription and 67 per cent of heavy drinkers also smoke.

    Heavy smokers accounted for 26.3 per cent of the sample - 40.8 per cent of men and 12.4 per cent of women.

    Of the smokers, 36 per cent said they had tried to kick the habit but failed.

    Some 19.3 per cent of heavy smokers live in rural areas and 24 per cent in towns. The highest proportion (42.7 per cent) herald from Famagusta and the lowest (21.3 per cent) from Limassol.

    A group from the Medical Association is examining the findings of the study this week.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [14] Hasikos denies conscripts ordered to shout Grivas slogans

    By George Psyllides

    DEFENCE MINISTER Socratis Hasikos yesterday rejected charges from left-wing opposition party AKEL claiming he had pre-empted an investigation into allegations that conscripts were ordered to shout slogans in support of late General Georgios Grivas.

    General Grivas led the EOKA struggle against British colonialism between 1955 and 59, which aimed at union of the island with Greece.

    After independence, whose terms Grivas abhorred, he became commander of the National Guard and led its forces during the inter-communal strife but was forced off the island in 1967. He returned secretly in 1971 and launched a terror campaign against President Makarios through the EOKA B organisation, which gained notoriety for murdering communists.

    The slogan issue emerged over the weekend, when AKEL publicly charged that recruits at the Larnaca training camp were being ordered to chant Grivas slogans.

    Hasikos immediately ordered an investigation into the allegations, saying, however, that a preliminary examination showed that the incident never happened.

    In what was seen as a strategic move, the defence ministry appointed Colonel Avram Marangos as the investigating officer.

    Marangos, known for his links with AKEL, found himself in the public spotlight last year after he claimed there was a paramilitary general staff within the army, created by officers and others with nationalistic and anti- communist persuasions.

    Marangos and a fellow-colonel found themselves in the dock, but after the dust had settled the official verdict was that there never had been such a body and both officers were acquitted.

    But with investigations are under way, AKEL Chairman Demetris Christofias on Monday said he would not be convinced - even if 100 investigations found that such incident never happened.

    Yesterday, Hasikos countered that Christofias had every right to persist.

    "It's his right and to be honest I didn't expect him not to persist," Hasikos said.

    Hasikos assured there would not be any cover up, suggesting it would be unthinkable that the 50 conscripts who, according to AKEL, fell out of the ranks when they were ordered to shout the slogan would not tell the truth when questioned by Marangos.

    Hasikos stressed there was no intimidation or hazing in the National Guard and urged everyone to leave officers alone to do their jobs.

    He said soldiers should not be urged to report every little thing that happened, suggesting the National Guard was becoming an army of softies.

    AKEL's persistence to keep the issue alive is seen by many as an effort to divert attention from the party's internal problems, especially over the presidential elections.

    Reports say a groundswell of AKEL supporters does not approve of the party's choice of candidate. Although nothing official has been announced, the party's expected backing of DIKO Chairman Tassos Papadopoulos has made many AKEL voters unhappy.

    Party members have also accused Christofias of promoting his own people among the ranks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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