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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-12-10

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

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


Tuesday, December 10, 2002

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus first to close accession talks
  • [02] Pat Cox: no veto on Cyprus accession
  • [03] Denktash 'despair' at Clerides reply
  • [04] Seizures made in piracy crackdown
  • [05] _1.2 million for old Turkish baths
  • [06] Around 3,000 gather in rain-sodden protest
  • [07] Miss World dreams of a European Turkey and a happy Cyprus
  • [08] Counting the damage after storms
  • [09] New hope to avert strokes

  • [01] Cyprus first to close accession talks

    CYPRUS yesterday officially became the first candidate country to complete membership talks with the European Union, as other applicants signaled they still hoped to squeeze more concessions from the EU.

    The foreign ministers of the 10 candidates were in Brussels for a final round of negotiations before the summit in Copenhagen on Thursday and Friday, when they expect to win a formal invitation to join the wealthy bloc in 2004.

    Denmark, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, has urged the applicants to accept what it calls its final financial offer, saying there is no more money available despite the candidates' demands for more farm aid and bigger rebates.

    Cyprus, the richest of the candidates, said its foreign minister had accepted the Danish offer, on condition that the island could share in any last-minute concessions granted to the other candidates.

    "The meeting went very well... (EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter) Verheugen congratulated us on becoming the first candidate country to complete the accession talks," a spokesman for the Cypriot mission to the EU told Reuters.

    Nicosia signaled last week it was ready to wrap up the talks after overcoming problems over agriculture and the budget.

    The international community is pressing the island's Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach a peace settlement so Cyprus can join the EU as a reunited island.

    Diplomats said the Cyprus talks, mediated by the United Nations, would probably continue in Copenhagen, on the margins of the EU summit.

    The EU says it is willing to admit Cyprus even in the absence of a peace accord, a move which could trigger a crisis with Turkey.

    However, Turkey's new government -- focused heavily on its own bid to join the EU -- has signaled greater flexibility on Cyprus in the hope of winning a date in Copenhagen to start entry talks.

    Yesterday, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the leader of Turkey's ruling party, Tayyip Erdogan, that Ankara must show it is implementing political and human rights reforms before the EU can set the date for starting talks.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Pat Cox: no veto on Cyprus accession

    THE President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, yesterday assured the government that Cyprus would join the Union on Thursday without any external veto.

    "The decision will be taken on Cyprus with no external veto - and we know how to interpret that - and 'bearing in mind all relevant factors' - and we are now dealing with what that context phrase means," Cox said.

    He said President Glafcos Clerides had yesterday briefed him on some of the issues the Greek Cypriot side would like to renegotiate in the United Nations plan.

    "The President indicated in headline terms a number of issues that he would like to negotiate on. It is clear that he would like before any settlement to be able to establish the capacity to find an interlocutor in the process, " Cox said.

    Cox added that Clerides gave him a thorough briefing on the peace process, but declined to comment on whether a deal could be struck before the Copenhagen summit on Thursday.

    "My own attitude in politics is never to give up hope," he said.

    He added that he wished to see a united Cyprus sign the accession treaty in Athens in April next year.

    "The ideal would be for a settlement that would express itself in a single legal international personality joining the EU, but we do not live in heaven.

    "The ideal is not always available, but we should try," Cox said.

    Speaking later in the day at the Economist Conference in Nicosia, Cox said it was very clear that if there was a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus and an agreement in principle this week, "this would be the optimum condition of your entry to the European Union".

    Cox promised that if an agreement was a reached the European Parliament would bring a "very special act of financial solidarity" to deal with the special problems that Cyprus would have to deal with.

    "Of course ultimately it's not about money. the European Union was at its inception an act of creative reconciliation and of all acts of creative reconciliation, that facing Cyprus is one of the greatest," he said.

    "Cyprus now has the power to gift the European Union with an act of reconciliation that recalls to Europe the very essence of its public purpose."

    Cox said that the next five days constituted "five minutes to midnight" for Cyprus. "You may find that if you delay, the chance may be lost," he said.

    The EU parliament head also paid tribute to Cyprus` completion of its accession negotiations and to Chief EU negotiator George Vassiliou, calling him the "Michael Schumacher of negotiators".

    "You won the gold medal in the accession negotiations," he said. "Now there is another gold medal to be won."

    Adriaan van der Meer, Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus, also addressed the conference: "Having closed the technical part we now hope that the long lasting Cyprus issue may also be settled."

    Van der Meer said the Annan plan satisfied EU requirements because it allowed Cyprus to speak with one voice and had adequate provisions for Cyprus to cast a vote in the framework of EU decision-making procedures.

    "Our basic position is that the outcome of the settlement will be accommodated in the Treaty of Accession in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded," Van der Meer said. "The UN plan itself indicates the method on how this will be done in the areas of the freedom of capital in order to accommodate the bizonality of the settlement".

    He said that the UN plan's approach on the transitional arrangements was based on existing examples inside the acquis, borrowed from previous accessions, for example those of Denmark in 1973 and Finland in 1995.

    "It is clear that the citizens in the northern part of Cyprus want both a settlement of the Cyprus issue and at the same time EU membership," Van der Meer added. He said it would be useful, if the international community would now express its willingness to help the Cypriots to deal with the financial consequences of a settlement as regards re-housing for thousands of people. "Cyprus will need strong international support. It is time to make clear commitments," he said referring to a possible EU package for immediate assistance and a catch-up facility for the northern part of the island for the years 2004 to 2006 for the amount of _ 206 million.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Denktash 'despair' at Clerides reply

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has said he is "further despaired" by the reply that President Glafcos Clerides gave to the UN outlining the Greek Cypriot side's positions on Secretary-general Kofi Annan's plan for a Cyprus solution.

    In a speech to Turkish Cypriots on Sunday, back in Cyprus after two months in the US following heart surgery, Denktash said Clerides was trying to build "our future on the Cyprus Republic, which has been considered Greek for the past 40 years".

    "He is in conflict with those whom he calls settlers. He accused Turkey of committing a crime by transferring settlers here. He believes that the number of Greek Cypriots that should be allowed to live among the Turks is insufficient. As a result, all the initiatives we have taken in good will to establish a new partnership have been cast aside," Denktash said.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader said he would once again try and put his position forward to the UN, saying the Turkish Cypriots were a sovereign people. "Now the word sovereignty is not even mentioned. The TRNC does not exist. The Cyprus Republic will exist and everything will be built on that, " Denktash said.

    He added that refugees' problems could not be solved by creating new waves of migration. "This is against humanity. This is against justice. This is merciless," he added. "We cannot pay this price, nor will we pay it."

    Referring to a new document that would be handed to both sides on the basis of changes each side wished to make, Denktash said the two sides were expected to continue negotiations as Cyprus was accepted to the EU.

    "They will build another fortress and we are expected to continue this path. We don't recognise such a path. Our equality should be recognised by the EU as well," he said.

    "You the Turkish Cypriots, you Turks who are part of the motherland should be aware of your bravery, your humility, your compassion, and your beauty, which is more advanced than even the most developed countries in the world."

    According to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen, which headlined its story "The father of the non-solution has come", only around 900 people turned out to welcome Denktash home and the majority of those were members of the 'police' and civilian defence forces. "The absence of young people among the crowd is worth mentioning," the paper said.

    Meanwhile, Bayrak radio reported that the Nationalist Justice Party (NJP) believed a plot was afoot to keep Denktash away from the Cyprus problem, even claiming that the Turkish Cypriot leader could be assassinated.

    NJP general secretary General Erhan Arikli said Denktash had been kept in New York longer than necessary as part of the plot but that by returning to the island he had "foiled the plan".

    He also said that there were circles who wanted a solution in Cyprus at all costs and would not stop at an assassination attempt against Denktash "by using drugs". A mass rally is planned in the north today to oppose the Annan plan, Bayrak reported.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] Seizures made in piracy crackdown

    POLICE yesterday seized thousands of pirated compact discs and tapes during two separate raids in Larnaca and Limassol.

    The raids were part of a sustained crackdown on bootleg CD's, DVD's, videos and software, which deprive companies and artists from thousands of pounds on intellectual rights.

    The Limassol raid was carried out at 2pm on the property of a 46-year-old businessman.

    Police reportedly seized around 5,000 bootleg CD's as well as tapes, computers, tape decks and CD copying equipment.

    Police also seized printing equipment, which according to reports reproduced the CD covers with high accuracy.

    In a separate effort in Larnaca, police on Sunday raided an open market at Livadhia and confiscated 1,154 CD's, 407 DVD's, 95 Playstation games and 54 videotapes - all bootlegs.

    The sale of pirate material is widespread on the island and even kiosks nowadays sell music, software and films for a fraction of the original price.

    In the last six months alone, police have seized over 20,000 pirate units.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [05] _1.2 million for old Turkish baths

    By Nicole Neroulias

    THE crumbling Ottoman Bath and Omeriye Mosque in Old Nicosia are getting a _1,200,000 facelift, courtesy of the United Nations and the European Union.

    Officials gathered inside the Ottoman Bath yesterday to hail the beginning of the EU-funded renovation project, which will also redesign the adjacent road, gardens and corresponding infrastructure.

    The project is part of the Nicosia Master Plan, a UN Office for Project Services scheme that brings Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot experts together to solve shared problems in the capital.

    The plan aims to refurbish and revitalise the entire walled city of Nicosia, including the bath, mosque, traditional houses and buildings with high architectural value, officials said.

    European Parliament President Pat Cox attended the groundbreaking ceremony during a 30-minute respite from the 3rd Cyprus Summit and meetings with party leaders on both sides of the island. During his speech, Cox described his two-day visit to the island as "brief but intense," and characterised the walled city as a neighbourhood that "carries the scars of the passage of time in context of the divided city."

    The scars were visible inside the Ottoman Bath, where the peeling walls still displayed faded beverage advertisements from another era, although the facility had been operational as recently as this June.

    "We are investing in the future," Cox said. "We are keeping alive the memories of the past but investing in the possibility of a bright new tomorrow."

    Municipal Counsellor Eleni Loukaidou delivered a welcome address on behalf of Mayor Michalakis Zambelas, who she said had been unavoidably delayed in Limassol.

    "This historic partnership between Greek and Turkish Cypriots is creating the prospect of a better future for our city," Loukaidou said.

    Several Turkish Cypriot architects involved with the Nicosia Master Plan in the occupied north arrived near the end of the ceremony, and were greeted enthusiastically by Deputy Mayor Lya Tseridtis.

    "We have to think positively, that we will be living together again soon," Tseridtis said.

    Despite its peeling walls and crumbling façade, the Ottoman Bath had been attracting between 20 and 35 Cypriots and tourists on weekends when it closed in the summer summer, according to manager Theodorakis Shahinyan. A bath cost £3.50 and a massage cost £1.50, he said.

    "I was very depressed when I closed it in June for the renovations," he said. "Not because of the money, because I love the job."

    The restored Omeriye Mosque and Ottoman Bath are scheduled to be unveiled in June, but the team has requested four more months due to the decayed condition of the buildings, officials said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [06] Around 3,000 gather in rain-sodden protest

    AROUND 3,000 people turned out in the pouring rain at Eleftheria Square in Nicosia on Sunday night to attend a demonstration against the Cyprus plan put forward by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

    The demonstration was organised by a the organisation calling itself the Pancyprian Citizens Movement, which opposes the plan saying that it seeks to impose an undemocratic solution on the Cypriots people and only entrenches divisions between the two communities.

    "The political leaders of the Republic must be under no misapprehension. The people of Cyprus do not want the Annan Plan," a statement from the organisation said. "The people of Cyprus must make their voices heard and the politicians must respond to the call of the people," it added.

    A sea of umbrellas filled the Square on Sunday night as people flocked to hear speeches from former Greek Defence Minister Yerasimos Arsenis, the bishops of Paphos and Kyrenia and other officials, who all urged the people to oppose the plan and persuade the political leadership not to sign, as proposed by the international community by December 12. People carried signs saying: "Justice Buried and Attila Rewarded" and "No to Annan Plan. Yes to Human Rights" and "Annan plan is the sale of Cyprus to Turkey".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [07] Miss World dreams of a European Turkey and a happy Cyprus

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE NEW Miss World, Miss Turkey, celebrated her 21st birthday this weekend with the hope her coronation could bring her country into Europe and solve the Cyprus problem.

    Azra Akin, a Muslim Turk raised in Holland, feels her new title can bridge the gap between Islam and Christianity, Asia and Europe.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail in London, Azra said she had been honoured to meet Miss Greece and Miss Cyprus, and spoke of her belief that she could strengthen ties between the troubled countries.

    "Why not? I believe in that. I would definitely do that if it were possible. It would be great."

    Indeed Cyprus has already captured her imagination: the Miss Turkey pageant, which she won, was held in the occupied north earlier this year.

    She clutches my arm, eyes sparkling, eager to talk about the week she spent at the Jasmine Hotel in the spring.

    "Near Kyrenia?" I ask.

    Blank looks. "Kyrenia?" Never mind.

    Instead she waxes lyrical about the Turkish memorials to the 1974 invasion, to which she refers simply as "the war".

    "Oh it was so great. The weather was so nice. We went to the beach. You know the one where the soldiers came? We went to the monument and the [war] museum.

    "But they [only] told us a little about the war. I would like to know everything about it because I'm very interested in history. They didn't let us see the whole museum because we would get sad. Definitely I would get sad."

    Again she changes tack instantly. "We went to an orange garden and we could pluck oranges from the trees. It was so nice. And I like Cyprus cheese," she giggles.

    "Halloumi?" I ask. "Yes, halloumi." More giggles.

    "And the houses! Oh and the houses! By the sea you have these very nice villages with very colourful houses. It's very nice."

    But there was further confusion over Turkish Cypriot Rauf Denktash's precise status on the island.

    When I asked if she had met him, she replied: "Er, yes. The governor?"

    "Not the 'president'?"

    "The President, ah yes," she says.

    Azra is certainly the perfect face for a modern Turkey. She speaks several languages fluently; is proud to be Turkish and finds inner peace in Islam, yet she dresses as a westerner and loves Christmas shopping in London.

    She comes from a solid middle-class family. Her father is an engineer and her mother, a second-generation settler in the Netherlands, was the first official Turkish teacher in Holland.

    In fact as pageants become increasingly professional, it's easy to see why the Miss Turkey machine asked her to enter the competition.

    Crowned the first-ever Turkish Miss World on Saturday, less than a week before the Copenhagen Summit, Turks are already thanking her for improving their standing in the West.

    "We're the only Muslim country in the world that is democratic. We have a parliament. We're not fundamentalist. With the Christian and the Muslim worlds in conflict, this is a great thing. She's Muslim. But she's so modern, she's one of you," said director of Miss World in Turkey, Ozcan Sandikcioclu.

    "December 12 is a very important date for Turkey and she wins this title of Miss World just before. It will help Turkey's image a lot. It's a wonderful thing for Turkey and its people," he added.

    Azra may not be an expert in politics, but she's warm enough to share her birthday cake with journalists and honest enough to admit a preference for "gym-suits and trainers" over haute couture and make-up.

    Whether she wins Turkey a start-date for accession talks with the European Union remains to be seen.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [08] Counting the damage after storms

    By Jean Christou

    AUTHORITIES were yesterday assessing damage to housing and crops following hail storms and twisters in the Larnaca and Nicosia districts on Sunday.

    Farm outhouses in Peristerona, Strovilia, Agaki, Nea Orini and Vrysoulles were ripped apart and substantial damage to crops sustained due to powerful winds, rain and hail, which lasted several hours. Residents in the areas also said many homes had their windows shattered and their cars damaged by flying debris.

    "The first indications show that Vrysoulles was the worst hit," said Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou, who visited the area yesterday. He said the roofs of two houses had even been blown off in the area. "There was also substantial damage to solar heating panels," the Minister added.

    The Agriculture Ministry and officials from the Agricultural Insurance Organisation (OGA), also visited the worst hit areas yesterday to make assessments for compensation.

    Animal sheds, chicken coops, henhouses and sheep pens were destroyed, and some farm animals drowned in flood waters while crops were devastated in most of the affected areas.

    "We don't know yet how much damage has been done to crops," Panayiotou said. "We are waiting for estimates from the Agriculture Ministry."

    Christos Mavrokordatos, president of House Agriculture Committee, who visited the affected farming areas yesterday, said a substantial number of crops were destroyed, including olives, compensation for which is not covered by the OGA.

    He said he would raise the issue at a special meeting of the Committee on Thursday once more details had been assessed.

    "We also had hailstones the size of walnuts, which destroyed all the crops in Vrysoulles," he said. "We will be assessing the situation with regards to compensation."

    Met office chief Kyriacos Theophilou said the bad weather brought about by a low pressure front would continue into today with scattered showers. However, he said that by afternoon the north wind would bring clearer crisper weather and colder temperatures, not ruling out the possibility of frost in some areas.

    According to figures released yesterday, the average rainfall in December is around 105 millimetres. In the first five days of the month, rainfall totalled 29 millimetres islandwide and by yesterday had reached 47 millimetres, 41 per cent of the average for the month.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [09] New hope to avert strokes

    By Alex Mita

    SURGEONS at the American Heart Institute (AHI) have successfully carried out a revolutionary new method of surgery to open up narrowing carotid arteries, which transport blood to the brain.

    Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Dr Christos Christou said Carotid disease was one of the major causes of strokes.

    "Stroke is the third cause of death in developed countries," he said.

    "Patients, like the 60-year-old man we operated, who have narrowing of the artery are at risk of developing a stroke."

    The patient was suffering from narrowing of the carotid and had suffered a stroke three months ago. Doctors said they were unable to operate due to the anatomy of the narrowing of the artery.

    The patient was taken to the AHI, where Christou decided to go ahead with the operation.

    Christou said the procedure had many complications in the past due to the fact that equipment was much heavier, and there was the danger of the patient having a stroke, but advances in technology have made the procedure much easier and with fewer complications.

    Christou said patients who develop symptoms of the disease, like visual disturbances, numbness on the arm and weakness that comes and goes, tend to be at a higher risk.

    "If someone has a major stroke and becomes paralysed it might be too late to restore mobility in the limbs," he said.

    Christou said the new procedure meant that the patient could leave the hospital within 24 hours but warned that there could still be complications so it would only be used as a last resort.

    However, Christou warned there were patients who had the disease without developing symptoms and urged patients aged 50 and over, with a heart condition or with a history of stroke in the family to visit the centre for a test to determine whether they were suffering from the disease.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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